The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) encouraged Kazakhstan to continue its efforts to diversify its economy and stop relying on commodity prices as an engine for economic growth, visiting EBRD executive said.
"We would certainly think that this is the moment in which countries like Kazakhstan should not rely too much on the recovery of commodity prices," EBRD president Thomas Mirow told reporters in Almaty on Wednesday, as he encouraged Kazakhstan to do "the utmost to diversify its real economy."
According to Mirrow, EBRD will continue its involvement in Kazakhstan's banking sector and focus on important infrastructure projects. EBRD invested $700-800 million in Kazakhstan in 2009 and expects to invest a similar amount in 2010.
In total, EBRD has invested about $1 billion in Kazakhstan's financial sector, and more than $2.3 billion in the country's economy as a whole.
On the sidelines of his visit on Wednesday, EBRD signed an agreement with Bank CenterCredit, Kazakhstan's fifth largest bank, to lend it $50 million to boost SME lending in the country.
According to Mirrow's assessment, the government's efforts to stabilize the banking system have born fruit but more needs to be done. "We would have to see whether it is done in a way that would not impede foreign investments in the country," Mirow said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.