UAE to buy major stakes in Kazakh special economic zones

UAE to buy major stakes in Kazakh special economic zones
The Kazakh-Chinese border from the Chinese side in Khorgos. / Purplepumpkins.
By bne IntelliNews March 26, 2018

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) global port operator Dubai Ports World on March 24 signed two framework agreements to acquire stakes in Kazakhstan’s two Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

The stakes include 51% in the SEZ located on the Kazakh-side of the Kazakh-Chinese Khorgos free trade zone and 49% in Aktau Port’s SEZ. The Khorgos project is a joint effort between Kazakhstan and China to build a logistics and trading hub. It will serve as a dry port as part of China’s huge One Belt One Road (OBOR) trade and transport infrastructure initiative. The stake bought by Dubai Ports is likely the Khorgos-Eastern Gate SEZ, dubbed “New Dubai”.

DP World has been providing management services to Aktau, Kazakhstan's main cargo and bulk terminal on the Caspian Sea, it said.

The port operator seeks to "play an important role in enhancing trade connectivity along the New Silk Road" as part of OBOR, according to an emailed statement, cited by China's Xinhua news agency. A big objective of OBOR is turning Central Asian countries into a smooth transit zone for Chinese goods flowing into Europe, and vice versa.

The two deals were signed by Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman and CEO of DP World, and Kanat Alpysbayev, president of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), and Yeraly Tugzhanov, governor of Kazakhstan’s Mangistau region, in the presence of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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