THE new Kazakh ambassador to the UK, Kairat Abusseitov, was in Aberdeen yesterday to meet local business people and politicians on his first official visit to the north-east and first trip to the UK since taking up his post in London last month.
The visit coincided with talks between the ambassador, Aberdeen businessman John “Tiny” Langler, the honorary consul for Kazakhstan in Scotland, and a consortium of Scottish and UK organisations that have joined forces to create a single-source education and training offering called The Knowledge Alliance.
Mr Abusseitov, previously his country’s ambassador to Switzerland, said it was a period for him to learn and understand but he was well aware of the strong business links between Kazakhstan and Aberdeen and Scotland, and of the regular trade missions between the two nations. He added: “It is good to hear that businesses in Aberdeen are looking to create long-term business opportunities in Kazakhstan and jobs, with 70-80% of them for Kazakhstani people.”
Mr Langler, chairman of Walker Technical Solutions, said: “We are very honoured that the ambassador has taken time out of a hectic schedule to visit the north-east.
“We have a growing Kazakh population in Aberdeen and business links between the two nations have greatly increased in recent years.”
With a population of about 16million, Kazakhstan has the fastest growing economy in central Asia, with growth so far largely because of its oil and gas industry.
Mr Langler said: “Forming closer links with Kazakhstan is an extremely exciting opportunity for Scotland. The opportunities, for all manner and size of business, are endless and could be highly lucrative.”
Local businessman John Duncan, director of e-learning firm New Leaders, which already has offices in Kazakhstan and is a member of the alliance, said: “The Knowledge Alliance aspires to work with human resources development centres in Kazakhstan to develop a corporate academy this year teaching management and leadership skills.
“The ambassador’s visit to Aberdeen allows more companies and organisations the chance to discuss the many opportunities that the two countries offer each other.”
Mr Abusseitov also met Aberdeen Lord Provost Peter Stephen, who said: “I was delighted to welcome the ambassador of Kazakhstan on his first visit to the city.”