New Developments in Kazakhstan-France Relations

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Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev visited France on November 29-30, 2022, at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. This visit is of symbolic importance as it is the first official visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Europe after his re-election.

On the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan-France diplomatic relations, the Presidents stated that they welcomed the two countries’ political, commercial, and economic cooperation and reminded the parties of the validity of the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” signed between the parties on June 11, 2008 and expressed their desire to develop relations based on trust at all levels.

Kazakhstan is France’s most important economic partner in Central Asia, and France is one of the leading investors in Kazakhstan’s economy. Commercial and economic contacts between the parties are actively expanding, and joint energy projects are expected to be implemented.

During the meeting, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, first expressed his heartfelt congratulations to Tokayev on his re-election as President of Kazakhstan and stated his support for reforms aimed at strengthening the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and social justice, all of which are essential preconditions for stability and sustainable development. In addition, Macron declared that they are ready to continue close interaction within the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement framework between Kazakhstan and the European Union (EU). In this context, the leaders referred to the first Central Asia-EU Summit held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on October 27, 2022.

The parties also reaffirmed their mutual desire to strengthen peace, security, and stability at the global and regional levels. It is important to note that they stress their unwavering commitment to international law and the core values of the UN- Charter, such as respect for state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Considering the current geopolitical landscape, the expansion of the Trans-Caspian international transport route and the launch of major transportation projects were viewed as important issues. In this regard, Kazakhstan wants EU nations to collaborate in constructing corridors, to serve as a “buffer market” between East and West, South and North.[1] Tokayev supports the implementation of the EU’s Global Gateway Project.

90% of France’s trade with Central Asian countries is carried out through Kazakhstan. Furthermore, France has been one of the five major investors in the country’s economy since 2005. The bilateral trade volume between France and Kazakhstan reached 2.5 billion dollars in the first nine months of 2022.[2] It is known that the two countries carry out joint projects in the fields of energy, mining, light industry, construction, aviation, engineering, health and food. Currently, more than 170 French companies and joint ventures operate in Kazakhstan. The goal is to increase this figure. Tokayev met with the representatives of the French business world within the scope of his visit.

In addition, during the meeting, the parties exchanged views on strengthening the ties between the two countries in the fields of education and culture and discussed the current issues on the international agenda and the main issues in Central Asia. In addition, increasing student mobility was encouraged by opening two French schools in Astana and Almaty in 2024, increasing the number of scholarships under the Abay-Vern Program and expanding the list of French higher education institutions under the “Bolashak Programme”.

In the framework of climate change discussions, the necessity for a large-scale project to build a wind power plant with a capacity of 1.2 GW in Kazakhstan was highlighted. This project symbolizes the strengthening of bilateral cooperation in the fight against climate change.

Tokayev signed many documents as a part of his official visit to France. As it is known, Kazakhstan is one of the main Uranium and crude oil suppliers of France. The two countries agreed to develop cooperation in the field of critical raw materials, including rare earth elements.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Energy of France signed an agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of the atom and a protocol for the development of a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan. In addition to these, various documents were signed in the fields of renewable energy sources, green hydrogen production, water management, rail transport and agricultural trade.[3]

Kazakhstan values the development of relations with Western nations, notably France, in the present political landscape. Kazakhstan piques Europe’s interest due to its advantageous geographical location and position as the leading country in Central Asia. Furthermore, Kazakhstan, which was negatively impacted by Russia’s economic sanctions but succeeded in attracting investments from European corporations withdrawing from Russia, is the first Central Asian state to sign an Extended Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.[4]

In conclusion, this visit highlighted the significance of Kazakhstan-France collaboration, as well as Central Asia-EU cooperation in general. The parties, who committed to expanding bilateral relations in sectors such as economy, investment, education, health, research, and culture in the spirit of strategic partnership demonstrated a strong desire to strengthen their strategic partnership and take their relations to the next level. As a result, it is reasonable to expect that the parties’ relationships will continue to grow and develop.

[1] Sabir Askeroğlu, “AB’nin “Orta Asya Açılımı” ve Kazakistan’la İlişkileri”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 01.12.2022).

[2] “Токаев: «90% торговли Франции с Центральной Азией приходится на Казахстан»”, Kursiv Media,, (Date of Accession: 01.12.2022).

[3] “В рамках визита президента Казахстана во Францию подписан ряд документов”, Kazakhstan Today,, (Date of Accession: 01.12.2022).

[4] Askeroğlu, op.cit.

Aidana BAKTYBEK KYZY, 1999 yılında Bişkek'te doğmuştur. BAKTYBEK KYZY, 2022yılında Sakarya Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nden mezun olmuştur. Halihazırda yüksek lisans eğitimini Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nde devam ettirmektedir.