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About us
NU-FDI is a research project on the importance and effects of FDI in Kazakhstan. We use the
term FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) to refer to the direct participation of multinational
enterprises or other foreign investors in the local production capacity of the country. The
project is conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Nazarbayev University (NU)
in Astana and the Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU) in Almaty. It is funded by a three-
year grant from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The project aims to generate new insights in (i) what attracts foreign investors to Kazakhstan and what obstacles they encounter, and (ii) what impact they have on the local economy, whether beneficial or detrimental. We are interested not only in economic factors and effects
but also in the Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) impact. We wish to inform policymakers on how to enhance Kazakhstan’s attractiveness as a destination for foreign investors and on the kinds of foreign direct investments most beneficial to the country’s development – more specifically, its sustainable development and the diversification of its economy. In that way, it should benefit the Kazakh workforce and population, the Kazakh economy at large, and potentially even the international business community through a more optimal allocation of investment resources and production activities.
Our purpose here is to present the project to scholars, policymakers, and other interested parties, but in particular to executives or representatives of multinational or other foreign enterprises with a substantial participation in Kazakhstan. We hope this website will help us raise interest and communicate about the progress of our work and the results we obtain as well as stimulate responses to our open queries.

Quantitative and Qualitative Approach
The project has a quantitative leg and a qualitative leg. In the quantitative leg, we exploit varied and extensive sources of statistical data. One type of data consists of detailed firm-level data that will serve to measure the efficiency of production activities and understand what factors affect it at the level of the company or the production unit. Another type is more aggregate, and studies productivity at the regional and sectoral level.
For the qualitative leg of the project, we seek company representatives willing to share their views on issues surrounding direct investments in Kazakhstan by their own or other non-Kazakh companies. To guide our interviews with company representatives, we developed a questionnaire covering a wide range of topics. It provides to the interviewer and the interviewee the possibility to focus or expand on those topics of more specific relevance for the represented company. The information we collect in this way will not only allow us to gain new
insights into questions of an intrinsically qualitative nature, but it will also help us to interpret our statistical data and results with more lucidity and awareness of the realities in the field.

Naturally, our interview questionnaire and accompanying material have been duly vetted and verified by the competent ethical committee, namely the Nazarbayev University Institutional Research Ethics Committee ( Following the standard protocol, before an interview is conducted, respondents will be asked for their permission to use the information they provide in an anonymous way, so that neither they nor their company can be identified. If they agree, they will be invited to sign together with the interviewer a standard informed consent form guaranteeing as much as possible the confidentiality of their answers. Needless to say, they remain free to respond or not respond to individual questions. The project is very much in its initial stages. More details will be provided on the pages of this website as it progresses.