Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, with a population of only 18 million. It is the leading economy in Central Asia, generating 60% of the region's GDP, primarily through its oil and gas industry. While vast mineral and hydrocarbon resources have been driving its economy, Kazakhstan has now embarked on a transition to green energy.
EU-Kazakhstan relations have been governed by a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) since 1994. An Enhanced PCA (EPCA) ratified in 2016 will soon enter into force, bringing relations between the EU and Kazakhstan to a new level, with reinforced political dialogue in nearly thirty sectors.
As an upper-middle income country, Kazakhstan no longer receives bilateral allocations from the Development and Cooperation Instrument (DCI). However, the country benefits from regional and thematic programmes promoting regional cooperation, peace, stability and security in the region.
EU bilateral support to Kazakhstan is phasing out. The last two EU bilateral projects that supported Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy and judicial reforms successfully closed in 2018.
However, the EU continues to support the development of Kazakhstan as a secular democratic state, and provides support via regional and thematic programmes. The EU allocated €454.2 million to the Central Asia region via the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for the period 2014-2020. Ongoing regional programmes benefitting Kazakhstan cover areas ranging from integrated border management, trade and education, to water and climate change.
Development cooperation with Kazakhstan will increasingly focus on investments as a means to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Through the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA), the EU promotes investment in renewable energy, solid waste management and SME development, in cooperation with European Financial Institutions.
The EU supports Kazakhstan’s efforts towards intra-regional cooperation. For example, the EU promotes the economic empowerment of Afghan women through education and training in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.