EXPO Astana 2017

Italy Italy:



4th September 2017

All events are reserved to invited guests


Italian-Kazakhstan Business Forum on Green Energy

Rixos Hotel – Organized by Ice, Confindustria, Anie

Introduction and moderation:

Stefano Ravagnan, Italian Ambassador in Kazakhstan

Institutional greetings:

Serik Zhumangarin, Vice Minister of Economy of Kazakhstan

Ivan Scalfarotto, Undersecretary for Economic Development


Barbara Degani, Undersecretary for Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea

Yerzhan Tutkushev, Director new projects Samruk-Kazyna (tbc)

Gani Sadibekov, Vice Minister of Energy of Kazakistan (tbc)

Ilaria Vescovi, President of Technical Group for Internazionalization of Confindustria

Piergiorgio Borgogelli, General Director of ICE-Agency

Official Ceremony at National Day Stage

Expo Astana


Flag raising

National Anthems

Speeches of representatives of the Governments of Italy and Kazakhstan


“Nello Salza Ensemble” with the choir of the Astana Philharmonic:

“Una Tromba da Oscar”, the great Italian Cinema Music

Italy is a Parliamentary Republic located in southern Europe, with a population of 60.6 million inhabitants, an extension of 301000 square km and Rome as capital.

In the continental part, it shares borders with France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia, with the Alps covering the borders in the North, from West to East. Within the Italian territory, the Vatican City State and the Republic of San Marino are located. The country is a peninsula surrounded by the Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Ionian and Adriatic seas, that stretches across the Mediterranean Sea, and includes several islands (the largest are Sicily and Sardinia).

Being the capital of one of the greatest Empire of history, Rome had been the political and cultural centre of Western world for centuries. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Italian peninsula was invaded and occupied by foreign populations, such as the Ostrogoth, Lombards, and Normans. In the 14th and 15th centuries, with the dissemination of the Renaissance, the peninsula became again the cultural centre of Western world, but in the 16th century it began to decay, becoming the object of the ambitions of the strongest European states, such as France, Spain and Austria, which dominated the Italian peninsula at alternating stages. The struggle for national independence, known as "Risorgimento" (Resurgence), began in 1848 and led to the unity of much of the country in 1861, when the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, with following regions which joined the Kingdom (Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli Venezia Giulia). After the defeat in World War II, in 1946 the population chose the Republican form of government through a referendum vote, with Constitution approved in 1948.

Territorial authorities are:

  • Regions (15 with ordinary statute and 5 with special statute), with two autonomous provinces of Trento and Trieste;
  • Metropolitan cities (14);
  • Provinces and municipalities (respectively 93 and 7981, according to ISTAT data of 2017).

Italy is a founding member of several international bodies, such as European Union, NATO, Council of Europe and the OECD. It is also a member of the G7 and the G20, and in 2018 it will hold the OSCE Presidency. On the economic level, Italy is the second largest manufacturing country in Europe after Germany, while on the cultural level, it boasts the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the fifth most visited country in the world.

Bilateral relations

The relations between Italy and Kazakhstan are very good, favoured by strong economic cooperation; moreover, in the last three years there has been an important relaunch of high-level political contacts, as well as the development of significant cooperation in academic and cultural fields.

In particular, in 2014/15, the then President of the Council of Ministers Mr Renzo and Kazakh President Nazarbayev met on 3 occasions (at Borovoe in May 2014, in Milan in October 2014 during ASEM Summit, in Milan on the occasion of the Kazakh National Day at Expo Milano 2015), discussing international issues and giving impulse to bilateral economic cooperation, with particular reference to energy and infrastructures.

It should also be noted that on 28th January 2016 an important delegation led by the Minister for Agricultural Resources Mr Martina and Undersecretary to the Environment Mrs Barbara Degani went to Astana for meetings on agricultural cooperation and in preparation of Expo Astana 2017.

Economic cooperation

In 2016 Italian exports recorded a new increase, compared to the previous year, equal to 8.2%; as a result, Italy ranked fifth as supplier of goods in Kazakhstan.

Imports, on the contrary, have a negative trend since 2012, with a negative percentage change of -37% in 2016, compared to the previous year. However, Italy remains a strategically important customer for Kazakhstan, confirming its first rank as market for Kazakh exports, with a share of 22.4%.

Exports in Italy increased up to 842.42 million euro in 2016, compared to 779.48 million in 2015, while imports reached 1.465 million euro, compared with 2.325 in 2015.

Italys trade balance remains passive, with 623 million euro in 2016. However, the reduction in imports and the simultaneous increase in exports have considerably reduced the negative balance, which in 2015 was in fact 1,546 million.

The main items of exports for period January-September 2016 are tubes, pipes, cable and related steel accessories (33.6% on Kazakhstan total exports), general-purpose machineries (17.3%), special-purpose machineries (5.6%), clothing (5.3%) and footwear (2.7%).

As far as imports are concerned, there are three main import items: crude oil (84.1% of total imports), precious and non-ferrous metals, nuclear fuels (9.1%), anthracite (1.7%).

Italy is among the main investors in Kazakhstan (9th country for capital invested in absolute terms in the decade 2005-15, over 6 billion), although according to Kazakh National Bank data in 2015 there were only investments of 35 million USD (470 in 2014). In general, investments continue to be very significant in oil and construction sectors.

Since the independence of the country, the ENI company has played a central role in the development of the energy sector. Today it holds 29.25% of Karachaganak oil field (North-West) and 16.81% of Kashagan offshore field (Caspian Sea), one of the most important in the world, whose reactivation – after some technical difficulties in 2013 - took place last November. Significant is also the activity carried out by the Todini Group, present in Kazakhstan since 2000, whose assets in the country were acquired by a Kazakh company; today the Todini Group is working for the realization of various sections of the road corridor Europe-China.

It is also worth noticing some significant investments by oil companies (Saipem, Rosetti Marino, Tenaris, Bonatti, Sicim, Valvitalia), as well as companies in infrastructure and services sector (Renco), in transport-logistics (Caspian Ocean of Trieste, Tuvia), in industrial catering (Ligabue, Multicatering). In 2014 IVECO build some production units (commercial vehicle assembly lines) in Kazakhstan.

Joint ventures are about a hundred.

Institutionally, the development of economic cooperation between Italy and Kazakhstan is promoted primarily by the Intergovernmental Working Group on Economic and Industrial Cooperation, whose last session was held in Rome on 17 February 2015.

Commercial promotion is entrusted to the Commercial Department of the Embassy and to the Agency for Trade Promotion and the Internationalization of Italian Companies (former ICE Agency) in Almaty, a city that even after the transfer of capital to Astana remains one of the countrys main economic and financial poles.

Cultural cooperation

In Kazakhstan there is a strong interest in Italian culture in its various declinations: important institutions have been actively working with Italian cultural bodies, such as the Opera Theatre of Astana with Theaters Carlo Felice of Genoa, La Scala of Milan and San Carlo of Naples. There are also several participations of Italian musicians at events organized by the Conservatives of Astana and Almaty or by local festivals.

In order to make Italian cultural offer more systematic and capillary, the Embassy promoted the "Year of the Italian Culture in Kazakhstan" between October 2015 and October 2016, with the organization of 53 initiatives: classical music, lyric, jazz and pop, dance, architecture, art, archaeology, cooking. The Year was realized in close synergy with the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and financed by Italian companies operating in the country, in particular: Technogym, Iveco, ENI, RINA Registro Navale, Caspian Ocean, Bonatti, Kios, Lattanzio Group, Saga Logistics, Ligabue.

The Embassy’s goals were to present the Italian culture not only in Astana and Almaty cities, but also in Pavlodar, Karaganda, Shymkent, Aktau and Uralsk, and to promote joint initiatives with Kazakh institutions and artists, also organizing crossed initiatives to present Kazakh culture to the Italian public.

Concerning intergovernmental agreements, it should be noted that the Agreement on Cultural and Scientific Cooperation was signed in 1997, but in fact hasn’t been applied yet, as an Executive Program is still missing. This last text is now in negotiation and will refer to the three-year period 2017-19.

Promotion of the Italian language

Trilingualism (Kazakh, Russian, English), which has been extensively introduced into Kazakhstan education system, has inevitably penalized the teaching of languages ​​such as Italian, whose distribution has declined in recent years, despite the strong interest of young Kazakhs in Italian culture and in possible job opportunities with Italian companies in the country. Even with the limited available resources, an integrated approach to linguistic promotion is needed, with the aim of consolidating the qualified linguistic "poles" in the major cities.

There are currently Italian language courses in Astana at the Gumilev University of Arts, Law, Business and Technology; while in Almaty courses are held at the Universities Ablay Khan, Al Fahrabi and the Academy of Arts; in Atyrau city at the Oil and Gas Institute. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, upon request of local institutions and the Embassy, provides annually contributions to support Italian language University Chairs.

Among the actions to support the promotion of the Italian language, there are also scholarships made available by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the attendance of language courses. For a.a. 2017-2018 27 monthly scholarships were awarded to Kazakh students.

In particular, it is worth noticing the opening of the Romance Language Centre at Al Fahrabi University in Almaty (with Italian and Spanish languages at the moment), while an "Italian corner" was inaugurated at the Business and Technology University of Astana.

The teaching of the Italian language is carried out not only in universities but also through the activity in Almaty of the local Committee Dante Alighieri/Centro Italia; there are also other private teaching institutions in both Astana and Almaty.

Scientific cooperation

Relevant sectors for Italy

So far Italy has played a very important role in the archaeological field, thanks to the University of Bologna research missions launched in 2005 and thanks to missions promoted by the Foundation Giancarlo Ligabue in Venice.

It should also be noted that in 2014 a project of environmental protection has been successfully completed, with aims of measuring and preventing the impact of oil mining activities in the Ural River delta region, in the north of the Caspian Sea.

This project was carried out by the Italian company Eni, in conjunction with the Ministries of the Environment and Agriculture of Kazakhstan, thanks to the collaboration of Emilia-Romagna Region and in particular of the Institution Parco del Delta del Po and of the University of Bologna. The initiative, which is an example of Italian excellence in environmental management, has been recognized and praised both by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and by other coastal states of the Caspian Sea.

The Institution Parco del Delta del Po and the Ural Delta Nature Reserve signed a twinning agreement according to which Kazakh experts followed courses on protected areas management in Italy.

Very articulate and promising is the collaboration between Italian and Kazakh universities, both on bilateral level and in the framework of EU programs, such as the Erasmus program; at the moment a project of a permanent forum of Universities of the two countries is being finalized.