Reflections on My Trip to Kazakhstan

Posted: October 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


I recently had the honour of travelling to Almaty to lead the largest ever Finnish-Kazakhstani business delegation regarding trade and economic cooperation. Ninety representatives from 55 companies were involved in addition to Finland’s minister for European affairs and foreign trade, Alexander Stubb, and other high-ranking officials. Altogether, 13 business sectors were represented; the information and communications technology (ICT) team consisted of TeliaSonera, Nokia Siemens Networks and Comptel.

At the delegation, the key priorities outlined were attracting Finnish investments into the Kazakhstan economy and furthering innovation and new technologies between the two regions. What’s interesting is that, for the past ten years, Kazakhstan has been the third, fastest growing economy in the world after China and Qatar.

We also had the opportunity to meet with both communications service provider (CSP) KCell (a customer of Comptel’s) and Minister Stubb, which certainly proved to be a highlight of the trip. Our head of Europe East, Timo Koistinen, with regional sales director, Sergey Biryukov, accompanied me in a tournament, trying to meet all of the local service providers and naturally network with the other delegation attendees. Timo and Sergey succeeded in speaking to the other three CSPs in the region, KazakhTelecom, Tele2 and Beeline, first, and since they moved so fast, they also experienced the “magic touch”—the hand of the president of Kazakhstan on the top of the Bayterek Monument in Astana. My schedule was very tight with several meetings to ensure the whole trip went smoothly for the whole Business Team Finland.

In all, this type of event is an excellent way of promoting Finland abroad. I’m confident that many of us succeeded in building new relationships with the companies in the region while networking with our Finnish business colleagues.