image

Oman a potential business hub for Kazakh livestock, foodgrains, says ambassador

Muscat: Oman can be a hub for Kazakh livestock business in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Africa, Yerzhan Mukash, ambassador of the world’s biggest landlocked country said in an exclusive interview with the Times of Oman.

As the first batch of sheep from Kazakhstan arrived in Muscat International Airport for the “first time in history,” the ambassador said his country might export goats and frozen halal meat to Oman in the future.

“While Oman is a small market, it can be a transit to countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, African states and even India and Pakistan,” he said.

Every year, Kazakhstan sells tonnes of wheat to Iran, Turkey and China, the country that shares one of the world’s biggest land borders in with Kazakhstan.

But since Kazakhstan is a landlocked country, Mukash said the main issue facing investment is related to logistics.

“But as the world is lifting sanctions on Iran, we can take advantage of our very good relations with Iran and Oman’s relationship with Iran. There are horizons for businesses being boost between Kazakhstan and GCC, especially Oman,” he added.

While the two countries are highly dependent on oil exports, Kazakhstan enjoys animal and agricultural resources, according to Mukash.

To boost commercial ties with the GCC, Kazakhstan joined the Ashgabat agreement, which is a multimodal transport agreement between Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the GCC.

“We can export our products to Iran and then to GCC from Bandar Abbas port in Iran to the Omani ports,” the ambassador stated.

Asked about tourism, he said Omani nationals can get a visa to visit Kazakhstan two days after applying.

Interestingly, there are only 50 Kazakhs in Oman.

“We are waiting for an official visit by Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs to sign agreements to exempt diplomatic visa holders from visa to visit Kazakhstan,” the ambassador said, pointing out that Oman was the first Arab state to support Kazakhstan in becoming a non-permanent member of United Nations Security Council.

The ambassador also mentioned that the Sultanate was the first Arab state to start a diplomatic and economic relationship with Kazakhstan.