Forging new frontiers: Kazakhstan’s President K. Tokayev embarks on historic journey to Saudi Arabia


By Gareth Stamp

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to participate in the GCC-Central Asia meeting. This is his first visit to Saudi Arabia after election 2022 and aiming to discuss potential avenues of cooperation in trade and investment with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah. The visit is scheduled for July 18-19, is seen as a significant step in strengthening bilateral ties between the two nations.


Only a year ago, KSA and Kazakhstan had celeberated 30th anniversary of the conclusion of diplomatic relations.

The Kazakh leader K. Tokayev had made an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during which he met with the manager of the State Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Yasser Al-Rumayan. He also had negotiated with Crown Prince of the Kingdom Mohammed bin Salman a number of bilateral trade relations.

During his visit K.Tokayev had signed a number of bilateral documents on increasing trade turnover, developing tourism potential, and strengthening cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

President Tokayev visited Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, the mosque built by the prophet Muhammad in Medina. Photo credit: Akorda.

He as the head of state, had also the opportunity to perform Hajj to Mecca.

Taking into account the political and economic potential of the two countries the importance prospects for cooperation and further deepening bilateral political, economic and humanitarian ties between Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia had been acknowledged.

Since the conclusion of bilateral relations anniversary, 85 mutual visits have been made between the two countries at various levels. The most important areas of co-operation include:

– possible investments of KSA in the oil sector of Kazakhstan, in particular, in geological exploration;

– export-import potential of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia: export of agricultural products, including halal products, import of technologies and attraction of investments in the real estate sectors of the economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

– cooperation in nuclear energy (from the supply of uranium raw materials from the Republic of Kazakhstan to the provision of nuclear technologies);

– the development of the space industry in Saudi Arabia and the creation (with Kazakh support) of its own space program as part of the Saudi Vision-2030 strategy.

The development of bilateral trade and economic relations between Astana and Riyadh will also have a positive impact on the diversification and expansion of transit, transport and logistics opportunities, where the importance of the Trans-Caspian route, in which Kazakhstan can play one of the key roles (connecting China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, etc.).

An important aspect is to work with Saudi Arabia in the OPEC format and, in the future, in the BRICS, where both countries have applied for membership. The situation on the energy market, taking into account the global situation, is quite changeable and requires stabilization. The issues of reducing/increasing oil production remain open.

In addition taking into account Kazakhstan’s resources in the agricultural sector (arable land and pastures, livestock, flour and wheat production), it is not excluded that the Republic of Kazakhstan can become one of the stable and long-term suppliers of high-quality products to Saudi Arabia.

Taking into account the geopolitical situation, the trip of K. Tokayev to Saudi Arabia, from a diplomatic point of view, as part of the peaceful policy of mutual cooperation between Kazakhstan and the countries of the Middle East. According to experts, the visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K. Tokayev to Riyadh will have a positive effect on the interaction between the two countries in the areas of investment, economy and trade.