Energy markets may be eagerly waiting for production at a key new Kazakh oilfield to kick off, but Kazakhstan's deputy prime minister Kairat Kelimbetov told CNBC that there is more to Kazakhstan than just oil production.
"We want to create a new economy. Our economic strategy is to diversify the economy and create non-oil sectors," Kelimbetov said.
Its economy, heavily reliant on natural resources including oil, gas, uranium and zinc, suffered in the wake of the financial crisis as commodities prices fell. The country's four largest banks received at least $3.47 billion in capital injections from the government in 2008. The country's GDP growth slowed in 2012 to 5.6 percent, down from 7 percent in 2011, according to World Bank data.
There have also been much-publicized criticisms of Kazakh state-backed companies which have listed outside the country, particularly London-listed ENRC .
Kelimbetov said he sees opportunities to expand Kazakhstan's mining, chemicals, food processing and agricultural industries.
The Deputy Prime Minister added investment appetite in Kazakhstan is "huge" and that the government is thinking of launching a privatization program because they would like to sell assets in the energy sector and the banking sector.
Production at the much-anticipated Kashagan oilfield, at man-made islands off the coast of the former Soviet Union country, is expected to start in 2013 — 8 years behind schedule. Once production is on stream, the country could turn into one of the world's top ten oil producing countries, according to analysts.
Kazakhstan holds up to 3 percent of the world's recoverable oil reserves and plans to increase crude output by more than 20 percent to 100 million tonnes by 2015, according to Reuters data.