France and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations on 25 January 1992 and the agreements that constitute the basis for the bilateral relationship were signed during President Mitterrand’s visit to Kazakhstan in September 1993. The signing of a strategic partnership in June 2008 and the creation in 2010 of a Franco-Kazakh Presidential Commission, which takes the form of an annual meeting between the two Heads of State, injected impetus into our relations. Consultations have also taken place annually between the countries’ foreign ministries since 2011.
Six bilateral presidential visits have taken place since 2009 (four to Paris and two to Astana), as have many ministerial and parliamentary contacts. President François Hollande visited Astana on 4 and 5 December 2014, while President Nazarbayev visited Paris from 4 to 6 November 2015. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov took part in the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Central Asian countries on 29 March 2017. On 6 and 7 September 2017, the French Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, visited the “Astana 2017” Expo.
Kazakhstan is France’s leading trading partner in Central Asia, with €3.9 billion in bilateral trade in 2017, up 25% from 2016. France’s market share was 2.6% in 2016, making it Kazakhstan’s sixth-largest supplier, behind Russia, China, Germany, the United States and Italy. French companies are the third-largest foreign investors in Kazakhstan, with a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock of €11.14 billion. A joint commission governs France’s economic relationship with Kazakhstan, the latest session of which was held in Astana on 7 September 2017. Energy is the foundation of our economic relationship with Kazakhstan. There is also substantial cooperation in the space sector, both at industrial level and for the transit of French astronauts via Kazakhstan (take-off and landing of Thomas Pesquet from the Baikonur base in November 2016 and May 2017).
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
France’s influence is exercised via its network of Alliance Française branches, particularly as regards the promotion of the French language. The most recent France-Kazakhstan cross-cultural seasons took place in 2013 and 2014. Academic and scientific cooperation draws on two partnerships. The first, the “Sorbonne-Kazakhstan Institute”, inaugurated in December 2014, offers training in management and international relations. The other, the “Géo-Énergies” centre, created in 2009 and governed for the French side by the University of Lorraine, offers training in oil and mining geology and renewable energy sources.
Updated: February 2019