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Kenes Rakishev: The new Kazakhstan, entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist


London, Brussels, Berlin (11/2 – 38)

Kenes Rakishev is an entrepreneur and international businessman, and a former Kazakh special envoy to the United States. Rakishev is a reflection of the new Kazakhstan. Young, educated, worldly, and successful.

One of Kenes Rakishev’s notable success was when he took over majority of Qazkom’s shares and engineered the rebranding from its predecessor, Kazkommertsbank. To improve Qazkom, Rakishev worked on the distressed asset management company BTA, formerly a bank. At that point, Qazkom’s loan portfolio was made up of legacy toxic loans from BTA Bank. The bank suffered massive losses due to frauds committed by Mukhtar Ablyazov. To save BTA, Rakishev bought over the bank in 2014.

The Kazakh government had earlier nationalized BTA in 2009, to prevent its collapse following the mismanagement and theft of millions. Ablyazov later fled the country.

The Kazakh administration appointed Rakishev to be BTA’s caretaker, Rakishev fixed the company and sold his stake afterwards. Halyk Bank and Qazkom later merged and became the largest bank in Kazakhstan.

In 2022, Mukhtar Ablyazov was found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in the U.S. Court for $218 million in favor of the BTA Bank. In the U.K. Supreme Court, a similar verdict was issued. The French government has since revoked the asylum status of Mukhtar Ablyazov. The current whereabouts of the fugitive is unknown.

Born on July 14, 1979, in Kazakhstan, Kenes Rakishev graduated from Kazakh National Law Academy in 2000 with a law degree. In 2002, he proceeded to attain a bachelor’s degree in international economics from Kazakh Economic University and later in 2007, an Advanced Management, Business Administration and General Management Diploma from the Saīd Business School in Oxford, England.

“Kenes Rakishev is an entrepreneur and international businessman. Apart of his business activities, Rakishev is involved in various philanthropy activities alongside his wife, Aselle Tasmagambetova and their Saby Foundation”

Due to his exemplary reputation, Kenes Rakishev also represented the Kazakhstan government on many occasions. His past public roles included as an advisor to the Interior Ministry and the Department of Education in Kazakhstan. According to Forbes national rating, Kenes Rakishev made it to Top-50 businessman of Kazakhstan in 2013. Since then, he climbed in Top-10, keeping his highly diversified empire under control.

Rakishev and Fincraft Resources recently signed a memorandum of understanding as well as a shareholder agreement with the Indian holding, Monnet Group on the establishment of a joint venture in Kazakhstan for the production of ferroalloys. The plant is named TB Alloys Kazakh Limited. Ferroalloys are used in steelmaking. They are added to steel to improve properties like strength, ductility, and fatigue or corrosion resistance.

Apart of his business activities, Rakishev has been involved in various philanthropy activities alongside his wife, Aselle Tasmagambetova through their foundation Saby, which they established in 2002, the oldest charity fund in Kazakhstan. The foundation focuses on, among others, giving young people in need access to good education and career opportunities, healthcare improvement in Kazakhstan and empowering young entrepreneurs and business owners to develop their ventures. In 2020, Saby also picked an ambitious battle to save the endangered Caspian seal from extinction.

Another sector that Rakishev shows interest in is the energy sector, as seen from the Shoqan Walikhanov school, the newest and most trendy private school in Almaty that was established in 2021. The school is intended to fit into the strictest standards, including environmental standards. The Shoqan Walikhanov school has received a LEEDv4 rating for being safe, organic and energy efficient.

Rakishev is also an avid supporter of sport development in Kazakhstan. As the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation president, he has done his best to attract sportsmen to the first International Boxing Tournament held in Astana in July 2022 and bring International boxing to Kazakhstan.

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