Posts

IMG_0778

Dependent on its wealth of natural resources, Kazakhstan is now aiming to diversify its economy into seven areas linked to oil and gas to become one of the world’s top 50 most competitive countries by 2015. By Ginanne Brownell.

The windy steppe city of Astana, Kazakhstan, is a surreal place full of juxtaposing fantastical architectural influences. There are ‘ancient’ Greek ruins, a huge pyramid (designed by British architect Norman Foster, the official name is the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation), an apartment building reminiscent of the Seven Sisters skyscrapers in Moscow, and a Brandenburg-esque gate near the Palace of Independence. The KazMunaiGas gas building is an enormous structure that resembles a palace with a huge archway, while another Norman Foster-designed building, the Khan Shatyry (Royal Marquee), known locally as the ‘Giant Yurt’, is a soon-to-be-opened spectacular indoor city for 10,000 people that will accommodate shops, sports, a beach resort, a boating river and music complexes. Read more

Poland is the only country in Europe likely to register economic growth this year. It is now hoping to follow in the footsteps of the EU’s previous star pupil, Ireland, writes Ginanne Brownell.

It is early September in the Polish mountain village of Krynica. Strolling among the crowd of tourists are people such as former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar, Nobel Peace Prize winner (and Poland’s first post-Communist president) Lech Walesa and the EU’s commissioner for enterprise and industry, Günter Verheugen. But these politicians and former world leaders are not here for the spa facilities that this area is renowned for – they have come to network with more than 2000 top business executives, economists and politicians at the annual Krynica Economic Forum, dubbed ‘the Davos of eastern Europe’ Read more