Kazakhstan's Ministry of Justice calls in consultants from Mercury

08 May 2018 Consultancy.asia

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice has called in consultants from Mercury, a public affairs consultancy that is part of international professional services firm Omnicom.

Sitting on enormous oil reserves, minerals, and metals (e.g. ore, manganese, chromite, lead, and zinc), Kazakhstan generates a GDP of over $270 billion, which equates to over 60% of the GDP produced in the Central Asia region.

As part of its lobbying endeavours, geared at both the West (the US and Western Europe) and the East (notably China), the Republic’s Ministry of Justice has tapped the services of Mercury. The New York-based public affairs consulting firm will provide management services to government officials in areas of lobbying, cross-border public relations and issues management, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed with the Justice Department in April. 

Mercury was founded in 1999 in the United States by four experienced public affairs consultants. The firm, which was acquired by Omnicom in 2003, the parent company of Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum and Porter Novelli, works for companies, advocacy groups, governments, political parties, NGOs, and prominent public and political figures.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Justice calls in consultants from Mercury

The ministry of the oil-rich former Soviet Union state will pay $30,000 per month to the external firm for its consulting and management services, with the $90,000 deal to terminate in June. 

In its work for the Kazakh officials, Mercury will work closely with lawyers from US law firm Latham & Watkins, with revenues of over $3 billion the globe’s second largest law firm in fee income. 

According to a recent report by the World Bank, Kazakhstan’s economy is set for growth in the coming years, as the country recovers from the economic backlash it faced amid the oil price slump a few years ago. After recovering from the 2008-2011 financial crisis, GDP growth had risen to 6%, yet the oil price crash dwarfed growth to an estimated 1% in 2015 and 2016. The report found that the outlook for 2017 and beyond is optimistic: GDP growth is expected to reach 2.9% by 2019. 

Meanwhile in Kazakhstan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in March announced that it has extended its management consulting subsidy and support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.

Surbana Jurong strikes deal to develop shipping corridor across Mexico

19 April 2019 Consultancy.asia

Singapore-headquartered urban and infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has been appointed as a master-planner for the Interoceanic Corridor project in Mexico.

At 40 kilometers wide and 300 long, Mexico’s slated $150 million Interoceanic Corridor will dissect the country’s Tehuantepec isthmus to connect its Atlantic and Pacific coasts – with the aim of facilitating trade and fast-tracking local economic growth. Now, the project has a new and far more distant connection, with the involvement of Singaporean-headquartered infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong.

Striking a deal with the Mexican state governments of Veracruz and Oaxaca, Surbana Jurong will develop a strategic plan for the Interoceanic Corridor as well as provide master planning on two associated special economic zones, in what the rapidly growing firm states is a significant milestone in its international aspirations – which over the past few years have already seen its presence grow to 130-plus offices in more than 40 countries.

“We are privileged to be appointed as master planners for the Interoceanic Corridor project. Surbana Jurong has a strong track record, having delivered master plans for projects in over 30 countries and are pleased to contribute our expertise towards Mexico’s development success,” said Surbana Jurong Group CEO Wong Heang Fine on helping to unlock the region’s economic potential.Surbana Jurong strikes deal to develop interoceanic corridor across MexicoAccording to the firm, the agreement will see Surbana Jurong perform a detailed review of the Interoceanic Corridor including its broad socio-economic benefits to the region and potential growth industrial clusters, with the strategic plan comprising of recommendations on market positioning and development directions, proposals for utilities and services infrastructure, and zoning plans to identify land use distribution along the corridor.

In addition, the firm will devise the master plan for two economic development areas along the Interoceanic Corridor in the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca, guiding the physical development of the two industrial sites through planning of land use, infrastructure, utilities and transportation – with the aim of “creating a conducive environment for investment and providing a quality living environment for the people that live and work there.”

“We are pleased to see the partnership continue to make progress since we started this conversation a few years ago,” said Khor Aik Lam, Latin America Regional Group Director of Enterprise Singapore, which helped facilitate the deal. “The strong commitment and joint efforts from all parties have culminated in this milestone venture to bring Singapore’s economic development capabilities to Mexico.”

Connecting the ports of Salinas Cruz on the Pacific coast and Coatzacoalcos on the Atlantic, the local Interoceanic Corridor is one of a number of proposed or under development cross-continental shipping routes to rival the Panama Canal, including routes across Guatemala and Nicaragua – with the contemporary race harking back to the 19th Century when a number of American industry and shipping titans fought to be the first.