Shaimerden Chikanayev has over 13 years of experience in Kazakhstani legal services market as well as big experience in matters dealing with former Soviet Union and Central Asia.

Currently Shaimerden Chikanayev is a partner, Global Head of the GRATA International law firm’s Banking & Finance practice. Mr. Chikanayev focuses his practice on a wide range of finance and M&A transactions, including project finance and capital markets, public-private partnership (PPP) and infrastructure transactions, and workouts and restructurings in many industries.

Shaimerden has developed concentrated knowledge in a wide range of industries, in particular in energy, mining, power generation/transmission, utilities and social infrastructure, financial services and transportation.

Mr. Chikanayev is admitted to practice in Kazakhstan from 2003 and he has an advocate status (member of the Almaty City Bar Association). Chambers, Legal 500, Asialaw Profiles and International Financial Law Review consistently rank Shaimerden among the top Kazakhstan lawyers for his experience in project finance, M&A and capital market.

Noted for his cutting-edge knowledge of his PPP practice area, Shaimerden has written on related topics for professional journals, and he is a senior lecturer of the corporate law and civil law practical courses at the Adilet Law School of the Caspian University (Almaty).

Shaimerden is a member of expert council on PPPs at the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan.


  • PhD programme (candidate of legal sciences) of the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (Russia), current extramural student, degree expected 2019;

  • LL.M. from the Duke University School of Law (USA), 2006;

  • Specialist degree in law (JD equivalent) from the Eurasian National University Faculty of Law (Kazakhstan), 2003;

  • Completed non-degree course of studies for foreign diplomats in the China Foreign Affairs University (PRC), 2003.


  • Project finance and PPP

  • Corporate finance/M&A

  • Capital markets

  • Insolvency and bankruptcy

  • Foreign investment

Industry Sectors:

  • Energy

  • Mining

  • Power generation and Utilities

  • Financial services and Banking

  • Transportation


  • English

  • Russian

  • Kazakh

  • Putonghua (conversational)

What Clients Say:

Chambers Global:

Shaimerden Chikanayev provides international financial institutions with local law support on project financing and transactional matters. Sources describe him as "enthusiastic and thorough" and as "very good, very sensible."

Chambers Asia Pacific:

Shaimerden Chikanayev provides domestic law support to international financial institutions involved in local project financings. He is known in the market for his experience on PPP mandates. He assisted the EBRD with a number of high-value loan arrangements to prominent Kazakh banks.


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Recent Representative Experience:

  • Advised an International Financial Institution and the Government of Kazakhstan (represented by the Ministry of Health) on a ground-breaking PPP project in healthcare system.
  • Acted for the Kazakhstan Project Preparation Fund on a concession project concerning a new technical college in South Kazakhstan.
  • Advised a private partner on construction (infrastructure) of a road checkpoint and a transport and logistics center on the section of the Almaty-Khorgos highway of the international transit corridor “Western Europe – Western China” as a debut PPP project of a national level in Kazakhstan under the PPP Law legal framework. One of the first PPP projects initiated by way of the so-called direct negotiations (i.e. without a tender). So far this is the only executed PPP agreement where two different state agencies acted on behalf of the public partner.
  • Advised Akimat (mayor) of Almaty city on Kazakh law issues on its various municipal level PPP projects, including bus transit system, solid domestic waste plant, velodrome and others.
  • Advised a foreign investor on implementation of the potential toll road project as a PPP.
    Advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Government of Kazakhstan on the BAKAD, pilot concession project valued at more than 1 billion US dollars in transport sector (toll-road).
  • Acted as a Kazakh legal counsel for Samsung C&T and KEPCO on the Balkhash Power Plant project (debut USD 4 billion Independent Power Producer project in Kazakhstan), including negotiations with Government of Kazakhstan and respective state agencies and drafting unprecedented international treaty between Kazakhstan and South Korea that supersedes national legislation.
  • Advised EuroChem, Russia’s largest mineral fertilizer producer on the construction of Chemical Producing Plant in south Kazakhstan (USD 2 billion total value infrastructure project) where I among other things, drafted and negotiated with the Government of Kazakhstan and respective state agencies unprecedented host government agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and a foreign investor;
  • Advised China Development Bank (CDB) and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited on a USD 7.5 billion syndicated secured loan facility to Asia Gas Pipeline LLP to finance the Central Asia-China gas pipeline project, that forms the backbone of infrastructure connections between Central Asia and China.
  • Advised Asian Development Bank on the study and recommendations for alternative approaches to financing of municipal housing and utilities infrastructure in the Republic of Kazakhstan, including work on improvement of the related PPP and project finance legislation.
  • Represented a number of foreign solar and wind developers in the negotiation of power purchase agreements, feed-in tariffs and site leases.    
  • Advised IFC, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Eurasian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, China Development Bank and other international financial institutions on numerous project finance and infrastructure transactions in Kazakhstan and Central Asia

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Public–private partnerships in Kazakhstan: Call for a reset?

Since 1991, Kazakhstan has had to rely on the deteriorating infrastructure it inherited from the Soviet Union. As a result, nearly every piece of public infrastructure (such as roads and hospitals) in Kazakhstan requires a different degree of upgrading or expansion. 

Would Kazakhstan emerge as a new destination for start-ups?

There is no doubt that Kazakhstan needs new economic drivers to facilitate the launch of innovative new businesses, to disrupt conventional industries and to transform intellectual capital into innovative start-ups.

GRATA International participated at the Kazakhstan Forum for Resolution of Litigation

On May 30 and 31, 2019 representatives of GRATA International firm Shaimerden Chikanayev, Partner and Head of Banking and Finance Department, Bakhyt Tukulov, Partner, Director of the Department of Litigation, and also Zeynebike Madybayeva, Advisor of the Department of Litigation, participated in the Kazakhstan Forum on Resolution of Judicial disputes 2019.

GRATA International at the Kazakhstan Forum for Resolution of Litigation

Representatives of GRATA International Shaimerden Chikanayev, Partner and Head of Banking and Finance Department, Bakhyt Tukulov, Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution Department, and Zeinebike Madybayeva, Counsel of Dispute Resolution Department, will participate in the Kazakhstan Forum on Resolution of Litigation.

Uncontrolled growth of ‘fake’ PPPs in Kazakhstan — what to expect?

Three local level public–private-partnership (PPP) projects are on the brink of collapse due to the relevant local state body of the Mangistau region failing to meet its obligations under the PPP agreements and to
pay on time to the respective private partners for constructed and operating kindergartens. It was alleged that the money needed for these PPP projects did not appear on the books of the local government in time, even though the respective PPP agreements, evidently, were duly executed and registered.

Shaimerden Chikanayev spoke at China Global Investment Summit 2019

China Global Investment Summit 2019 (China Global Investment Summit 2019) was held on April 18-19, 2019 in Shanghai, China. One of the speakers was Shaimerden Chikanayev, Partner, Director of Banking & Finance Department, GRATA International.

GRATA International in Legal 500 EMEA 2019

Legal 500 has recently released its annual rankings of international law firms – Legal 500 EMEA 2019.

Is Kazakhstan finally ready to attract investments into its electricity sector?

The capacity market was finally launched on the 1st January 2019 in Kazakhstan to encourage investment for the renovation of old, as well as construction of new, power infrastructure facilities.

Shaimerden Chikanayev Participated in the PPP in Healthcare System seminar

On 28 February 2019, the seminar on Public Private Partnership in Healthcare System was held in Astana, Kazakhstan. Shaimerden Chikanayev, Partner, GRATA International spoke at the seminar with a presentation: "PPP in Healthcare System: Kazakh law perspective".

Kazakhstan expands central bank’s supervisory powers — good or bad move?

On the 1st January 2019, Kazakhstan promulgated certain changes in legislation that gave its central bank, the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK), enhanced capacity and introduced risk based supervision of the financial sector. 

GRATA International in Chambers Global 2019

For yet another consecutive year, GRATA International enters the leading legal rankings and continues to be among the most outstanding law firms in Central Asia and the Caspian region. 

GRATA International in China Business Law Journal: Deals of the Year 2018

We are glad to announce that one of GRATA International’s successful projects has been selected as of the winners of China Business Law Journal: Deals of the Year 2018.

Kazakh government should concentrate on attracting cross-border Islamic financing

Though Kazakhstan adopted relevant legislation for domestic (such as the governed Kazakh law) Islamic banking transactions more than seven years ago and has a Muslim population of over 11 million, Islamic finance is still in the early stages of its development and Islamic products are rarely used. According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK), as of 2018, the share of Islamic banking assets account for only 0.16% of total banking sector assets in Kazakhstan. 

Significant developments in 2018 and 2019 in Kazakhstan: A lawyer’s perspective

The following is an outline of some of the major legal developments in Kazakhstan last year, and a selection of key changes that we anticipate for business, including Islamic finance, for this year.

Almaty Light Rail Transit project in Kazakhstan

On the 29th November 2018, Almaty, the former capital and the largest city in Kazakhstan, received responses from nine international consortia, consisting of companies from Japan, France, Russia, Turkey, Spain, China and Kazakhstan, to participate in the first stage of the open tender of the Almaty Light Rail Transit (LRT) public-private partnership (PPP) project. 

Chambers&Partners Asia-Pacific 2019 released

GRATA International has cemented its position as one of the leading firms in Central Asia and Caspian region, following the release of major international legal rating Chambers&Partners Asia-Pacific 2019. GRATA International has secured a ranking in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Partners of GRATA International were speakers at the XIII Kazakhstan Forum of Corporate Lawyers

On 8-9 November 2018, the XIII Kazakhstan Forum of Corporate Lawyers was held in Almaty.

GRATA International ranked in Asialaw Profiles 2019

For another consecutive year GRATA International received high appraisals from Asialaw profiles, one of
the leading legal guides to top law firms and practitioners in Asia-Pacific.

Natural monopolies in Kazakhstan: The right time to invest?

The importance of the so-called natural monopolies in Kazakhstan can be seen in the fact that some of Kazakhstan’s largest and most powerful corporate empires, such as the KEGOC (national transmission grid operator) and KTZ (national railway company), are officially subject to natural monopoly regulation.

Partner Shaimerden Chikanayev - Member of the Almaty City Bar Association

After successfully passing the exam and obtaining an advocate license, Shaimerden Chikanayev joined the Almaty City Bar and received the status of an advocate, granting him the right to protect the interests of his clients now not only in civil but also in criminal and administrative matters.

Agricultural business in Kazakhstan and opportunities for Islamic finance

Agriculture is one of the most attractive sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy. Kazakhstan has approximately 24 million hectares of arable land and 188 million hectares of pasture.

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Concessions (unofficial English translation)

This Law determines legal conditions of concession, types of state support of concessionaire and regulates social relations arising during conclusion, execution and termination of concession agreements.

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Public-Private Partnership (unofficial English translation)

This Law determines legal conditions of public-private partnership, ways of its implementation, and regulates social relations arising during preparation and implementation of public-private partnership projects, execution, performance and termination of public-private partnership agreements.

Kazakh privatisation: a fresh start

Although the Kazakhstan securities market is the most developed in Central Asia, its development has been slow compared to the country’s banking sector.

Shaimerden Chikanayev was among the panellist at the IBA ECA Forum 2018

On 5-7 September 2018, a IBA Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum 2018 was held in Almaty.

Major Kazakhstan Legislation Changes for 2017

The Law on Amendments Intended to Improve Business Conditions[1] (the “Business Improvement Law”) came into effect on 12 March 2017, except certain provisions.

The purpose of the Business Improvement Law is to further improve the investment climate in line with the general policy of the country to support local entrepreneurs and foreign investors.

Shaimerden Chikanayev will be a panellist at the IBA ECA Forum 2018

On 5-7 September 2018, a IBA Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum 2018 will be held in Almaty.

Renewable energy projects – next destination for investments in Kazakhstan

Renewable energy development has recently become hot topic in Kazakhstan that is actively being discussed among market existing and potential participants, relevant state bodies including the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the “MoE”), international development institutions and other stakeholders.


China’s Belt and Road initiative in Kazakhstan and opportunities for Islamic finance

Kazakhstan has high ambitions in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as it is geographically an ideal junction between China and the west.

Shaimerden Chikanayev was a speaker at the International PPP Finance Summit in London

On 3-4 July 2018, an International PPP Finance Summit 2018 took place in London, UK.

Astana International Financial Centre's Law - what is it about?

Modeled on the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) was officially launched on the 5th July this year, established with the aim of bridging the gap between the world’s major fi nancial centers and a regional gateway for capital and investments.

Shaimerden Chikanayev will speak at the PPP seminar

On 19-20 July 2018 a seminar on "Practical aspects of the application of public-private partnership mechanisms for infrastructure development" will be held in Astana.

Why Islamic finance fits well in Kazakhstan’s PPP projects

Since 1991, Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest economy and oil producer, has had to rely on the deteriorating infrastructure it inherited from the Soviet Union.

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Partner, Director of Banking & Finance Department