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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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.

Shaimerden Chikanayev gave a speech at the Renewable Energy Summit

On 8 June 2018 a Renewable Energy Summit was held in Astana.

Shaimerden Chikanayev will speak at the International PPP Finance Summit in London

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

Can Islamic finance solve Kazakhstan’s renewable energy growth problems?

As the Central Asia’s largest and richest country, Kazakhstan has a lot of natural advantages for the development of renewables, including 3,000 hours of solar radiation a year and the average annual wind speed of nine meters per second in some parts of the country.

GRATA International took part at the English Law Summit

On 23-25 April, the English Law Summit was held in Astana and Almaty, where GRATA International Law Firm took an active part.

Can Kazakhstan tap Islamic Finance to become a regional Islamic Finance hub?

As the Central Asia’s largest and richest country, with a Muslim-majority population of around 18 million people, Kazakhstan wants its local Islamic banking industry, as an alternative source of capital for SMEs, to reach 3-5% of its total banking assets by 2020 from 0.08% in 2015.

Shaimerden Chikanayev will be a moderator at the English Law Summit

From 23-25 April 2018 the English Law summit, organised by the Law Society (UK) in partnership with the Bar Council (UK), the UK Ministry of Justice and the British Embassy in Astana will take place in Astana and Almaty.

GRATA International took part at the Bonds, Loans & Derivatives Russia & CIS 2018 event

The event that was held on February 27th, in Moscow (Russia) attracted 456 senior level decision makers, who came together to discuss the opportunities in the Russian & CIS capital markets industry. 

Was 2017 another difficult year for Kazakhstan?

In this article, SHAIMERDEN CHIKANAYEV outlines some of the key legal developments and challenges faced by the Islamic finance market in Kazakhstan in 2017 and provides an overview of some of the major factors that will shape the Islamic finance industry's growth and trends in Kazakhstan in 2018. 

Special Focus - One Belt One Road China Investment

GRATA International contributed to LexisNexis Mergers & Acquisitions Law Guide 2018. Special Focus - One Belt One Road China Investment.

GRATA International in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018

GRATA International performed exceptionally well in this year’s rankings as its Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan offices were ranked by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018, confirming GRATA International's dominant position in Central Asia.

PPP Law in Kazakhstan (unofficial English translation)

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. As a result, nearly every piece of public infrastructure (e.g., roads, hospitals, power plants, kindergartens, sewerages) in Kazakhstan requires a different degree of upgrading or expansion. It is expected that proper PPPs and project finance deals will finally take off in Kazakhstan in the near future, firstly because proper legislation on PPPs has been put in place in 2015 and, secondly, after decades of neglect, the government of Kazakhstan has finally not only declared, but seems to confirm its readiness to improve the investment climate and to attract private investments through PPPs (including into the housing and utilities sector) and decided to invest at least part of the wealth from commodity exports in long-postponed infrastructure projects.

GRATA International has been recognised as an ‘outstanding’ law firm according to Asialaw Profiles 2018

We are proud announce that GRATA International has been ranked as an Outstanding Law Firm by Asia Law Profiles 2018

Shaimerden Chikanayev Took Part in the Round Table ‘Strategy 2025’

On 7 November 2017, a round table ‘Strategy 2025’ was held in Almaty.

GRATA International Took Part in the Kazakh Forum of Corporate Lawyers

On 2-3 November 2017, the XII Forum of Corporate Lawyers was held in Almaty. GRATA International took part in the Forum as speakers.

IFLR 1000 2018 recognised Shaimerden Chikanayev as a Highly regarded lawyer for Financial & Corporate law

GRATA International is delighted to confirm that Shaimerden Chikanayev has been endorsed as a Highly regarded lawyer for Financial & Corporate law following client and peer recommendations during IFLR1000's research process.

Kazakhstan - Data Protection in the Financial Sector

Over the past 25 years Kazakhstan has developed its own financial sector, which is considered to be the most advanced in Central Asia. With the evolution of financial sector and the complexities of key players involved, the need for regulation of dealing with data arose.

Shaimerden Chikanayev and Bakhyt Tukulov will Speak at the Kazakhstan Legal Forum 2017

On 28 September 2017, the Kazakhstan Legal Forum 2017 will be held in Almaty at the Inter Continental Hotel. 

Shaimerden Chikanayev was a speaker at the International Scientific Practical Conference

On 21-22 September 2017, an International Practical Conference was held at the Caspian University in Almaty.

Shaimerden Chikanayev to speak at International scientific conference about public-private partnership agreement in Kazakhstan

"Current problems of international financial and tax law" international scientific conference will be held on September 21-22 in Caspian University, Almaty.

Shaimerden Chikanayev Took Part at the Workshop Titled ‘Practical Aspects of PPP Projects’

On 15 September 2017, the workshop on ‘Practical Aspects of PPP Projects’ was held in The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Almaty.

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Partner, Director of Banking & Finance Department