Errol Sisanovic has been living in Kazakhstan for about 30 years. During this time he has visited almost every city in the country and met a lot of people. We talked to him about his activities, traditions and asked him to share his plans.
Errol Sisanovic, 56, Almaty, Special Representative for Central Asia at Financial agency Ardmore Capital NY, linkedin
I am originally from the former Yugoslavia, but I moved to Holland and became a citizen. There I worked in an institution that dealt with food processing. The first time I visited Kazakhstan was in 1990, together with some colleagues. We were invited by the ministry then of the Soviet Union, to establish relations between Russian and Kazakh meat processing companies and to modernize them.
It was an exciting adventure. First we flew to Moscow and then to Kazakhstan, about which we knew almost nothing at the time. Everything was extraordinary: the Soviet plane, the food we were served, even the taste of the mineral water was different. We arrived early in the morning and were struck by the beauty of the snow-covered mountains and the purity of the sky. Also memorable was the empty airport and the people who were waiting for us with smiles. Ten days later my colleagues left, and I stayed two more weeks to plan for the future action.
Six months later I returned to Kazakhstan and worked on setting up processes. I spent about a year traveling between the two countries, getting the documentation in order, requesting permits needed to work with local companies. It wasn't easy because we were building the first joint venture in Kazakhstan.
My family and I lived here until 1993, then we went back to our homeland when we were expecting our child and we came back five years later.
Two years ago I started working with an agency in New York that is accredited to work with the DFC US Development Bank.
My job is to look for prospective development projects in Central Asia, financing, structuring, and helping in their development.
About people and traditions
I've been living in Kazakhstan for a long time and have made many friends who help me when needed. Kazakh’s people aare very friendly with habit of great hospitality.
Traditions play an important role in Kazakhstan. One of the amazing things to me is how strong the family ties between relatives are. They always try to be together, and that's great. That's something you don't see very often nowadays in other countries.
My goal is to leave behind something that will make the community and the country I love better
I like the local food, it's different from European food. I love kurdak, manti, plov. The foreign friends that I regale to traditional dishes are always satisfied.
I speak Russian fluently. In the early days I took lessons, learning it step by step. I understand Kazakh quite well. It is a beautiful language, and I think that with time, more people will speak it.
Kazakhstan is a huge country with a small population. There are six people per square meter here, and 517 in the Netherlands.
In doing so the country is incredibly beautiful, it's better to see once than hear a hundred times. Stunning lakes and forests, vast deserts and ancient cities is impregnated with the spirit of history. I remember my surprise when I first saw the Caspian Sea. The excellent beach near the modern city was a surprise. Agro-culturally, Kazakhstan is an oasis of the region. There is a lack of water here, but with proper work it can be solved.
About the plans
I'm staying here, I will continue to cooperate with the US Development Bank and look for suitable projects. My goal is to leave behind something which will make society and the country I love better. Kazakh people deserve to have modern society and industrial developt country.
Kazakhstan has a bright future ahead of it. The next decade will bring even more development than the last 30 years.