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The first meeting of the Advisory Council on Islamic Finance under the Astana International Financial Centre was held today

The first meeting of the Advisory Council on Islamic Finance (ACIF) under the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) was held today in Astana. Islamic finance is one of the key strategic directions of the AIFC’s activity.

ACIF members will provide an expert opinion on AIFC legal documents in the field of Islamic finance, assist in attracting the world's leading Islamic financial institutions as well as investors gaining interest in becoming the part of AIFC and to provide consultations on the policy and strategy for the development and promotion of AIFC as a regional hub for Islamic finance.

To ensure a great degree of efficiency and professional competence ACIF includes leading international experts with a highly reputable level of expertise and experience in the field of Islamic finance. Daud Vicary Abdullah (former President and CEO of INCEIF), Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel-Karim (former Secretary General of Islamic Financial Services Board), Abdelilah Belatik (Secretary General of CIBAFI), Dr. Hamed Hassan Merah (former Secretary General of AAOIFI), Sheikh Bilal Khan (Co-Chairman at Dome Advisory), Mohamed Jamil Berro (former CEO of Al Hilal Bank), Dr. Huriyah El Islami (Executive Board Member of Legal and Compliance at Badan Pengelola Keuangan Haji) and Linar Yakupov (Founder and President of the Islamic Business and Finance Development Fund) were all invited to be a part of ACIF.

In his opening remarks the Governor of AIFC, Kairat Kelimbetov noted the AIFC aims to create favourable conditions for the development of Islamic finance in Kazakhstan. He also emphasized that one of the main goals of the AIFC is to become a regional centre for Islamic finance in CIS and Central Asia.

The Chairman of ACIF, Mr. Daud Vicary Abdullah added that the formation of ACIF is an important step forward. Its members, who have an extensive global experience, will provide relevant insights regarding the creation of a robust and resilient infrastructure to promote and support the development of Islamic Finance in the region.

Mr. Nurlan Kussainov, CEO of AIFC Authority presented the details of the current activities held at AIFC as well as future steps for the development of the Islamic finance industry on the AIFC platform.

Mr. Prasanna Seshachellam, the consultant of the Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) presented the specifics of the regulation of Islamic financial institutions in the AIFC and answered the questions regarding the specific features of the chosen model and regulation rules.

The Director of the State Borrowing department of the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan, Mr. Ruslan Meirkhanov pointed out the importance of the process of the debut sovereign sukuk issuance in Kazakhstan.

Members of ACIF shared their vision on enhancing key policy and strategic goals facilitating growth of the Islamic finance in Kazakhstan and attraction of new participants in AIFC, delivered recommendations on the issuance of sovereign sukuk and establishment of the Central Shari’ah Board under AIFC as well as the further improvement of AIFC regulatory framework.

The next meeting of ACIF will be held in the framework of AIFC Grand Opening Ceremony and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Astana in July 2018.


AIFC: In December 2015 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the Constitutional law “On the Astana International Financial Centre” (AIFC). The aim of the AIFC is to form a leading international centre of financial services. For the first time in post-Soviet region Common law framework is introduced in the AIFC. English is the official language of the AIFC.

The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in the financial services, to develop local capital markets, to ensure their integration with the international capital market, and to develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.