Today, the Islamic Finance News Forum (IFN) CIS, organized by the "Astana" International Financial Center (AIFC) in partnership with REDmoney Group, was held in Astana.
The key objective of the forum is to stimulate the development of Islamic finance in the CIS countries and explore investment opportunities in the region, as well as to provide participants with the opportunity to establish contacts and partnerships.
The following people participated in the forum: K. Kelimbetov, Governor of the AIFC, Timur Suleimenov, Minister of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of the National Bank of Qatar, Khaled M Al-Aboodi, CEO and General Manager at Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Dr. Hussain Ali Al Abdulla, Chairman & Managing Director of Masraf Al Rayan, Michael Ryan, CEO, Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, Prasad Abraham, COO, Al Hilal Bank, Abu Dhabi & Member of the Board of Directors, Dr Bolat Zhamishev, Chairman, Kazakhstan Development Bank, Alexey Simanovsky, Advisor to the Governor, Central Bank of Russia, A. Sultanov, Chairman of the Board of the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange, etc.
As Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the AIFC, highlighted, Islamic finance is one of the five priority areas of the AIFC's development, and at this moment AIFC is focusing on creating a favourable legal and regulatory environment for Islamic financial institutions in Kazakhstan.
Khaled M Al-Aboodi, CEO and General Manager at Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) added that the CIS has a high potential of Islamic finance development. He emphasized that Islamic finance makes it possible to diversify the sources of financing of infrastructure projects. According to him, Islamic microfinance is the best tool for reducing poverty.
During the session "Clearing the Roadblocks to Mainstream Islamic Finance in the CIS", the participants of the discussion presented their proposals aimed at increasing Islamic financing in the region.
The ways Islamic finance can contribute to the development of regional resources in oil and gas, energy, agriculture and the Halal industry, as well as what kind of benefits can receive representatives of the SMEs in the CIS countries by attracting Islamic finance have been discussed at the session "Driving regional economic development through Shariah compliant Capital-Raising”
The Regional Financial Regulators Meeting was also held during the forum, where the participants considered the development of the legal and regulatory framework. Experts also shared their views on the changes that could be taken as additional measures to stimulate the growth of activities in the field of Islamic finance.
In addition, Emirates NBD, Norton Rose Fulbright and Nasdaq Dubai were hosting the workshop “Sukuk - An Alternative Asset Class” in partnership with Astana International Financial Centre to cover key features and aspects of Sukuk and the Sukuk market. The session provided an overview of how the Sukuk market has developed, explained some structures of Sukuk with case studies, and covered the process of issuing and listing Sukuk.
Kazakhstan has been consistently working on creating and improving the regulatory framework for Islamic finance since 2008. The latest amendment, concerning the issue of Sukuk and the conversion of a traditional bank into an Islamic one, entered into force in November 2015.
Delivering their speeches, experts highlighted the significant role of Kazakhstan, the only country in the CIS with progressive legislation in the field of Islamic finance. “This is due to the unique position of the country in the region, should serve as a catalyst for the spread of Islamic finance in other countries of the Commonwealth”, - the forum participants say.
One of the goals of the AIFC is the establishment of a regional centre for Islamic finance, the creation of favourable conditions for the functioning and development of Islamic financial institutions in Kazakhstan.
AIFC. In December 2015, the 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 a post-Soviet region, a common law framework will be introduced in the AIFC. English shall be the official language of the AIFC.
The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the Republic of Kazakhstan economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in financial services, develop local capital markets, ensuring their integration with international capital markets, and develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
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