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Press release. IFN CIS Forum 2017
In the last five years, CIS markets have started an active integration process toward the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. The treaty came into effect in 2015 and aims to create a powerful, attractive centre for economic development. Islamic finance may become one of the strongest driving forces toward the effective development of a large regional market that unites more than 170 million people, as the Islamic finance market is attractive due to its demographics and strategic location, as well as being blessed with an abundance of natural resources.
Kazakhstan, which introduced its Islamic finance law in 2009, has continuously worked on bolstering the regulatory environment for Shariah finance by amending the legislation over the last few years, covering areas such as fully-fledged Islamic banks, corporate Sukuk, Takaful, Ijarah as well as Tawarruq. The latest amendment came in November 2015, which paved the way for a possible sovereign Sukuk issuance and conversion of conventional banks into Islamic. These amendments put Kazakhstan in a unique position within the CIS region as the only country with such progressive Islamic finance legislation, and could act as a catalyst for other CIS governments to consider following in Kazakhstan’s footsteps.
According to the Thomson Reuters Islamic Growth Markets Investment Outlook report, in 2015 Kazakhstan was ranked 5th as an Islamic investment destination country among 57 OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) member countries. Kazakhstan became a member of the OIC in 1995 and took over the chairmanship of this respected international organisation for one year in June 2011.
Furthermore, Kazakhstan has been making strides with a number of international Islamic organisations in recent times, as exemplified by the MoU between the AIFC and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector to explore possible avenues for collaboration in developing the private sector, including the Islamic financial services industry. The two institutions are determined to collaborate on fostering development and sharing best practice and knowledge in the field of Islamic finance, banking, capital markets, asset management, financial technology and human capital development. The IDB has also reiterated its commitment toward Kazakhstan to provide technical support in the fields of development and Islamic finance, as well as to promote ties and strengthen economic relations with the Central Asian country.
The CIS region has seen encouraging activity in recent years, including new issuances, regulations as well as a growing number of local and foreign institutions starting to offer Shariah compliant services – while the global market is also paying attention to the region as investors seek to diversify and tap new markets. The current geopolitical situation provides a further catalyst for the CIS region to develop its Islamic banking and finance capabilities.
With the CIS region making inroads in introducing Islamic finance to each country’s respective markets, Redmoney events, widely recognised as a leader in the organisation of Islamic finance forums globally, is pleased to partner with the AIFC to organise the IFN CIS Forum 2017, with the full support of local and regional government entities.
About REDmoney Group
REDmoney Group is the foremost global provider of specialized Islamic financial media services across three core divisions of events and publishing.
Established in 2004, the firm has offices in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur: offering an unrivaled multi-channel service across the full spectrum of the global financial markets.
REDmoney Group covers the full range of global markets from emerging Islamic economies across Africa and Asia to industry leaders such as Malaysia and the GCC along with developed nations in Europe and the Americas seeking to enter the sector. The company offers unequaled access to the elite of the industry, with relationships built up over a decade of trusted communication with market leaders to provide a detailed network covering every aspect of Islamic financial services.
Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) is the farsighted initiative of the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Constitutional Law to establish AIFC was signed on the 7th December 2015 by the Kazakhstan president.
The aim of AIFC is to support economic growth and foster the development of financial services in Kazakhstan and the region by enhancing human capital development, providing services in accordance with international standards and best practices of the leading financial centers of the world, and cementing Astana as the financial and logistics hub of the vast Eurasian region.
AIFC will focus on the development of the following core pillars: Islamic finance, capital markets, asset management, private banking, financial technology and green finance.
Islamic finance as one of the main strategic pillars of AIFC requires the implementation of a special legal and regulatory framework based on English common law and in accordance with the Islamic finance principles. AIFC has been appointed to act as the main body for developing Islamic finance in Kazakhstan and the CIS region and will serve as the Islamic finance gateway and the Islamic finance hub of the region.