Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) is planning to attract $40 billion of investment by 2025. The center will occupy two pavilions at expo town. According to economists’ estimates, the AIFC will ensure 1% growth in the carbonless GDP of Kazakhstan. Islamic financing will play an important role in attracting funds. Its share will roughly amount to one fifth of the investments. Islamic banks will be able to introduce new financial technologies, such as crowdfunding and micro-financing.

YERLAN BAIDAULET, ADVISOR, KAZAKH MINISTRY OF INVESTMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT:

 - It will be a new market for Arab investors. They are more concerned about their legal protection rather than revenue. This is the independence of the AIFC’s court, independence of the directors. There will be no constraints, no threat to their interests.

The AIFC will be officially presented and tested in December, and will be launched on January 1, 2018. It will become the financial hub of the entire Central Asian region. It already affects the flow of capital to Astana. The Shanghai Stock Exchange bought a 25% stake in the stock exchange of the AIFC in June. It also intends to purchase another 15% of shares, bringing its share of participation to 40%. NASDAQ may become another co-owner of the financial center’s exchange platform. It is planning to buy 7% of shares. The financial center’s governor Kairat Kelimbetov says that this interest was ensured by the AIFC’s development plan and unique conditions created by the government. For example, residents will be exempted from taxes for 50 years. According to Kairat Kelimbetov, the definition of "midshore" fits the AIFC.

KAIRAT KELIMBETOV, GOVERNOR, ASTANA INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTER:

 - We will stick to the standpoint of Singapore, which says that a very strict regulatory regime is better than some offshore schemes that quickly appear and disappear.

More than 2,000 jobs will be created in the center. Some of the future employees are already being trained in the New York and London exchanges as part of Bolashak program. The AIFC as well as other world financial centers will work in accordance with the rules of English law. According to the governor of the Astana International Financial Center, the composition of the AIFC’s independent arbitration court will be announced in December.

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