In the next two years, the Islamic Development Bank will invest more than $300 million or nearly 100 billion tenge in the Kazakh economy. The Memorandum of Cooperation was concluded between the Astana International Financial Center and the bank last year. The funds will be used to develop Islamic financial institutions in Kazakhstan. Their prospects for development in the region were discussed in Astana. The chiefs of the leading organizations of the CIS and Islamic countries paid special attention to the role of Islamic finance in the development of the oil and gas, energy industries, as well as in agriculture and the halal industry. The AIFC governor Kairat Kelimbetov stressed that the development of Islamic finance is one of the main directions in the work of the Center.

KAIRAT KELIMBETOV, GOVERNOR, ASTANA INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTER:

We want to position Astana as one of the leading platforms for the development of Islamic finance. Islamic financing is also an opportunity to attract investments from key countries, developed countries. This is not only Islamic markets, but also countries such as Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan. And Kazakhstan will also use this opportunity.

Islamic banks also finance small and medium business, purchase real estate and other. But the relations between the participants are built on the basis of a partnership with the sharing of risks and revenues, which are negotiated before any transactions are made.

MUJTABA KHALID, ACTING HEAD OF CENTRE FOR ISLAMIC FINANCE, BAHRAIN:

The Islamic finance you don’t have debt, you have only reals assets. So if you want us something to buy you have an asset to secure that. You have not just a document. We have to realize a house, a car, a building to secure that or that structure.

Kazakhstan in the post-Soviet space was the first country to introduce Islamic financing at the legislative level. Regulation of these issues in the country began in 2009, when a law was passed permitting the opening of Islamic financial institutions and the issuance of corporate securities. In the struggle to attract long-term investments Kazakhstan can become the leader of Islamic finance across Central Asia and the CIS.

BOLAT ZHAMISHEV, CHAIRMAN, DEVELOPMENT BANK OF KAZAKHSTAN:

Islamic banking is not just an alternative to other banking, it's a different philosophy. The Kazakh legislation is based on this, so a separate bank was created. And then it does not matter which ideology is laid down, it is important how this is settled. And within the framework of a single bank, even through the creation of separate Islamic windows.

The only Islamic oriented bank in Kazakhstan still works only with the government and business structures. But in 2018 the financial institution intends to start cooperation with individuals.

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