Islamic finance in central Asia
The Central Asian countries actively develop the Islamic finance. The states of the region are interested in attracting investors from countries of the Persian Gulf, as well as to meet the demand of a population. Kyrgyzstan was one of the first in the region to introduce the Islamic principles of banking in 2006. With the support of the Islamic Development Bank, Kyrgyzstan launched a pilot project based on one of the commercial banks. Three years later, in order to ensure the full development of a new direction in the country, amendments were made to the Law on Banks and Banking Activities.
OLZHAS TOGAYEV, ACTING DIRECTOR, AMANIE ADVISORS:
- They opened an Islamic window with existing banks that develop the Islamic finance. In addition, there are many microfinance organizations, including in Bishkek. Besides Kyrgyzstan, today, Tajikistan is actively developing, too. Tajikistan has also some companies. Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan are very interested, too. We also plan to work with them.
Kazakhstan is going to take a leading position in the region in the Islamic finance. In 2009, Kazakhstan adopted a law that allows to opening the Islamic banks and issuing sukuk, an Islamic financial certificate that complies with sharia. According to experts, the Astana International Financial Center will become a big impetus which will be launched on January 1, 2018. One of the center’s priorities is development of the Islamic finance. Moreover, its activities will be focused not only on the Central Asian region, but also on the CIS. According to experts, today a population’s need for the Islamic finance’s services is very high.
AIDAR ZHANTURIN, LEADING SPECIALIST, ISLAMIC FINANCE DEPARTMENT, AIFC:
- Our region’s potential is very high. According to preliminary estimates, the number of Muslims amounted to 100 million people alone in our region. This includes the CIS, Russia and Central Asia. We already conducted several joint seminars. We invite representatives of these countries to these events. In general, we set the goal to help our neighbors develop tools and services for the Islamic financing from Astana, Kazakhstan.
DINA AZHGALIYEVA, STAFF, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE:
- The international financial center is going to become a hub like Singapore in Asia. Astana wants to become a financial hub of Central Asia. I think that Astana will be able to accumulate all these finances and help make them shariah-compliant.
According to experts, the Astana International Financial Center will provide a favorable regulatory environment for development of this direction in Central Asia. Next year, the AIFC plans to realize the debut issue of the state Islamic securities, sukuk, worth US$300 million.