International experts place high hopes on the new financial center, they are sure that this site has high chances to become the largest hub in the territory from Western China to Eastern Europe, and Kazakhstan can be a center for attracting foreign investments.
Thus, the director of Francis Maude Associates LLP, Lord Francis Maude, believes that the potential of the financial center is very impressive, as the epicenter of the world economy is currently shifting eastward over time and it is Eurasia that will become the key region in the world. And Kazakhstan, in turn, needs to become a country in which it is easy to organize business and create jobs.
"I support the opening of the AIFC. This is my seventh visit to Astana and Kazakhstan. I think that the country occupies a very important strategic position. Kazakhstan is not only a country rich in minerals, but also rich in highly educated people. And if the economic reform program continues here to create a successful and productive economy, then with the wealth, natural resources, the role of the financial center can be enormous. I think that investors will be sure that their deposits will bring profit, and we expect that the number of companies will increase, will include participants from all regions with which Astana has connections — China, the Middle East, Europe, of course, London. The connection between London and Astana is strong in the framework of the use of English law," Francis Maude said.
Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance, program director for MSc in Islamic Finance, and director of the Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance, Mehmet Asutai, is confident that the AIFC will be a center that can attract financing from around the world, which will become an important motivation for Kazakhstan's economic development as an influential player in the region.
"Kazakhstan is a developing country that needs economic growth, it is very important that financial flows take place. The country is the link between China and Central Asia. Astana's attempt to become a regional hub for Islamic financing is an important political decision, and this will attract Islamic finance to the country, and we hope that this will be an important impetus for economic growth," Mehmet Asutai said.
In his turn, the chairman of the Shariah Advisory Council at the Central Bank of Malaysia, Mohammad Daud Bakar, called the opening of the AIFC an unprecedented event in the world, as Kazakhstan thus develops its leadership in the field of Islamic finance.
"This will be good not only for Kazakhstan, but also for neighboring countries in the region. For the first time, we see that the country takes the lead not only for the development of its country and GDP, but also to help neighboring countries benefit from the huge investment in the AIFC. I am very optimistic about the prospects. I hope that the AIFC will see the fruits in the next few years. AIFC has a completely new system — English law, and it will attract a large flow of solvent people in the world, this is first. Second, a clear legal framework and clear instructions are two catalysts for inviting people to come and invest," said Mohammad Daud Bakar.
Chairman of The Boston Consulting Group Hans-Paul Bürkner stressed that the establishment of the AIFC is a real milestone in the development of Kazakhstan, Astana and financial markets in general. The efforts to create the center were unprecedented, such as the use of English law, the use of English as an official language, the independence of the legal system to protect the interests of investors, the development of capital markets, the provision of tax preferences in Kazakhstan, and the establishment of a single window for future residents.
"We have always said that very bold steps will be required in order to create a truly real International Financial Center. All the steps taken are cardinal decisions, because in order to realize all this, it was necessary to create a highly effective team, create conditions for new products and services," Burkner stressed.
At the same time, US Ambassador George Krol noted that the organization of work in the AIFC is very coherent and constructive. Some of the best minds will apply their knowledge both in court and on the exchange of a new financial center.
"I think that the AIFC has a great future. This is something very new in this region, and I know that there is a very big competition among the financial centers. We are very proud that the US Nasdaq also works with the AIFC," George Krol said.
President of the Nazarbayev University Shigeo Katsu stressed that the AIFC is a great achievement for the young capital of Kazakhstan, which was created in a record-breaking short period of time.
"I think that the Astana International Financial Center is an ambitious step in increasing the competitiveness of the Kazakhstan financial market, using national reserves inside the country, and creating a mass class of private investors," he said.
CEO of the Finnish company Tracegrow Tatu Leppanen announced about the plans to invest in Kazakh projects. In cooperation with the AIFC in Kazakhstan, it is planned to build a battery processing plant.
"At the moment we are just entering the market of Kazakhstan, we are working on closer cooperation and adoption of green technologies in the markets of Kazakhstan. We plan to export liquid microfertilizers made from recycled batteries. We want to implement this technology here," Leppanen summed up.
Recall, the creation of the Astana International Financial Center is one of the key steps of the Nation's Plan "100 Concrete Steps to Implement the Five Institutional Reforms of the Head of State" aimed at diversifying the economy and developing the country's financial sector. In the 70th step, Nursultan Nazarbayev instructed to create the AIFC on the basis of the Expo-2017 exhibition’s infrastructure, give it a special status and fix a special legal position in the Constitution.
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