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The « Astana » International Financial Center to start operations in the EXPO-2017 area upon reconstruction thereof 

“I would like to remind that we are one of the basic organizations to be located in the EXPO area after the National Company fulfills the according reconstruction... The International Pavilions Nos. 3 and 4, those located closer to the Mega, there our basic institutions will be placed and the organizations we involve in the AIFC operations,” the AIFC Manager Kayrat Kelimbetov told journalists.

At the press conference at the Government House, K. Kelimbetov informed the journalists of the basic activity lines.

The central priority of the AIFC will be development of capital markets and ensuring of investment inflow to Kazakhstan.

“Our financial sector is mainly focused on operation of banking institutions and the traditional instruments of interaction with the population, such as deposits and lending. We however (AIFC – author’s note) work on creation of a non-bank financial community. We are positive that capital markets will considerably improve the situation in Kazakhstani financial sector on the one hand, and on the other hand they will form a regional platform for development of financial markets in our region,” clarified Kayrat Kelimbetov.

The other two lines of the AIFC activities are: management of private and governmental assets and funds, and also“private banking” that is management of personal welfare.

According to Kayrat Kelimbetov, the AIFC operations will spread over the whole Central Asia.

“These are the five countries we traditionally call Central Asia. The countries of Caucasus region may also join, Middle East and Mongolia. It is a rather large region of about 100 million people. And in this region, our country plays a very important role: the GDP of Kazakhstan makes half of the whole Central Asian region’s GDP. We are positive that we are the only center – both technological and financial – of this region,” marked K. Kelimbetov.

The second line will be the Eurasian economic space. “The third one causing the outstanding interest in the European, American and Asian markets is: “One Belt, One Way”, mentioned Kayrat Kelimbetov.

Another priority of the AIFC activities is Islamic Finance. According to K. Kelimbetov, it is quite symbolical that this year the Kazakhstani witnessed a number of large international Islamic conferences where issues of Islamic banking were considered.

The AIFC intends to master new financial technologies. Kayrat Kelimbetov mentioned that recently Head of State had held a meeting on the “Digital Kazakhstan” program in the course of which President directed the AIFC to become the leading center in development of new financial technologies.

According to Kayrat Kelimbetov, the AIFC will shortly join the “ABA-3” Consortium of International Hi Tech Hubs comprising the world’s leading banks which are presently in search of according solutions: national and regional crypto- currencies and block chain technologies.

“We surely assume that the whole EXPO area will become a “crypto-valley” or “crypto-haven” of the kind. The USA and Singapore intend to equate the crypto-economic activities with conventional activities in financial sector. In Switzerland, this line is encouraged. Japan supports some crypto-currencies as a legal tender,” the AIFC Manager added.

Nevertheless, Kayrat Kelimbetov stressed that the AIFC would not become an offshore zone for investors.

“Kazakhstan supports anti money laundering, counterterrorism efforts and interacts with the USA Government in war on tax avoidance. We will adhere to the position of Singapore which shows that a strict regulatory regime is better than some offshore schemes which quickly emerge and quickly disappear,” marked the AIFC CEO.

The AIFC Manager also marked that an international visa center named ‘Expat Center’will be established on the base of the Financial Center.

“There, issues of visa support will be solved, and also those of registration, taxation and many other issues. As our initiative is long-term, we want to approach it comprehensively: the experience of Dubai and Singapore has been studied,” explained Kelimbetov.

Speaking about the EXPO-2017 heritage, Kayrat Kelimbetov marked the importance of ‘green’ financing development. It has been earlier reported about the AIFC administration to issue ‘green’ bonds: debenture stock aimed at financing of projects in ecology. And as the AIFC activities will include financial management of waste, transport and water supply, a special working group has been formed under the administration to select placing mechanisms.

Let us remind you that the task of establishment of an international financial center in Astana on the base of the EXPO-2017 infrastructure was set by the RK President in the “100 Concrete Steps” National Plan. Later, it was suggested that the working language of the court and arbitration tribunal under the AIFC will be English; disputes will be adjudged in accordance with English Law and foreign judges will participate in the work of these courts. Start of their activities is planned for 2018, and they are planned to be established according to the model of similar organs of “Dubai’ International Financial Center.

In the beginning of April, 2017, the AIFC signed an Agreement on Cooperation with the Lugano Commodity Trade Association. It became known in May that Nasdaq would assist in development of the ‘Astana’ International Financial Center. Gentle taxation of the Center investors was suggested. On June 15, the AIFC concluded an Agreement on Cooperation with Mastercard.