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IsDB Institute Co-Organizes Islamic Finance Seminar in Kazakhstan

18 Jun, 2023

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The Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) successfully co-organized an Islamic finance seminar as part of the official program of the Astana Finance Days 2023. Organized in partnership with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), the seminar was held in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan on 7 June and attracted many participants from across the Central Asian region and beyond.

The seminar was divided into two sessions with the first focusing on Islamic banking and moderated by Mr. Syed Faiq Najeeb, Senior Islamic Finance Specialist at IsDBI. The session focused on the creation of business opportunities and achieving national developmental objectives by Islamic banks in response to the growing demand for Shari’ah-compliant financial services in the Central Asian region generally, and Kazakhstan particularly.

The panelists for this session, comprising experts from Malaysia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Saudi Arabia, shared their recommendations for differentiating Islamic banking products with value offerings, competitiveness, quality of services, and ethical principles to attract customers. The panelists covered the importance of having ‘champion’ organizations/institutions to lead breakthroughs in Islamic financial services and recommended Kazakhstan and other new-entrant Islamic finance jurisdictions to leverage upon the lessons and success stories of other mature Islamic finance countries that went through similar journeys in the past.

The second session on Islamic capital markets was moderated by Dr. Turkhan Ali Abdul Manap, Senior Research Economist at IsDBI. The session comprised expert panelists from both local Kazakh and international markets who discussed the significant potential contribution that Islamic capital markets could bring to the growth of emerging and developing markets.

The panelists agreed that Kazakhstan has several attractive features for becoming a regional Islamic finance hub including its strategic location, developed legislation, young and growing population, and robust economic fundamentals. However, the panelists also recognized several challenges that must be addressed to realize the full potential of the Islamic Capital Market in Kazakhstan. These included enabling regulatory and legal frameworks, investor education, and greater standardization and transparency.

The discussions in both sessions emphasized the importance of raising awareness about Islamic finance in the Central Asian region. This includes highlighting Shari’ah-compliant investment opportunities and creating innovative financial products that meet the needs of the market. The sessions also encouraged the private sector to benefit from first-mover advantages in Islamic finance in the region.

The following expert panelists participated in the seminar:

Islamic Banking Session

 

  1. Mohd Prasad Hanif, Secretary General, Association of Development Finance Institutions, Malaysia
  2. Gulanor Atobek, Chief Executive Officer, Alif Bank, Tajikistan
  3. Madina Tukulova, Head of Islamic Finance, Astana International Financial Centre Authority, Kazakhstan
  4. Tarik Malaika, Lead Principal Sukuk, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Saudi Arabia

Islamic Capital Markets Session

 

  1. Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance, London Stock Exchange Group, Bahrain
  2. Salmaan Jaffrey, Chief Business Development Officer, Dubai International Financial Centre, United Arab Emirates
  3. Alma Aarabassova, Managing Director, Sky Bridge Invest Kazakhstan
  4. Arman Batayev, Chief Financial Officer, Harry Qelm Baabsman Ltd., Kazakhstan

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