26 Mar, 2023
A technical mission from the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) visited Uzbekistan from 13 to 16 March 2023 and met with key stakeholders to discuss Islamic finance projects and initiatives in the country. The team comprised of Mr. Yahya Rehman, Lead Islamic Finance Specialist, and Mr. Khalid Jawahir, Senior Islamic Finance Specialist.
The objectives of the mission were to assess the progress of on-going projects in Uzbekistan and to pilot the Islamic Finance Country Assessment Framework, a newly developed tool that allows for the assessment of a country’s Islamic financial ecosystem. The assessment aims to assist the IsDBI in identifying and addressing the priority needs of the member countries for building a successful Islamic finance industry.
The team had meetings with the Central Bank of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade and other stakeholders with regards to the introduction of a legal and regulatory framework for Islamic banking in Uzbekistan. The meetings discussed proposed legislative amendments, regulatory governance structures and next steps to have an enabling environment for Islamic banking, as well as Islamic non-banking credit institutions and Insurance in Uzbekistan.
Meetings were also held at the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the UNDP, which is the implementation partner for the project to create an enabling environment for Green Sukuk in Uzbekistan. Discussions with officers from the Taxation and the Capital Market Units focused on the proposed legislative amendments to enable the issuance of Sukuk and Green Sukuk.
The team also discussed proposals for the creation of Shariah governance with the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan as well as potential capacity building requirements. The team met with the representatives from the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Council of Ministers to discuss the project for the development of Awqaf in Uzbekistan.
The Foreign Investors Council, operating under the President of Uzbekistan, also met the IsDBI team to reiterate on the importance of the Islamic Finance projects under implementation in Uzbekistan and to discuss next steps with regards to the introduction of the legislative amendments for Islamic Banking and Green Sukuk.
There is a huge demand for Islamic financial products and services in Uzbekistan and the various IsDB projects and initiatives are expected to lay the foundation and pave the way for a robust and resilient Islamic finance industry in the country.