ASTANA – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation recently signed an agreement to hold World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Astana on July 4. The forum will attract more attention to the AIFC and promote it as a regional hub of Islamic finance.
The annual forum was founded by WIEF Foundation in 2006 with the support of the Malaysian government. WIEF is a business platform showcasing business opportunities in the Muslim world. The forum aims to promote cooperation between Muslim business people, companies and governments in member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
According to the 2017 Islamic Finance Development Report provided by Thomson Reuters, the Islamic finance industry will continue to develop. Experts believe the industry will reach $3.8 trillion by 2022 from $2.2 trillion at the end of 2016. AIFC management considers Islamic finance one of the key pillars of activities and a potential source of foreign investments in Kazakhstan.
The hosting of the 14th WIEF in Astana will assist the establishment of AIFC as a regional hub of Islamic finance for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Western and Central Asian countries and will ensure the promotion of AIFC activities in the OIC countries’ business community, the organisers believe. The 14th WIEF expects to attract more than 1,000 attendees from all over the world.
After the agreement, the AIFC delegation visited the Republic of Malta to establish contacts and explore the local experience in the development of the financial services market. Malta is one of the fastest-growing financial centres in the European Union with flexible regulatory and tax regimes.
The delegation negotiated with Malta government representatives, top managers of the single regulator for financial services activities Malta Financial Services Authority, FinanceMalta, Malta Funds Industry Association and Malta Stock Exchange. Corresponding negotiations were held with the representatives of Malta state bodies, including Malta Residency Visa Agency and leading law firms Henley & Partners and Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates. Following the meetings, the parties agreed to exchange experience, jointly organise seminars, round tables and events.