NUR-SULTAN – The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) should strengthen its status as a leading regional financial center, said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during the June 27 meeting of the AIFC Management Council, reported the Akorda.
The meeting was held as part of the Astana Financial Days conference, which kicked off on June 27 in the capital under the theme “Sustainability, social responsibility, and growth.”
The President outlined the priorities for the development to address global challenges amidst increased international turbulence. The AIFC should ensure investment stability and predictability for Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
“Kazakhstan is entering a new stage of its development, focused on the accelerated growth of the market, free and competitive economy. In such conditions, maintaining and strengthening the confidence of foreign investors and trade partners remains our top priority. In this regard, the potential of the AIFC, as a guarantor of investments security and safety, should be maximized,” said Tokayev.
First, the requirements for registering foreign companies at the AIFC should be simple and straightforward. The AIFC should conduct the dialogue with foreign partners in close cooperation with financial regulators under the coordination of the government. The regulatory and legal framework of the center should keep its autonomy and independence.
Second, initial public offerings (IPO) for national companies are a priority. “Ordinary citizens of our country should be able to purchase shares of national companies and receive their dividends from investments. This is the way to create an investment culture among the population. Participation in an IPO must become accessible to absolutely all residents of Kazakhstan. And this requires new digital solutions that would eliminate paperwork and bureaucracy,” noted the President.
Third, it is necessary to attract long-term foreign investors to sovereign tenge-denominated bonds. Investors are looking for venues where corporate governance principles are highly respected, the rule of law prevails and international jurisdiction is available.
Tokayev instructed the government, the National Bank, and the AIFC to connect to the global infrastructure with long-term institutional investors.
Sustainable development goals and green projects are vital, said the President. Last year, the sustainable financing market has grown 500 times and exceeded $250 million, including 58 percent of green bonds and loans verified by the AIFC Green Finance Center. This contributes to the country’s decarbonization agenda and low-carbon technology development.
Kazakhstan should also strengthen its position in the period of transformation in global energy markets and world food centers. The major commodity exchange could be dislocated to meet the best international standards, and work to mitigate any risks. “It is crucial for Kazakhstan to declare its robust and competitive exchange market infrastructure. This will open up for us new opportunities for leading regional and international trade. I think that our regional and global partners will support this initiative,” said Tokayev.
The government, financial regulators, and the AIFC will also work on favorable regulatory conditions for the development of an integrated digital ecosystem.