The Astana International Finance Centre (AIFC) was officially inaugurated here on Thursday in the presence of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev almost three years after he signed a law to establish it.
Thursday's inaugural ceremony in national capital Astana was attended by people from all walks of life, including heads of state, politicians, and representatives of international companies, the scientific community and financial analytical centers. The President of Kazakhstan will also be a witness to the signing of several agreements between finance ministers of several countries who are attending the event.
The AIFC has been set up with the objective of creating an attractive environment for investment, development of Kazakhstan's securities market, its integration with other internationally recognized financial institutions. A press note given by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in New Delhi and emphasized upon by Ambassador Bulat Sarsenbayev said that there has been a 53 percent increase in trade and 68 percent increase in tourist traffic to Kazakhstan over the last couple of years.
The AIFC will also develop a insurance and banking services market as well as promote a system of Islamic financing.
About 55 companies have already registered with the AIFC and the number is expected to grow to 500 by the year 2020.
The center will have links and cooperation with world financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, the EBRD, the ADB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the SCO Development Bank.
Among its key features are:
. Modern infrastructure
. Tax exemption for 50 years (corporate, individual, land and property tax)
. Free office rent for two years
. Simplified Visa and Labour Regimes for AIFC participants and employees
. Astana's air links/connectivity to key financial centers around the world
. A separate legal system based on the principles of Common Law
. The AIFC intends to strategically focus on developing a liquid and well-balanced capital market with a broad range of financial instruments. Part of this initiative will include a state of the art global hi-tech exchange platform
. The AIFC will promote development of the asset management industry not only in Kazakhstan, but across the Central Asian region
. Another key strategic objective of the center will be to provide financial solutions as per Islamic laws. Currently, five countries- Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and the UAE account for 80 percent of the Islamic finance market
. The AIFC intends to leverage technology to exploit the potential of the fin-tech start-up sector in Central Asia
. Will support development of the private banking sector and open investment opportunities for high net worth individuals in Central Asia
. Will facilitate development of Green Finance, and support environmental-friendly investments
The AIFC has already signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Qatar Financial Center Authority, ERG, and CIS Interstate Bank.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)