At today’s UK-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Commission attended by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, TheCityUK, National Bank of Kazakhstan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU, which covers all aspects of financial and related professional services, sets out for the first time the way in which the parties will work to assist Kazakhstan’s intentions to develop Astana as an international financial centre. It also outlines further development opportunities for the industries in both the UK and Kazakhstan. The MoU follows an agreement made late last year between the UK and Republic of Kazakhstan Governments to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen business engagement.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said,
The UK is already one of the top five largest investors in Kazakhstan, investing around $24.7 billion of foreign direct investment since 1991 and, as Kazakhstan’s economy continues to diversify, the UK’s financial and related professional services industry has the expertise to help it grow. This agreement marks a significant step in strengthening the relationship between the industries in the UK and Kazakhstan and it will bring mutual, strategic benefits. As the leading global financial centre, London and the UK can help to establish and develop Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, as an international financial centre, and through greater interconnectivity and cooperation with other international financial centres like Astana, London can play a more integral role in driving global growth.
EBRD First Vice President, Phil Bennett, said,
The EBRD is committed to developing the financial sector and local capital market in Kazakhstan. Already the largest non-oil and gas international investor, we are also the largest international local currency investor in Kazakhstan. We believe the priorities set out under the MoU, including the introduction of international best practice in finance and corporate governance, are necessary and welcome in Kazakhstan, and the EBRD stands ready to cooperate on those priorities.
The MoU sets out eight priorities that are designed to help foster the development of Astana as an international financial centre. These include the development and sharing of best practice in key fields of financial and related professional services, such as capital markets, Islamic finance, corporate governance and dispute resolution; facilitating professional financial education and training; improving the regulatory and administrative environment in which financial markets operate; developing the legal and regulatory framework for public-private partnerships; and promoting Astana to the industry as a place to do business. Further details of these priorities can be found in the below:
The eight priorities highlighted in the MoU for progression by all parties are:
- Fostering the development of Astana as an international financial centre;
- Leveraging structures set up as part of establishing Astana as an international financial centre to encourage the development of cross-border and domestic capital markets and the financial sector;
- Branding, marketing and promoting Astana’s offer to the financial services industry as a place to do business and its potential to become an international financial centre;
- Fostering the development of and sharing best practice and knowledge in the fields of Islamic finance, capital markets, financial services regulation, financial technology, corporate governance, derivatives and money markets, dispute resolution, arbitration and the judiciary system based on common law;
- Facilitating the exchange of information and expertise between companies providing financial and related professional services in order to develop effective cooperation, which may include organising joint professional financial education and training programmes, research, conferences, workshops, publications, study tours, qualifications, etc.;
- Fostering broader experience exchange between financial and related professional services practitioners;
- Improving the regulatory and administrative environment in which financial markets operate, with an emphasis on corporate governance and asset management;
- Developing the legal and regulatory framework for public-private partnerships.