During the session, the members of the AIFC Management Council summed up the results of the AIFC activities for 2021, and reviewed some proposals for its further development.
Opening the event, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that in conditions of increased international turbulence, the search for reliable financial instruments that can ensure investment stability and predictability is becoming relevant. For Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region, one such instrument is the International Financial Centre.
“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,” the President said.
The Head of State stressed that the AIFC faces a global challenge to institutionally strengthen its status as a leading regional financial centre. In this regard, he suggested that the following matters should be addressed in the work ahead.
In particular, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pointed to the sanctions context, noting that the terms for registration at the AIFC by foreign companies should be as simple and liberal as possible. At the same time, he stressed that the dialogue with foreign partners of the AIFC should be conducted in close cooperation with the financial regulators under the overall coordination of the Government. He also added that the regulatory and legal framework of the Centre, it will certainly maintain its autonomy and independence.
President Tokayev stressed the importance to plan well for the IPO of national companies. As an example, he noted the role of Samruk-Kazyna and its national companies.
“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,” he said.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev touched upon the relevance of attracting long-term foreign investors to sovereign tenge denominated bonds. He expressed the opinion that in such an uncertain environment, the competition for investments and resources is intensifying. Investors are looking for venues where corporate governance principles are highly respected, the rule of law prevails and international jurisdiction is available.
“The country needs new reliable sources. And for that we need to work more closely with international depositories. Under these conditions, the AIFC platform, with its regulatory regime and international law, looks attractive. The Government jointly with the National Bank and the AIFC should work on connecting to the global infrastructure with long-term institutional investors,” the President said.
In addition, the Head of State focused on the issues of achieving sustainable development and implementing green projects. He said that last year alone, the sustainable financing market expanded 500 times, exceeding 250 million dollars. Of these, 58% of green bonds and loans were verified by the AIFC Green Finance Centre.
“This is a significant contribution, which proves our country’s credentials in successfully addressing global challenges of decarbonising the economy and developing low-carbon technologies. I advise the Government, the AIFC and the Council members to continue working in this direction at the same pace,” President Tokayev said.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed the importance of strengthening the role of Kazakhstan in the transformation of global energy markets and world food centres. In particular, he pointed out the urgency of dislocation of the main commodity exchange, compliant to the best international standards and, at the same time, equally far from any risks.
“And here it is crucial for Kazakhstan to declare its robust and competitive exchange market infrastructure. This will open up for us new opportunities of leading regional and international trade. I advise the Government to work through this issue in detail. I think that our regional and global partners will support this initiative,” the President said.
In his speech, President Tokayev also focused on the crypto-industry and digital assets as today’s realities.
“We must make the most of our potential. Yes, we are the No. 2 country in terms of crypto-assets mining, but we should by no means retain a purely commodity-based status. In view of this, I instruct the Government, jointly with the financial regulators and the AIFC, to create favourable regulatory conditions for the development of a sophisticated digital ecosystem,” he said.
Summing up the meeting, the President approved the AIFC Annual Performance Report for the year 2021.
During the session, reports were made by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, AIFC Governor Kairat Kelimbetov, Advisor to the President for Economic Development Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Chairman of the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market Madina Abylkasymova, the AIFC Independent Financial Controller Mark Smith, President of the Centre for Global Development Masood Ahmed, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Group of Thirty (G30) Jacob A. Frenkel, Global Head of Citi's Public Sector Group Julie Monaco.