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Kazakhstan, Malaysia plant seeds for green Islamic finance

Astana is building on its strong bilateral ties with Kuala Lumpur to nurture the growth of a Shariah compliant green financial system. Having already won the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the government of Finland to assist Kazakhstan to become a regional hub for green finance, Astana International Financial Center (AIFC) now has the backing of technology financier Malaysia Debt Ventures (MDV) to develop both green and Islamic finance.
Under a newly agreed MoU, AIFC and MDV will work closely with each other to share best practices, expertise and knowledge in the said two areas – both of which are crucial development agendas for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“With this understanding, we are able to develop and promote Islamic and green finance markets via MDV and AIFC’s platforms to encourage and enhance the depth of both markets’ functions and competitiveness,” said MDV Managing Director and CEO Md Zubir Ansori Yahaya.
Apart from sharing best practices and knowledge in green and Shariah finance, both parties will also explore financing green projects using Islamic financing tools, according to AIFC.
While not fully operational yet (expected to be up and running in 2018), AIFC is keeping busy by setting the groundwork. The largest Central Asian economy has been on a partnership spree – making friends across continents to gain access to international expertise and markets to better position it in the regional and global financial markets. Islamic finance has in the last few years been at the heart of this agenda and green finance received a huge boost earlier in January when the EBRD came on board to launch the Green Financial System for Kazakhstan project, financed by Finland.
With eyes on a comprehensive green financial system and openly embracing Shariah finance, engaging MDV could culminate in a variety of Islamic financial products for sustainable eco-friendly projects including green Sukuk.—Agencies

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