KAZAKHSTAN: Al Hilal Islamic Bank, the first commercial Islamic bank in Kazakhstan, recently conducted a series of seminars and business lectures for media representatives in the key cities of Almaty and Astana in a move to enhance public awareness on basic principles of Islamic finance.
Held under the theme ‘Fundamentals of Islamic Finance,’ the sessions also introduced relevant taxation guidelines under Kazakh law and encouraged reforms in domestic banking policies to expedite the growth of the country’s young Islamic finance sector.
A subsidiary of Al Hilal Bank, a progressive UAE-based Islamic bank fully owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, Al Hilal Islamic Bank JSC was established in March of 2010 shortly after a new law governing Islamic finance was introduced in Kazakhstan. Currently serving the Almaty and Astana markets, the bank’s activities are based on Shari’ah principles although its products and services are available to all irrespective of religion and ethnicity.
An agreement previously signed between the governments of Kazakhstan and UAE to cooperate on the development of the local Islamic finance sector ensures sustained growth for Al Hilal Islamic Bank.
“Kazakhstan has all the right elements in place in terms of legislation and infrastructure to keep pace with regional developments in Islamic banking. Al Hilal Islamic Bank’s goal is to exemplify the Islamic finance industry’s commitment to trust, honesty and an untarnished reputation that we will bring to our conventional banking offerings as well,” said Ahmed Ateeq Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Al Hilal Bank.
“We will also advocate key amendments to regulations governing Kazakhstan’s banking services and raise awareness on the potentials and importance of Islamic finance among regulators, government officials, mass media and the general public,” he added.
Al Hilal Islamic Bank is headquartered in Almaty City, the business center of Kazakhstan, with a second branch in the capital city of Astana. It is fully owned by Al Hilal Bank, one of the UAE’s fastest-growing Islamic banks. The subsidiary bank is preparing to assist in the financing of upcoming infrastructure and oil and gas projects in its country base.
It will support investments of UAE, Gulf and Arab expatriates residing in Kazakhstan and act as an alternative partner for neighboring countries interested in Shari’ah-compliant banking.
Al Hilal Bank is owned in full by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, which is the investment authority of the Government of Abu Dhabi. The bank is working with an authorized capital of AED 4 billion, and is authorised to operate as an Islamic trading bank.
Al Hilal Bank aims to become the leading financial institution in the region and to increase the growth of Islamic banking with a new direction, towards new technologies and special services. Al Hilal Bank has 19 branches strategically located across the United Arab Emirates as well as 2 other branches in major cities of Kazakhstan.