The MoU sets out for the first time the way parties will work together to develop Astana as an international financial centre

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.

The City

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.

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