May 1 The Kyrgyz government has enlisted an
international law firm to help it develop regulations for
Islamic bonds (sukuk) and insurance (takaful) in the mainly
Muslim central Asian country of 5.5 million people.
The consultancy services will be funded by a technical
assistance grant from the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank
, law firm Simmons & Simmons said in a statement on
The former Soviet republic expects to expand Islamic finance
to help attract foreign investment, Tayirbek Sarpashev, First
Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, said in the
"The government expects the economy to attract large
investments that will favourably affect the development of the
financial market and banking sector," he was quoted as saying.
The statement did not give a time frame for when the rules
would be introduced. Developing Islamic finance, which follows
religious principles such as bans on interest and monetary
speculation, could conceivably help the country attract money
from the Gulf and southeast Asia.
Last month, Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted overwhelmingly to
appoint reformer Joomart Otorbayev as prime minister and avert a
political crisis in the central Asian nation where two leaders
have been overthrown in the past decade.
The country faces a daunting task to reduce poverty and
speed up economic growth in a nation whose per capita gross
domestic product is about $1,300, or just a tenth of that in
oil-rich neighbor Kazakhstan.
(Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Andrew Torchia)