Institutional Development and the Astana International Financial Center in Kazakhstan

This article investigates the most recent instance of the transplantation of English corporate and financial law into a different legal environment. The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in Kazakhstan was launched in 2018. The AIFC has largely built on the institutional model pioneered by the Dubai International Financial Centre. This key institutional innovation is the transplanting and operation of laws based on the English common law, independent of their national legal systems (civil law systems, heavily influenced by Islamic tradition, and, in the case of Kazakhstan, also Soviet socialist principles). This article seeks to contribute to the understanding of the system of Kazakhstan, a strategically located but well under-investigated country, and a potentially viable institutional model for other aspiring financial centers. To the best knowledge of the authors, this work is the first ever English academic literature on the development of the AIFC.