Islamic Banking Reaches the Post-Soviet Space

by Luke Rodeheffer on 10/10/2014

I recently wrote a brief for Global Risk Insights on how Islamic Banking is rapidly spreading across Central Asia and the Caucasus:

The interest in Russia for the regulation of Islamic Banking reflects an even greater interest in the sector across the post-Soviet space. The Post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have joined the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank since gaining independence, which has facilitated the growth of Islamic finance in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Given the spread of Islamic Finance across the Persian Gulf, South Asia, Turkey, and West Africa as well as into Western banking and finance (Great Britain just issued its first sukuk) it was inevitable that the rapidly growing global phenomenon would reach the post-Soviet space. Whether Nursultan Nazarbaev’s dreams of transforming Almaty into Central Asia’s Islamic Finance Hub will be realized remains yet to be seen, however.

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Luke is a graduate student at Stanford’s Center for Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies. Luke was previously a Fulbright fellow in Ukraine and research assistant at Koç University in Turkey. He has previously contributed to a variety of publications, including Business Insider, The Diplomat, The Interpreter, and the Middle East Monitor. Follow him on Twitter @lukerodeheffer.

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