Wolfensohn to advise on creating Almaty regional financial center
ALMATY. February 17. KAZINFORM. James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, will advise President Nursultan Nazarbayev on developing Almaty’s potential as a major financial center. In a February 9 meeting in Astana, Nazarbayev and Wolfensohn agreed that as a non-staff advisor to the Kazakh President, Wolfensohn will help develop a plan for a Regional Financial Center in Almaty (RFCA) and analyze work done by the center’s consultants. Currently, Wolfensohn runs his own New York-based firm, Wolfensohn and Company LLC, and serves as chairman of Citigroup’s International Advisory Committee. The idea to make Almaty, a bustling city of 1.5 million people with dozens of local and international banks and a stock exchange, a key financial center for the region was first announced by President Nazarbayev in his state of the nation address last March. The goal is to capitalize on Almaty’s already developed financial infrastructure and turn it into a Hong Kong of Central Asia through additional incentives and tax holidays for banks, as well as through the development of supporting infrastructure. Following the meeting, Wolfensohn said a wide ranging educational campaign to popularize the stock market is needed in Kazakhstan, Kazinform refers to Kazakhstan News Bulletin, released weekly by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA and Canada.