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© Ozara Insights                                                                                              15 June 2020
Are there particular solutions that might be helpful in to cope with the current crisis situation? 

We continue publishing Will Aston's insights from the AIFC Legal Talks. 

I think there are potentially things that can be done. But I also think it is also important to recognise:

  • What is sensible for a national company is not always workable for a small or medium sized enterprise.

  • A solution for a bank may be overkill for a law firm.

  • What is right for one country may not be right for another country.


There is no “one size fits all” solution.


  • Let me illustrate with an example, from my own experience, of where a solution for one country not being right for another country;

  • Talk a little bit about what we can do given there is no one size fits all solution.


Several years ago I worked private banking in Bermuda. As you may know Bermuda is like some parts of the United States like Florida, the Carolinas are at risk of hurricane storms.

The hurricane response solution is fundamentally different.

  • In the United States the response is to evacuate “Go North! Go Inland!”. This is good solution for them.


          ○   They have lots of space to accommodate people; and

          ○   They have sophisticated tracking capability, to know when they should evacuate.


  •  “Go North! Go Inland!” does not work for Bermuda.


          ○   Bermuda is an island. It is only 26 miles long and 2.5 miles at its widest; so

          ○  There is not much north to go to, and there literally is no inland to go to.

          ○   Evacuating the entire island is not practical. Sometimes the hurricane will make landfall on the island, more often it                   will pass by, miles offshore, just causing some storm seas. It takes a time to evacuate an island. By the time you can                 predict with certainty the island will be hit, it is too late to evacuate.


So, what do they do in Bermuda? Their hurricane response is built around “Shelter in place!”.

I was working for a private bank in Bermuda when hurricane Fabian struck in 2003. It was a direct hit and a very strong hurricane with highest wind speed 230 km/h. It was very destructive. There were fatalities. Four people died. This was the same level fatalities per 100,000 people, as were suffered in Florida, when hurricane Andrew struck some years before.

How does “Shelter in place!” work in Bermuda? and How does it make itself resilient? So, Bermuda can withstand a hurricane.


  • The building regulations are much stronger than the United States. They are built to withstand very high winds. The buildings are structurally very strong. Windows can still be blown out by the pressure changes caused by the hurricane, but this is mitigated by putting sticky masking tape in a big “X” on the windows to help distribute the stress in the window, so it does not shatter.

  • At the Bank we had two data centres. Mirroring each other with optical fibre connections. The Bank remained online the whole time. One of the branches had water damage and an ATM was submerged in water and no longer functioned. Within four hours of the hurricane I was back in the office.

  • You may have seen pictures of houses in Bermuda. Pastel shade buildings with white stepped roofs. Why white? With steps? They are designed this way to harvest rain. The steps slow down rainfall so the water can be collected and stored it in a tank under the house. Each home is self-sufficient for water.


I think there are potentially things that can be done. I do not think there is a “one size fits all”.

  • What works in France, for example, is not necessarily going to work as well or in the same way in Kazakhstan. – So, what can be done here in Kazakhstan?

  • What are the things that can make businesses here more resilient?

           ○   Doing business in the AIFC can potentially make business more resilient

           ○   But I think that is just part of the potential solution. Another big part is the continuing roll out of Digital Kazakhstan                      infrastructure. Not just making remote working a possibility for some businesses. But a whole series solutions that                      will help.

                           •  Individuals and businesses large and small

                           •  Support specific solutions for COVID 19, helping people get back to work

                           •  Support solutions for future business disruptions.

Maybe the combination of a number of elements such as doing business in the AIFC, and Digital Kazakhstan will help us build resilience, in the same way that the strong homes and self-sufficient water supply does in Bermuda.

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