The members of the project council, the leadership of the Afanasy Nikitin Association, business associations and alliances, representatives of the Moscow Exchange and financial consultants, agricultural traders, representatives of agricultural companies and major banks were invited to participate.

The discussion took place as one of the stages of preparation for the session «Islamic finance as a tool to ensure food security: building a sustainable partnership between Russia and Muslim countries», which will be held as part of the 14th annual conference of the Organization for Accounting and Auditing of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and The World Bank in Manama, Bahrain. The HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development will therein give a presentation on the Agrofinmost project and a special session on food security for the Islamic world and the possibility of using Islamic financial instruments to deliver it. The purpose of the special session was to discuss the problem of food security in the Middle East through the prism of Islamic legal tradition; to discern the nature of international commodity trade (including a high level of monopolization, speculation and market volatility) especially where it conflicts with the principles of Islamic law, and to propose practical solutions in the form of sustainable models based on international cooperation.

Several reports were put on the agenda.

On the topic of the pilot issuing of ’sukuk’, the potential project scheme, business processes, guarantees, etc., the director of the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development, Alexey Ivanov, and leading researcher Madina Kalimullina both gave outlines. Under the project, it is planned to issue sukuk bonds on the exchanges of Islamic countries. Vladimir Zhegusov, analyst at the Centre for Technological Transfer at the Higher School of Economics, spoke about the potential profitability of the projects underpinned by sukuk. Also, Mikhail Orlov, Chairman of the Russian-Egyptian Business Council, presented his vision for the project. Alexander Kava, an independent expert on economic policy and international relations, made a presentation «Improving the infrastructure potential and logistics support for the development of the grain complex of the Russian Federation in the framework of the project». And finally, analysts at Agrofinmost spoke about a project to survey farmers on advance payment mechanisms.

The presentation of the project and discussion of development opportunities aroused such keen interest that the discussion pushed on for several hours. The participants discussed various sukuk production schemes and decided that ’sukuk al-wakala’ is the best working option at present. It was also decided to start forming a pool of investment projects for the issue portfolio. Investment sukuk are certificates of equal value, representing equal shares in the total ownership of property, or rights to usufruct, or rights to services or rights to assets (property) of certain projects or specific investment activities.

Wakala Sukuk is a sukuk based on an investment agency agreement. This is the most popular international sukuk. The issuer of these sukuk is an investment agent, subscribers are principals (trustees), and funds raised through subscription is capital intended for investment under an agency agreement. Sukuk holders own the assets represented by such certificates, including all the benefits and risks associated with such assets, and are also entitled to profits from the partnership, if any.

Recall that the Agrofinmost project is implemented by the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development as part of a set of measures to promote competition in the agro-industrial complex, provided for by the National Competition Development Plan, approved by the President of Russia on December 21, 2017. The essence of the Agrofinmost project is the creation of new mechanisms for integrating Russia into the global agri-food market by attracting long-term investment on the principles of Islamic law.