By Penza News
Participants of the Russian Investment Forum (RIF), which ended in Sochi on February 16, signed 538 cooperation agreements totaling 794 billion rubles, which significantly exceeds the figures of the previous year.
The event was attended by representatives of the federal and regional authorities, leading economists and analysts, domestic entrepreneurs and heads of foreign companies. According to the organizers, the RIF brought together more than 6 thousand people, which is 27% more than last year.
The two-day business program included 55 events, where the participants discussed issues concerning new regional policy, the results of the establishment of innovative clusters, the digital economy and the funding of infrastructure projects.
According to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev the forum in Sochi is first of all aimed at effective “integration of the regions into the trajectory of global development.”
“Last year, we had a revival of investment activity and the economic situation as a whole. However, this is not enough. It is important that the inflow of investments was high enough to promote an emergence of new industries, in addition to support the work of conventional ones,” he said speaking at the RIF plenary session.
“To build a strong and healthy economy of our country as a whole and its regions in particular, our focus should be on making its structure more diverse, and improving the ability to manage it. This is the logic we adhere to,” Dmitry Medvedev added.
Analyzing the results of the Sochi forum, representatives of Siemens in Russia noted that participation in the event was a good opportunity to meet with Russian partners and discuss current and future projects.
“For Siemens, as for a company that has local production sites, it is very important to understand the accents of the Russian business community,” the press service of the organization told PenzaNews.
According to the comment, Siemens has signed two documents at the forum: a contract with a group of companies OTEKO and an agreement with the administration of the Leningrad region.
“The contract with the OTEKO GC affects the modernization of the sorting slide of the Panagia railway station in the Krasnodar region. The total value of the contract will be more than 3 billion rubles. In addition, Siemens signed an agreement on cooperation with the Leningrad region. We plan to join efforts to modernize the economy and transport infrastructure of the Leningrad region, develop medical technologies and introduce them into the healthcare organizations,” the comment says.
In addition, it says that the leadership of Siemens in Russia held meetings with customers in Sochi, and also discussed a number of important issues, including the topics of digitalization of production and energy sector.
“The president of Siemens in Russia Dietrich Moeller took part in the discussion Smart Energy: Challenges and Strategy, introducing the interests of foreign supply companies. Experts discussed the prospects for the development of the energy sector in the era of digitalization and the way how, with the help of modern technologies, to increase the dynamics of the country’s economic growth. The focus on the digitalization of this industry is not accidental – today energy makes more than 20% in Russia’s GDP. The first digitalization projects are already being implemented with Russian partners. The Center of processing and analysis of the data, which is received during operation of Lastochka trains, has been functioning since 2017; the work on the introduction of the digital production concept has begun at KamAZ enterprises; the Smart Grid project is being implemented in Ufa together with Bashkirenergo,” the comment says.
In turn, Vadim Cheban, First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Autonomous Territorial Entity (ATE) of Gagauzia of the Republic of Moldova (RM), called the region’s participation in the RIF active and successful.
“The Russian investment forum in Sochi is an international investment platform that has once again enabled us to see the diverse potential of the Russian regions and allowed to present to the participants the investment potential of Gagauzia with the aim of creating joint ventures on mutually beneficial terms,” Vadim Cheban said.
According to him, during the event, the autonomy presented its industrial sites and investment preferences.
“Participation in forums of this level has favorable impact on the development of bilateral relations and socio-economic development of the region, allows us to make adjustments to the regional and sectoral programs of our ATE. […]Economic interaction of Gagauzia with the regions of the Russian Federation through the increase in turnover and investment will contribute to improving the well-being of the population of the autonomy as a whole,” the first deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of Gagauzia said.
He also stressed that most of the states are interested in building good relations with Russia.
“They count on Russia as an important source of capital and a reliable partner. Participation in international forums helps potential investors to learn about the opportunities not only at the level of Russian regions, but also other countries and to intensify economic cooperation,” the politician said.
According to Shankaran Nambiar, Senior Research Fellow at Malaysian Institute of Economic Research in Kuala Lumpur, Russia is an attractive destination for foreign business.
“Russia’s interest in creating an investment hub and attracting foreign investment is a commendable one. There are definitely abundant opportunities in Russia that foreign firms can take advantage of. In addition, there is a favorable supply of high quality technical expertise in Russia that firms from Southeast Asia can leverage on,” the analyst said.
However, there are some constraints to investing in Russia, he said.
According to Shankaran Nambiar, the authorities should provide greatest possible support to foreign investors wishing to set up their companies in Russia and pay attention to trade exhibitions and trade missions.
“Government-to-government contacts have to be established and state-owned enterprises in ASEAN have to be engaged to explore joint ventures. Russia has to compete more actively with China because China is seen as an attractive destination,” the expert added.
Meanwhile, President of the Russian Investment Agency (RIA) Yuri Spiridonov drew attention to the fact that the investment forum in Sochi was originally planned to be held after the announcement of the message of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Federal Assembly for 2018.
“If this were the case and the message would not be postponed, the forum for the most part would be a practical discussion of the measures that must be taken to implement these decisions of the president. As a result, we heard interesting proposals from the government – in particular, investments in infrastructure designed to create in the country centers of a new scale– in small and medium-sized settlements, as opposed to megacities. These plans, still causing divergences between departments: the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development, nevertheless reflected the spirit and goals of the forum, its investment and regional focus. And this is the value of the RIF: it opened the key measures from the yet unpublished plan of the government to accelerate the economy, gave the opportunity for preliminary discussions on them,” Yuri Spiridonov said.
He also noted that shortly after the forum in Sochi, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) international agency has raised Russia’s long-term and short-term sovereign credit rating to BBB-.
“This optimistic background allowed the head of the Ministry of Economy Maxim Oreshkin to say that the current situation contributes to the inflow of capital and a stable OFZ yields below 7% for long-term securities, and expands the possibilities for debt financing of infrastructure,” the RIA president reminded and stressed that a new rating should increase investors’ interest in Russia.