Results of the 2019 Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum
The 2019 Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum took place on June 6-8. The Moscow government took part in the business program along with other representatives from government bodies, public organizations, and business community leaders. Overall, a total of 120 business events took place during the forum.
Moscow presented over 20 projects at the forum, including the comprehensive development of the city’s areas, public-private partnership projects, online services, and more. All projects were presented at the Moscow government stand, which was located on an area of 300 square meters and included 10 different zones, including augmented reality and digital hologram zones. Multimedia technologies were used to illustrate landmark projects for Moscow, while charts and diagrams explained the city’s economic and investment development.
The most striking project presented at the Moscow government stand was the so-called overground metro, or the Moscow Central Diameters, which will be launched in the metropolitan area in late 2019 – early 2020. The project entails the creation of five railway lines that will connect one one municipality near Moscow to another through the center of the capital. The stand featured general information about the project, along with interactive materials to demonstrate the advantages of the IDC and show its significance for the transport system of Moscow and the Moscow Region.
Moscow in the lead on the national investment climate rating
Moscow placed first among all regions in Russia on the 2019 national investment climate rating. The Republic of Tatarstan placed second, while the Tyumen Oblast came in third. This was announced during the presentation of the rating results, which took place within the scope of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, the growth in investments into the city’s fixed assets amounted to 25% compared to Q1 2018.
“It’s impossible to do just one thing and end up first on the list,” said the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin, “It entails a lot of systemic work by both business and the government. It’s a gigantic mechanism, over two billion rubles of investment in fixed assets. These are accumulated investments that draw in subsequent investments as well.”
The national rating assesses business as a system: its infrastructure, financial support, administrative barriers, as well as communication between business and the government.
“The results of this rating correspond to reality. It’s clear how it’s related to real business investments,” the Mayor of Moscow pointed out. Last year, Moscow was in second place on this rating. This year, the capital made it to the top, which reflects that the city has created favorable conditions for business.
“Business is changing, we’re seeing how manufacturing and infrastructure are developing, how investments are increasing, this is a new economy,” Sergey Sobyanin said, “And here it’s incredibly important that our cities and our regions be comfortable for people. A comfortable city environment plays a major role in business development. “We used to think that a comfortable environment, a social infrastructure is something secondary for business, but today we are absolutely certain that it’s a priority,” the Mayor of Moscow said, “Business comes to wherever people are, and people go where they are comfortable.”
A digital transformation is key for city development
Modern information technologies need to be widely used in housing and municipal services, health care, education, and other areas. A digital transformation is key to successful city development. It is necessary in order not to lose people, investments and your future. This was Sergey Sobyanin’s message during the Sberbank plenary session “Transformation in a rapidly changing world: states, companies, people,” which was held as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
According to Sergey Sobyanin, a digital transformation needs to cover many different spheres, and information technologies need to be widely-used in housing and municipal services, health care, education, and other areas. “It’s impossible to focus on just one thing. Either you’re simultaneously developing across all of these spheres, or sooner or later you’ll have to deal with serious, detrimental consequences,” the Mayor of Moscow said.
Sergey Sobyanin pointed out that a good example of successful IT integration can be seen in the sphere of city transport management. “The intelligent transportation system, which is based on artificial intelligence, big data, and a huge number of data flows is an expensive thing, really expensive,” he said, “But it improves city traffic by 15 percent. Imagine if we were to try to accomplish this by increasing our infrastructure’s physical capacity, like by building roads or interchanges. We would need around a billion rubles.”
He also said that the city is also building roads, metro stations, and railways in order to improve city traffic, but maintained that an intelligent transport system is the most effective investment.
Information technologies have also been successfully applied in healthcare and education, making city services more accessible.
“The Moscow model is a completely new systemic model of government,” said CEO and Chairman of the Board at Sberbank Russia Herman Gref.
Information technologies help the authorities get feedback from city residents, as well as get their support on a wide range of issues. According to Sergey Sobyanin, electronic democracy is one of the key elements of a smart city. “In a city of 12 million people, asking people what they want, understanding people’s overall attitudes toward specific things, specific projects, is almost impossible,” the Mayor of Moscow said. However, the city has all the tools it needs to deal with this problem.
“This is the ‘Our City’ system, which has engaged about two million people – they report problems in the city every day, every minute, every second,” Sergey Sobyanin added, “This is the ‘Active Citizen’ system, which a whole lot of people use to tell us what they like, don’t like, and what they really want.
5G technology can also improve the quality of life in a modern big city, says CEO and Deputy Chairman of the Board at Huawei Guo Ping. According to him, the increase in speed will enable us to work with much larger amounts of data, facilitating the development of the Internet of Things. So it will be possible to connect water and electricity meters to the global information system, for example.
“Right now, our life revolves around mobile phones, but in the future technologies will work around people instead. These technologies will change people’s lives. I think that the next generation will live in an intelligent society that will have three important characteristics: everything will be plugged in, everything will have sensors, and everything will be a smart device,” he said, “and we’re just providing the technology and enabling all industries to work with these devices.
Russia-Baltic States: toward trust and a lucrative partnership
In spite of the challenging political situation, Moscow’s relations with EU countries can be characterized as pragmatic and good – they’ve seen a steady improvement since 2014. This is what Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin said during his speech at the “Russia-Baltic States: toward trust and a lucrative partnership” session, which took place at the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
According to the minister, the most positive relations have developed between Moscow and Latvia, which will be hosting a Russian Ball for the second year in a row and is home to the House of Moscow. “Latvia is the leader among the Baltic countries in foreign direct investments in Moscow’s economy, totaling $600 million. About 80 enterprises with Latvian capital are operating in Moscow, and trade is growing. Thanks to pragmatic relations between the Moscow Government and the Riga City Council, Moscow and Riga have signed a cooperation program,” Sergey Cheremin said.
“Estonian investments in Moscow amount to less than $100 million, and about 30 companies occupy niche areas in the capital. The trade turnover is 2 times less than with Latvia, however, there are no negative trends,” Sergey Cheremin said, adding that Moscow’s relations with Lithuania, on the contrary, are rather complicated. Recently, the construction of the House of Moscow in Vilnius was frozen by the city authorities.
The head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations expressed hope that relations between Moscow and Lithuania will improve and be similar to Moscow’s relations with Estonia and Latvia. “Moscow is a very interesting region for our colleagues from the Baltics, who could learn about the technologies necessary for city development. The city is rapidly changing,” Mr. Cheremin said, “and right now we’re drawing attention to ourselves with technology. I am sure that Russia’s relations with the Baltic states will develop and have a lot of potential to do so. We are open to cooperation and will welcome everyone who wants to work with Russia.
The discussion participants agreed that the significant potential for cooperation between countries is hindered by a lack of trust, and the solution should be sought through the economy. So a dialogue between the neighbors in the field of transit, tourism, cross-border and interregional relations is a necessary minimum for maintaining good relations.
Relevant trends in the development of Russia-India cooperation
The Russia-India business dialogues took place on June 7 as part of the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic forum. Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Relations, Chairman of the Board of the Business Council for Cooperation with India Sergey Cheremin was the moderator during the discussion.
The Minister pointed out that relations between Russia and India can be characterized as some of the most active from both an economic and political point of view. According to him, companies are becoming more interested in Russian and Indian markets. In 2018, trade turnover between Russia and India amounted to almost $11 billion – a 17% increase compared to 2017. The leaders of the two countries have set a goal to increase trade turnover from $10 million to $30 million by 2025.
Sergey Cheremin talked about the investment appeal of the Russian capital, the absence of public debt, and the introduction of advanced digital technologies into the city’s infrastructure. He also invited the participants of the business dialogue to the Days of Moscow in India, which will be held in November 2019 in New Delhi and Mumbai.
India’s Ambassador to Russia Datla Bala Venkatesh Varma became the guest of honor of the business dialogue and one of the key speakers. “We intend to continue developing our relations with Russia,” the Ambassador said, “President Putin pays great attention to cooperation with India. In the near future, Vladimir Putin will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Russia and India have a long-term friendship, and we should constantly raise our partnership to new levels.”
D.B. Venkatesh Varma added that India’s economy is currently on the rise and will continue to grow over the next few decades, which is why it’s important to consider new players and new industries. “Russia and India are already successfully cooperating in the field of pharmaceuticals, trade, engineering, agriculture, energy resources, defense, space development, nuclear energy. I think we should consider other opportunities, for example, the digital economy,” the diplomat explained.
Award for international cooperation
The 3rd award ceremony for international cooperation and the development of foreign economic activity was held as part of the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“We have done a lot to make this award a landmark, memorable event at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. It is awarded to outstanding managers of companies who have made a huge contribution to the development of foreign economic activity and international cooperation,” said Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin during his speech at the ceremony.
Alexander Sergeev, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and recipient of an award for promoting Russian science in the global scientific community, stressed that investments in science and education are the most important investments for Russia. “Science is always international, and our scientists are now really helping both our country and the world by building new scientific bridges, especially at a time when other bridges are sometimes crumbling. We very much expect that the economy and economic relations will move forward along these new bridges under construction,” he added.
Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, Director General of the Russian Export Center JSC Andrey Slepnev, Rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Anatoly Torkunov, Director of the International Medical Cluster Foundation Mikhail Yugay, Vice President President of Procter & Gamble Eastern Europe and Central Asia Sotirios Marinidis, and Chairman of the Board of the International Investment Bank Nikolay Kosov received awards at the ceremony.
The awards are presented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the State Unitary Enterprise Moscow Center for International Cooperation, and Kommersant Publishing House.