G20/B20 priorities: financing growth, trade and investment
Representatives of business and government from the G20 members as well as heads of relevant international institutions will discuss the B20 Taskforces agenda and recommendations for G20 leaders on the issues of financing growth, trade, and investment key priorities for both G20 and B20. What needs to be done to ensure the effective regulation and internationalization of financial markets, as well as an increase in global investment? How can a modernized, effective international trade system be secured, the Trade Facilitation Agreement be implemented, and finance be rationally deployed to boost the sluggish global recovery and further stimulate economic growth in the post-crisis period?
The consumer sector in Russia is undergoing rapid transformation, challenging long-held assumptions and compelling companies to adopt new models as the sector adjusts to market shifts. Nevertheless, to maintain a healthy consumer sector, it is not just the private sector that must change policymakers and regulators will also need to adapt to reflect the new and constantly evolving environment. What steps can regulators take to strengthen consumer demand, and how can business help support the required adjustments? What will the Russian consumer market look like over the next five years? How can the right balance be found between the interests of business, the objectives of government, and the welfare of the nation as it weighs up the future of the Russian consumer?
RUSSIA–UNITED KINGDOM: targeting improved trade and economic relations for a 100-year partnership
In spite of political differences on some fronts, economic cooperation between Russia and the United Kingdom continues. It is precisely this ability of businesses to overcome unfavourable external factors that has distinguished RussianBritish relationships in recent years. In the absence of a relevant intergovernmental dialogue, the partnership between business communities takes on particular significance. What are the priority areas in developing bilateral relations between Russia and the United Kingdom? What is the best way to advance the business partnership against a background of tough economic and external political conditions? Which potential joint projects could prove the most attractive at present? What steps could the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce take to ensure the development of bilateral trade?
Broadening bilateral trade and economic cooperation is a priority for both India and Russia. Since the RussiaIndia Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed in October 2000, the relationship between the two countries has expanded in a multitude of areas, including politics, national security, trade, economics, defence, science, technology, and culture. The leaders of the two countries have set a goal of increasing bilateral trade to USD 30 billion by 2025. What are the major trends and characteristics of the economic and trade relationship between Russia and India? Which areas of cooperation should take priority and what measures could be taken to further develop economic relations and encourage diversification?
From ASEAN and Mercosur to the EU and EAEU, regional economic associations are the principal building blocks of modern trade, and interaction between these blocks is an increasingly important mechanism for market access. Yet, is greater regionalization acting as a source of market liberalization or will it bring fragmentation of global trade and, in turn, isolate individual economies? How can EAEU member states build stronger intra-regional ties and better confront global economic challenges? Does Eurasia have the potential to create its own regional megaproject and how might the EAEUs trading partners benefit?
Leveraging comparative advantages vs. Broad-based regional development strategies
The most commonly used models in implementing Russian regional development strategies are either the creation of a single industry scenario or a commitment to a diversified model. Each model has its pros and cons, and several regions have achieved impressive results utilizing each approach. What should be the precursors and how much emphasis should there be on comparative advantages when deciding which strategy to deploy? What is the right balance between integrated development and narrow specialization in Russian regional growth?
Preparing your company to combat the growing threat of cyber crime
It is estimated that last years 90 million cyber attacks cost global businesses as much as USD 575 billion, yet half of major international firms still lack a comprehensive strategy to combat hackers. With customers demanding robust protection and criminals becoming more sophisticated, only a total commitment starting from the corporate board will provide adequate protection. What steps should be taken to create a strong defence against cyber attacks? What are some of the key steps business leaders should take to create an effective corporate culture to support cyber security?
The coming industrial revolution: the impact on competitiveness and employment
The Fourth Industrial Revolution driven by the convergence of digitalization, robotics, and additive manufacturing is promising to herald a new era in production efficiencies and productivity. This is expected to not only result in reduced costs and enhanced product development, but eventually it could fundamentally alter the role of labour in the entire global economy. The resulting disruptions are not without risk and, if not properly managed, could spur greater income inequality as well as the disenfranchisement of large sectors of the workforce. How can such potential negative effects be addressed and what role can governments play to ensure smooth transitions in labour markets? How should businesses adjust their strategies, if at all, to take into account the potential social impact resulting from Industry 4.0?
The geo-economics of large-scale infrastructure projects
The abundance of natural resources and the build-out of infrastructure to access them create key competitive advantages for countries and regions. Those economies that have developed the most economical and effective means of managing critical resources have flourished, but the presence of resources and a fortuitous geographical location are the bare minimum requirement for sustainable development. What might be the impact of new major infrastructure projects on the global economy? What are the geopolitical risks associated with major cross-border infrastructure projects and how can these best be mitigated? What role can governments play in attracting private investment to these projects?
Russia-Latin American SMEs as catalysts in building value
Taking into consideration the highly complementary economic structures, the benefits of strengthening ties and expanding bilateral partnerships are evident to both Russian and Latin American firms. How might enhanced cooperation result in the further exploitation of Latin American natural resources, uncover opportunities for Russian knowledge-intensive industries, and boost market access for Latin goods and services in Russia? How might SMEs play a more significant role in generating new business opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses and create mutual value?
Shifts in economics, politics, and business have redefined the global economic landscape, calling for an increased focus on the African continent. Africa, the second largest continent, richly endowed with a myriad of mineral resources, skills, and an abundance of labour has been growing at 3.9%. In 2015 Africa possessed seven of the 10 fastest growing economies, and by 2020 the continent is projected to have a collective GDP of USD 2.6 trillion, over 200 million consumers, and a working-age population of 1.1 billion. Russia has enjoyed a long history of cooperation with African countries, including the construction of large-scale industrial facilities, education exchanges, collaboration in healthcare, and military partnerships. Russian trade with Africa has huge potential to expand it currently totals USD 2.5 billion, at a time when the continents imports of manufactured goods amount to USD 430 billion with annual growth of 1015%. Increased cooperation between Africa and Russia offers the opportunity to improve economies of scale and efficiencies, thereby increasing competitiveness in the respective markets and globally. How can Russia accelerate its economic ties with the continent and what sectors are likely to be successful first movers?
Social entrepreneurship as an agent for social change
Social entrepreneurship has historically been at the intersection of philanthropy and traditional business. As a rule, social entrepreneurs try to ensure the greatest possible social impact at a relatively low return on investment, creating and propagating new approaches to the settlement of social issues. What market sectors and segments do social entrepreneurs need to pay attention to? What skills do they have to develop in order to use different business models successfully? Can social entrepreneurs who are just starting out expect support from the largest charity funds and from companies, as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes?
Inclusive growth: how best to address income disparity without stifling growth
Growth in social inequality around the world remains a problem which is hard to tackle for leading economies and international organizations. With middle-income wages having stagnated for over a decade and a half and nearly 50% of global GDP concentrated in the hands of the 1%, income disparity has become as much a political as it is an economic issue. How can these long-standing and structural problems be addressed, particularly as technology, globalization, and political populism strain social and political systems? How can business and government collaborate more closely to avoid social instability?
Russian macroeconomic policy in response to a volatile global environment
A package of economic policy measures implemented in 20142015 has allowed the economy to absorb external shocks and stabilized fluctuations in key financial indicators and financial markets. What further actions must be taken in the three key areas of economic policy (budgetary, monetary and structural) to ensure a transition to sustainable economic growth? How will policies in these areas affect each other? What must be done to ensure that the changes are successfully implemented?
G20/B20 priorities: infrastructure, employment, SME development, prospects for Germany’s B20 presidency
Representatives of B20 Taskforces and other participants from G20 members and partner countries will discuss B20 recommendations for the G20 leaders summit in Hangzhou and prospects for B20 Germany in 2017. Infrastructure development can lay solid foundations for future economic expansion and spur growth in each country. Moreover, the creation of more employment opportunities and quality jobs are important for securing sustainable and balanced economic growth. And finally, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital sources of productivity and innovation as global economic growth is weak. How can the policy environment for investment be optimized and investment in infrastructure projects be promoted? How can employment opportunities be boosted and human resources be allocated efficiently? How can SME access to financing and global value chains be ensured, and what innovative ways to boost SME development are available?
The big challenges in promoting scientific development
Science and technology play a predominant role in providing solutions to modern humanitys critical challenges. Science itself is evolving as it confronts new challenges, but to what extent are these changes the result of external factors? What is currently driving scientific development internationally and in Russia: responding to external demands or the sequential logic of R&D activities? What are the key foundations of modern-day scientific and technical development and how might this change? What are some of the potential social, economic, and political impacts that can be derived from effective approaches to scientific development?
The massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and Central Asia has become a major international challenge, threatening the political fortunes of a number of individual EU heads of government and straining the Unions core foundations. But Europe is not alone in confronting a backlash to immigration; in the US the influx of the Latino population has increased xenophobia and reshaped the body politic, while regional economies such as Turkey and Jordan must manage the flood of huge minority populations. What policies must be implemented to create a sensible and sustainable immigration policy for each of these economies, turning what is presently viewed as a crisis into a potential economic growth opportunity? What is at stake for the rest of the world if these crises continue unabated?
Economic and technological progress has always been a function of human talent and energy. Today, as the role of natural resources, production facilities, and other material assets in supporting economic growth becomes increasingly limited, and the volatility of financial markets remains high, human capital is a key investment. Long-term economic development strategies in a number of nations already prioritize this factor. Russia has traditionally been ranked quite high in the world ratings of human capital development. But has this potential been fully realized? What skills do the national economy and society need at a time when a new industrial revolution that may completely change the structure of employment is taking place? What problems and tasks in human capital development need to be addressed at the government level? Does Russia need a national human capital development strategy?
The changing nature of international investment arbitration
Recent investment arbitration disputes have prompted critics to point out shortcomings in the process, including lack of transparency, high costs, and a tendency to needlessly politicize proceedings. While arbitration remains a popular means of resolving disputes, are the traditional mechanisms outdated and in need of reform? What changes could be put in place to improve dispute settlement? How might disputes be regulated within the TPP and TTIP?
A new ecosystem for Russian small and medium-sized enterprises
A growing SME segment could serve as an important driver of entrepreneurship and economic growth as the Russian economy transforms. What niche markets are best suited for small-scale entrepreneurs, and how are SMEs adapting strategies to meet the needs of major clients? What steps can be taken to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to open and grow businesses? What more needs to be done to foster and unleash Russias entrepreneurial potential?
With retail giants Walmart and Amazon as well as major delivery companies such as Swisspost and DHL all developing new «instant-delivery» drone systems, the science fiction of robotic unmanned airborne vehicles is becoming an increasingly plausible part of the logistics supply chain. How might full-fledged drone delivery platforms transform retail, production, and services? What barriers must still be overcome before such services lift off?
National export support systems – new partnership opportunities
The Russian Export Center (REC) and EXIAR, part of the REC Group, have the expertise to provide comprehensive support for export operations including the financing of major projects in Russia in partnership with foreign export credit agencies (ECAs) and other international financial institutions. How have sanctions impacted foreign ECAs willingness to participate in Russian projects, and what kinds of ventures are receiving priority attention? What can be done to expand the number of Russian companies that successfully attract ECA financing? When is it advisable for firms to engage EXIAR to secure additional cover?
Russia and the EU: what follows the “strategic partnership” that never happened?
This Valdai Discussion Club session examines the range of problems in RussiaEU relations, the prospects for resolution going forward, and the mutual expectations of both parties. Greater Europe is going through a period of crisis, while the European Union is facing numerous internal problems and requires transformation to meet new challenges, Russia, on the other hand, needs a new development model to accomplish an economic and social leap. What steps does Greater Europe need to take in order to realize a new system that heeds the lessons of the 19902000s model, factor in an array of new circumstances and lays foundations for coordinated development for the entire continent? How can this new system be made ambitious enough to realize the development potential, while remaining realistic and avoiding utopias akin to the «Common European Home»?
Over the past two years, global oil and gas markets have experienced fundamental dislocations in supply and demand, resulting in massive price volatility. What trends and adjustments need to happen to find a new, stable equilibrium in energy pricing, and what is the time line for reaching this new normal? Are there new disruptors on the horizon that could bring about yet more price destabilization?
Creative industries: formula to boost your business environment
Creative industries, which account for up to 10% of GDP in developed economies, are an important engine for job creation, spurring innovation and fostering a comfortable urban environment. Targeted education programmes and collaborative platforms have proven effective catalysts for creative firms, particularly in the fields of digital technologies, media, design, and culture. How has the creative economy developed both in Russia and globally? How might Russias regions boost the development of and better benefit from creative industries? And how might the expansion of the sector spur competitiveness and create the essential preconditions for the regions more active integration into the global economy?
Preventing the next potential crises in debt management
Between 2007 and 2015, sovereign debt for developed nations alone reached USD 59 trillion, having increased from 50% to almost 80% of total GDP, while total global debt now exceeds global GDP many times over. The unabated growth of debt raises concerns over the ability to refinance and service obligations, and threatens to undermine investor confidence while seeding potentially destabilizing imbalances in the global economy. What are the potential consequences of further debt expansion in the largest economies? What can be done to convince governments and multilateral institutions to take coordinated action to address this problem, given the current environment?
BRICS business forum: joining forces to achieve stable economic growth
Prospects for the development and diversification of economic cooperation between the BRICS countries, and opportunities to expand market access amongst the five economies are priority agenda items for the BRICS Business Forum. Discussions will also focus on national development programmes and instruments to facilitate investment activities, as well as the role of the BRICS New Development Bank in supporting promising areas such as infrastructure, energy, and others.
Clean energy: building momentum in a renaissance in nuclear power
Recent innovations in financing models, mobility for power stations, generation and water desalination applications, as well as technologies to recycle spent rods, are all driving a renewed interest in nuclear as a growing part of the energy mix. What are the next big opportunities for the USD 55 billion industry and what challenges must be overcome for the sector to reach its full potential?
World oil market at crossroads: uncertainty investments or risk management?
The most critical phase of the global oil market crisis is over. However, oil prices are still low, investments in oil production and exploration are being cut for the second consecutive year, and a high degree of uncertainty remains in the market. What are the short-term and long-term effects of underinvestment in the oil industry? How will it influence the resource-to-production ratio? Is the price increase seen in the recent weeks a long-term trend? Is this level of prices sufficient to recover investments? What is the role of shale oil production in the demand and supply balance and pricing in the mid-term? Is it possible to speak about the start of a new era in the development and regulation of the global oil market?
Charity and philanthropy: meeting future challenges
With governments unable to effectively respond to every change taking place in modern societies, charities and philanthropists are pioneering new initiatives in education and preservation of cultural heritage. However, large-scale charitable objectives cannot be met without government support. How can charities, philanthropists, and the government better work together in education and cultural heritage preservation? What are some of the examples where joint coordination has resulted in successful projects? What economic and legal instruments might be introduced to encourage charity and philanthropy in Russia?
Technological advances and socioeconomic expansion are responsible for the rapid growth of the travel industry. Tourism is a major development driver for different regions, creating thousands of jobs, expanding communication networks, and improving living standards. To ensure sustainable sector diversification, the environmental, economic, social, and cultural aspects of tourism should all be accounted for. Is there a ready-made formula for sustainable development in tourism? How can the potential for tourism as a multiplier of benefits be best nurtured and what steps should be taken to build a competitive sector given the changing economic climate?
An objective look at the processes taking place in the Middle East gives us grounds to believe that despite the numerous hotspots of geopolitical tension, business in the region is as active as ever and is trying to develop multilateral partnerships with companies from other regions. In the context of serious political disagreements between key regional players, business can be a bridge to help solve many of the problems in the Middle East. What are the conditions for doing business in the region today? How has the downturn in hydrocarbon prices provided an impetus to diversification strategies and opened the door for new investment opportunities in the region? Can the business community play a stabilizing role in the Middle East, and what tools could it use to do this?
Access to state procurement: a business perspective
The total annual value of state procurement is estimated to be over RUB 15 trillion, which makes state-owned companies a stable source of demand for goods and services. Several government measures have recently been taken to expedite and bring transparency to public procurement. What new opportunities have been created to facilitate corporate access to the public procurement market? What else needs to be done to make cooperation between private businesses and state-owned companies more straightforward and transparent? What role do foreign companies play within the public procurement system at a time when domestic production is being encouraged in various sectors of the economy?
The structural changes underway in the global economy are creating new potential growth engines. The more traditional major economic champions are now being joined by new, emerging economies, which are demonstrating stable growth despite the sluggish recovery in the global economy as a whole. Might these new players serve as global growth engines in the short and medium term, and what role can their national governments play in supporting this trend? Who are the new, emerging leaders?
The economic impact of epidemics: a case study of public–private partnership in the fight against ebola
Global challenges such as epidemics of infectious diseases have a huge impact on the economies of countries and entire regions. In recent years, the frequency and scale of new threats has grown as a result of several factors, including economic integration and increased cross-border travel and trade. What steps can be taken to prevent health emergencies and to mitigate their negative impact on economies and societies, and what are the costs of managing such risks? What can be learned from the experience of fighting the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and Russias experience of publicprivate partnership in providing assistance to the Republic of Guinea in particular? What new and unexplored approaches, tools, and methods could be used to prevent and respond to outbreaks of deadly diseases?
Life after sanctions: re-integrating Iran into the global economy
Since 2012, Irans inbound FDI has fallen from USD 4.5 billion to only USD 2 billion last year. However, as sanctions are lifted, the country has the opportunity to rebuild commercial ties with a host of international business partners. Which sectors are expected to benefit first from a resumption of expanded international trade and investment? What steps can the Iranian government take to gain the confidence of the international business community and sustain momentum in a re-engagement process? What role is Russia to play in Irans plans for reintegration into global markets?
Russian and foreign jurisdictions: security for doing business
Rule of law and security around commercial jurisdiction are the pre-requisites for a strong investment climate, given the high market volatility. How does the Russian jurisdiction compare with its foreign counterparts in terms of doing business? What changes need to be made to the existing legislation to make business more convenient?
The foremost deliverable of a national budget is meeting the needs of society, while reflecting national priorities and state policy. Effective budgetary expenditure is an essential component of implementing economic policy. How can priorities in state expenditure be adjusted through monitoring the effectiveness of the allocation of budgetary funds? How effective have the development institutions that have been recipients of state funding been? What should be the key role of the highest financial oversight authorities in the budgetary processes today: effective oversight, risk-related governance, or appraisal of the efficiency of managerial decision-making? What can be learned from the auditing practice of international institutions?
In search of best practice in state investment management
The combined assets of the ten largest sovereign wealth funds exceed USD 3 trillion, but as the commodity supercycle has unwound and global growth rates have slowed, there are new demands to enhance yields and bring best practices into investment strategies. What is the expected level of risk and return for sovereign wealth fund investments and what are the sectors that these funds in particular can differentiate? Where are sovereign wealth funds seeing most success and what specific reforms are most needed for Russia to maximize performance?
New frameworks and criteria in credit rating systems
Credit rating agencies wield tremendous influence on capital markets. Investors and regulators use ratings in order to make investment decisions, develop their own analytical risk management systems, and adopt regulatory and capital requirement standards. How are rating agencies impacting global financial markets and how do market participants perceive the current work of credit agencies? How are investors currently reconciling differences between ratings from various agencies, and what steps should agencies take to introduce more transparency and build trust in their analysis?
New advances in medical applications: a look into the future
The healthcare industry is experiencing advances at a breathtaking pace, ranging from new drug therapies to treat cancer, personalized medicines, and diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases to surgical robotics and medical device implants. New treatments for mental disorders, organ generation through 3D printing, and an in-depth understanding of the functions of the brain are only a few of the future breakthroughs which are just around the corner. What does the next decade hold for the healthcare industry and how are innovations in medicine, management, and computer science impacting patient treatment? How is Russia positioning itself in the global market and what new technologies should it focus on developing?
Where is the money? Financing the conversion to a smart city
The impact of smart city applications is real and tangible. Leveraging the combination of sensory systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and intelligent metering applications, municipalities worldwide are able to deliver high-quality services at vastly reduced prices. However, retrofitting the modern urban landscape is costly and the financing models are immature. Who is typically participating in the financing of the transition of municipalities into «smart cities»? What resources will be needed and what will be the consequences of such a transformation?
Technologies as a pass into tomorrow: evolve or die
We live in the era of great technological innovations. A competition of racing drones, Cybersecurity Olympics, Cyborg Olympics are all features of the future that has well arrived. Commercial space rockets are becoming part of the mainstream, self-driving cars are finding their way into the public roads. Cloud technologies, big data, global access to digital services have been dramatically changing lifestyles and business patterns. Data are becoming new oil, and the world is becoming ever more integrated. The speed of knowledge transfer in the digital world has moved onto a new level. But technologies create numerous risks as well as unprecedented opportunities. The schism has been growing between the companies and nations that have and have not reaped the fruit of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The complexity of the economic race and its stakes have been getting ever higher. The choice is either to adapt or to lag behind forever. Are we prepared to face the new technological reality?
The relations between Russia and the European Union have reached an all-time low since the modern-day EU came into existence. The frustration that has accumulated over a number of years, surfaced during the Ukraine crisis. As a result, the old model has run out of steam, and the return to a «strategic partnership» that characterized relations during the 1990s and 2000s is no longer possible, and the idea of a «common future» is no longer on the agenda. Nevertheless, a high degree of interdependence remains, and there is a desire to preserve and strengthen economic, cultural and human ties, while it remains necessary to collaborate in response to common challenges. The crisis will pass sooner or later, but what will be the shape of the new model of relations equitable, pragmatic, based on mutual respect yet recognizing differences? And what place will Russia and the EU occupy in the new global architecture of the world, which is becoming increasingly fragmented, unpredictable, less unified and less «European», yet still interdependent?
Russia–Japan: creating a new business cooperation model
The development of mutually beneficial economic relations with countries in the Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Russia and strengthening the partnership with Japan one of the worlds largest financial, economic, and investment centres is among the most promising. Investment projects, establishing RussianJapanese enterprises, and jointly promoting goods and services on the markets of third countries are extremely important to businesses in Russia and Japan, and offer a great deal of promise. Recently, as a result of weakness in both economies, there has been a decline in bilateral trade and investment. How can the current difficulties be overcome, and what should be done to diversify trade and economic cooperation between the two countries? What practical steps could be taken to promote relations and bring economic ties to a new level?
Over the past decade, a number of Russian entrepreneurs have successfully differentiated their businesses by developing a corporate «brand cachet» creating a strong identity and customer loyalty for their products and services. But is enough being done to build value in Russian brands? What are the intrinsic values of Russian corporate identities? And what should business leaders do to build stronger brand values, especially in international markets?
SCO business forum: promising foundation for economic cooperation
In June 2016, the SCO will mark its fifteenth anniversary. Participants will discuss the main achievements, current state, and prospects for the development of economic cooperation within the SCO, including opportunities to expand the transport and logistics potential of SCO countries and experiences in setting up industrial parks. Also, discussions will focus on SMEs as a factor in interregional cooperation, in particular opportunities to broaden interaction (e.g. exhibitions and fairs, congresses, online platforms, etc.), and how business can play a role in strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties between SCO countries.