The eighth Russian-Abkhaz Business Forum (hereinafter the Forum) was held in Sukhumi (Republic of Abkhazia) on 27 October 2017.
The Forum is traditionally a major platform for discussing the state and prospects of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia. This year the Forum generated great interest among the business community and government representatives, including at the regional level. The Forum was attended by representatives of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Chechen Republic, the Republic of Crimea, the Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol Territory, Lipetsk Region, Ivanovo Region, and St. Petersburg, among others. More than 500 people took part in the Forum.
The Russian delegation was headed by Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and Head of the Federal Agency for State Property Management Dmitry Pristankov, who touched upon the most topical issues of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia during his speech at the Forum’s plenary session, which were expounded upon during subsequent events at the Forum.
‘The Forum is truly a wonderful platform for exchanging opinions, but we must make sure that the discussions are followed by concrete actions. People shouldn’t be afraid to raise important themes that affect the investment appeal of the republic.
‘This is key, and together we need to pay attention to the acute issues faced by investors who are investing their money in Abkhazia. They deserve guarantees that these funds will be preserved.
‘To date, the infeasibility of selling housing in Abkhazia to Russian citizens remains a topic of immediate interest. The proceeds earned from the sale of real estate, a large part of which is in unsatisfactory condition, would become one of the foundations for the stable development of the republic’s economy.
Finding a solution to these problems will not only have a positive impact on the development of economic relations between Russia and Abkhazia, but will also help to take the republic’s economy to a new level’ Chairman of the Russian-Abkhaz Business Council Andrey Sergeyev said.
The Forum participants also discussed the issue of energy, which is of great importance for the economy of any country, including Abkhazia. At present, electricity is supplied from the Ingur Hydropower Plant. Stoppages in the supply of electricity at any time (which has already happened) have negative consequences for all sectors of the economy. In addition, legislation restricts investment by foreign companies (actually Russian) to solve this problem. That being said, there are no options for solving this problem except through Russian investments. The development of small-scale power generation facilities is a very costly project. Furthermore, Abkhaz legislation also limits the ability of foreign investors to build power facilities with capacity of over 5 MW since they are state property. Russian business is ready to invest in strategic projects if the appropriate conditions are created.
The Forum also included the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Abkhazia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Ivanovo Region Union as well as an agreement between United Processing Complex LLC and Technology LLC on the supply of inert materials from the Republic of Abkhazia to the Russian Federation. In addition, a networking exchange took place as well as an exhibition of textile products from enterprises of the Ivanovo Region.
The Roscongress Foundation is the official operator of the Forum.