A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 188 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, Spanish – t.me/RoscongressEsp and Arabic t.me/RosCongressArabic. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation:roscongress.org.

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Multilateral Development Banks in the Post-COVID Era: Old Challenges and New Opportunities
4 June 2021
Development banks as pioneers of global international agenda and development

Since the establishment of the World Bank their role has transformed: after Europe recovered from the war <…> they shifted focus to humanitarian tasks and to consulting governments on reforms and fighting against poverty. <…> Where does this transformation go? — .

We were among the first to dig into the COVID topic when the pandemic was just beginning, at that time it was limited to China. <…> Over just one month we allocated 355 million dollars in China. For us it was an unprecedented experience, as we had never been involved in healthcare projects before <…> we were designed for different kinds of projects. <…> This shows how a new modern development bank can response to such changes in a fast and flexible manner, — Konstantin Limitovskiy, Vice President, Investment Operations Ⅱ - East & Central Asia, EMEA & Americas, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The role of multilateral banks is that they are pioneers, they coordinate actions, they take the lead and show where to go, what to do, what the best practices are. And often these are <…> interregional, integrational projects, including <…> ESG <…>. Multilateral banks are designed to support and direct efforts, — Vasily Savin, Partner, Head of Power and Utilities, KPMG in Russia and the CIS.

Development banks play a key role in overcoming the COVID crisis

The response of both national and multilateral development banks to COVID consequences was impressive. <…> In my opinion, development banks’ reaction to COVID effects was faster, and as far as financing is concerned, its pace was even higher than that of governments, — Sergey Storchak, Chief Banker, VEB.RF.

VEB <…> has offered <…> the Government a shoulder to support the economy. And it has accumulated all available tools. We were quite successful in terms of our measures: it was support for systemic enterprises, it was support for small and medium-sized businesses. And these programmes really worked, — Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairman, Member of the Board, VEB.RF.

In 2020 development banks increased the volume of loans. <…> The role of central banks in overcoming crises, in stimulating the economy, in pumping money into the economy, in lending to the real sector, was enormous. This massive injection of liquidity pulled out the economy. <...> There was no massive business bankruptcy, — Dmitriy Pankin, President, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank.

We are now entering a post-COVID stage; states will keep facing second and third waves of the pandemic. We need to prepare for the upcoming waves, we need to identify deficits and shortages, we need to work with member states and other MDBs, and we need to learn from the fight against COVID and incorporate this knowledge into future activities, — Xian Zhu, Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, New Development Bank (NDB BRICS).

Russia works closely with MDBs

Access to vaccines is the priority. We need a global commitment to vaccinate the population. <…> 12 billion was allocated for these purposes, Russia has also made a large contribution, but banks should continue working and building capacity across the entire vaccine supply chain for different countries. <…> Concessional financing remains an important <…> element in countries with low income and countries affected by crises and wars. <...> We were pleased that Russia had made commitments to resume financing, to provide financing within the G20, — Renaud Seligmann, Country Director for the Russian Federation, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank Group.

The Russian Federation did not receive active support as part of MDB programmes <…> there was either minimal or no participation at all. It is a shame, because we are a large and a key shareholder in multilateral development banks, and we would like Russia to enjoy this value as well, — Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairman, Member of the Board, VEB.RF.

Anti-crisis support measures have had some negative impact

Perhaps, many have already felt <…> the liquidity that central banks [injected, Ed.] into the system. No doubt, at first [it, Ed.] was helpful. Then it expanded to stock markets. Stock indices began surging in September. Now this money is going to commodities and food products. So <…> we are yet to feel these consequences, — Sergey Storchak, Chief Banker, VEB.RF.

Lack of methodological base and practices for financing ESG projects

Great attention is now being paid to the ESG agenda and the creation of relevant instruments. <…> These are very transparent problems that development banks can help to solve. The key [problem, Ed.] <…> is the lack of clear game rules and expectations. <…> There are many different views: what to consider ‘green’, what not to consider <…> and how to interpret controversial cases. <...> International development banks can both generalize the agenda and create the most important examples of best practices that companies could use to make the development of the ESG agenda and financing of sustainable development projects faster, easier and cheaper, — .

Investors are facing the problems that hinder the development of infrastructure projects

As soon as we come to a new region, we face the fact that we do not have a professional client that can speak our language. <…> And it is a very serious problem because it hinders the development of infrastructure. We helped create the programme of the St. Petersburg Graduate School of Management <…> but these are just the first steps. <…> Here the development bank’s role is also important: to transfer this knowledge, to educate, — Oleg Pankratov, Chief Executive Officer, VTB Infrastructure Holding.

Using the special status of development banks to promote ‘green’ projects

It is for a reason that we have a special status, that we have been put beyond the national regulation. <...> We need to think about how we can allocate more capital to this industry [to ‘green’ projects, Ed.], we need to maintain a dialogue with the rating agency so that they somehow change their methodology. I urge us to do so and take slightly larger risks in the context of this urgent agenda, — Denis Ivanov, Chairman of the Management Board, International Bank for Economic Co-Operation.

Create procedures to promote sustainable development projects

We can see <…> how important are the first examples when development banks support projects related to loans for sustainable development purposes. <…> Its format and the set of rules that will be available for public analysis will allow this market to develop faster, — .

We believe that soft infrastructure is no less important than the hard one. <…> We are not able yet to meet the existing challenges and solve the problems of social infrastructure. These are the areas that allow us to learn from other development banks, help us accumulate knowledge and practices thanks to our partners. We hope that over the next five years we will develop a more balanced approach to existing issues and help countries establish and implement their national priorities, — Xian Zhu, Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, New Development Bank (NDB BRICS).

Prioritizing ESG and ‘green’ projects

Climate is a top priority; everybody is talking about the COP26. <…> The climate transition is related not only to carbon and emissions, but also to jobs, economic opportunities, as well as opportunities for industrial and technological development. This is relevant for all countries, — Renaud Seligmann, Country Director for the Russian Federation, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank Group.

Development of infrastructure is a key driver that helps the economy to overcome the crisis and start growing. <…> We have come up with a system for quality assessment of infrastructure projects that we have launched based on the G20 agenda where the principles of high-quality infrastructure have been established. <…> We would like our assessment methodology [IRIIS, Ed.] to be actively used, including by international development banks. Not only for Russian projects, but also for their promotion in bank policies, — Svetlana Yachevskaya, Deputy Chairman, Member of the Board, VEB.RF.

During the last year <…> we delved into the ESG and ‘green’ projects, and in our new strategy we have them as a separate item for the next five years, — Denis Ilyin, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Eurasian Development Bank.

Cooperation and collaboration

All our efforts combined may not be sufficient to overcome <...> the problems faced by the countries. But if we send the right signals <...> if we can synchronize fiscal and monetary policies, if we pay attention to those who are left behind, then we can really become a locomotive for a wonderful future, — Renaud Seligmann, Country Director for the Russian Federation, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank Group.