The Board of Directors of Russian Export Center (REC) resolved to replace REC’s current CEO Andrey Slepnev by Veronika Nikishina, a member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the EEC minister in charge of trade from 2016. In addition, the Board of Directors approved the 100 per cent attainment of REC’s corporate performance indicators.
As decided by the Board of Directors, Andrey Slepnev is to leave office on 9 February, and Veronika Nikishina will take up her new post on 10 February. When all intergovernmental approval formalities are completed, Slepnev will be appointed as the EEC minister in charge of trade.
Igor Shuvalov, Chairman, VEB.RF, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Russian Export Center: “I’ve been working closely with Ms Nikishina for years. She chose a career path in the development of trade and export and contributed to the foundation of Russian Export Center. Her experience will foster REC’s efforts to encourage non-energy exports and reach the ambitious goals of the national project. On behalf of all members of the VEB.RF team and on behalf of the development institutions, I’d like to thank Andrey Slepnev for his work. I’m sure Ms Nikishina and Mr Slepnev will continue to cooperate closely with each other in their new positions.”
Veronika Nikishina: “REC has already come a long way since its inception. We have a lot of work to do to make sure our activities acquire a new quality, that we are viewed by all exporters as a reliable, technologically advanced and maximally customer-focused partner. A partner that understands the exporter’s problems and helps to solve them quickly and effectively.”
REC has provided $19.5 billion in export support in the past year, with a target of $17.2 billion. This has been the highest figure since the government created this institution to support non-energy exports. This indicator increased by 3.7% on 2018 ($18.8 billion in export support), 35.4% on 2017 ($14.4 billion), 107.4% on 2016 ($9.4 billion) and 195.5% on 2015 ($6.6 billion).
REC contributed to several major transactions related to the supply of engineering products to Cuba, Egypt and Uzbekistan and supported projects in Turkmenistan and large deliveries of agricultural products to China as well as EAEU and EU countries. As a key organiser of the Year of Africa in Russia, REC held the Russia-Africa Economic Conference in cooperation with Afreximbank and co-organised the economic forum as part of the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. This resulted in establishing an institutional trade finance mechanism involving more than 10 African countries.
REC also met the target of 11,000 supported exporters. The number of such exporters was 3% and 8% higher than the 2019 target and last year’s result respectively.
Overall, the REC Group’s financial instruments supported 12.6% or, the agent’s and promoter’s support for exporters, 17.6% of Russia’s total non-energy exports in 2019, which conforms to the best international benchmarks.
Alexey Ivanchenko Tells French Start-ups About VEB.RF’s Innovation Business Support
On Tuesday, VEB.RF Deputy Chairman Alexey Ivanchenko addressed a meeting of Trianon Startups, a French-Russian initiative to support prominent young businesspeople from both countries. The initiative was launched last year as part of the Dialogue de Trianon, aimed at cementing civil society relationships between Russia and France. The delegates from the 30 most promising French start-ups gathered to learn about support for this kind of business in Russia and about whether they could take advantage of such support.
Alexey Ivanchenko told the meeting about VEB.RF’s innovation activities and the development institution’s role in the Russian ecosystem of start-ups. “We help start-ups at one of the most important and difficult stages, where the project has already made the first prototype, has received orders and needs to reach a new target: mass production,” he said. He also told the audience about the investment mechanism for the “upward mobility” of small and medium-sized non-commodity businesses, whereby they can receive support in entering foreign markets and increasing the share of export revenue.
Along with Alexey Ivanchenko, the speakers were representatives of other public and private business support institutions, such as Alexey Voronin, Vice President, Russian Direct Investment Fund; Anton Moskalenko, Head of International Relations, Agency for Strategic Initiatives; Alexey Steblev, Partner, RDI Digital Russia; and Alexandra Filatova, Head of International Development, GenerationS.
During the meeting, Alexey Ivanchenko came up with a proposal to move towards creating an integrated start-up support platform enabling large companies to place orders, and start-ups to offer their solutions. “It would be some kind of matrix of Russian large companies’ demand for innovative and digital solutions that can improve workforce productivity and create competitive advantage,” he proposed. The idea received support from the French entrepreneurs.
The French participants asked about the localisation requirements for foreign products in the Russian market, the relationship between the start-up industry and the government, the registration of French businesses, and much more. Alexey Ivanchenko noted that Russia’s infrastructure of innovation business support was primarily aimed at developing the domestic IT industry, but close and mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign companies could be one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal.
The Dialogue de Trianon is a civil society forum initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017. It is named after the Grand Trianon, a French château where the heads of state agreed on the initiative. The Dialogue de Trianon is co-chaired by Anatoly Torkunov, Rector, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and Pierre Morel, Former French Ambassador to Russia; the Secretaries General are Alexander Orlov, Former Russian Ambassador in Paris, and Nicolas Chibaeff, a French diplomat.