VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov Joins the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development
VEB.RF’s Chairman Igor Shuvalov has joined WHO’s Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development (see press release on WHO's website).
The Commission will draw lessons from the ways in which different countries’ health systems have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and will make recommendations on investments and reforms to improve the resilience of health and social care systems. The Commission will also seek to build consensus on these recommendations and to elevate health and social care as societal and political priorities, recognised as being critical to both sustainable development and social cohesion.
The Commission will be chaired by Professor Mario Monti, President of Bocconi University and former Prime Minister of Italy and former European Commissioner. The Commission will be composed of former heads of states and governments, distinguished life scientists and economists, heads of health and social care institutions, and leaders of the business community and financial institutions. The inaugural meeting of the Commission is scheduled for 26 August 2020.
In addition to Igor Shuvalov, the Commission will include former Finnish President Tarja Halonen, former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva, former French Minister of Defence Sylvie Goulard and others.
WHO is the United Nations Agency responsible for public health. The WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) is one of six WHO’s regional offices. WHO/Europe serves the WHO European region, which includes 53 countries, and is a team of scientific and technical specialists in various aspects of public health, based at the head office in Copenhagen (Denmark), in 4 branch centres, as well as in country offices located in 30 Member States.
SCO Banks: Regional Economic Recovery Based on Digital Solutions, Trade Cooperation, and Energy
The state of the world economy, lessons learned and ways out of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic were discussed today at the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management by representatives of state agencies and member banks of the Interbank Consortium of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO IBC), which this year is chaired by State Development Corporation VEB.RF. The event has become the first step in implementing the anti-crisis roadmap of the SCO IBC.
Vladimir Mau, economist and Rector of RANEPA, opened the event by giving an analysis of the macroeconomic situation in which the SCO countries are compelled to act.
“Despite the differences in our economies, we face common problems: rising unemployment, falling industrial production, growing budget deficits, closing of export channels, and much more. Cooperation within the SCO should be based on the sustainable development agenda, the digital economy, and expanding cooperation in trade and energy. The volume of trade between the SCO countries is still quite low, and there is potential for growth here,” he said.
According to Vladimir Mau, Russia is doing well from a macroeconomic point of view. “This crisis is not a structural one and does not develop into a banking one. It can rather be compared to the post-war situation, that is, we are dealing with the economic consequences of events that are not economic in nature. A key challenge of post-crisis recovery of the SCO should be human and sustainable economic development within the SCO. The welfare of specific people is much more important than gross growth figures,” Vladimir Mau summed up.
VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairman Daniil Algulyan spoke about the strategy employed by VEB.RF to combat the crisis. “VEB.RF issued guarantees to 15 banks, owing to which about 30 thousand enterprises raised loans at 0%. Also, our guarantees, this time under the employment support programme, provided almost 150 thousand loans to enterprises at 2%. 38 banks have joined this programme.” According to Daniil Algulyan, in a crisis, the interest of commercial banks in cross-border transactions is falling, and it is up to the development institutions to support export-import operations. VEB.RF is actively working in this direction and is doing everything to ensure that trade flows are not affected.
VEB.RF's Deputy Chairman has named the development of infrastructure for payments in national currencies as one of the most effective measures in this direction. “In recent years, we have made great progress in trading in national currencies, and the use of yuan and rouble is growing. The Bank of Russia has developed and is actively implementing the Financial Messaging System (FMS), which our colleagues from the Uzbekistan National Bank will soon join. We are open to any suggestions in this area,” he said.
VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya noted that the state corporation plays an important role in the implementation of public anti-crisis measures. “Participation of VEB.RF as an agent in providing subsidies allowed us to provide timely, operational support to systemically important organisations, while VEB.RF’s analytics and monitoring made it possible to make the subsidy mechanism flexible and adapted to the needs of organisations. The mechanism for subsidising the interest rate made it possible to provide 200 billion roubles of preferential loans to organisations to replenish working capital”, VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairperson said. In addition, according to her, VEB.RF and the National PPP Development Centre have launched an anti-crisis programme to assist regions in bringing about PPP projects, which is currently in high demand among regional authorities. The programme has already received circa 270 initiatives for a total amount of 791.4 billion roubles.
Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Kazakhstan Development Bank (KDB) Duman Abubakirov said that the bank's anti-crisis strategy was based on the experience gained in 2008 and 2014-15. The crisis brought many problems: many projects that required foreign specialists onsite have been mothballed. The cost of borrowed capital has increased with high capital intensity of projects. Nevertheless, the Government of Kazakhstan and the KDB managed to save about 25 thousand jobs thanks to the timely measures taken. The bank switched to teleworking, but its performance, according to Duman Abubakirov, did not suffer.
Representative of the China Development Bank (CDB) Pan Dunmei noted that measures to support the economy in their case were concentrated around four key areas. First, countering the negative consequences of the coronavirus, including emergency financing of production and the procurement of protective equipment and medicine. Second, providing assistance to affected businesses. Third, helping companies restart after the pandemic; and fourth, protecting employees who have returned to their jobs. As part of these tasks, in 1H2020, the CDB employed various lending opportunities totalling 1.8 trillion yuan.
The conference was also attended by Director of the Strategic Development and Corporate Policy Department of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade Aleksey Uchenov, Director for Strategic Development of the Eurasian Development Bank Tatyana Chernikova, Deputy Head of the Eurasian Affairs Department of the PRC’s Ministry of Commerce Zhang Dong. The meeting was moderated by VEB.RF’s Chief Strategy Officer Aleksey Kechko.
Development banks of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will discuss anti-crisis support measures for national economies as part of the first stage of the Road Map to Overcome the Pandemic’s Consequences for the SCO Economies. The SCO Interbank Consortium (SCO IBC) conference will be held online on 7 August 2020.
Heads of SCO IBC banks, representatives of ministries and leading experts will discuss strategies for overcoming the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Economists from Russia and the SCO countries will present their analysis of the situation and forecast for the coming months, propose action plans to overcome the crisis, and exchange practical experience on measures to support national economies.
The development institutions of the SCO countries played a crucial role in combating the economic consequences of the pandemic, supporting companies with loans and guarantees, curbing unemployment, and providing reliable support to the governments of the organisation's member countries. Over the past six months, they have accumulated unique experience that can be useful to their colleagues in the SCO IBC in dealing with new challenges, including in the event of a second wave of coronavirus. The conference will be organised by VEB.RF as part of its presidency in the SCO IBC in 2020 and the development of the anti-crisis roadmap.
The conference will be opened by RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau, who will make a report on the prospects for economic cooperation between the SCO countries in the period of post-pandemic economic recovery. The conference will bring together VEB.RF's top management, representatives of Russian ministries and the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC, Head of the Eurasian Development Bank Nikolai Podguzov and national development institutions of the SCO member states: the Development Bank of Kazakhstan, the State Development Bank of China, National Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan and others. The Russian Export Centre (part of the VEB.RF Group) and the RSMB Corporation will also report on the results of anti-crisis measures.
The conference will be held on 7 August 2020 at the Glassroom Multimedia Auditorium of the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management. The event is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. (MSK). The broadcast will be available here.
“VEB.RF, as a development institution, implements measures aimed at stimulating investment and infrastructure development, implementing major investment projects, supporting the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, and also participates in the implementation of anti-crisis measures of the Russian Government. During the lockdown, VEB.RF did not suspend its activities, continued to participate in the implementation of significant projects for the country, and fulfilled its obligations to its partners and customers. VEB.RF’s guarantees have a multiplying effect on the economy and allow companies in the real sector to attract investment on more favourable terms and maturities. As of 1 August 2020, VEB.RF's guarantee portfolio exceeded one trillion roubles. VEB.RF issued guarantees to enterprises in the following sectors: timber industry, chemical industry, mechanical engineering, transport infrastructure, and energy,” VEB.RF’s First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Nikolai Tsekhomsky said.
According to the Memorandum on the Financial Policy, VEB.RF’s guarantees and sureties also ensure the fulfilment of obligations of companies engaged in foreign economic activity and export contracts. Support and promotion of Russian industrial exports is a priority for VEB.RF. As at 1 August 2020, VEB.RF's export support guarantee portfolio amounted to 458.52 billion roubles.
VEB.RF Introduced City Managers to International Urban Development Experience
The first module of the Master of Public Administration programme has been completed. It was attended by 145 people from 29 cities of Russia. The programme was created on the initiative of VEB.RF, together with experts from the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management in partnership with the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design, National Research University Higher School of Economics and the New Economic School.
The first module of the programme was devoted to the study of global urban development trends, as well as their economic role, approaches to planning and organising projects that qualitatively change the lives of city dwellers.
As part of the module, VEB.RF’s key managers and their partners presented their tools and opportunities for urban development. They also shared their experiences in managing and supporting large-scale projects.
“100 cities, managers from which participate in the programme, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, account for a half of the Russian population and GDP. Nevertheless, non-capital cities have a huge potential for economic growth too. One of the necessary conditions for this is qualified management teams. It is for them that we, together with our partners, have organised an educational programme, which is designed to give an impetus to improving the quality of life in our cities,” VEB.RF’s Chairman Igor Shuvalov noted.
Several dozen economics and urban development experts gave lectures, including Alexander Mamut, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture and Design; Ruben Enikolopov, President of the New Economic School; Andrei Sharonov, President of the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management; Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities (London); Alexei Muratov, Partner of Strelka KB; Greg Clark, Senior Adviser for Future Cities and New Industries at HSBC Bank; and Irina Ilyina, Director of the HSE Centre for Regional Studies.
In the practical part of the module, participants were asked to analyse existing strategies for the development of their cities and conduct an audit of current and planned projects.
Andrei Sharonov, President of the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management: “When we conducted an anonymous survey of management teams and asked what qualities would they like to develop and learn, the vast majority in three different groups answered identically: confidence and competence. This is the task for us and our educational partners in all the following modules: to create a programme that would increase the level of competence of managers and, as a result, their self-confidence. And the result of these changes should be real urban transformation projects.”
“A great advantage is that we have the opportunity to talk to our financial partner, VEB.RF, as part of this programme. Moreover, we immediately consider our projects with financing opportunities in mind. We are full of optimism. We have many very healthy ambitions, many interesting ideas. I believe that this is an opportunity for each team, for each city, to find a direction that can change the energy of the city. And the energy of the city is those right initiatives that will be implemented through the involvement of our citizens, our residents, therefore this is the key,” he said.
The first intake of the programme included participants from Armavir, Bratsk, Veliky Novgorod, Vladivostok, Vologda, Voronezh, Dzerzhinsk, Ivanovo, Kazan, Kemerovo, Korolev, Kostroma, Krasnogorsk, Krasnodar, Lipetsk, Makhachkala, Nizhnevartovsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novorossiysk, Orenburg, Orsk, Perm, Sochi, Sterlitamak, Surgut, Tula, Ulan-Ude, Ussuriysk, Ufa, Khimki, Chelyabinsk, and Yakutsk.