The project for constructing a railway to the Kaluga Special Economic Zone implemented under a concession agreement between Russian Railways and Kaluga Region is one of the first projects to be IRIIS certified.
The IRIIS system developed by VEB.RF in collaboration with the National PPP Development Center and АЕСОМ is based on the methodology for assessing infrastructure project in terms of their economic efficiency, environmental safety and social impacts.
Upon certification, the project team will receive independent assessment for the quality of investment in accordance with leading governance standards and best practices.
Russian Railways and Kaluga Region agreed in 2019 to construct a railway to a new industrial cluster in Liudinovo, the Kaluga SEZ. This is a first regional concession in modern Russia.
The railway will enable the residents of the Kaluga SEZ to carry 1.6 million tonnes of cargo per year. Its opening is scheduled for September 2021.
The first social beneficiaries participating in the assisted living programme for people with disabilities are moving into specially equipped apartments under the pilot project launched in Yakutia. The project initiated by Yakut authorities is aimed at introducing new social services in the region that are alternative to specialised in-patient facilities.
The programme is part of the SIB agenda initiated in Russia by VEB.RF. SIBs are clearly structured and provide for a strict distribution of responsibilities. Initially, the government engages private investors to finance specific social impact projects. If the investor (SIB project operator) achieves the specified outcomes either on its own or by engaging a contractor, it is reimbursed for its expenses out of the federal budget.
Currently, more than 1100 people with mental health disabilities are living in special care institutions in Yakutia. The project is designed to replace in-patient treatment with home care, so that people with disabilities could habituate themselves to living at home or in conditions close to living in family, and unlock their labour potential. The project involves 37 people, with 12 of them being patients of neuropsychiatric establishments that will be moved to apartments and get home care by professional social carers.
The project contractor, a Saint Petersburg–based association of disabled children’s parents GAOORDI, which has been successfully implementing such adaptation programmes for several years, is tasked to help introduce the adaptation technology in Yakutia by 31 March 2024. VEB.RF is the project operator. VEB.RF gives professional advice to the parties at all stages of the project implementation, monitors the project progress and engages an independent valuator to confirm the project outcomes.
VEB.RF’s and GAOORDI’s representatives met with parents of the programme participants and provided them with detailed information on the project goals and potential opportunities for people with mental health disabilities affordable upon the project completion. Concurrently, GAOORDI and the Yakut Ministry of Labour developed a pool of specialists for assisted living including psychologists and social workers trained at Saint Petersburg’s special care institutions.
The project provides for phased accommodation of the programme participants, thus enabling people with disabilities to undergo a mild adaptation. The epidemiological situation in Yakutia is also taken into account. The accommodation process will be completed by 31 August 2021. The first four tenants will move in the assisted living apartments as early as 2 August.
By 2025, State Development Corporation VEB.RF intends to enable Russia to rank among the world’s top ten countries in terms of launched SIB projects, introduce risk assessment for compliance with sustainability principles in the internal credit procedures, issue green bonds and start giving green loans. This, among other things, was presented by VEB.RF’s top managers at today’s presentation On Becoming a Sustainable Development Institution.
“VEB.RF is a development institution meaning that it is a financial organisation whose main task is to finance projects,” VEB.RF First Deputy Chairman Alexey Miroshnichenko said. “But VEB.RF’s unique non-commercial functions are equally important, including VEB.RF’s programme for mayors, our efforts to create standards and targets for the government and other market participants, the promotion of social and educational initiatives, and much more. We expect that all our efforts, both financial and non-financial, will help to introduce the sustainability principles in Russia.”
According to First Deputy Chairman of VEB.RF Nikolay Tsekhomsky, social and environmental projects highly praised and supported by people include transport, water and sanitation, educational and infrastructure projects. He also mentioned bailout guarantees that enabled Russian small and medium-sized businesses to resume their operation after lockdown. “Almost half of VEB.RF’s loans granted in 2020 totalling 500 billion roubles were earmarked to support small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
VEB.RF’s strategic plans also include the introduction of Russia’s national infrastructure project assessment and certification system meant to set Russian sustainable infrastructure standards. Such standards cover environmental issues, climate risks, project management, improving the quality of life, impacts on local communities etc. According to VEB.RF Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya, quality infrastructure projects based on the IRIIS system will be implemented in at least 10 Russian regions. By 2025, VEB.RF plans to enable Russia to rank among the world’s top ten countries in terms of launched social impact projects, and involve at least 30 regions in launching and implementing SIBs.
The event was attended by VEB.RF First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Alexey Miroshnichenko, First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky, Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya, Chief Economist Andrey Klepach, Chief Managing Partner for Urban Development Irina Makieva and Senior Banker Sergey Storchak. The event was timed to coincide with the publication of VEB.RF’s 2020 Sustainability Report.
Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, VEB.RF and Egyptian Partners Agree to Expand Opportunities for Suez Canal Economic Zone
A new industrial zone will be created in the Suez Canal area where Russian manufacturers can locate their production facilities.
VEB.RF is authorised to coordinate the Russian Industrial Zone project.
Chairman of the General Authority of Suez Canal Economic Zone and Head of Egyptian delegation Yehia Zaki discussed with VEB.RF during the visit to Moscow further steps to implement the project for establishing the Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Access to the Zone will create totally new opportunities for Russian enterprises for marketing Russian goods, work and services in the Middle East and North Africa countries. For the Russian part, this project is an exciting pilot initiative which in the case of success could open up new horizons in terms of supporting and promoting Russian exports.
The Zone will cover about 50 hectares at the first stage, with the opportunity of further expanding to 100 hectares.
Daniil Algulyan, VEB.RF Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board:
“After paused activities during the pandemic and a diminution of international cooperation, our operations are steadily gaining momentum. During the visit of our Egyptian colleagues to Moscow, we prepared and agreed the potential amendments to the intergovernmental agreement governing the Zone’s activity, held more than ten meetings with potential resident companies, and are now negotiating the specific commercial terms and perspectives of specific land plots. The Russian delegation is planning to visit Egypt in the end of August to discuss and determine the local specifics. We expect highly dynamic implementation of the Russian Industrial Zone project. This is a very interesting and unique project in terms of supporting Russian exports.”
The parties also discussed the terms which the Russian Industrial Zone could offer to potential residents. Particular attention was paid to the supply of products to the Egyptian domestic market and a flexible approach to site selection in the Suez Canal zone.
The parties agreed to expand the intergovernmental agreement and include the following options:
- an opportunity to locate Russian resident companies at any sites of the Suez Canal Economic Zone;
- guaranteed access for the residents of the Russian Industrial Zone to the Egyptian domestic market;
- regulatory recognition of VEB.RF as an authorised institution.
The project will be launched in five months on the territory adjacent to Ain Sokhna Port having a well-developed infrastructure.
Igor Shuvalov was elected Chairman of Prosvescheniye’s Board of Directors
The first in-person meeting of Prosvescheniye’s Board of Directors was attended by representatives of Prosvescheniye, Sberbank, VEB.RF and RDIF. VEB.RF Chairman Igor Shuvalov was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Sergei Kravtsov, Minister of Education of the Russian Federation, gave welcoming remarks to the attendees. During the official part of the meeting, Sergei Kravtsov presented the best employees of the Prosvescheniye publishing house with government awards in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated 5 June 2021.
Members of the Board of Directors discussed the company’s development strategy, key areas of support for the educational system participants, and the company’s involvement in the Education national project aimed at promoting the global competitiveness of Russian education and enabling Russia to rank among the world’s top ten countries in terms of the quality of general education.
The Board of Directors also discussed Prosvescheniye’s involvement in the PPP programme for the construction of new schools on the basis of the Group’s subsidiary, ProSchool. The concession mechanism makes it possible to attract private investment and build new schools having state-of-the-art equipment. By the resolution of the Russian Government, ProSchool has been recently accorded the status of a concessionaire, with regional and municipal authorities entitled to enter into respective concession agreements without competitive bidding.
Igor Shuvalov, Chairman of Prosvescheniye’s Board of Directors:
“We have created a partnership on the basis of Prosvescheniye, which will allow us to implement an important project for the construction of new schools. The Ministry of Education have already selected the first 95 projects for the construction of new schools in 28 regions. The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2022. Now, the second pipeline of projects is under consideration, with commissioning scheduled for 2023. This ambitious programme can be realised only if all participants consolidate their resources and efforts, and if ProSchool implements projects based on standard solutions including the library of standard design and estimate documents, and banks’ reliable packaged solutions.”
In May 2021, Sberbank, VEB.RF and RDIF agreed to make a 25% equity investment each in Prosvescheniye. This transaction is a result of long-term joint efforts devoted to develop high quality modern Russian education. The parties joined their efforts to increase access for teachers, pupils and parents all across the country to Prosvescheniye’s proven educational content. State-of-the-art digital technology, services and competencies applied by the partners will make it possible to create a new generation of educational content, develop a personified approach to each pupil and new instruments for teachers to manage the educational process. Additionally, the partnership will create the required conditions for increasing the export potential of educational products and developing school infrastructure including on the basis of PPP models.