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Highlights of the 2018 Russian Investment Forum in Sochi

16 February 2018
Итоги работы Российского инвестиционного форума в Сочи — 2018
The Russian Investment Forum, which brought together representatives of the federal and regional authorities, leading economists and entrepreneurs, and the heads of major domestic and foreign companies, concluded in Sochi on 16 February 2018.

The two-day business programme included 55 events that followed one of the three themes: ‘A Fresh Boost for Regional Business’; ‘Improving Quality of Life’; and ‘New Regional Policy: Improving Administration’. The participants discussed issues concerning new regional policy and business, the results of the establishment of innovative clusters, improvements to the quality of life, the digital economy, the funding of infrastructure projects, and project management.

More than 500 speakers and moderators held professional discussions in panel sessions and roundtables.

The key event was a speech by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the plenary session ‘Investing in the Regions, Investing in the Future’. During his speech, Medvedev noted that «this forum is specifically positioned as a regional one and, of course, is targeted at the country as a whole in order to effectively incorporate the regions into the trajectory of global development».

Medvedev took part in the roundtable ‘Infrastructure Mortgage: Public-Private Partnership 2.0’ and the awards ceremony for the winners of the ‘Development Award’ competition, which was established by Vnesheconombank. On the same day, the prime minister met with representatives of the Russian business community and held discussions about the development of non-energy exports.

On 16 February, Medvedev held a meeting with regional leaders at which they discussed prospects for the development of inter-budgetary relations and strategies for spatial development and the elimination of infrastructure restrictions.

Forum participants and guests actively visited the Investment Project Exhibition and learned about the investment and economic potential of the regions. Booths presented real projects in the investment and operational phases of the project cycle. Fifty-two Russian regions showed off their investment opportunities. The Krasnodar Territory had the largest regional booth at which Kuban municipalities had prepared about 440 investment proposals.

‘Novelties’ of the Forum included a special communication platform — the Case Zone at which participants had the opportunity to present their investment projects to domestic and foreign investors, learn about current global trends on a particular issue, and expand their skills.

The new event format ‘Open Dialogue with a Governor’ was held at the Forum for the first time. As a result, visitors to the Case Zone, including representatives of business, the government authorities, investment companies, and the media, were able to hold informal discussions with the heads of the regions about opportunities for business development in their regions, the investment ecosystem, and plans for the future.

Another innovation at the 2018 Sochi Forum was a platform for NGOs. The NGO Lab is a new innovative social platform established by the Roscongress Foundation to promote and support the development of systematic charity in Russia and consolidate the non-profit sector at the international level. The NGO Lab is a space dedicated to the activities of Russian charity. It is a place for presentations of successful and innovative projects as well as coworking for the exchange of ideas and competencies.

The Roscongress Foundation timed the launch of a new information and analytical portal to the opening of the 2018 Sochi Forum. The platform consists of an interactive library of knowledge and a navigation system for sessions, speakers and experts, analytical materials, and the themes of the Foundation’s events.

A presentation was also held for the first remote business registration through Sberbank’s online service Business Environment via which an entrepreneur can complete an application for business registration in four steps. To do this, all the entrepreneur has to do is provide personal data, choose the type of entrepreneurial activity, the taxation system, and pay the state duty without leaving the site.

The Forum organizers provided the heads of the regions with a special service — the Governors’ Club. The regional leaders held a total of 81 meetings with the event’s participants and guests in an informal atmosphere at the new meeting place.

The Forum venue also featured the Roscongress Lounge at which more than 40 business meetings were held with business representatives and the relevant ministries of the Russian regions in addition ceremonies for the signing of cooperation agreements.

Per tradition, awards ceremonies were held in Sochi for the winners of a contest for the best socioeconomic practices among the Russian regions, the laureates and winners of the ‘Best Social Project’ competition in 6 categories, and the winners of the Russian competition among regional social development programmes for the Alexander Pochinok Award.

Together with the PPP Development Centre, the Roscongress Foundation announced the best infrastructure projects of the year and held an awards ceremony for the winners of the ROSINFRA National Infrastructure Award.

Young Enterprise Day was held on the eve of the Forum for the first time on 14 February. Such topical issues as the protection of intellectual property, the legal subtleties of using crypto-currencies, and opportunities for young people in the digital economy were addressed at 15 sessions. The events concluded with the plenary session ‘The New Economy: The Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship’ where participants discussed the role of young people as the engine of innovative creativity and the bearer of intellectual potential in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.

A total of 538 agreements and declarations of intent were signed at the Forum. Contracts whose value was publicly disclosed amounted to RUB 794.057 billion.

The Krasnodar Territory concluded 190 agreements for a total of RUB 223 billion.

The biggest agreements were:

  1. An agreement between VTB and retailer Magnit on the sale of a 29.1% stake in the company. The transaction is valued at RUB 138 billion;
  2. An agreement between RusAl Taishet and Vnesheconombank on the construction of the Taishet Aluminium Smelter with capacity of 429,000 tonnes. The transaction is valued at RUB 80.3 billion;
  3. An agreement between the Rostov Region and Russian Highways (Avtodor) on the construction of a motorway around Aksay. The transaction is valued at RUB 77.4 billion.

Notable strategic partnership agreements signed by the Roscongress Foundation include significant tripartite agreements on cooperation with the Russian regions to promote their investment and export projects. Cooperation agreements were concluded with 20 constituent entities: the Astrakhan, Arkhangelsk, Bryansk, Vladimir, Irkutsk, Kaluga, Kemerovo, Magadan, Omsk, Tula, and Ulyanovsk Regions, the Jewish Autonomous Region, Kamchatka Territory, the Republics of Bashkortostan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, and Karelia, the City of Sevastopol, and Perm Territory.

An agreement between Roscongress and the Internet Initiatives Development Fund (IIDF) aims to promote Russian start-ups on the markets of China (including Hong Kong) and India. The Roscongress Foundation also signed cooperation agreements with the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, Business Russia, Expert Media Holding, the Public-Private Partnership Development Centre, the Association of Lawyers, the Socioeconomic Youth Initiatives Union, and Moscow State Institute of International Relations under the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Forum participants

The number of Forum participants increased by 27% compared with 2017.

The total number of Forum participants in all categories (including media and exhibitors) included 6,123 people from Russia and 63 countries (Austria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Belarus, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, the Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Vietnam, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, Greece, Denmark, Israel, Indonesia, Iraq, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, Cayman Islands, Canada, Cyprus, China, Colombia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Mozambique, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Channel Islands, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Poland, Transnistria, the Republic of Abkhazia, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, El Salvador, Serbia, the United States, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, the Philippines, Finland, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Eritrea, South Africa, and Japan).

The Forum was attended by 896 representatives of the Russian business community and 204 representatives of foreign companies, including 487 companies from Russia and 116 foreign companies from such countries as Austria, Belarus, the United Kingdom, the Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Vietnam, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, China, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Channel Islands, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, Finland, France, Switzerland, Sweden, and Japan. Such representatives included 407 heads of Russian companies and 80 heads of foreign companies.

A total of 83 constituent entities of the Russian
Federation were represented at the Forum, including 77 at the level of regional leaders.

Foreign officials taking part in the Forum included the heads of foreign diplomatic corps in the Russian Federation from 20 countries.

The Forum’s partners included 32 companies.

Strategic Partner — PJSC Rosseti, Telecommunications Partner — Rostelecom (communication and Internet services).
Official Car of the Forum — Hyundai Motor CIS.

Official Airline of the Forum — Aeroflot.

General Partners — VTB Bank, Russian Export Center; Official Partners — Pochta Bank, Sberbank of Russia, Gazprom, Vnesheconombank; Business Programme Partners — AHML, Norilsk Nickel, IIDF, RVC; Organizational Partners with the payment of a partner fee — Russian Railways, InterRAO; Organizational Partner for the Business Networking Exchange — EY; Partners of the Governors’ Club — Avtodor, Renova, Transmashholding; Partner of the Volunteer Programme — MARS; Case Zone Partners — Novotrans Freight Company, Association of Lawyers; Organizational Partner for Cultural Programme Events — Metalloinvest.

The Forum’s Media Partners included 32 media outlets.

General Media Partners: Russia 24, Business FM, TASS, Rossiya Segodnya, Interfax, Kommersant, Vedomosti, Rambler News Service,,, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Media Partners: RT, Thomson Reuters, RBC, AEI PRIME, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Argumenty i Fakty, Expert magazine, Live Planet TV channel, WBC TV channel, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Krasnodarsky Krai newspaper, Russian Business Guide, Business Crimea magazine, National Banking Journal, and Strategy magazine.

Information Support: Federal Press, New Kuban newspaper, Resort Olympus magazine, Russian Business Guide magazine, and SPEAR’S magazine.

Sporting Programme Media Partner: Sovetsky Sport newspaper.

The forum took place at the Main Media Centre of Sochi Olympic Park over a total area of more than 150,000 square metres. The area of exhibition booths and partner booths was 8,800 square metres.

Rooms were reserved at 11 hotels along the embankment zone to accommodate guests and participants of the Forum.

The Forum site included a restaurant, food court as well as coffee break areas for participants. A restaurant and coffee break area were organized for media representatives.

The following events were held as part of the Forum’s cultural programme:
  • Reception on behalf of the Russian Prime Minister
  • Welcome cocktail on behalf of the Organizing Committee
  • Reception for media representatives
  • Individual excursion service
  • Exhibition of works by graduates of Sirius Educational Centre ‘Young Talents of the 21st Century’
  • ‘Objective Philantropy’ photo exhibition by the NGO Lab
  • Intellectual game ‘What? Where? When?’ featuring captain of the expert team and owner of the Crystal Owl Rovshan Askerov
  • 11th Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi; performance ‘Don’t Leave Your Planet’
  • 11th Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi Gala Concert

The Forum’s sporting programme opened with the mass run ‘Roscongress Governors’ Cup’ in support of Russian athletes at the 2018 Olympics. Approximately 400 people took part in the run, including Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov, Head of Udmurtia Alexander Brechalov, three-time Olympic medallist in cross-country skiing Maxim Vylegzhanin, and the two-time Olympic medallist in biathlon Ivan Cherezov. Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Minister for North Caucasus Affairs Lev Kuznetsov, President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, and Russian State Social University Rector Natalya Pochinok took part in the Forum Team vs Russian Government Team Ice Hockey Gala Match. More than 400 people participated in the ‘Roscongress Games. Sochi Corporate Games’. 2016 Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling Soslan Ramonov and 2016 Olympic medallist in judo Natalia Kuzyutina took part in the awards ceremony of the Games

The Forum was organized by the Roscongress Foundation