MOSCOW, January 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
The international Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: The Choice of Priorities, took place from January 12 to 14, 2017 in Moscow. Over the past seven years, this forum has grown into the largest international-scale academic event in Russia in the field of economics.
The plenary meeting of the Gaidar Forum 2017, Russia and the World: Setting Priorities, focused on the main risks and drivers of global economic growth in the next few years.
RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau opened the discussion he was going to moderate. He read Russian President Vladimir Putin's address to the forum participants. "These meetings are always notable for their highly relevant and diverse agenda, important participants and promising ideas," the message said. "I hope that the suggestions and recommendations that you make will help Russia meet social and economic goals, strengthen international cooperation and overcome common global challenges." According to Vladimir Mau, the world today is facing a choice of priorities; this agenda is equally relevant for all countries, but the risks and challenges the world community will have to deal with in the next three or five years can be viewed differently.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke at the forum, emphasizing that his speech was not a program of any kind. According to him, economic growth is currently hindered by a lack of investment and "paralysis" of lending, with the risk of a lingering stagnation being a common problem. "It is impossible to restore economic growth through financial injections alone; structural reforms are needed," the Prime Minister said, adding that this discussion has been on for the last 15 years. According to him, the main risk Russia may face is a technology lag. "The transition to a digital economy will lead to a revision of the government's role in the economy. It will require a reform of the public administration system, which should become more flexible and compact," he said, adding that the Government is working on a plan of action to accelerate economic growth, which would boost Russia's economy to a level above the global average.
Speaking about the immediate prospects, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund David Lipton noted that there is considerable uncertainty associated with both economic and political factors. At the same time, he said, in 2017 the world economy may show growth of 3.4-3.6%, which is higher than last year's 3.1%. "The most important thing right now is to try to reverse the economic slowdown, a recent trend observed in both emerging and developed economies, including Russia," he said.
Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at The Financial Times, said that the global economy is gradually recovering, but its further development depends largely on the new political environment: "The main issue is whether world order remains basically stable, and whether we have enough open cooperation between countries." Commenting on one of the most important political decisions of the past year, the Brexit, he said they should not have held the referendum on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. "While before that I could describe Britain as a moderately mature and moderately democratic country, I cannot say this now," the expert said.
The discussion was attended by the former Prime Minister of Poland (2004-2005), president of the National Bank of Poland (2010-2016) Marek Belka, who listed the three fundamental problems of the global economy of the last decade. "The main problems are the structural geographic changes in the world economy: the rise of China, the relative decline of Europe and the United States, which have direct and indirect consequences for the global economy. Also, there is a technological change, particularly in information technology: financial markets operate online, while the other sectors of the economy don't, which also leads to instability and a slowdown in economic growth that we have seen for ten years." the politician said.
Former Australian Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) Kevin Michael Rudd said there are more risks ahead than growth drivers, adding he was mainly referring to the challenges of foreign relations, in particular between the US and China. Speaking about international cooperation, the expert recalled the G20, which was created for a thorough reform of the economy and helped avoid the escalation of the financial crisis into depression, but failed to ensure a rapid growth of the global economy.
At the same time, the Russian market can be described as healthy, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever group, said confidently. "We believe that the country is ready for structural changes, is competitive and capable of moving forward and developing. We are observing Russia's effort to overcome its dependence on commodity exports, and to provide equal opportunities to all sectors of the economy," Mr. Polman said.
The panel discussion, Europe after BREXIT, took place on the first day of the Gaidar Forum 2017. The discussion was attended by Chief Economics Commentator of The Financial Times Martin Wolf; Vice-President of the European Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff; President of Václav Klaus Institute and former President of the Czech Republic (2003-2013) Václav Klaus; President of the European Forum Alpbach and former European Commissioner for Agriculture and Fisheries (1995-2004) Franz Fischler; and Director of the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) Daniel Gros. The experts concluded during the discussion that Brexit was a unique event in the modern history of the euro zone. It should be clearly understood that qualitative changes are needed to avoid similar situations.
The World Bank presented a report, Russian Federation Systematic Country Diagnostic: Pathway to Inclusive Growth, on the first day of Gaidar Forum 2017, Russia and the World: Setting Priorities. The document analyzes the state of the Russian economy, identifies the greatest challenges facing the country and the key factors limiting growth in the short and medium term.
The panel discussion, Patterns of Sustainable Development as Defined Today, took place on the first day of the Gaidar Forum. The participants included former President of Finland (2000-2012), Co-chair of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability Tarja Halonen; Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University (2002-2016) Jeffrey Sachs; CEO of Unilever Group of Companies Paul Polman; Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Guido Schmidt-Traub; Senior Vice-President of the Coca-Cola Company Clyde Tuggle; and Director General and CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria, Pavel Kabat.
The participants discussed current issues in meeting sustainable development goals in the interaction of the business community, government institutions and NGOs. Special attention was paid to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The participants of the Gaidar Forum 2017 discussed the quality of human capital as part of the panel discussion, Social Development: Historical Lessons and Future Challenges. The discussion of Russia's social development strategy was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets; Minister of Labor and Social Protection Maxim Topilin; Chairman of the Russian Pension Fund Anton Drozdov; and Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Mikhail Shmakov.
President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin moderated the discussion. The panel experts included Branko Milanovic, professor of the City University of New York and former lead economist in the World Bank's research department (1991-2013). During the discussion, the experts noted Russia's accumulated historical experience in social environment and described the current situation in this area.
Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets was the keynote speaker. Labor relations and decent wages are key issues for the Government now, she said. "In the difficult period of 2014-2015, there was a major drop in people's incomes. Therefore, it is our primary task today to recover people's incomes and consumption. We view this not only as a social problem, but also an essential condition for economic growth. The shrinking consumption and reduction of retail trade are serious inhibitors for further economic development," she said.
The expert discussion, Rating Results of the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia: Innovative Business in the Regions of Russia and Rating of Innovation Development of the Regions of Russia took place on January 12, the first day of the Gaidar Forum. The discussion was moderated by Ivan Bortnik, Advisor to the General Director of the Foundation to Promote Innovation. The discussion focused on the following questions: what regions of Russia are friendlier to innovative business; which rankings reflect the actual situation with innovation in the country's constituent regions for 2016 more objectively; how we need to supplement and improve the rankings to increase their informative value. The Rating of Innovation Development of the Regions of Russia with the detailed assessment of the regions' investment grade was presented for the first time. Following Ivan Bortnik's opening remarks, Roza Semyonova presented the ranking of innovative regions in 2016.
The panel discussion, Sustainable Economic Growth: A Model for Russia, of the second day of the Gaidar Forum 2017, was held in a new format, as an expert discussion of the keynote report.
On January 13, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Strategic Research Foundation (CSR) Alexei Kudrin delivered a report at RANEPA. "The old economic model is obviously, no longer working," he began, adding that no decisive measures that would restart the economy are being applied at the moment either. "We are facing very serious challenges, which objectively impede our economic growth and force the President and Government to take steps that are unusual and quite serious," Mr. Kudrin went on. He especially underlined the country's demographic problems, the lack of investment, the economic sanctions and Russia's distancing from world markets, its technological backwardness, low productivity and poor quality of public administration. "The main problems lie inside Russia, and its main problems are the institutional and structural problems that have accumulated today," he said.
General partner: Gazprom. Financial partner: Otkritie Bank. Strategic partners: Gazprombank, Unilever, ACIG Group of Companies, Johnson&Johnson, Novartis Group in Russia, Masterсard, Yegor Gaidar Foundation, MSD. Official partners: Microsoft, RVC. Partners: EY, Cotton Way, The Russian Brewers' Union, Tomsk region. Insurance partner: Rosgosstrakh.
General media partners: Russia 24, PH "Kommersant". General Internet Media: Gazeta.ru. General radio partner - Business FM. Strategic media partners: TASS, RT, RIA Novosti. Main media partners: Interfax Information Services Group, Prime Business News Agency CJSC.
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