Russian economy – neither here nor here

On September 26, 2019, the FINAM Information and Analytical Center held an online conference on current issues of the Russian economy. In particular, participants discussed the possibilities of achieving growth of the Russian economy up to 1.3%, external economic factors, as well as the financial market.

A separate focus was put on national projects. Participants noted that they are connected to each other. In particular, a project in the field of the digital economy should provide a catalyst function, as well as long-term issues related to demography, for example.

Conference link (in Russian)

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Peer-to-Peer training workshop ‘Main Principles of Academic Scientific Writing and Peer-review’ delivered in Tashkent on September 16-18, 2019

Upon request of the Central Asian academic community, the CAWEP Knowledge Network program and the German-Kazakh University are organizing peer-to-peer training workshops aimed at offering guidelines how to enhance academics’ and researchers’ capacity in scientific writing on water and energy-related issues, how to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and to review scientific articles.

Following the successfully delivered training workshops in Bishkek, Dushanbe and Almaty, the fourth 3-day training took place in Tashkent on September 16-18, 2019. National University of Uzbekistan hosted the event and brought together more than 30 participants from Uzbek universities and research centers working in the water-related field.

The training event covered various aspects of the academic scientific writing and peer review technique, focusing on both theory and practical assignments. Trainers and participants discussed a wide range of topics based on the examples of international publishers and journals, including publication requirements for manuscripts submitted to international journals, copyright, opportunities to promote author’s publications in the international scientific community.

The trainers presented different approaches to the writing process and expressed their views on the structure of articles and standards of scientific publications adopted in the international system. Participants of the training admitted the need, usefulness and effectiveness of such events and expressed their willingness to spend more time and make more efforts to develop a collaborative

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Russian economy on the threshold of August

On July 18, 2019, the FINAM Information and Analytical Center held an online conference “The Russian Economy on the Eve of August.” During the conference, participants discussed the internal problems of the Russian economy, as well as the external economic conjuncture. In particular, the IMF’s lower outlook on Russia’s GDP growth in 2019 was discussed, the value of which was 1.2%. Also, a forecast was given on changes in the Bank of Russia interest rate. Thus, the adjustment of the forecast towards lower inflation in 2019, low income growth, as well as the strengthening of the Russian currency form the preconditions in favor of lowering the rate. The current forecast of changes in its value is 25 b.p.

The conference was attended by experts EDSG.

Event Link (in Russian)

More details (in Russian)

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Russian economy: the whole truth about recession

On June 6, FINAM held an online conference on the topic “Russian Economy – the Truth About Recession”. During the discussion, issues of economic growth in Russia were discussed. Thus, according to the results of 2018, the Russian economy showed rather optimistic results, when GDP growth was 2.3%. For 2019 a less optimistic forecast is given.

The issue of sanctions was also discussed. According to experts, sanctions are certainly a negative factor in the Russian investment climate. Sanctions significantly reduce the competitiveness of Russian business both in Russia and abroad. In fact, sanctions form a new model of the economy, which is limited from the world economy by a number of factors, and this, in turn, limits its potential. Of course, it is possible and possible to live in conditions of sanctions. But the question of achieving potentially possible macro-indicators is being called into question.

EDSG experts took part in the discussions.

More details (in Russian)

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Second UN High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation

On March 20-22, 2019, the second high-level UN conference on South-South cooperation was held in Buenos Aires. The conference was timed to the 40th anniversary of the Buenos Ayr Action Plan. The conference included a plenary session, as well as three discussion forums: 1) “Comparative advantages and opportunities for South-South cooperation”; 2) “Challenges and strengthening the institutional framework for South-South and triangular cooperation”; 3) “Enhancing capacities for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in support of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation”.
The plenary session was devoted to official appeals and organizational issues, including the election of the Chairman of the Conference, the adoption of rules of procedure and agenda, the election of officers other than the Chairman, the appointment of members of the Credentials Committee and other issues. Following the plenary session, three resolutions were adopted: the Buenos Aires final document of the United Nations High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, Expression of Gratitude to the People and Government of Argentina, Powers of Representatives at the Second High-Level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation.
A number of thematic events of the academic community and non-governmental organizations on assessing the effectiveness of development cooperation, the digital agenda, the participation of the private sector, the role of value chains were also held on the margins of the conference.
Experts of EDSG took part in the formation of the position paper of the academic and civil society in relation to the development of the future agenda of international South-South cooperation. The recommendations reflected the main directions of the forum discussions. In particular, in the area of ​​institutional issues, the participants reflected the importance of developing systems for monitoring and evaluating financial flows related to cooperation between the countries of the South and triangular cooperation.
The Russian Federation supports the format of South-South economic cooperation through trilateral cooperation with the countries of the South. In particular, through the mechanisms of international organizations, projects are supported in Tanzania, Morocco, and Tunisia. Also, trilateral cooperation of the Russian side is carried out within the framework of business operations in developing countries, such as Guinea, Mozambique, etc.
The official website of the event

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The Russian aid: the Republic of Belarus turned to Russia for a loan

The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus appealed to Russia with a request to extend a loan in the amount of $ 600 million to cover the amount of payments on loans of the Russian government in 2019, which currently stands at about $ 630 million. At the same time, the Government of Belarus had previously applied for a loan of $ 1 billion in order to refinance all debts owed to Russia and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD).

In 2017, the volume of official development assistance (ODA) provided by Russia to Belarus amounted to $ 2.25 million. However the loanissued by the Russian Government amounted $ 700 million in the same year for the next 10 years.

The decision on granting a loan has not yet been made. However, the provision of a loan can be used as a mechanism to resolve the issue of compensation for export duties and refusal of protectionism in relation to Belarusian industrial enterprises, which puts Russian companies in unequal conditions with Belarusian ones. Moreover, the provision of a loan can be a profitable solution for Moscow, since Minsk will ultimately be more likely to fulfill its obligations, albeit with a small time lag. Moreover, the funds for refinancing in the Russian budget laid.

It should also be noted that Russia participates in the provision of multilateral assistance to Belarus through the EFSD. So, in the period 2016 – 2018. EFSD provided $ 2 billion in seven tranches for the implementation of structural reforms and improving the quality of economic policy pursued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. According to lenders, multilateral budget support will allow the country to go on the path of sustainable economic growth.

Link to source (in Russian)

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The Russian Economy: Looking to Venezuela

On January 31, 2019, the Information and Analytical Agency FINAM held an on-line conference entitled “The Russian Economy: Looking to Venezuela”, dedicated to current problems of the Russian economy.

In 2018, according to the Ministry of Economic Development, Russia’s GDP grew by 2%, which is slightly higher than expected according to forecasts.

The experts drew parallels between the crisis in Venezuela and the risks of the Russian economy. By many estimates, Russian macroeconomic policy is one of the most effective in the world. There are no prerequisites for hyper-inflation and it is not expected yet. A common feature for countries is high dependence on oil exports, which determines the vulnerability of the economy. At the same time, factors of vulnerability and risks are not only dependence on the international market, which determines oil prices, but also the concentration of administrative resources around the oil sector, which sets the tone for the entire economy. But the risks remain. That is why the organizers gave the discussion such a name.

Sanctions remain the key challenge for Russia. The contribution of sanctions to reducing GDP is, according to various estimates, from 1 to 1.5% per year. The ruble exchange rate depends largely on the conjuncture of oil prices, but also on the interest in the Russian market. Sanctions significantly reduce the interest of foreign investors. The effect of sanctions also entails an outflow of capital from the country, which in 2017 amounted to about $ 20 billion (approximately 1.5% of GDP). The strongest impact of the sanctions had on the financial and oil sector. In certain areas of the oil and gas industry, technical sanctions have had a very strong effect. About 90% of key technologies for extracting hydrocarbons on the shelf are foreign.

The increased volatility of the ruble exchange rate is becoming one of the key risks associated with the possible further expansion of sanctions. In addition to the threats to the financial stability of the Russian Federation associated with sharp fluctuations in prices and profitability of financial assets, this factor destabilizes foreign economic cooperation, preventing the conclusion of long-term trade and investment contracts.

The EDSG experts took part in the discussions.

Link to the conference (in Russian)

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Seven exciting questions about the Russian economy

On November 9, 2018, the Finam Agency held an online conference entitled “Russian Economy: Sanctions, Budget, May Decrees”, dedicated to topical issues of the Russian economy. During the conference, participants discussed issues related to new possible sanctions by the United States, rising gasoline prices, lower real spending on the population and rising poverty in the medium term. According to the participants, all of the above questions reduce the likelihood of Russia joining the top five largest economies by 2024.

Link to the conference (in Russian)

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International Symposium on Water and Land Resources in Central Asia

From 9th to 11th October, 2018 the “International Symposium on Water and Land Resources in Central Asia“ took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

167 participants from 18 countries discussed climate and socio-economic issues, environmental risks, natural resource management, as well as capacity development. Research papers and special findings from interdisciplinary symposium will be published in Central Asian Journal of Water Research (CAJWR).

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Annual Eurasian Food Security Conference

On October 2–4, 2018, the Third International Conference on food security in the Eurasian region “Agricultural and Food Systems Transformation for Better Food Security and Nutrition in Eurasia” took place at Lomonosov Moscow State University.

The annual conference is organized by the Eurasian Center for Food Security (ECFS) with the support of Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, World Bank, International Food Policy Research Institute, International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

More than 150 participants from regional and international organizations, scientific and educational institutions, various governments discussed the transformation of agricultural and food systems to improve food security and nutrition in Eurasia, as well as possible solutions to existing problems in this area. During the event experts discussed food loss and waste, climate challenges for food security, as well as achievement of the sustainable development goals in the region.

EDSG experts participated in the session dedicated to the agricultural and food systems transformation in Eurasia.

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