SPIEF 2018 kicks off in St. Petersburg

SPIEF 2018 kicks off in St. Petersburg

The 22nd annual International Economic Forum (SPIEF) kicks off in Russia’s city of St. Petersburg at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Center and will last for three days. 

The events of the forum have been banded together under the motto of "creating an economy of trust". Digitalization, measures to spur economic innovations and development of human capital will become the main issues up for discussion during the first day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

This year’s forum is expected to gather about 15,000 participants representing 70 countries.

The participants of the forum expect the discussions to mention, in this or that form, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s new May decree, in which he called to step up Russia’s technological development and use of digital technologies, and tasked the government with making Russia one of the world’s top five major economies with economic growth rates above the world’s level.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Putin will meet with members of the Russian Direct Investment Fund’s International Advisory Board and international investors. Heads of about 40 major investment funds from 20 countries, including France, Japan, China, India, Italy, the United States, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey are expected to attend.

The first day of the forum will also feature several roundtables, devoted to bilateral Russian-Chinese and Russian-European relations.

All events of the SPIEF-2018 will be divided in four categories: "The Global Economy in an Era of Change," "Harnessing Russia’s Growth Potential," "Human Capital in the Digital Economy" and "Technology for Leadership."

This year, the first day of the forum will begin with a business breakfast, headlined ‘Doing Business in Russia: What has been achieved and what’s next?’ The participants will discuss the business climate in Russia, state support for businesses, including foreign ones, as well as measures to make the business climate more favorable and remove administrative barriers.

One of the forum’s most intense debates may unfold during a panel discussion, headlined ‘Putting Russian Economy on a Sustained Path of Growth: Challenges and Solutions.’ Russian Audit Chamber Chairman Alexei Kudrin, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Russian Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina, First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov and Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin are expected to take part.

The participants will discuss what structural transformations, required to boost economic growth rates; where can the resources be found to speed up this process; which budgetary policies will secure trust in macroeconomic institutions while providing the conditions necessary for accelerated growth and what might act as the next driver of economic growth, TASS reported.

National and territorial branding should become an important tool of Russia’s economic development, according to participants of a session headlined "Made in Russia: National and Regional Branding as Tools for Economic Development and Promoting Russia around the World." Numerous initiatives have emerged at both the federal and regional levels in recent years, but they have failed to produce significant results on a national scale.

Besides, the Russian Export Centre will organize a roundtable debate on developing non-resource exports. The Russian Export Centre’s new head, Andrey Slepnev, will take part in the discussion.

Moreover, the US Trade Chamber in Russia and the EY company will for the first time present the results of their research into trade and economic ties between US and Russia.

A vast section of discussions will traditionally be devoted to the development of the social sphere, media and environment. Panel discussions on the development of human capital, including amid rapidly development technologies, international labor market transformations and robotization, are scheduled to be held within the framework of the forum’s business program.

The social sector-themed discussions on the first day will be centered around medicine and healthcare. The panel discussion, headlined "Pathways for the Medicine of the Future: Who Will Treat People in 30 Years’ Time?" will bring together Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Mikhail Paltsev, Project Leader of the Biomarker Transfer Department at the Medical University of Vienna Kurt Krapfenbauer, President of the Harbin Medical University Yang Baofeng and other prominent figures for a debate on what kind of healthcare system can we expect in 30 years.

Heads of Russian regions will also take part in SPIEF-2018, including in events on Russia’s bilateral relations with France, Finland and other nations. Many Russian regions and cities will showcase their investment potential at the exhibition area.