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Sochi forum delegates wind down after work

With a record attendance and $US 23 BLN worth of deals in the bank, the International Investment Forum in Sochi has been deemed a success. City leaders say the event was a dress rehearsal for the 2014 Winter Olympics with hotels dealing with a mass influx

At the media briefing on Saturday, acting Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov  said the forum was a success due to several reasons.

“The success of the forum reflected in deals worth $US 23 BLN could be due to three reasons. The first reason is the improvement of the investment climate in Russia. We’ve been witnessing the inflow of foreign investment for two years. The inflow of foreign capital is increasing. Another reason is that the regions and businessmen have learnt to present investment projects appropriately. You can see it in almost every pavilion. The projects are presented in line with the latest business technologies. Investors can get full information about the project. And finally the third, and probably the most important reason for the forum’s success, is that Sochi has recently won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics,” he commented.

Commenting on the role of the current political situation for its investment climate, Russian acting Minister of Trade and Development, German Gref, mentioned the country has reached the moment when Cabinet resignations don't mean much to investors.

“We have finally reached the happy moment when regardless of the presence or the absence of the Cabinet of Ministers in Russia the investors are willing to invest $ US 23 BLN into the country. Just like Canadian ice hockey players, Russian ministers are in the game till the very last second,” he said.

German Gref also added that the main thing that was achieved at the forum is not the amount of money generated, but that foreign investors have now trust in Russia.

Aleksandr Remezkov, the Deputy Governor of the Krasnodar Region, stressed at the media briefing that the number of delegates who attended the forum indicates it is acquiring a high profile image among other economic forums across the globe.

“I want to point out that 90% of those who came to the forum this year took part in the previous one. This means that we’ve created very good grounds for co-operation. We will keep on working in this direction preparing for the next forum, and I hope it will be as fruitful as this one,” he underlined.

The CEO of the Sochi 2014 bid committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said that foreign investors are starting to show their interest in projects, that don’t guarantee fast profits, which is a good trend. “We are witnessing a positive tendency – private investments replacing federal ones. More than three billion roubles from the federal budget have already been saved because private investors have shown interest in projects, which don't just guarantee fast profits, like hotels, but also in sport venues and infrastructure,” he explained.

It was revealed that 30 BLN roubles will go towards the construction of the Olympic venues in Sochi, almost 2/3 of the sum – 18.5 BLN roubles – from the federal budget, and a lot of attention will be paid to the railroad system and electricity sector.

Among the projects to be launched in the nearest future, the Moscow-Sochi railway system, is one of the most significant ones, according to Vladimir Yakunin, President of JSC Russian Railways.

“If we are speaking about the most significant projects to be launched in the nearest future, that is, of course, a high speed railway system between Moscow and Sochi. We are now preparing proper documentation to launch the project,” he noted.

Actually, many interesting projects were offered to potential investors and among them the so-called Federation Island – an artificial island to be built just outside of Sochi in the Black Sea. Its outline is expected to resemble the national borders of the Russian Federation.

Another prominent topic on the agenda on Saturday was the 2012 APEC forum which is probably due to take place in Vladivostok.

Meanwhile, in terms of work the forum is over, but it is certainly not over in terms of entertainment. There's a jazz festival and a party hosted by Aleksandr Tkachev, the governor of the Krasnodar Region.