Business agenda 2021: what COVID-19 changed in the world of business events

Key business events in the world, Russia and Tatarstan scheduled for 2021

The business community as well as the whole world steps into 2021 with a feeling of uncertainty: vaccines will probably help defeat coronavirus, and life will go back to normal, but the pandemic has already demonstrated that nothing can be excluded. This is why one can get ready for major business events with big caveats. But in case of favourable circumstances, the business programme promises to be busy enough, as many events in 2020 were put off into this year.

First forum about world after pandemic

Gaidar Forum traditionally opens the business year in our country, while in 2021, it is expectedly linked with the COVID-19 epidemic — it is named Russia and the World after the Pandemic. The forum is expected to have a united (hybrid) format. Experts and speakers will participate in debates in RANEPA’s main building where 9 TV studios will be professionally equipped. All spectators will watch the debates online, moreover, gratis.

The forum’s programme includes more than 100 events in two days — more than usual at this forum precisely thanks to its online format. The programme is already known, one can have a look at it on the forum’s website. Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Russian Accounting Chamber Alexey Kudrin, Sberbank’s CEO Herman Gref, Vice Premier Marat Khusnullin, Chairwoman of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina and many other speakers are expected among experts of the forum.

In 2021, Gaidar Forum is expectedly linked with the COVID-19 epidemic — it is named Russia and the World after the Pandemic. Photo: gaidarforum.ru

Davos to be in May and online

The World Economic Forum in Davos is traditionally hosted in late January and is one of the largest events of the international business agenda. In 2020, the forum lasted for four days, around 300 participants including leaders of 53 countries gathered there. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov is also a frequent guest of the forum.

Changes await the WEF in 2021: for instance, it won’t take place in Davos but Singapore from 13 to 16 May. However, Davos Week online forum will be held from 25 to 29 January 2021 — the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world will expectedly become its theme. Moreover, it seems that transmissions of Davos Week can be watched without limitations on the website of the WEF.

The WEF will host the International Conference on Management and Information Technology in Tokyo on 6-7 April. In 2022, the forum will go back to Switzerland, WEF’s Chairman Klaus Schwab claimed.

Changes await the WEF in 2021: for instance, it won’t take place in Davos but Singapore from 13 to 16 May. Photo: tk.media

SPIEF, Eastern Economic Forum and RIF haven’t chosen a date

Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum is another big event on the international business agenda. In 2019, it gathered nearly 20,000 participants from 145 countries of the world, 745 agreements for 3,271tn rubles were signed during the forum.

In 2020, SPIEF was limited by the pandemic — it became known in March the forum was cancelled. The forum will anyway take place in 2021, the website of the SPIEF reads, however, even interim dates aren’t named.

Russian Investment Forum also became a victim of the pandemic in 2020 — it used to be hosted in Sochi annually in February. Organisers promised to host the forum at the beginning of the year — it isn’t excluded that the forum will take place at least not at the habitual time.

Eastern Economic Forum, which was due to be in Vladivostok on the Russian Island for the fifth, jubilee year was also postponed until 2021 indefinitely, neither is its programme known. However, its organisers claim the fee for participation and advertising at the forum will stay at 2020 level. It isn’t excluded that a part of the programme will go online following the example of other events in 2020 and 2021.

Eastern Economic Forum, which was due to be in Vladivostok on the Russian Island for the fifth, jubilee year was also postponed until 2021 indefinitely, neither is its programme known. Photo: gtrkamur.ru

Russian Energy Week refuses “youth” format

While Roscongress’s another event — Russian Energy Week — has more certainty. It is known it will be hosted in Moscow from 13 to 16 October. The forum is a site designed to discuss challenges and prospects of developing the world’s Fuel and Energy Complex. In 2019, the forum was visited by more than 10,000 participants from Russia and 115 foreign countries and territories.

Moreover, the forum in 2021 can be held as usual, without online sessions, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak recently claimed. In 2020, the event was scheduled for December first in a “youth anti-COVID-19 format”, but its organisers, at last, decided to postpone the event.

Moreover, the dates of the Eastern Oil and Gas Forum are known — it will take place from 7 to 8 July. It is dedicated to key strategic oil and gas projects of the region from Krasnoyarsk Krai to Sakhalin Oblast.

Russian Energy Week will be hosted in Moscow from 13 to 16 October. Photo: niejournal.ru

April power engineering

However, the National Oil and Gas Forum will be hosted at Expocentre in Moscow earlier, from 26 to 29 April, which is “the first nationwide event in Russia’s modern history organised by Russia’s Ministry of Energy together with entrepreneurial and sectoral associations”. This year it will be held together with NefteGaz 2021 exhibition.

Russian International Energy Forum is expected to be held in Saint Petersburg from 21 to 23 April. In 2019, this event gathered over 5,500 participants from 25 countries, it will have more than 200 speakers. In 2020, it was held in December in a “hybrid” format.

It was expected that Tatarstan International Energy Efficiency and Environment Forum would be held at Kazan Fair in March 2020. Now it is scheduled for 21-23 April 2021 — these dates were officially confirmed by the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers’ decree. A detailed programme of the forum is unknown, however, it is expected that Energy. Resource Saving 2021 exhibition will be held during the forum together with leading enterprises of the republic’s Fuel and Energy Complex.

A detailed programme of the forum is unknown, however, it is expected that Energy. Resource Saving 2021 exhibition will be held during the forum together with leading enterprises of the republic’s Fuel and Energy Complex. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Apart from energy International Labour Forum will be held in Saint Petersburg from 22 to 23 April, which is organised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation. It is considered to become the country’s biggest platform to discuss the development of human capital and help create an integrated human capital development strategy of the Russian Federation based on the latest scientific research and the best world practices. However, the forum’s programme hasn’t been defined yet.

Environment, urbanism and retailing

From 18 to 10 March, Saint Petersburg will host the 20th Big City’s Environment 2020 forum, which is the biggest environmental and rational use of natural resources, environmental protection equipment, technology and services in the Northwest together with Housing and Utilities of Russia conference, which allows “uniting efforts to create a favourable urban environment for life”. The objective of the forum is to promote and introduce innovative environmental protection equipment and technology in Russia. This year, Metropolis Environment, Big City’s Environment exhibition and Housing and Utilities of Russia international exhibition will be held together with Petersburg Technical Fair and HI-TECH innovation exhibition in Expoforum exhibition centre. The programme of the forum is not clear in detail yet.

From 1 to 4 July, Moscow’s Zaryadye Park will host Moscow Urban Forum 2020 international congress devoted to challenges of developing global metropolises. The MUF unites representatives of urban administrations of Russia and the world, architects, urban engineers, developers, heads of financial companies, investors, technological start-ups, representatives of the mass media and citizens. The congress in 2019 was about Quality of Life. Projects Changing Cities.

From 1 to 4 July, Moscow’s Zaryadye Park will host Moscow Urban Forum 2020 international congress devoted to challenges of developing global metropolises. Photo: colta.ru

What’s more, Retailing Week 2021 will be held from 31 May to 4 June — it is a large-scale sectoral event in retailing with businesses and the state where “key development areas of retailing are determined, the state’s approaches to developing the modern and civilised retail market are defined”. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Russian Association of Retail Market Experts are the organisers.

Forum for forum organisers

Eurasian Event Forum will take place very soon — from 27 to 29 January in Saint Petersburg. It is expected to have around 500 participants from 10 countries. The topic is Union as Strategy Amid Uncertainty. As for the organisation of events, there is more than enough uncertainty in 2021.

The programme of the forum is clear in general, tickets to the forum costs from 15,000 to 50,000 rubles.

KazanSummit in July, Venture Forum — in April

Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit is one of the major sites for economic cooperation between Russia and Muslim states. 3,500 delegates from 72 countries of the world arrived in KazanSummit 2019. Moreover, Russia Halal Expo exhibition was held during the event.

In 2020, the event was expected to be dedicated to Islamic finance, as Tatarstan Investment Development Agency’s Chairwoman Tailya Minullina noted. Now the turnover exceeds $5tn and will double by 2024.

It goes without saying that KazanSummit was not held during the pandemic — it was announced the event was postponed until 202, though some meetings were held online in 2020. According to the latest data, the forum will take place this July.

Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit is one of the major sites for economic cooperation between Russia and Muslim states. Photo: Oleg Tikhonov

Another event, Russian Venture Forum, was to be held in Kazan under the aegis of TIDA at Kazan Expo from 7 to 8 April. It is expected that around 2,000 people will participate in the event that will be held both offline and online.

“Technological breakthrough” to be discussed at Kazan Digital Week

In 2020, Kazan Digital Week was held on a large scale — Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was expected to participate in it till the last minute. It is unknown if he will come in 2021, but the forum will certainly be held. The dates were already chosen: from 21 to 24 September, the preparation for the forum is already underway.

The forum expected to be offline and online at Kazan Expo modern international exhibition centre. The forum’s theme is Expansion of Launching Pad of Technological Breakthrough, which envisages replenishment of the business programme in the interests of production and humanitarian sectors, organisers write. Key themes of the forum were also defined.

In 2020, Kazan Digital Week was held on a large scale — Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was expected to participate in it till the last minute. Photo: rt-online.ru

Another IT event will take place from 17 to 18 November 2021 — it is IoT & AI World Summit & Expo. It is considered to become the key event for a technological breakthrough of IoT and AI in Russia. Nine specialised sections will operate on the site at the same time. The event is held in Tatarstan for the third time with the republic’s support.

By Aleksandr Artemyev
Tatarstan