‘There is something to invest in here with an almost 100% return guarantee’
“We are meeting at a difficult time when global changes are taking place, we are facing the challenges of the time, which greatly affect the economy, and we see a great potential for such events that support foreign direct investment, which guarantee the development of the economy of our region," said UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi at the business breakfast “International trends of foreign direct investment: Role of Russia and the OIC countries”, which opened the first day of the XIV International Economic Forum Russia — the Islamic World: KazanForum 2023. According to him, Russia, and especially Tatarstan, is a key partner in cooperation. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
“We are meeting at a difficult time when global changes are taking place”
The moderator of the business breakfast, the president of the Annual Investment Forum, Dawood Al Shezawi, initially noted that the format of the event had been changed from a plenary session to a matchmaking game, he approached the audience and handed out cards with questions related to attracting investments.
Before the start, the rais of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, thanked him for organizing the event, noting that the republic participates in the forum in the UAE every year.
“We are learning a lot from our partners from the United Arab Emirates, especially in the field of attracting investments, developing Islamic banking, halal industry. Good relations have been established on all issues," he said.
After him, Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the UAE, noted that the forum is being held at a difficult time:
“We are meeting at a difficult time when global changes are taking place, we are facing the challenges of the time, which greatly affect the economy, and we see a great potential for such events that support foreign direct investment, which guarantee the development of the economy of our region. Today we are ready to discuss major projects, strategic projects that concern not only the Middle East, but also the whole world. We see that Russia, and especially Tatarstan, is a key partner in our cooperation. There is a lot in common between our regions, which has a beneficial effect on our economy. This is my third visit to Kazan, and I see the positive impact of the support of the government of Tatarstan, I see the growth of the region.”
“Everyone wants to be sure that everything will be fine with their business”
The head of the Investment Development Agency, Taliya Minullina, spoke to the guests in English on the topic of opportunities to attract investors. According to her, Russia is a huge market, a lot of laws have been developed here that protect the rights of investors.
“We sign investment agreements with them and, thus, fix tax benefits, customs benefits for a long period of time, which contributes to good relations. Everyone wants to be sure that everything will be fine with their business — not only today, but also tomorrow. We all understand that investment agencies will change, but the laws remain, which gives investors confidence in the future," she said.
Minullina also shared her expectations from the forum:
“We expect the signing of contracts, agreements, and further development of relations between the regions of Russia and the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. This is very important. This platform, KazanForum, creates an opportunity for this. We have more than 150 sessions planned, each one concerns a specific area — technology, tourism, innovations, investments. Everyone can find something interesting. We have our own goals and objectives. Today, all those present in this audience are investors. Tatarstan has the most social resources, time. Invest in Tatarstan.
“The private equity funds that exist now, in my opinion, are also outdated as models”
Andrey Belyaninov, the secretary general of the Assembly of Peoples of Eurasia, spoke voluminously about banks, investment funds and halal. According to him, banks and funds need significant modernisation:
“Therefore, I think it's time to create new international investment development banks. These banks can and should also be engaged in customer service, but not cash, but settlement. Due to this, it is possible to track the targeted use of investments and increase the efficiency of these banks. The private equity funds that exist now, in my opinion, are also outdated as models. As far as I know, for each new project, the direct investment fund creates its own fund that is engaged in this activity, and not everything in it can be fully controlled. Therefore, private equity funds should take over the functions of real credit units. New financial instruments that will appear on the market can easily form their capitals at the expense of national currencies. This is a fundamental difference. I flew in from Dubai yesterday, and I have a feeling that all the Arab Emirates are talking about cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and so on. In my opinion, our colleagues representing the Arab Emirates have succeeded quite well in this. Whether we want it or not, tens of billions of dollars are now passing by banking channels, which go without the control of regulators. Regulators are the central banks of our countries," he said.
According to him, it is necessary to form Eurasian Direct Investment Fund.
“Therefore, those investment banks and funds that will be formed — and I also think it would be absolutely fair to form Eurasian Direct Investment Fund — can and should establish direct relations with national banks. This will significantly reduce the time for bureaucratic procedures, which often take up all the time. I belong to that happy galaxy of bankers who invested in Tatarstan. It was KAMAZ. And, despite certain difficulties that have been, I believe that this is a very successful investment. The republic is developing dynamically, KAMAZ is developing.”
Separately, Belyaninov made courtesy to Tatarstan:
“This is not the first time I have attended such forums, and I believe that the brilliant organisation that Tatarstan demonstrates is organisation in everything — in business, in management. We can safely talk about the creation of investment banks of a regional nature. Bankers, as we know, have two problems: it is bad when there is no money, and even worse when there is money. Many bankers say that there is now a significant excess of monetary liquidity in the market and a shortage of good investment and credit projects in general. I believe that those who do not know how to work can say this. I'm going to make courtesy towards Tatarstan, it's just as an example. Look at this republic, look at this region of Russia. There is something to invest in here with an almost 100% return guarantee. This is always a matter of principle for any investment. And this is where you should look. Regional investment banks are needed. They are important and should be of an international nature in order to avoid various troubles associated with the financial market. I urge you to think about it and, if necessary, I am ready to consult. Let me say one more remark about the halal economy. I still don't understand what it is, but I respect everything that is happening. If an investment bank is organised in Tatarstan, which I hope very much, it will have to work in the format of Islamic banking.”
The Secretary General of the Assembly of Peoples of Eurasia also touched upon the topic of halal:
“I told one of our businessmen about the halal economy and products. I say, 'Can you imagine if we made our Sputnik V vaccine according to halal laws. Two billion people live and practice Islam. We didn't need any WHO permits, and the vaccine would have been distributed all over the world. It would have saved so many people from trouble, illness and death in the end.” He finished with a joke: “Can you imagine halal liquefied gas? That's something to think about.”
“We can help them enter African markets. The population of Africa is going to reach a billion soon, and this is the future of the world”
Already during the game, Ghislain Moandza Mboma, the director general of the National Agency for Attracting Investments and Public-Private Partnership of the Gabonese Republic, said that his country is famous for magnesium mining — and this is one of the reasons why it is attractive for investments:
“The other side of the question is location. We are in the centre of Africa. Our country is a special region, it is very stable and has never been at war. Peace is the goal and philosophy of Gabon. The economic strategy is very clear and understandable. This is the diversification of the economy. Processing of minerals and exports. We expect investments for the development of certain areas. Our task is to improve the situation in agriculture, energy, as well as infrastructure projects such as railways. There is one of the agencies that deals with investors. We work with companies, and the work period takes two days, and sometimes even less. But we are trying to attract investors from all over the world. And one of the tasks is that if a country is working on the Sustainable Development Goals, then we are happy to interact with it. We can help them enter African markets. The population of Africa is going to reach a billion soon, and this is the future of the world. Choosing Gabon as a target for investment and business development will mean for you interaction with all African countries," he concluded.
The acting head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, who emphasised that the Donetsk People's Republic is a region of the Russian Federation, briefly but clearly told how to attract investments:
“Only a single window and guarantees of [return on] investments are all that investors are interested in now. Simplicity, convenience, and guarantees — as far as possible under the current circumstances," Pushilin replied.