Do you agree that now Russia should and can play a greater role within BRICS?
Historically people have looked at Russia as the weakest member of the BRICS economically due to its either lower growth or structural issues. Right now Russia you would have to rate as much higher, much better than in the past. And in fact India is the country that probably most foreign directors are looking at as by far the worst performer. So, there is a lot of discussion these days about the “I” falling out of the BRICS.
And if you look at how much governments have done in Brazil, China and Russia to welcome and create favourable environment for foreign investment, you would have to say that Brazil, China and Russia are moving in one, very positive direction and India has started moving in a very negative direction. They’ve actually instituted laws, their Finance Ministry has put up barriers to foreign investment, they’ve began to attack foreign strategic investors, they’ve gone after investment locals like Mauritius in search of textile or so. So, consequently direct investment has stopped.
And what about the Russian steps? What do you think are the most attractive steps that the Russian Government did?
You know, one recent thing the Russian Government did is it announced the creation of the Russian Direct Investment Fund. And that is there to derisk, to take the risk out of finding a partner, it is also meant to be a co-investment pool and it is the Government putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak. And that’s a real statement. Also it reports to the State Bank and it has a board, and they are going to review how it does.
So, what it means is that key Government people are going to speak the language of investment and when the governments speak the language of investment they understand the problems of business much better and they can deal with those problems. I view that as very, very positive. What Russia has, it is that Russia is unique in the sense that it is the only member of the G8, the G20 and it is a BRICS country, only one.
So, it is the bridge between the developed world and the developing world. And in that way Russia has a very unique role it can play because it has all the aspects of the developed economy and still has many aspects of a developing economy. So, in that sense I think Russia has the opportunity to be a real leader over the next several years in that unique role.
Do you agree that the biggest problem is the lack of a new investment opportunities which could become the driving force of economic growth?
I don’t know, that would be a two hour discussion. All I can say right now is that people are afraid to invest anywhere, given the global picture.
Thank you very much.