MOSCOW, February 16, 2013 — World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim today wrapped up a three-day visit to the Russian Federation that focused on building on the country’s two-decade partnership, improving the country’s business climate, and diversifying the economy. In addition, he attended the Group of 20 (G20) meetings, which were hosted for the first time by Russia.
With other G20 leaders, Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, where he talked about the Bank’s priorities at the G20 meetings.
"Russia has taken the presidency of the G20 at a very important time,” Kim told Putin and the other G20 leaders. “The worst part of the global economic crisis is behind us. However, we need to ensure stability, start to consolidate growth and make it sustainable, by creating new jobs. Russia has sent a very important signal by highlighting the creation of jobs in the G20 agenda this year."
In earlier meetings with Russian Minister of Economic Development Andrei Belousov and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Kim and the Russian leaders agreed to create a “knowledge delivery hub” in Moscow focused on improving the business climate and encouraging innovation in the country. The hub would build on the World Bank Group’s current business environment advisory work in 30 Russian regions and with the federal government. Russia has improved its ranking in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report in recent years and aims to boost its ranking into the top 20 countries worldwide by 2018.
“President Putin has made it very clear that he wants Russia to be one of the top countries in the world in terms of the ease of doing business, and I saw this reflected throughout the meetings I had this week,” Kim said. “The Russian authorities want to improve the business climate so that investments will come in, businesses will grow and jobs will be created for the Russian people. The new knowledge delivery hub in Moscow would help spread the lessons learned in successful Russian regions to other areas of the country still trying to improve their business climate. The region of Ulyanovsk, for example, ranks at the top of Russia’s regions and has made many reforms. It shows that with the right political commitment, you can improve your business environment at the local and regional level.”
In his first official visit to Russia as World Bank president, Kim met with many of the World Bank Group’s partners in the country, including governors of Russian regions where the Bank Group has invested and done advisory work, representatives of the private sector, civil society, and academia, as well as students and government officials. Discussions covered a range of issues, including how to deepen the Bank’s 21-year partnership with Russia on all levels, including Russia as a global partner, G20 chair, emerging donor, and a regional key player.
“Russia has long been an important partner for the World Bank in implementing projects here in this country but also, in recent years, it has become a generous donor partner in supporting trust funds aimed at fighting poverty in developing countries,” Kim said. “The world – and the World Bank -- needs Russia as a global development partner. Russia has the history, capacity, and knowledge to play a large and responsible role as a development partner and donor country. Its increased official development assistance to poor countries reflects well on this country and its values.”
During the meeting with Minister Siluanov, it was agreed that development in the regions of Russia will have paramount importance for the future of the country, and therefore the Bank should increasingly focus its work at the subnational level. Based on the Joint Country Partnership Strategy of December 2011, the World Bank Group has deepened its cooperation with Russia’s regions – in particular, with the less developed ones. The Russia strategy has several unique cooperation initiatives. These include sub-national lending by the Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC); reimbursable advisory services; and a joint strategy that gives IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency a key role in private sector development.
Russia joined the World Bank in 1992. Today, the Bank is financing 11 investment projects in Russia totaling US$816 million. Given Russia’s size and strong financial position, engagement with the World Bank Group has been selective and strategic. Over the last 20 years, the Bank has worked with Russia on maintaining prudent macroeconomic policies, making public administration more efficient, restructuring the health sector and educating children starting from kindergarten age. IFC’s strategy in Russia is to support private sector development and encourage economic growth. IFC has invested $10.1 billion in Russia, including $3.2 billion in syndicated loans, and is involved in 270 projects across a variety of sectors.
In recent years, the demand in Russia has grown rapidly for knowledge services, including reimbursable advisory services, that cover a wide range of activities that are well aligned with Russia’s own development challenges, from human development to social assistance, to public-private partnerships (PPP) and to capacity-building for development assistance.
During his visit, Kim spoke at the prestigious Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) where he challenged students with the question, “What’s next for Russia’s economic future and its role in the global community?”.
For more information about partnership between the Russian Federation and the World Bank, please visit: www.worldbank.org/russia