VEB.RF Chief Managing Director for SME and Procurement Marina Romanova presented to the participants in the BRICS workshop on smart cities GeoVeb, a geoanalytical system to support the urban economy and create a comfortable urban environment.
The workshop on smart cities was held during India’s presidency of BRICS and was attended by representatives of relevant ministries responsible for housing and construction policies, experts and heads of non-profit organisations.
Urban amendments will affect all areas, with a primary focus placed on developing an innovative decision-making approach. In changing global environment, indices and indicators become powerful tools for all participants in social and economic relations. Scientific management of urban processes can be conducted by public authorities and state corporations subject to the availability of reliable data obtained from the analysis of socio-economic development indicators.
Marina Romanova presented to the workshop participants certain functions of the GeoVeb online platform. The system includes more than 200 socio-economic development indicators, more than 100 spatial data indicators, 17 urban development areas, statistical data and demographic development indicators. Additionally, the analysis contains comprehensive qualitative and quantitative assessments of available social infrastructure, and marketing research data on real consumption of goods and services (700 goods categories and 100 services categories).
This large information aggregator allows the users to select and evaluate the efficiency of urban investment solutions including areas such as healthcare, education, waste treatment, improvement of public spaces, public transport, housing, small businesses, tourism etc.
The GeoVEB system helps to analyse the current state of Russia’s 100 major cities, evaluate their investment potential in priority areas, assess the contribution of a specific investment project to implementing national projects and achieving the national development goals, and evaluate the impact of an investment project on the quality of urban environment.
“Using the GeoVEB system in building up the urban project portfolio will help to form effective partnership between the VEB.RF Group and regional and local government authorities. Due to the measurement mechanisms embedded in the system we have a powerful tool to evaluate the quality of managerial decision-making, which means we are able to influence the ongoing developments,” Marina Romanova emphasised.
The project for constructing a railway to the Kaluga Special Economic Zone implemented under a concession agreement between Russian Railways and Kaluga Region is one of the first projects to be IRIIS certified.
The IRIIS system developed by VEB.RF in collaboration with the National PPP Development Center and АЕСОМ is based on the methodology for assessing infrastructure project in terms of their economic efficiency, environmental safety and social impacts.
Upon certification, the project team will receive independent assessment for the quality of investment in accordance with leading governance standards and best practices.
Russian Railways and Kaluga Region agreed in 2019 to construct a railway to a new industrial cluster in Liudinovo, the Kaluga SEZ. This is a first regional concession in modern Russia.
The railway will enable the residents of the Kaluga SEZ to carry 1.6 million tonnes of cargo per year. Its opening is scheduled for September 2021.
The first social beneficiaries participating in the assisted living programme for people with disabilities are moving into specially equipped apartments under the pilot project launched in Yakutia. The project initiated by Yakut authorities is aimed at introducing new social services in the region that are alternative to specialised in-patient facilities.
The programme is part of the SIB agenda initiated in Russia by VEB.RF. SIBs are clearly structured and provide for a strict distribution of responsibilities. Initially, the government engages private investors to finance specific social impact projects. If the investor (SIB project operator) achieves the specified outcomes either on its own or by engaging a contractor, it is reimbursed for its expenses out of the federal budget.
Currently, more than 1100 people with mental health disabilities are living in special care institutions in Yakutia. The project is designed to replace in-patient treatment with home care, so that people with disabilities could habituate themselves to living at home or in conditions close to living in family, and unlock their labour potential. The project involves 37 people, with 12 of them being patients of neuropsychiatric establishments that will be moved to apartments and get home care by professional social carers.
The project contractor, a Saint Petersburg–based association of disabled children’s parents GAOORDI, which has been successfully implementing such adaptation programmes for several years, is tasked to help introduce the adaptation technology in Yakutia by 31 March 2024. VEB.RF is the project operator. VEB.RF gives professional advice to the parties at all stages of the project implementation, monitors the project progress and engages an independent valuator to confirm the project outcomes.
VEB.RF’s and GAOORDI’s representatives met with parents of the programme participants and provided them with detailed information on the project goals and potential opportunities for people with mental health disabilities affordable upon the project completion. Concurrently, GAOORDI and the Yakut Ministry of Labour developed a pool of specialists for assisted living including psychologists and social workers trained at Saint Petersburg’s special care institutions.
The project provides for phased accommodation of the programme participants, thus enabling people with disabilities to undergo a mild adaptation. The epidemiological situation in Yakutia is also taken into account. The accommodation process will be completed by 31 August 2021. The first four tenants will move in the assisted living apartments as early as 2 August.
By 2025, State Development Corporation VEB.RF intends to enable Russia to rank among the world’s top ten countries in terms of launched SIB projects, introduce risk assessment for compliance with sustainability principles in the internal credit procedures, issue green bonds and start giving green loans. This, among other things, was presented by VEB.RF’s top managers at today’s presentation On Becoming a Sustainable Development Institution.
“VEB.RF is a development institution meaning that it is a financial organisation whose main task is to finance projects,” VEB.RF First Deputy Chairman Alexey Miroshnichenko said. “But VEB.RF’s unique non-commercial functions are equally important, including VEB.RF’s programme for mayors, our efforts to create standards and targets for the government and other market participants, the promotion of social and educational initiatives, and much more. We expect that all our efforts, both financial and non-financial, will help to introduce the sustainability principles in Russia.”
According to First Deputy Chairman of VEB.RF Nikolay Tsekhomsky, social and environmental projects highly praised and supported by people include transport, water and sanitation, educational and infrastructure projects. He also mentioned bailout guarantees that enabled Russian small and medium-sized businesses to resume their operation after lockdown. “Almost half of VEB.RF’s loans granted in 2020 totalling 500 billion roubles were earmarked to support small and medium-sized enterprises,” he said.
VEB.RF’s strategic plans also include the introduction of Russia’s national infrastructure project assessment and certification system meant to set Russian sustainable infrastructure standards. Such standards cover environmental issues, climate risks, project management, improving the quality of life, impacts on local communities etc. According to VEB.RF Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya, quality infrastructure projects based on the IRIIS system will be implemented in at least 10 Russian regions. By 2025, VEB.RF plans to enable Russia to rank among the world’s top ten countries in terms of launched social impact projects, and involve at least 30 regions in launching and implementing SIBs.
The event was attended by VEB.RF First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Alexey Miroshnichenko, First Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board Nikolay Tsekhomsky, Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya, Chief Economist Andrey Klepach, Chief Managing Partner for Urban Development Irina Makieva and Senior Banker Sergey Storchak. The event was timed to coincide with the publication of VEB.RF’s 2020 Sustainability Report.
Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, VEB.RF and Egyptian Partners Agree to Expand Opportunities for Suez Canal Economic Zone
A new industrial zone will be created in the Suez Canal area where Russian manufacturers can locate their production facilities.
VEB.RF is authorised to coordinate the Russian Industrial Zone project.
Chairman of the General Authority of Suez Canal Economic Zone and Head of Egyptian delegation Yehia Zaki discussed with VEB.RF during the visit to Moscow further steps to implement the project for establishing the Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Access to the Zone will create totally new opportunities for Russian enterprises for marketing Russian goods, work and services in the Middle East and North Africa countries. For the Russian part, this project is an exciting pilot initiative which in the case of success could open up new horizons in terms of supporting and promoting Russian exports.
The Zone will cover about 50 hectares at the first stage, with the opportunity of further expanding to 100 hectares.
Daniil Algulyan, VEB.RF Deputy Chairman and Member of the Management Board:
“After paused activities during the pandemic and a diminution of international cooperation, our operations are steadily gaining momentum. During the visit of our Egyptian colleagues to Moscow, we prepared and agreed the potential amendments to the intergovernmental agreement governing the Zone’s activity, held more than ten meetings with potential resident companies, and are now negotiating the specific commercial terms and perspectives of specific land plots. The Russian delegation is planning to visit Egypt in the end of August to discuss and determine the local specifics. We expect highly dynamic implementation of the Russian Industrial Zone project. This is a very interesting and unique project in terms of supporting Russian exports.”
The parties also discussed the terms which the Russian Industrial Zone could offer to potential residents. Particular attention was paid to the supply of products to the Egyptian domestic market and a flexible approach to site selection in the Suez Canal zone.
The parties agreed to expand the intergovernmental agreement and include the following options:
- an opportunity to locate Russian resident companies at any sites of the Suez Canal Economic Zone;
- guaranteed access for the residents of the Russian Industrial Zone to the Egyptian domestic market;
- regulatory recognition of VEB.RF as an authorised institution.
The project will be launched in five months on the territory adjacent to Ain Sokhna Port having a well-developed infrastructure.