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The future being born today: integration and infrastructure projects in Eurasia

June 04, 0:56 UTC+3
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KEY CONCLUSIONS:

  • Economic development centre shifting to the Asia-Pacific Region

“India’s growth rate is 8%, and China’s is 6.8%. <…> And there’s a changing equilibrium in terms of the global GDP. One or two decades ago this proportion surely trended towards Western countries, while these days it is clearly shifting to the so-called emerging economies,” said Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of Supervisory Board, DOC Research Institute.

CHALLENGES:

  • Lack of efficient coordination of regional projects

“Can you imagine a business project to be agreed upon by 65 parties? I can’t. Can you imagine a project being implemented without a project office and a system serving as a sole and unified management body? I can’t either. <…> I can hardly imagine a global office that would manage the development of the entire infrastructure throughout the Eurasian region. There’s no way of doing it. Regulations, traditions, economies, tariffs – they all vary,” said Vladimir Yakunin.

  • Explosive development of Asia-Pacific countries as a challenge for Russia

“Pursuant to the Chinese Dream Programme 2049, <…> 60% of China’s population should live in urban areas by 2022. This is going to be an urbanistic society with a different level of consumption, education and culture. <…> Last year, 18 million babies were born in China, and about 1 million in Russia. This is another serious challenge, since a new centre of attraction, influence and power is being created. And Russia has to respond to these challenges in a sufficiently effective way,” said Ivan Starikov, Professor, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“I think we are lagging behind across all types of transportation. We have missed the infrastructure revolution that occurred in Europe in the 70s and 80s, when the major portion of roads was constructed. We are trying to catch up. Of course, we are building much more roads today than previously, but it is still absolutely not enough,” said Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights.

SOLUTIONS:

  • Global infrastructure projects for regional development

“The Unified Eurasia / Trans-Eurasian Development Belt Project is a geopolitical social and economic development project for this millennium that will drive crossborder integration of Eurasian countries, transportation systems and resources. The strategic socio-economic importance of the project stems from a new integrated transportation infrastructure network that will help both Russia and its neighbours meet end overcome major challenges”, said Igor Malygin, Director, Solomenko Institute of Transport Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“This is not just about transit. We are talking about a number of new strategic hubs that will contribute to creation of new jobs, investments, influence and power. This new Trans-Siberian railway will serve 23 regions of the Russian Federation, and we know that it will help their regional economies. This is largely an issue of bridging regional economic divides. <…> The new railway will stretch some 12,000 kilometres. The estimated cost will reach approximately RUB 18 trillion that will be recouped over 8 years and 8 months”, said Ivan Starikov.

  • Integrating infrastructure projects into the national economic strategy

“We need to stop being copycats, and come up with true innovations. Russia (despite the deplorable brain drain of the last few decades) is still very strong when it comes to IT innovations and raising creative IT professionals. <…> Committing to IT-related projects would help restore our competitive edge on the global arena. <…> Information technologies set a clear path for moving forward to higher levels of achievement. This will lead us to new industrialisation and infrastructure projects based on IT-driven integration strategies”, said Leonid Altukhov, President, Group of Companies Netkom-IPC.

“Smart multimodal transportation systems rely on convergence of modern transportation strategies, best-in-class communications and IT technologies. The synergistic effect of such convergence results in a truly effective, integrated and multimodal national transportation network”, said Igor Malygin.

“We estimate that the new land-based transportation facilities and railway lines may take over as much as 4% of the existing seaborne cargo volumes. <…> First and foremost, we need logistics hubs with container terminals. To optimise railway container operations, we need about 3 or 4 of such hubs in Kazakhstan and 5 or 6 in Russia. <…> We must, eventually, start running container trains on a regular basis; it is only then that they will become relevant for major providers of logistic services”, said Evgeny Vinokurov, Director, Centre for Integration Studies, Eurasian Development Bank (EDB).

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