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17:41 | Nov 22 | 2011

Desire is here, options are plentiful

Business ties between Republic of Sakha and Great Britain are getting stronger.

In the end of September an official delegation of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) led by the President Egor Borisov visited Great Britain. The purpose of the visit was strengthening links with the country’s business circles.

They began with a business dinner
The delegation consisted of the First Deputy Chairman of the Republic’s Government Gennady Alekseev, the Minister of Federal Relationships and External Relations Valery Maximov, the First Deputy Minister of Economy and Industrial Policy Valentina Kondratieva, the President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Commerce and Industry Chamber Vladimir Chlenov, as well as top managers of major enterprises – German Pikhoya (Polyus Gold), Alexander Fedotov (Republican Investment Company), Alexander Ogly (Surgutneftegaz), Ivan Makarov (Sakhatransneftegaz), Alexander Mironov (Almazergienbank) and other officials.

On the first day of the visit Egor Borisov and members of the delegation had a business dinner with the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Great Britain Alexander Yakovenko. Stephen Dalziel, Executive Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, took part in the reception.

Yakutia is Russia’s treasure-house
On the next day a presentation of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) investment potential was held at the London Stock Exchange. In his speech at the presentation Egor Borisov invited representatives of London business circles to take part in development of investment projects to be implemented in the territory of the Republic.
“Yakutia is rightly called a true treasure-house of Russia. Yakutia’s natural resources are estimated at more than three trillion dollars, and by this criterion the Republic is in the first place in the rating of the Russian regions”, - Egor Borisov stressed. Head of the Republic also noted that the vast territory, low population density, and the shortest trans-continent transportation route created conditions for turning Yakutia into a strategic Russia’s outpost in the Far East. It is with dynamic development of Yakutia that the Government of the Russian Federation associates development of the Far East. The total amount of investments in the region’s major projects alone is estimated at more than 150 bil US dollars.
The planned investment projects are first of all related to the fast growing markets of the Asia-Pacific Region. For example, construction of the “East Siberia – Pacific Ocean” Oil Transportation System provided the possibility for hydrocarbons from Yakut deposits entering the APR markets. Besides, implementation of the Eastern Gas Program has begun. According to the Program, construction of a gas transportation system “Yakutia – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok” is to be started in 2012. In accordance with OAO Gazprom plans, extraction of oil and gas will begin at the unique Chayadinskoe deposit.

Getting closer
Yakutia today features high rates of economic growth and ambitious investment plans. “We believe that London Stock Exchange is the best partner to support our ambitions, and we hope that this visit will provide impetus to international investment cooperation aimed at developing a strategic partnership”, - Egor Borisov noted.
A little later another event participant, Alexander Fedotov, stated that the presentation that had taken place represented a next systemic step towards overcoming what one might call a lack of psychological readiness of Great Britain and others for reaching out to the investment market of Yakutia.
After the presentation a round table devoted to discussing possibilities for foreign investors’ eventual engagement in socio-economic development of the Republic was held. Representatives of English and other countries’ business circles actively participated in the round table.
On the same day a meeting between Egor Borisov and the London Stock Exchange President Xavier Rolet took place. Possible options for developing the Republic’s business circles’ cooperation with the London Stock Exchange were discussed during the meeting.
That same day Egor Borisov had a business lunch with the Co-Chairman and Executive Director of the Macquarie Renaissance Infrastructure Fund. This infrastructure fund is a world provider of banking, financial, consulting, investment and funding services, and it is of course of great interest to the Republic from the point of view of investment in infrastructure projects and developing the public-private partnership domain.

Most investments come from Europe
On the same day another presentation of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) investment potential took place – this time for members of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. “Yakutia is an active player in Russia’s external economic relations. It cooperates with more than 45 countries of the world and is the fourth region in Russia in terms of the amount of foreign investment per capita (1.4 thousand US dollars in 2010). More than 80% of foreign investments to Yakutia traditionally come from the European countries and are being directed first of all to development of Yakutia’s natural resources. – Egor Borisov stressed. –We are very interested in cooperation with the EU countries on energy efficiency issues, implementation of modern technologies. The conditions we create for a large-scale diversification of the Republic’s industry allow us to be among the leaders in Russia in terms of investment projects to be implemented in its territory both by the number, and by the amount of investments. I am confident that our today’s dialogue will become another real step in strengthening long-term relationships between Great Britain and Russia”.
The presentation was concluded with an official ceremony of signing a Memorandum on Cooperation between the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and the Commerce and Industry Chamber of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
During his visit to London the head of Yakutia also had a meeting with the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Thomas Mirow. Back in 2006, within the framework of implementation of the “Technical Modernization of Heat Supply Facilities in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)” project, the Government of the Republic concluded a 15-years 1 billion rubles loan agreement with EBRD. Now parties discussed issues related to Bank’s participation in other projects in the territory of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).