Let’s have a talk with Antonio Fallico, President of Banca Intesa Russia and Association Conoscere Eurasia
A country that covers more than 17 million km2, with a significant need for investment in infrastructure and great potential at the industrial level, Russia is looking to its economic future, with a focus on the infrastructure sector as a driver of development.
To date, what are the main infrastructural deficiencies in Russia?
At project level, the focus is now on the Asian zone, which extends east of the Urals, and which has a significant need for airports, to ensure the passage of people and goods throughout Russian territory, without necessarily having to pass through the central ones in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition to this, there are more wide-ranging projects that also include important infrastructure plans such as, for example, Vostok Oil, focused on the energy sector, which envisages an investment amounting up to 119 billion euros for the period 2022-2030, 50% of which is earmarked for infrastructure, to build ports, airports, freeways and urban agglomerations in the Arctic Sea area.
How many resources does the Russian Government plan to allocate in the next years?
Infrastructure development in Russia has been steady over the past decade. However, considering the extent of Russian territory, we can say that the planned investments will not be sufficient to meet all needs. Certainly, when compared to the 700 billion that the United States is aiming to allocate to the sector, the 65-70 billion that Russia will invest until 2024 looks like a modest amount to us. However, you must keep in mind that these sums are provided at the federal level, so further investments by local institutions and private individuals will be added.
European infrastructure plans are part of a wider strategy of transition towards a green society; how will Russian development projects respond to this issue?
Russia pays great attention to environmental impact too: today it is mandatory to receive opinions from internationally accredited agencies to mitigate any negative effects. In this regard, for example, 80% of the infrastructure of the Vostok Oil project has been approved through this procedure. In addition to this, infrastructure plans also address the need to create urban agglomerations to stimulate local economic development. In Siberia, Defense Minister Šojgu has proposed the creation of up to six new cities with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, with the aim of stimulating the territory’s economy, which until now has been disadvantaged by low population density and a lack of workforce.
Are there plans on the horizon for cooperation in this area between Russia and European countries, as the Nord Stream pipeline has been for example?
Currently, synergies are focused in the private sector, as demonstrated for example by the collaborations between Gazprom and the largest international companies. While, as far as official relations between the EU and Russia are concerned, dialogue is currently limited to import-export issues and the passage of goods and people. I hope, however, that the confrontation will extend to other fields, including certainly the ecological transition’s one, which at the moment is a central and debated issue for the EU. In this sense, Russia proposes the use of “blue” hydrogen as a means for a green transition less painful in terms of costs. This would be an interesting topic to be discussed between the two powers.
- Intesa Sanpaolo Group is one of the top banking groups in Europe, with a market capitalisation of 47.7 billion euro. Intesa Sanpaolo has a strategic international presence, with approximately 1,000 branches and 7.2 million customers, comprising subsidiaries operating in commercial banking in 12 countries in Central Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern and North African areas and an international network of specialists in support of corporate customers across 25 countries, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa and in those areas where Italian companies are most active, such as the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China. ↑
- Conoscere Eurasia is an independent, non-party and non-profit organization. Founded on 10th November 2007 as an expression of the Honorary Consulate of the Russian Federation in Verona, Conoscere Eurasia has the aim of developing relations between Italy, European Union, the Russian Federation and the Eurasian Economic Union, which members are Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Conoscere Eurasia is a strategic partner of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum organized by Roscongress (the foundation organizing all events in the Russian Federation), and co-promoter of the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona, all events involving the participation of leading international speakers, entrepreneurs and political institutions. ↑