By Kester Kenn Klomegah
The Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) will host the 6th edition of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) on September 2-4 in Vladivostok, that is expected to bring together corporate business directors and investors from the Asian-Pacific region and the Far East region of Russia.
Roscongress Foundation, the organizer of the forum, said in a statement that preparations were underway and would depend on the situation with the current pandemic. “The EEF will most likely be held this year, the dates are under discussion so far, but the issue is about autumn. The format will depend on the epidemiological situation,” it said.
The forum is traditionally held early September on Russky Island in the Primorye Territory. But, it was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I am confident that this year’s Forum will build on its investment capacity. Moreover, it will become an important platform for developing humanitarian ties in light of our cooperation with Asian countries in fighting COVID-19,” according to Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Executive Secretary of the EEF Organizing Committee, Anton Kobyakov.
Kobyakov said that, “the forum will be organized at the highest level, following the recommendations of Russia’s Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Kobyakov describes the economic forum as an efficient tool for developing international multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific, which annually brings together leaders of the top APAC countries for discussing universal aspects of the global economy.
The meeting considered as an important step forward in developing and strengthening investment‑related collaboration between business communities in the Far East. As one of the biggest economic forums in Russia, it yearly gathers several thousands of participants, including representatives of ministries and government bodies, financial and investment organizations, startups, and tech and innovation companies, and representatives of the media.
The 5th forum in September 2019, hosted over 100 panel discussions, roundtables, and business breakfasts dedicated to the most relevant topics on the international and regional agendas. The discussions were focused on 4 thematic areas:
- New Solutions for Accelerating Economic Growth
- Improving the Business Environment
- The Far East and Asia Pacific: Fostering Collaboration
- New Solutions for Improving Quality of Life
The plenary session featured Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia and many other dignitaries and high-profiled personalities.
Russia is one of the few countries that is located both in Europe and in Asia. Its unique geographical location makes it a bridge between East and West, between Europe and Asia. It (forum) helps foster partnership across the Asia-Pacific region.
The Eastern Economic Forum was established by decree of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. During the 2019 forum, the ‘Welcome to the Far East’ exhibition particularly showcased the results of the work of government agencies over the previous five years and the prospects for the development of the Far East under the National Programme 2025.
President Vladimir Putin has been making efforts to transform the Far East into a vibrant industrial and commercial region by attracting both local and foreign investors. The Russian government has allocated huge budget for its development. Putin has stated, several times, that the government implements additional initiatives to drive economy, rebuild infrastructure and intensify efforts to improve investment climate, and create employment opportunities there as part of its priority programme.
Given the vast territory of the Far East, 6.3 million people translates to slightly less than one person per square kilometer, making the Far East one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. The Russian government continue discussing a range of re-population programmes, hoping to attract in particular Russians there, but eventually agreeing on populating the region through a system immigration similar to Canada.
Until 2000, the Russian Far East lacked officially-defined boundaries. A single term “Siberia and the Far East” often referred to Russia’s regions east of the Urals without drawing a clear distinction between “Siberia” and “the Far East”. That however, the Far East is generally considered as the easternmost territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.