© 2016 Raul M. / Javier Z.
Stretching from the plains along the Baltic States on its western borders, across the Ural Mountains, encompassing the entirety of the Asian continent’s northern reaches, and all the way east to the Kamchatka Peninsula along the shore of the Pacific ocean, Russia is the largest nationally unified landmass in the world. A country of 146.6 million people, Russia has, perhaps more than any other state over the last century, been at the center of so many changes, reorganizations, and international events that the mere mention of its name is sure to elicit one opinion or another, no matter where you ask.
Perhaps the defining story of Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union is that of its economy. In the early 1990’s, Russia’s transition to a more market-based economy was not without its growing pains, as large, once state-controlled industries were broken up and taken over by private interests. By the early 2000’s, things had settled down, and Russia was able to stake out growth in areas such as the mining sector, heavy industries, the automobile industry, and real estate. With this development, poverty levels went from a staggering high of 40% in 1998 down to just 12.8% in 2011.
The Russian Federation, as the country is known officially today, is more than just an active and controversial participant in global affairs, or an economic success story. It is a country made up of a dizzyingly diverse population, dozens of unique identities and ethnic pockets scattered across the millions of miles Russian expanses. It is a country working towards development, not only in its massive capital city Moscow, but for the people in places most westerners have not even heard of.
While the Moscow metropolitan area accounts for an outsized share of the economy, the country is, clearly, a very large one, and there are real, sizeable cities spread across the country. From Saint Petersburg to Novosibirsk, the stories, the people, and the culture of beautiful Russian cities with high levels of infrastructure and significant economic potential are getting lost in the international haze, but it is in these places that savvy, global investors are looking for significant growth potential.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good fit for Russia thanks to the country’s significant amounts of natural resources, under-utilized investment opportunities, and its large, highly qualified workforces. Most of Russia’s economic development since the 1990’s came from the development of internal markets and trading, a major avenue for business, no doubt, but the allure of mobilizing Russia’s resources into a global economic force is too much for many to pass up.
According to Spanish bank Santander, an expert on FDI in Russia, transport, communications, IT services, automobile repair, aeronautics, and distribution logistics are all major areas ripe for investment in the country, and represent huge investment opportunities. The share of FDI in Russia’s economy has remained low, at 1.5% of GDP, despite the potential for growth across multiple sectors.
Levels of FDI influxes into Russia reached record levels in 2013, but then plummeted in 2014 due to the geopolitical tensions that arose between Russia and countries in the West surrounding the events in the Ukraine and Crimea. Looking to the future, investment will grow only with high quality government intervention and facilitation to make trade assurances and create a favorable regulatory environment. Investment assistance is still in its infancy in Russia, but one small municipality—Tatarstan—is way ahead of the curve in establishing clear and guaranteed avenues for bringing attracting international capital.
TIDA — a Blueprint for Success in Investment Facilitation
© 2016 Raul M. / Javier Z.
Tatarstan, one of 22 republics within the Russian Federation, has a population of about 3.8 million residents, and is the traditional home of the Tatar ethnic group. Located in the Volga Federal District in the southeastern part of European Russia, Tatarstan is a small, mostly urban republic, with its capital city, Kazan, at the center of life politically, economically, and culturally.
The Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA) is a special executive body of the government of Tatarstan that reports directly to the President’s office. Founded in 2011, TIDA’s mission is to set up, promote, and facilitate investment inside the republic from around the world, and it is responsible for all international investment and business projects both ongoing and planned in Tatarstan. It is certainly an innovative and forward-looking project that gave rise the Development Agency, one that has, in its short existence, proven its worth over and over again. In TIDA’s first year of existence, investment capital flowing into Tatarstan jumped by 44%.
As Russian republics are given the sovereignty to establish their own constitutions and write their own legislation and manage their business regulations, Tatarstan recognized that it had a special opportunity to go further than the national government of Russia in attracting foreign investments to its region. Tatarstan, however, is little known internationally, so an inherent part of TIDA’s initial mission was to spread awareness and exposure of Tatarstan abroad, especially when it comes to getting the word out about its beautiful and dynamic capital city, Kazan.
A city of about 1.2 million residents living along its European-style streets and avenues, Kazan is the eighth most-populous city in Russia, and one of the biggest industrial and financial centers in the country. It is built around the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka rivers, and It features high levels of infrastructure development, extensive public-transportation including a modern underground metro system, and a strong cultural emphasis on history, the arts, and education. Six of the top 500 Russian companies by revenue make their headquarters in Kazan, and the city is home to the biggest dedicated IT park in Russia.
The city is a veritable goldmine of architectural wonders, with beautiful and mysterious towers, such as the Söyembikä Tower, whose origin is unknown, major cathedrals and mosques, impressive stone bridges spanning the rivers, the elegant “House of Agriculture,” a palatial headquarters for the Tatarstan Department of Food and Agriculture, and much more to see in the city. Kazan is, without a doubt, an undiscovered gem on the international stage, but in Russia, it is a growing tourist destination. In 2015, 2.1 million visitors came to Kazan, a 20% increase over the year prior.
And in all of Kazan’s growth and opportunity, TIDA has remained an essential player. From establishing strategic partnerships with major multinational companies, including Siemens AG from Germany, to regularly hosting investment seminars about investment opportunities available in the Republic, to establishing a physical presence in 20 countries around the world, the Agency has been an example of excellence in running a governmental agency with efficiency and efficacy in the modern age.
TIDA is also responsible for developing and executing the overall strategic direction for facilitating high-impact investments in the Tatarstan economy. To this end, eight specific sectors have been singled out as high-priority industries in the republic, including the chemical and petrochemical industry, machinery and automotive parts, construction and building materials production, agriculture and food processing, medicine and pharmaceuticals, IT and telecommunications, the Halal industry, and the services and tourism industries.
For its track record of success in attracting investments, its major partnerships with multinational corporations, its development and execution of cutting-edge economic strategy, and its innovative approach to international outreach, the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency has been selected to receive the 2016 BID International Quality Award from Business Initiative Directions, one of the leading bodies promoting organizational quality and excellence around the world.
ABOUT BID AND THE INTERNATIONAL STAR AWARD FOR QUALITY:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.