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Priority of sustainable development

Russian Railways presents initiatives to expand cooperation with the BRICS countries
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A meeting of the BRICS Business Council was held at the end of April, at which representatives of the BRICS member-countries - Brazil, India, China, South Africa and, certainly, Russia - discussed promising areas of economic cooperation. The meeting’s agenda reflected the common focus of all participants of the BRICS Business Council on the challenges of sustainable development and the creation of conditions for the implementation of new projects. One of the key areas was infrastructure projects, including railways as a reliable, stable and environmentally friendly mode of transport. 
Russia was represented at the meeting by Sergey Katyrin, Chairman of the Russian national part of the BRICS Business Council and President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

In his speech he noted "the importance of the stability and consistent development of the transport infrastructure". Particular attention should be paid to railways as they are one of the "greenest" modes of transport, which is in line with the environmental priorities of the current agenda.

It will be recalled that the "contribution" of Russian Railways in terms of the total environmental impact, among the companies operating on the territory of the country, is less than 1% of the overall volume of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Read more about the holding company's environmental strategy in the previous article of "1520international».

The interest of the BRICS countries in the development of cooperation in the field of railway transport is confirmed by the Business Council, which includes railway officials from China, South Africa and Russia as members of specialized working groups. Having outstanding competencies in all areas of the transport and logistics business, railway companies and specialized agencies of the BRICS countries are ready to implement projects of any complexity.

At the same time, taking into account the need to attract appropriate financing for the development of the railway infrastructure of the five countries, the Business Council aims to expand cooperation with the New Development Bank founded by the BRICS countries, as well as other development institutions and export centers.

Sergey Katyrin highlighted Russian Railways' proposal to prioritize the financing of railway projects related to the development of the main transport infrastructure.
"Knowing that the number of such projects is quite significant, I suggest selecting the highest-priority ones, including those that can be implemented by the BRICS countries together," suggested the head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  "Also, admission of new members (Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh and Uruguay) to the New Development Bank gives us additional opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and the implementation of infrastructure projects".

Elena Gayazova, manager of the new project promotion program of the International Office of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, told 1520international that the New Development Bank is already involved in financing infrastructure projects in Russia.

To date, the New Development Bank has approved about 80 projects worth in total some $30 billion, including sovereign loans under its program of assistance to member-countries in fighting COVID-19.

In Russia, the BRICS Bank is involved in financing projects related to the development of Russia's port transport infrastructure, upgrading the fleet and railway rolling stock, increasing the volume of transshipment, trade and passenger traffic, construction of toll motor roads, modernization of water supply and purification systems in various cities, and development of small historic towns.

"In this process our country is ready to expand cooperation with the bank, there is a demand for it," says Elena Gayazova.

The totality of initiatives of the Business Council is reflected in its annual report. The most significant proposals become recommendations for the development of cooperation between the member-countries of the association. The report is presented to the BRICS heads of state for consideration at the annual summit.

At the initiative of Russian Railways and with unanimous support of all national parts of the Business Council, this year's draft report contains recommendations on such areas as the development of international transport corridors, including the improvement of rail border crossings, as well as the introduction of digital technologies and the expansion of scientific and technical cooperation. The key priority remains the implementation of joint infrastructure projects and creation of conditions for their promotion.
The Business Council plans to present its annual report to the BRICS Heads of State in this June at the 14th BRICS Summit.

Anna Yakusheva

30 may 2022

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