The discussion of the Socioeconomic Development Strategy of the Republic of Crimea until 2030 became one of the key items of the agenda of the III Yalta International Economic Forum. At the session dedicated to the subject, experts recommended that Crimea develop infrastructure projects, tourism, agriculture, educational projects, and create industrial parks.
Opening the Crimea: Strategy 2030 session, Sergey Aksyonov, the Head of the Republic of Crimea, described the Socioeconomic Development Strategy of the Republic of Crimea until 2030 adopted in late 2016.
“This document resulted from discussions held by political and social scientists and other experts; we attempted to organize as broad a discussion as was possible. The principal task was creating a truly effective development strategy that Crimea has never had before. We tried to create a document we intend to live by; we intend to implement this strategy purposefully and diligently. But I would like to say that the strategy is not a dogma, we are ready to amend it according to the changing situation,” Sergey Aksyonov said.
The Head of the Republic noted that the quality of life in Crimea had improved significantly over the last three years: the region now receives natural gas from the mainland, the power bridge solved Crimea's power supply problems; kindergartens were built, about 400 kilometers of roads were repaired and constructed; the region’s other important infrastructural problems were resolved as well.
Andrey Melnikov, the Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Crimea, said that the Socioeconomic Development Programme was subdivided into several stages, and its implementation would allow Crimea to create a strong economy. “We should create favorable conditions for attracting investments. Crimea has strong positions in industry; we will develop agriculture and improve people’s quality of life: we want to make Crimea a region where people will study, work, and live in better conditions,” the Minister said.
The first stage of the program is slated for completion by 2020; it entails eliminating the current infrastructural restrictions related to power supply and logistics. “The second stage goes beyond the Federal Targeted Programme for Developing Crimea and Sevastopol. To implement it, we need to attract investments. Now over 800 participants with declared investments of 80 billion rubles are registered in the Free Economic Zone. These are good prospects,” Andrey Melnikov said.
Andrey Cherezov, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, stressed that the FTP for developing Crimea and Sevastopol would ensure sufficient power supplies for Crimea.
“Currently, construction is underway on two thermal power plants with the combined capacity of 940 megawatt. The decision was made to increase the capacity of Saky thermal power plant by 120 megawatt. The alternative power sources will also be developed: the region has enough sun and wind. The power grid in Crimea’s resort zone will have been modernized by 2020. The pipeline that has already been constructed ensures natural gas supply to Crimea until 2025 even if Crimea’s own gas deposits are exhausted. On 30 April Chernomorskneftegaz’s new investment program will be approved; the program involves, in particular, increasing the capacity of Crimea’s gas infrastructure,” the Deputy Minister said.
Viktor Ivanter, Director of the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is certain that the Republic of Crimea has to resolve four principal issues before 2030. “Overland travel to mainland Russia and power supply are virtually resolved issues. Situation with water is worse. And there are problems with utilities,” the expert believes.
Dominique Fache, Chair of the Board of the RTF (Russian Technology Foundation), believes that sanctions cannot be imposed on ideas. He stressed that Crimea is similar to Cote d’Azure in France 40 years ago, when Sophia Antipolis, Europe’s first technology park, was being established there. Accordingly, Fache recommended developing a 40-year-plus plan for the region’s development. “Tourism, healthcare, sports, and business must be developed here. Innovations are needed. New universities should be opened with a new education system. Society should work as a close-knit team: the state, business community, banks, public organizations,” one of the founders of Europe’s largest technology parks believes.
The region’s banking system is already set up and developing successfully. In the nearest future, lending should be increased and consumers’ financial literacy should be improved, believes Mikhail Yakunin, Chair of Board of the RNCB Bank. “Crimea’s banking system has been formed over three years, but it has not yet gained sufficient volume and weight. Lending has grown 2–3 times over a year, in mortgage lending, for instance. Consumers’ financial literacy is the factor that holds banks back today. Policy-based lending should be increased, as should be mortgage lending and lending to small and medium businesses,” Yakunin says.
In late 2016, the State Council of Crimea adopted the Socioeconomic Development Strategy of the Republic of Crimea until 2030 (http://minek.rk.gov.ru/rus/info.php?id=609404).
The strategy entails attracting up to 345 billion rubles in private investments, a fourfold-plus growth of the per capita gross regional product by 2030, an over 3 times increase in labor productivity, average life span increase to 75 years, development of the region’s principal economy sectors: industry, agriculture, resort infrastructure, and tourism. The plans involve establishment of several industrial clusters: shipbuilding, chemistry, agro-industry, and biomedicine. They will bring together both new and already existing enterprises. The Socioeconomic Development Strategy of the Republic of Crimea will be implemented in three stages: the removal of infrastructural limitations in 2017–2020; large-scale introduction of innovations in 2021–2026; creation of new technologies, increasing competitiveness in 2027–2030.
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