Executive Coordinator of the UK Tatar Association, Dmitry Elizarov, hails the Republic of Tatarstan as an emerging economy with great untapped potential, and sheds light on the investment opportunities in the region.
The Russian Federation is a fascinating country with a diverse, multicultural society. For a long time Moscow and St Petersburg were at the top of the list for visitors and investors. Today, the Third Capital of Russia – Kazan – is making headlines with a bold statement: ‘Tatarstan is the best region for investors and entrepreneurs.’ Whether you are looking to explore the rich history of Tatar culture or to participate in business activities, Tatarstan has much to offer you.
Located at the intersection between Asia and Europe, 800km from Moscow, Tatarstan is recognised as one of the leading regions with a favourable investment climate and wealth of opportunities. It is a valuable member of the world family of nations. The region has always been a mixture of eastern and western cultures and values, where the importance of individual growth is linked with the responsibility to contribute to society. Tatar language and culture is one of the oldest in the Turkic family. It is close to the hearts of 180 million people worldwide; this shared connection opens the doors to communicating and forming partnerships with many nations.
To showcase the opportunities available and to connect with the multicultural society of Britain, the President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, visited london in November. This trip was an important milestone for Russian diplomatic activity in the UK. Mr Minnikhanov and his delegation were welcomed by the Ambassador of Russia in London HE Alexander Yakovenko. Mr President visited the House of Lords, the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and met with many Tatars living in the UK. The culmination of his three-day stay was London’s first ‘Invest in Tatarstan Forum.’ Investment opportunities were presented by heads of the Tatarstan Investment and Development Agency (TDIA), The Commerce and Industry Chamber and managers of large-scale infrastructure projects.
‘Tatarstan is roughly the size of the Republic of Ireland and is one of the Russia’s most developed regional economies. Not only it is blessed with natural resources, but it also possesses strong intellectual potential.’ Kazan ranks third after Moscow and St Petersburg in terms of its number of students, and Tatarstan is home to several of the most innovative industrial parks in Russia. Being an important energy hub and home to the sixth largest oil producing company in Russia, Tatneft, the Republic’s economy offers a wide range of priority industries and projects to participate in.
To make it easier to do business in the region, the Tatarstan Investment and Development Agency (TIDA) was established, which aims to promote Tatarstan globally and attract investment through creating necessary infrastructure and acting as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for investors. A member of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, TIDA works to determine investor’s requirements, provide packages of documents, facilitate signings and agreements and in launching projects.
So, what are Tatarstan’s most noteworthy opportunities for a smart investors?
One of the sectors to invest in is transport infrastructure. The Republic lies at the intersection of several major transport routes and is connected to potential markets by rail, river and motorways. Tatarstan is developing a section of the Europe-Western China international transport corridor, potentially reducing travel time by 3.5 times, significantly decreasing transport costs and becoming the key freight route in the Central Asian region. To enhance logistics networks, work is underway to create the Sviyazhsk Interregional Multi-Modal Logistics Hub. Completion of the project will result in re-directing freight flows from Central Russia and the creation of social and economic infrastructure. Investors can participate in developing a cargo and passenger river port, highways, tram lines, water supply units, power stations and an ecological park.
Innovation-related infrastructure focuses on accelerating innovation-driven activity, increasing productivity and social and economic growth. It is comprised of several main clusters, some of which are mentioned below.
• Special Economic Zone Alabuga attracts investors in industrial production and has tax benefits for up to 10 years. SEZ has its own customs post, electronic declaration system and various exempts on imports of high-tech equipment, material and components.
• Industrial Park Technopolis Himgrad has a favourable environment for innovative small and medium enterprises in polymer processing and petrochemical sectors. At present it has over 250 small companies, 100 developed products, 60 patents and trademarks.
• IT Park is Eastern Europe’s largest development institute for large-scale commercialisation of IT and communications projects. It is home to many advanced solutions, including applications for ‘electronic government’ and public services, where Tatarstan is a leader in Russia.
• IDEA Innovative Technopark comprises a business incubator, technology centre and business park.
• Agro-Industrial Park of the Republic of Tatarstan is designed for the processing, storage and sales of agricultural products.
• Kama Industrial Park Master aims to provide robust development of advanced automotive component manufacturing and heavy engineering.
Tatarstan strives to be an example for the whole of the Russian Federation in achieving growth targets and diversifying to build a knowledge-based economy with strong human capital. The Republic is looking to build bridges and to create synergies and partnerships. It is working hard to create a strong brand and to make it widely known.
The Republic attracts young talented people who were educated abroad, have professional experience and share our vision to become number one in their field. At the meeting with Tatars in London, President Rustam Minnikhanov supported the development of national cultural platforms in the UK and Europe. For investors it is beneficial to see that the culture and people are globally present and form a solid foundation to support Tatarstan’s initiatives. When investors feel that Tatarstan also strives to provide resources for its people abroad, then the business community will truly understand how serious our intentions are to build a prosperous society and a great economy. Stronger cultural relations between Tatarstan and the world will result in the development of an international business environment with a high degree of trust.
Having established a strong industrial economy, Tatarstan is looking to transform itself into the wealthiest and most transparent region in Russia, and to connect with the open world. The more transparent Tatarstan is, the more transparent Russia becomes. With the increase of attractiveness and wellbeing of regions and republics in Russia, the country as a whole becomes more prosperous and enjoys greater benefits.
In the coming years, the Republic will have many opportunities to show its hospitality and welcoming heart. All eyes will be on the region at the XXVII World Summer Universiade in 2013, the World Aquatics Championships in 2015 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018, with Kazan being one of the host cities. Large infrastructure projects are underway to ensure this experience is truly unforgettable.
Tatarstan welcomes everyone to enjoy 1,000 years of great history and culture, and to participate in building the future – today, together.