PM: Our economic profile should not be reduced to raw materials

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev takes part in first Caspian Economic Forum themed Caspian Sea: Benefits of developing international economic cooperation, government’s website reports.

As he pointed out at the international conference, “It is no coincidence that we have gathered at the Avaza tourist area today, on Caspian Sea Day, to discuss all the concerns of the littoral states and our neighbors in the region. There are plenty of problems. We need to talk about new opportunities for investing in the oil and gas industry, electric energy, transport, tourism and agriculture, in energy and transport projects, and, of course, environmental problems.”

“This forum has a special objective, which is to supplement the multi-level system of cooperation within the Caspian Five with an efficient and up-to-date mechanism of coordination in business, trade and the economy,” he said. “The Caspian Sea region has always been at the crossroads of geopolitical and economic interests of a number of major powers, political forces and businesses, as well as various ethnic groups and religions. It has recently emerged as one of the focal points in global politics, for obvious reasons. Primarily, this status is due to the region’s natural resources. Together with the Persian Gulf countries, the Caspian Sea region forms the so-called energy ellipse that accounts for about 70% of global oil reserves and 40% of natural gas reserves. This is a major geostrategic advantage for Caspian states, and a key area of cooperation. However, in today’s world economics cannot be reduced to oil and gas extraction. Digital technology, clean energy and sustainable use of natural resources, as well as free movement of goods and services are the factors that make countries strong and competitive. As countries of the Caspian Sea region, we must not stand aside from these trends. The economic profile of our countries should not be reduced to raw materials and has to be much broader. What the Caspian Sea region needs in the 21st century are streamlined transport infrastructure, high-technology and safe manufacturing, incentives to attract investors and unrivalled tourism products.”

Medvedev specifically stressed the need for “development of non-resource-based sectors, which should become new growth points in the Caspian region.” For that, he said, “we, the governments of the Caspian Sea countries, need to work with investors more actively.”

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