Ceremonies to launch the production of the Sputnik V vaccine in the Republic of Serbia and the Argentine Republic were held as part of the event with the participation of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the international investment community from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Canada, China, Singapore, Brazil, France, Kazakhstan, Germany, Japan, Italy and Thailand. Manufacturers of the Sputnik V vaccine included companies from Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Germany, the Republic of Korea, India, Italy, Mexico, Belarus, China, Brazil, Iran, Serbia, Turkey and Argentina.
Russia was represented at the meeting by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Healthcare Mikhail Murashko, Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev and members of the RDIF Supervisory Board, including Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Mr Fernandez, Mr Vucic,
Traditionally, during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum we hold meetings with members of the international investment and business community.
The agenda, the key item of today's discussion, is, of course, related to the common challenge facing humankind – the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, we proposed this special format with the participation of our colleagues from leading pharmaceutical companies, which, with the support of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, are setting up production of the Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Centre.
I am pleased to see the leaders of Argentina and Serbia join our discussion. The full-scale production of Sputnik V will begin in these two countries today.
I am confident that the discussion, with the participation of such a representative group, will allow us to more effectively coordinate efforts to counter the pandemic, and vaccination is of crucial importance.
To reiterate, it is critically important to increase the production of effective and affordable vaccines in order to halt the spread of infection, protect people's health and lives, and improve their well-being, primarily by lifting emergency restrictions on business activity and restoring global growth.
I said at the forum’s plenary session earlier today that the Russian economy has shown that it can withstand external shocks despite all the hurdles. In 2020, Russia’s GDP went down less that the world economy whereas in the current year we will see growth of around 4 percent.
Such results became possible thanks both to the groundwork we had laid in the previous years and the selfless work of many people in industry, agriculture, the social sphere and, of course, in healthcare and science.
I want to underscore especially that the hard work of medical professionals and the efforts by our researchers who created a coronavirus vaccine received powerful support from the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Thus, the RDIF was actively involved in organising the production of rapid and high-precision test kits for COVID-19 diagnostics as well as medicines for treating this severe disease.
Also, our sovereign fund ensured the promotion of the coronavirus vaccine abroad: as of today, it has been registered in 66 countries with a population of over three billion.
Of course, we had to traverse a difficult road to get from sceptical estimates to broad international recognition, including, importantly, from the global academic community and its respected representatives.
What I want to highlight here is that political and other disagreements should be left aside when it comes to preserving people’s health and lives. This is why the actions of some of our partners look odd and counterproductive, to put it mildly, as they are openly trying in every possible way to prevent and restrict the use of the Russian vaccine. Let me reiterate, experience has shown that its efficacy of 97.6 percent is among the best in the world.
We must all realise that an effective response to the coronavirus is only possible through joint global efforts. This is Russia’s principled approach and we are open to cooperation in epidemiological security with all nations.
Russia will continue making a hefty contribution to fighting the pandemic. As I said at the plenary session of the forum, we will provide, as a first step, comfortable conditions for vaccinating foreign nationals in our country.
I would also reiterate that we have all the capabilities to significantly raise vaccine production. I know that the RDIF has already executed agreements on Sputnik V production in over ten countries. This will make it possible to produce enough doses to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people.
I will specially stress here that active efforts on promoting the vaccine and supporting its production is a vivid example of how a unique technology can be transformed into a truly mass-produced item accessible to the citizens of our country and other nations.
I would like to thank the representatives of pharmaceutical companies taking part in our meeting today, to thank them for their collaboration with the RDIF and the Gamaleya Research Centre.
I believe that furthering this cooperation will not only be mutually beneficial but will also make a sizeable contribution to the global fight against the coronavirus and to the progress of world science, the pharmaceutical industry and other high-tech spheres.
In this context I would like to note a number of other significant results of the RDIF’s performance.
First of all, it concerns investment in advanced technologies. I mean investment in AI projects, digital educational platforms and the launch of the Algorithmica International School of Mathematics and Programming. The school is the first project of the Russian-Chinese Technology Investment Fund.
Let me also note that the RDIF invested in the development of green energy, logistics and transport infrastructure. Overall, the RDIF and its partners attracted 370 billion rubles into Russia’s economy last year. For a year as difficult for the world as 2020 was, this is a good result.
I suggest we talk about this and other projects in greater detail, and hold a separate discussion on expanding coronavirus vaccine production, of course.
Let me give the floor to Mr Dmitriev, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, who is traditionally a moderator at such meetings.
Go ahead, please.
Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Mr President, President Vucic, President Fernandez, colleagues, welcome.
Mr President, on behalf of all those present I want to thank you for your support of the RDIF and its projects and also for attending our annual meetings.
Our meeting today has brought together 30 investors from 17 countries who manage over $15 trillion in total, and our partners are actively investing alongside the RDIF in landmark and breakthrough projects in Russia. We also invited to the meeting representatives of 25 international pharmaceuticals producers from 14 countries. They are our partners who either already produce the Sputnik V vaccine or are going to produce it. Today we will reveal for the first time the international network of producers that the RDIF set up following your instructions, Mr President, on partnering with the leading countries for Sputnik V vaccine production.
We are marking 10 years of the RDIF this year. During this decade, we have become an important tool for attracting investment in the Russian economy. According to our partners, one of the leading and most innovative sovereign funds was established from scratch and invested or set up over 90 leading companies from ground zero in such socially sensitive sectors as infrastructure, healthcare, industrial production and high technology.
Throughout these ten years, together with our partners we have invested over two trillion rubles in the Russian economy, of which 200 billion rubles came from the fund while 1.8 trillion rubles is our partners’ capital. We have directed 500 billion rubles of that into Russian infrastructure.
Investments from the RDIF and its partners made up 90 percent of total investments in direct investment markets and over 60 percent of venture investments. The returns on our investment exceed world indices.
Mr Putin mentioned that we invested significant amounts in the past year, a difficult one, such as, for example, investment in promising green companies, such as Fortum’s investment in a wind power station and the construction of Russia’s biggest solar energy power station.
Our portfolio companies are showing good results. A section of the Central Ring Road, in which our partners and we invested, is already open for traffic. Doktis, a telemedicine company, has grown tenfold. Just on this forum’s sidelines we announced five new investments.
We have also invested actively in the National Wealth Fund – with yields and in a protected manner – and we will continue doing this so that the NWF capital can be invested in the Russian economy’s growth.
Also following your instruction, Mr President, we will shortly launch investment of the joint fund with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which will make it possible to mobilise Russian capital as well to invest in Russian technologies. We will also co-invest more with our partners’ participation as part of managing the Russian Venture Company.
Thus, the RDIF continues to play an important part in the investment breakthrough, a self-generating investment cycle, which means that we invest in profitable projects and create new jobs and new companies.
To conclude, I would like to stress that our investors believe in the Russian economy. For example, we have already made 66 investments in the Mubadala Fund, and they can see absolutely clearly that trillions of excessively printed dollars and euros are triggering global inflation, while the Russian macro economy evokes special trust against the backdrop of that overprinted money. They are ready to sharply increase investment in Russia including in view of the growth of Russian companies’ capitalisation that they are expecting.
As to combating COVID-19, we have invested a lot indeed both in test kits and the vaccine. Regarding the Sputnik V vaccine, there are three crucial points here. Firstly, the data of the vaccine use in Hungary, Argentina, Mexico and India really show that our vaccine is the best both in terms of safety and in terms of efficacy. We also held clinical trials in India, the United Arab Emirates, and following the results, we currently have a vaccine which is the second most widely registered in the world. Even in those countries that run a daily disinformation campaign against Sputnik V, such as Germany, according to recent public opinion polls, over 60 percent of Germans are ready for a Sputnik V jab.
We have also launched the Sputnik Lite vaccine, which showed an 80 percent efficacy. It is a single-component vaccine. And just a few days ago the results from Argentina confirmed its efficacy of over 80 percent among Argentina’s elderly.
This is why we would like to first show a short video on industrial capacities we established following your instruction, and then I will give the floor to our colleagues from Serbia and Argentina, who will speak about launching Sputnik V production.
Would you play the video, please?
(Showing the video.)
Mr President, all these partnerships were set up upon your instruction.