Brics Financial Media


Russia is a land of opportunity – SPIEF24

By Kirtan Bhana
Group Panel discussion -Andrey Barannikov - Moderator, Elias Monage,Alexey Valkov,Slauzy Zodwa Mogami,Oleg Savikov, George Sebulela, NJ Ayuk(photo:Leeroy Jason Photography)

2 April 2024

The Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is once again gaining momentum. Established and organized by Roscongress in 1997, the SPIEF24 gathering is set to take place from June 4-8, with a sharp focus on engagement with Africa.

With two months to go before the world converges in St. Petersburg, Russia's Summer Capital, Mr Alexey Valkov, Deputy Director of Roscongress Foundation and Director of SPIEF, in a web-exclusive interview with The Diplomatic Society, urged people to register and contribute to the program, which has not yet been finalized, in order to make SPIEF a result-driven success.
Kirtan Bhana - TDS interviewing Alexey Valkov, Director of SPIEF (photo: Leeroy Jason Photography)

"I want to congratulate South Africa for hosting such a successful BRICS summit, and we will follow South Africa, whom we consider one of our main partners, when we host BRICS later this year. There are many opportunities for South African businesses in Russia as it restructures its economy," said Valkov, who was on his first visit to Johannesburg and South Africa. Innovation and opportunities abound for commercial and financial ventures triggered by current supply and value chain disruptions.

"SPIEF has always been a platform for generating business for everyone and is still open to all who want to participate," he explained. Even in the current volatile geopolitical climate, 130 countries attended last year's (2023) event, with over 6000 Russian and international businesses, 150 foreign officials, and 4000 media representatives from 33 countries.

At the event held in Johannesburg on March 27, it was outlined that SPIEF24 will continue to enhance and dynamically develop the 4-day forum that will host over 1500 experts and speakers at over 200 events. The discussions on a range of topics and issues affecting the world make SPIEF a dialogue, interaction, and networking platform that provides for effective outcomes and deliverables.

"We are happy to underline the fact that participation from Africa, Asia, and Latin America is growing. Thanks to the Russia Africa summit, the growing representation from Africa is encouraging," said Valkov. In a panel discussion NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, pointed out the importance of SPIEF and the value of proactive engagement by Africans who have much to offer and gain from the abundant valuable resources they hold.


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George Sebulela, President of the African United Business Confederation, expressed the importance of Russian business to South Africa and vice versa. He questioned the rationale behind South Africa complying with embargoes placed on Russian gas and oil and pointed out that Russia is moving ahead with an overhaul of its financial and monetary institutions and practices. PetroSA, South Africa's national oil company, has chosen Gazprombank for its gas-to-liquid refinery project, indicating a significant shift in financial policy.

Speakers on the panel included Oleg Savikov, Deputy Head of Russia's Trade Mission to South Africa, Elias Monage, President of the Black Business Council, and Slauzy Zodwa Mogami, Founder, and CEO of Ladies in the Frontline SA who reflected on the importance and inclusivity of women and the critical role they play in economics and commerce. The panel, which brought to the fore the significance of SPIEF24 and the value gained by participating, was moderated by Andrey Barannikov, CEO of SPN Communications.

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