The opening of Russia's economy has brought in new businesses, products and services; but most importantly, it has introduced new ideas and new management practices. It is this intercultural enrichment through an exchange of ideas that will have a lasting impact, as it will shape the human potential that will be the motor for socioeconomic development in our country.
We are convinced that Russia should, and can, take its destiny in its own hands. One positive effect of the crisis is that it has checked immoderate dependence on imports and given a chance to local industry. Interenterprise cooperation with foreign investors will accelerate the progress of Russian companies. Already, in what appears to be a win–win situation, those investors with a long-term commitment to Russia are gradually seeing the benefits of local production over exports.
I am proud that the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) was given the opportunity to participate in the realization of this seminal work on foreign direct investment (FDI). I particularly thank the German government, whose financial and technical support enabled the establishment and development of ICA, the first investment-oriented consulting agency established by ministerial regulation in a Russian university.
Over the past three years, ICA has enhanced its human and technical capabilities, guided by the bilateral cooperative programme. Today, the ICA team conducts studies and advisory projects for the Ministry, national and foreign organizations, and potential investors. In return, these consultancy assignments yield useful material and ideas for the training programmes at MESI and, increasingly, other universities. All concerned –students, teaching staff, officials, young entrepreneurs and managers of companies and banks – learn and grow in the process.
The success of this pilot agency shows its relevance. I would welcome the idea of creating similar centers of excellence in other universities in Moscow and the regions. The network could then effectively serve as a think-tank for Russia's policy-makers and as a valuable support to a federal FDI agency for initiating and implementing investment-related projects.