Arkady Dvorkovich pointed out that both countries share similar challenges in terms of transitioning from what he described as “hard advantages” (the role in global energy and the associated infrastructure that Russia and Qatar have built up in the past) to “soft advantages” (a competitive business climate), which, in his view, is much more difficult to create. The latter consists of many different aspects, including, among others, an investment culture.
Both partners share some of the same challenges, and also share success stories – including Russian investments in Qatar and Qatari investments in Russia, as well as investments in third countries, including Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and, to some extent, Central Asia.
Russia has its own competitive advantages, based on, among other factors, its good political relations with countries in these regions, as well as on its leading capabilities in such areas as artificial intelligence, big data, and certain biomedical and agricultural technologies. A. Dvorkovich believes that it will be both profitable and economically sustainable to implement these technologies together with Qatar.
And, naturally, Skolkovo has its own innovative agenda, which may be of be of great use to both the Russian Federation and to Qatar and other countries. In particular, this applies to smart city technology, which may interest Qatar in the run-up to the World Cup. This area of expertise may also be of interest to countries in Southeast Asia.
In their presentations, the representatives of Qatar emphasised the prospects of cooperation in the financial sector, in which Qatari banks have a strong position. Skolkovo participants have developed advanced financial and technical innovations. “By bringing together our strengths, we can work wonders,” stated Arkady Dvorkovich.