On 24 April VEB.RF, Russia's state development corporation chaired a videoconference in Moscow, with participants including experts and coordinators from the banks comprising the SCO Interbank Consortium.
The conference was attended by senior officials, coordinators and experts of SCO member states' banks.
The agenda included the arrangement of a meeting of the SCO Interbank Consortium Council and discussion of the difficult situation in the world economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The participants noted the importance of exchanging relevant information on the state of the SCO member states' economies, and identifying the most vulnerable sectors to facilitate the subsequent development of specific measures to overcome the crisis factors, eliminate the unfavourable economic effects of the pandemic and promote investment, trade and economic cooperation.
The participants discussed the core priorities of the Consortium's work under the updated Programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation of the SCO Member States until 2035?. They talked about carrying out joint energy and transport infrastructe projects, including with due consideration of the interests of the countries without direct access to the sea; projects in such areas as tourism, innovation technologies for the promotion of "smart" cities, conservation of biological diversity, waste management and adoption of new environmentally safe methods.
The parties underscored the relevance of expanding the use of national currencies in the trade, economic and investment cooperation between the SCO countries as well as of strengthening ties in micro, small and medium entrepreneurship.
In summing up the meeting, Deputy Chair of the VEB.RF Board Natalya Timakova underlined the enhanced role of the Consortium in the current conditions. Its main tasks in stabilising the economies of SCO countries now include close interaction with government authorities, implementation of the government subsidy and low-interest financing programmes, restoration of supply chains through combining national initiatives and financing investment projects in small- and medium-sized businesses.
"We can see the obvious importance of holding consultations, exchanging experience in expanding measures to promote e-trade in the products of export-oriented small- and medium-sized businesses and of devising mechanisms of multilateral financial support for the small- and medium-sized businesses most affected by the spread of COVID-19. In today's difficult situation we are orientated towards the joint development of anti-crisis measures and joint action to provide for the recovery of our economies, and promote individual health and wellbeing," stressed Natalya Timakova.
Given that it was the first experience of holding the Consortium's conference in a new format, its participants thanked the organisers for the high standard of technological preparation for the event.
The SCO Interbank Consortium (SCO IBC) was established in accordance with the Agreement on Interbank Cooperation (Consortium) within the SCO dated 26 October 2005. The SCO IBC is a mechanism for financing and providing banking services to investment projects supported by the governments of the SCO member states in priority areas of cooperation.
VEB.RF State Development Corporation (Russia) is the current chair of the SCO Interbank Consortium for the period from 26 October 2019 to 25 October 2020.