On 30 October 2020, the 16th meeting of the SCO Interbank Consortium Board, chaired by Russia, took place via videoconference. Board members include the board chairs of the leading banks in the SCO member states.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk extended his greetings to the audience.
The meeting was attended by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, who talked about the uneasy situation around the world as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the need to combine efforts in order to mitigate the implications of the pandemic for the economies of the SCO member countries and step up the activities of the Interbank Consortium as an important SCO civic forum.
The pandemic has proved to be a serious test for humanity and the current reality requires that new economic priorities be sought and goals set in areas like food security, investment, innovation and high-tech, and in the development of the green and digital economies.
Vladimir Norov said that of course, our priorities are to preclude the destruction of the production chains and cooperation links that exist between the most important economic sectors in our countries, as well as the maintaining and expanding of commercial relations.
Mr Norov continued by saying that the Bishkek Declaration, which was released at an SCO summit, emphasises the importance of the efforts to expand cooperation in trade, the economy and investment between the member states. We need to move faster to carry out projects that will help us build up the region's potential for developing transport and communication links, develop the infrastructure, create international multimodal logistics, trade and tourism centres and introduce innovative and energy efficient technologies.
"These areas of cooperation, along with other areas, are given priority in the SCO Interbank Consortium Development Strategy Towards 2021, which was approved in Astana in June 2017. This development strategy provides for assistance in upgrading and promoting the innovative development of the economies in the SCO member countries, as well as in carrying out cross-border infrastructure projects to gradually establish transport and logistics corridors in the region with the aim of creating favourable conditions for shipping and services within the SCO area." Norov said.
Vladimir Norov praised Russia's current successful presidency of the SCO and, generally, the Interbank Consortium's achievements.
He said: "Despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the SCO, under Russia's presidency this year, has made continuous efforts to enhance the SCO's role in regional governance and expand the coordination of diversified mechanisms for ensuring security, as well as cooperation in the economy, healthcare, education and culture. A timely emphasis has been made on strengthening the SCO's leading position as an organisation responding to today's challenges and threats in Eurasia…
"We highly appreciate the Interbank Consortium's proactive position aimed at encouraging practices to issue loans in national currencies and make it a priority to use national currencies to carry out joint projects with the Consortium's involvement.
"In this context, special attention and support should be given to the Joint Approaches developed by the Consortium to the issue of broader use of national currencies in the SCO area, as well as to the Consortium's road map for riding out implications that the pandemic has for the economies of the SCO member countries."
Regarding the prospects for the Consortium, he said that the practical activities of the Consortium, which bring together major state-owned financial institutions of the SCO member states, contributed to expanding cooperation, creating new economic growth points and encouraging trade and investment in the SCO region.
"Currently, bilateral cooperation between the Consortium member-banks on lines of credit and interbank loans that are issued to carry out projects in the SCO space has earned a reputation as the most effective form of cooperation in the Consortium," Norov said. "However, the Interbank Consortium has yet to tap its huge potential to improve the funding of investment projects on a multilateral basis.
"It is the right time for the Interbank Consortium to join forces with the SCO Business Council in order to jointly carry out infrastructure projects in priority areas.
"These areas of cooperation, along with other areas, are given priority in the SCO Interbank Consortium Development Strategy Towards 2021, which was approved in Astana in June 2017. This development strategy provides for assistance in upgrading and promoting the innovative development of the economies of the SCO member countries, as well as in carrying out cross-border infrastructure projects to gradually establish transport and logistics corridors in the region with the aim of creating favourable conditions for shipping and services within the SCO area.
"We believe cooperation between the SCO Interbank Consortium and international financial institutions and the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) will be useful. In 2019, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the SCO Secretariat and the AIFC, which, if implemented, can provide an impetus to efforts to create multilateral mechanisms for funding priority projects."
In conclusion Vladimir Norov emphasised the importance of the upcoming SCO summit that will be held online on 10 November this year and chaired by Russia. He added that he believed the outcome of the summit would facilitate the continued sustainable development of the region for the benefit of all people living in it.
The heads of the delegations signed the Interbank Consortium Road Map for addressing the implications of the pandemic for the economies of the SCO member countries; and a document on taking a joint approach towards broader use of national currencies in the SCO region.
The Protocol was signed, under which the presidency of the SCO Interbank Consortium Board between 26 October 2020 and 25 October 2021 has passed to the Amonatbonk State Savings Bank of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The SCO Interbank Consortium was established under the Agreement on SCO Interbank Cooperation (Association) on 26 October 2005. It is a mechanism for identifying and providing banking services to investment projects in priority areas of cooperation which have secured support from the governments of the SCO member countries. In attendance at the Interbank Consortium Board meeting were board chairs of the leading banks in the SCO member states.