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World Bank tells Russia to diversify, attract investors
January 12, 2017 / 9:38 AM / 10 months ago

World Bank tells Russia to diversify, attract investors

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia needs to improve its investment climate, diversify its oil-dependent economy and boost productivity growth if it wants to catch up with the global economy, the World Bank said on Thursday.

People stand on the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge, with the headquarters of Russian Foreign Ministry, Kremlin towers and the Moscow International Business Center also known as "Moskva-City", seen in the background, in central Moscow, Russia March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

In a report called “Pathways to Inclusive Growth” the World Bank offered Russian authorities some tips on how to overcome existing economic and financial hurdles to achieve better prospects in the future.

“Although the fruits of many policy actions will only be visible in the medium and longer term, now is the time to start,” the World Bank said.

After a decade of strong oil-driven growth, Russia’s competitiveness is deteriorating. In 2016, the Russian economy shrank by 0.5-0.6 percent after falling by 3.7 percent in 2015.

The economy is seen growing by 1-2 percent a year in the medium term, the World Bank said. This is below a global growth of 2.7 percent projected for 2017 and far below an average annual expansion of 7 percent seen in Russia in the 2000s.

A man is silhouetted against the logo of the World Bank at the main venue for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo, Japan October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Together with Russia’s high vulnerability to trade shocks, this raises questions about the country’s ability to retain the social and economic advances made since President Vladimir Putin came to power.

“The recent crisis exposed the vulnerability of Russia’s economy and raised questions about the sustainability of past achievements in boosting shared prosperity,” the report said.

As prices for oil, one of Russia’s key exports, have fallen and the West has imposed economic and financial sanctions against Moscow over its annexation of Crimea, the Russian authorities will find it increasingly hard to find a trade-off between social liabilities and fiscal sustainability.

To move forward and spur investment activity, Russia needs better infrastructure and regulation, the World Bank said.

“To attract investors, particularly in the context of economic sanctions, investment conditions must improve.”

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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