Dagestan Economic Forum to open in Makhachkala.

27/7 Tass 3

MAKHACHKALA, July 27 (Itar-Tass) — The Dagestan Economic Forum 2011 will be opened in Makhachkala on Wednesday. Taking part in the high-profile event are delegations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and countries of the West. The republic’s government told Itar-Tass that “Dagestan will become the first in the region centre of business dialogue for working out a new strategy for the development of the Caspian region and Russia.” The main topic of discussions and meetings is the search for the most effective instruments of socio-economic and socio-political development of Dagestan and the entire North Caucasus region.

Businessmen and diplomats from the United States, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Israel, Czech Republic, Italy, North Korea, Finland, Senegal and other countries, as well as representatives of the Russian government, the head of the North Caucasus federal County, parliamentarians, leaders of non-governmental organisations that bring together entrepreneurs have arrived in Makhachkala to take part in the forum.

The roundtable discussions of the forum will focus on social and economic partnership between the regions of the South of Russia, the development of agriculture and the fuel and energy complex, natural resources, innovative development, tourism and others.

A youth economic congress is planned to be held within the forum.

The venue of the Dagestan Economic Forum will be the newly built exhibition centre CASPIAN EXPO – it is located between Makhachkala and Kaspiisk. More than 100 representatives of Russian and foreign media will give coverage of the forum’s work.

The forum is organised by the Government of the Republic of Dagestan and the republic’s Agency for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations with support of Deputy Prime Minister – the presidential envoy in the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin.

Official media partner of the forum is ITAR-TASS.

On the eve of the forum chairman of the government of Dagestan Magomed Abdullayev, said in an interview to Dagestani media that the volume of investments in basic capital in the republic in 2010 totalled about 115 billion roubles. “Rosstat (Federal State Statistics Service) data for the first half of 2011 also show positive dynamics,” he said. “In general, the growth tempos of gross regional product, which are mainly expressed in the index of output of goods and services in the basic economic activities, are almost the same as they were in the first half of 2010. It is especially gratifying that the industrial production index reached 109.4 percent, which is much higher that last year’s growth tempos and similar indicators of many regions of Russia.” Abdullayev also noted that the main contribution to the growth of socio-economic indicators of the Republic of Dagestan is made by small and medium-sized businesses.

The economic forum held in Dagestan will become a new unparalleled platform for communication, a centre of business dialogue and formulation of new development strategies of the Caspian countries and Russia, according to the forum’s press release.

Managerial experience exchange, new social and economic initiatives and innovation projects will be topics for discussion at the activities of the Dagestan Economic Forum 2011. Members of the Government of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Council of the Russian Federation and deputies of the State Duma of the RF Federal Council, representatives of international and Russian expert community, heads of the RF regions, as well as heads of Russian and foreign companies are invited to participate in the forum activities. The format of the forum includes both business programme and informal communication. The principal topic of the Dagestan Economic Forum 2011 will be search for most effective instruments of social and economic, as well as of public and politic development of the Republic of Dagestan and the regions of the North Caucasus. The new economic situation and the need of growth demand concentration on growing points inside the region, developing the attractiveness of the region and searching for new effective management strategies.

The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region, with a population of almost 3 million (2010). The capital and largest city is Makhachkala, located at the centre of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea.

Dagestan has great ethnic diversity, with several dozen ethnic groups and subgroups, most of which speak either Caucasian, Turkic, or Iranian languages. Largest among these ethnic groups are the Avar, Dargin, Kumyk, Lezgin, and Laks. While Russians form only a small proportion (4.7 percent) of the population, Russian remains the primary official language.

Dagestan has been a scene of low-level Islamic insurgency, occasional outbreaks of separatism, ethnic tensions and terrorism since the 1990s. According to International Crisis Group, the militant Islamist organization Shariat Jamaat is responsible for much of the violence. Much of the tension is rooted in an internal Islamic conflict between traditional Sufi groups advocating secular government and more recently introduced Salafist teachings preaching the implementation of sharia law in Dagestan.

The major industries in Dagestan include oil production, engineering, chemicals, machine building, textile manufacturing, food processing, and the timber. Oil deposits are located in the narrow coastal region. The Dagestani oil is of high quality, and is delivered to other regions. Dagestan’s natural gas production goes mostly to satisfy local needs. Agriculture is varied and includes grain-farming, viticulture and wine-making, sheep-farming, and dairying. The engineering and metalworking industries own 20 percent of the republic’s industrial production assets and employ 25 percent of all industrial workers. Dagestan’s hydroelectric power industry is developing rapidly. There are five power plants on the Sulak River providing hydroelectric power. It has been estimated that Dagestan’s total potential hydroelectric power resources are 4.4 billion kW. Dagestan has a well-developed transportation system. Railways connect the capital Makhachkala to Moscow, Astrakhan, and the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. The Moscow-Baku highway also passes through Dagestan, and there are air links with major cities.

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