Yaroslav Lissovolik, the Valdai Club Programme Director, details the major achievements of the Global Corporations and World Politics Programme in 2020.
The programme on global corporations and world politics during the year of the pandemic explored the possible venues for building an anti-crisis response to the current challenges facing the world economy. In particular within the context of the T20 collaboration with the world’s leading think-tanks Valdai club published a T20 policy brief which proposes the creation of a platform for cooperation among the G20 states’ sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The platform would allow for the formation of bilateral/trilateral/multilateral investment accords. Most importantly, it could act as an emergency tool in easing the impact of a global crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, as it can be employed as an anti-crisis measure via the coordinated investments of the G20 states’ SWFs. The findings of this policy brief were included in the T20 communiqué, which encourages the G20 to promote “the creation of a platform that would bring together the sovereign wealth funds of its members, possibly in coordination with the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds.”
The issue of anti-crisis measures was also discussed in the context of Russia’s chairmanship in the BRICS in 2020. In particular the Valdai club report dedicated to the concept of BRICS+ looked at the ways in which the BRICS+ platform could serve as an anti-crisis arrangement via delivering the stimulus impulses from the core BRICS countries to their regional partners. Indeed, the joint discussions organized with think-tanks from potential BRICS+ countries such as Argentina elicited significant interest in the operation of such an anti-crisis platform that potentially could serve as an alternative to the existing Bretton Woods arrangements.
Another important strand of research within the program was the analysis of corporate platforms and their competition in the context of the creation of ecosystems. The contours of the future competition among corporate platforms and ecosystems is as yet unclear, but what is significant is the greater role for country competitiveness to create a favourable business environment for such platforms. This in turn will to a significant degree determine the ability of countries to attract investment and trade flows in the future. Another important element affecting the longer-term competitiveness of countries is the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) — a factor that may impact the competition patterns across leading corporate platforms as well as the prospects of countries’ modernization.
The programme also included discussions with leading decision-makers and prominent market participants on the future of the global economy in the context of the current pandemic and the global economic downturn. During his speech at the Valdai annual conference this year the world-renowned investor Ray Dalio emphasized the rising importance of China and Chinese currency in the world economy. Sustainability issues were also singled out during Valdai’s annual conference as key for near-term path of global economic recovery.
Finally, the programme also featured discussions on the reform of the international multilateral institutions such as the WTO as well as an analysis of the role of regionalism in the post-crisis architecture of the global economy. The current economic crisis is a particularly important juncture for advancing new ideas and modalities for the re-construction of the edifice of global governance. Regional blocs and their development institutions could become a crucial supporting element in terms of the propagation of anti-crisis stimuli and making full use of all of the components (including regional funds) of the Global Financial Safety Net.