Moscow hosted a conference to analyse Russia’s effort in 2008 in carrying out the government’s programmes for global development. The participants spoke of the priorities in assisting global development, discussed Russia’s cooperation with international organisations and donor countries, and set up a centre for assisting development programs in Russia. Deputy Finance Minister Dmitri Pankin had this to say on the issue, “Even though the global spotlight is now on the world crisis, development programmes, particularly needed by underdeveloped nations, are as relevant as ever. Russia, despite the current financial and economic difficulties, will continue to act on its commitments to render help to poorer nations. Its yearly budget for foreign aid is to increase to 400 to 500 million USD (11.366 to 14.207 billion roubles. 286.72 to 358.4 million euros. 271.12 to 338.9 million UK pounds) by 2011 as compared to 220 million USD (6.251 billion roubles. 157.696 million euros. 149.116 million UK pounds) in 2008.
Development assistance programs went into effect last year, after President Putin approved a national concept to promote international development. Under the concept, assistance should, in the first place, go to the healthcare, educational, and agricultural sectors. The major educational project Russia took part in 2008 was an international programme to boost the quality of basic education in countries of the CIS, Asia, and Africa. Russia is currently cooperating with the World Bank to increase the financial literacy of the population. In healthcare, Russia waived the status of recipient in the global infectious disease fund and compensated it for the expenses for carrying out disease-prevention projects on the territory of Russia. This year, Russia paid an instalment to the World Health Organisation and rendered help in overcoming the food crisis. Russia is part of the World Bank-run trust fund, where it is channelling a 15 million USD (426.237 million roubles. 10.752 million euros. 10.167 million UK pounds) instalment to render assistance to Tajikistan and Kirghizia. Russia is taking part in the UN food program and is contemplating assistance to individual countries in connection with disaster relief.
23 December 2008
Voice of Russia World Service