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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

South Looks to Investors for $16Bln

KRASNODAR, Southern Russia -- Plans are afoot to drum up 500 billion rubles ($16 billion) in Russian and foreign investment for hundreds of projects in southern Russia in a program that could be expanded throughout the country.

About 740 projects have been drawn up for the Southern Federal District, and they will be presented to business executives Dec. 5-8 at the International Investment Symposium in Moscow, said Viktor Kazantsev, the presidential envoy to the southern district.

"We already have many good proposals from potential investors," Kazantsev said Saturday at a news conference in Krasnodar, whose surrounding region is one of 12 in the southern district.

"Many firms said they will participate," he said. "I am sure that we will get a very serious start for our program at the symposium."

Kazantsev said President Vladimir Putin has given his blessing to the investment program and will make a presentation at the start of the symposium, which is being organized by his office as well as the nongovernmental National Direct Investment Agency and the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Trade.

Igor Vdovin, co-head of the National Direct Investment Agency, said at least 230 potential investors are expected to attend the symposium, 130 of whom have already confirmed their participation. He said those confirmations have come from investors in Russia, Germany, the United States, Britain, Italy, Greece and China.

Details about the potential investors and the projects -- which are privately and state-owned -- are sketchy. Officials said many of them cover agriculture and dairy production, industries that have the potential to flourish in the warm climate of southern Russia.

The first projects that will be ready for investment in 2002 are to be listed on the symposium's web site this week, officials said.

Business plans already have been prepared for 153.4 billion rubles' worth of projects. Of that sum, 61 billion rubles are expected to come from private sources such as Russian and foreign firms, banks and funds as direct or portfolio investments or loans. Another 33 billion rubles are to be funded by investment recipients, 13.7 billion rubles are to be provided by regional administrations and 27.1 billion rubles are to come from the federal budget.

The government's contribution -- 2.5 billion rubles of which are to be disbursed next year -- is to go toward improving roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure in the southern district, improvements meant to make the area more favorable to investors, officials said.

Vdovin said the program will become a model for the other six federal districts, all of which are already drawing up similar programs.

"This program is only a start," he said.