Driving the global economic conversation with the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

Over the last 21 years, Russia’s leading annual business event, SPIEF, has been the driving international platform for crucial business and economic discussions affecting the world.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as SPIEF, is an annual business event hosted by the Russian government. First held in 1997, SPIEF brings together individuals from the economic and business sector to discuss issues concerning Russia, explore emerging markets, tackle economic concerns facing the world as a whole and to find solutions to these problems.

Organised by Roscongress Foundation — a non-profit institution which seeks to promote Russian interests and potential — SPIEF has become a leading global platform for economic discussion. Since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation, who has attended each event.

Annually, more than 10,000 people attend the forum from more than 120 different countries. The number of attendees continues to increase every year and in 2019 there were over 19,000 participants from 145 countries — including first time participants Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Nepal, Niger, San Marino, Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, Lesotho and Eswatini — while 745 business agreements were signed.

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

FIrst held: 1997

Organised by Roscongress Foundation

Number of participants: 19,000 participants from 145 countries in 2019


Executives from major Russian and international companies, political leaders, heads of states, prime ministers, departmental prime ministers, deputy prime ministers and governors are among the attendees of the event. The high-profile event also honours a guest nation every year and for 2020 Qatar was the chosen country — however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 24th edition of the economic forum has been postponed to 2021.

In 2019, the Doha Forum and SPIEF held a joint session in Qatar focusing on venture investments. This was seen as a precursor to the 2020 Russian forum and both nations had signed agreements to create a joint work group to help encourage investments and business projects. This year’s SPIEF would have seen business and cultural ties further prosper between Doha and Moscow, with investment projects to develop tourism and economic relations in both countries on the agenda.

During SPIEF, there are a variety of events that discuss and address global issues in the economic, political and social sectors. In 2019, the theme was Creating a Sustainable Development Agenda, and during the plenary event, country leaders gave their addresses and discussed various topics like the current globalisation model, trade wars, international trade and financial systems. There were also business dialogues between Russia and other countries. For 2020, the topic New Coronavirus – Old Challenges: How to Reduce the Economic Consequences of Epidemics? was on the agenda, where organisers planned to invite heads of international and Russian healthcare groups as well as representatives of the science community and international businesses to take part in the panel discussion

Alongside the business events, the forum hosts the Festival of Culture and the Sporting Programme. At the 2019 forum, there were events held in collaboration with museums, theatres, concert venues, exhibition centres, parks and palaces. The sporting programme had three designated areas for business sessions that discussed sports related topics, and exhibition stands that featured current sporting projects.

For the social agenda, there were more than 50 events that focused on two main themes: the first was Building Trust, which focused on two projects by the Roscongress Foundation called Innovation Space and Innosocium LAB. The second, Healthy Life, was a dedicated platform for discussions concerning improving life quality while showcasing Russia as a driver of the global healthcare agenda.

Since 2016, SPIEF has been held at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre. With its modern design, the Expoforum uses cutting-edge technology that minimises environmental damage and helps conserve resources. The inside of the centre has a covered walkway that connects the pavilions to the Congress, making it easy to navigate through the building. Before this, the forum was held in the Lenexpo Exhibition and Trade Centre which is also located in St. Petersburg.

The ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre is close to multiple St. Petersburg landmarks like the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Pavlovsk Palace in Pavlovsk, Peterhof State Museum Preserve in Peterhof, and the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna

The forum has multiple partners that are awarded benefits during the event. The general partners are MIR Payment System and 1C Company, Lukoil and Gazprombank, while the networking area partners are Bronka Group, International Agency for Sovereign Development and Credit Bank of Moscow. Finally, the business programme partner is TATNEFT.

Photos: 1 – Sergei MIkhailichenko/Photobank Rosscongress, 2 – Dmitry Andreev/Photobank Rosscongress, 3 – Gaston Brown, Nikolai Gernet/Photobank Rosscongress, 4 – Sergei Shinov/Photobank Rosscongress, 5 – Viacheslav Victorov/Photobank Rosscongress, 6 – Sergei Ogroshko/Photobank Rosscongress, 7 – Pavel Karavashkin/Photobank Rosscongress, 8 – Sergei Grachev/Photobank Rosscongress

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