"Regrettably, the standard of economic cooperation between Russian regions and Muslim countries remains below potential. Besides, companies from Muslim countries do not invest in the Russian regions directly but through federal foundations, and they only invest in large projects. This prevents our cooperation from reaching the required standards," Rustam Minnikhanov said at a plenary meeting of the 10th international economic summit "Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2018."
Much is still to be done to change this, but "the growth potential is considerable," the president of Tatarstan added.
He pointed out that friendly relations with Muslim countries are a foreign policy priority for Russia. "We have long-standing traditions of political, economic and educational cooperation with Islamic countries. We are working to strengthen these traditions and to expand economic ties, including at the regional level," Rustam Minnikhanov said.
READ MORE: KazanSummit Kicks Off in Tatarstan Capital
He added that Kazan serves as a unifying platform for those who seek to promote Muslim countries' economic cooperation with Russia and the Russian regions. He described Tatarstan as a window to the Muslim world.
The first international economic forum KazanSummit was held in 2009 to promote trade, economic, scientific, technical, social and cultural ties between Russia and the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This year, the forum will be held between May 10 and 12. It will be attended by some 3,000 delegates from international organizations, government agencies, financial institutions, embassies, parliaments and business communities from over 50 countries. The main theme of the KazanSummit 2018 is Halal Lifestyle.