“Without a significant change of thinking and a better understanding of the opportunities that integration with Asia can bring to Russia, development will be limited.”

How Rusal is using public-private partnerships around the world

With more than 40 assets in 13 countries and five different continents, Rusal is making a difference in the countries in which it operates by launching public-private partnerships that simultaneously deliver long term returns for Rusal’s shareholders and enable the nations it works with to develop the infrastructure they need to develop.

What is a public-private partnership?

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are a type of procurement method used around the world. In essence, a private sector business will create or rebuild a public good (like infrastructure), with profitability generated either through users of the infrastructure (such as toll roads) or directly from the government itself in return for providing much-needed assets of national importance. At the end of a set period, the asset will return to public ownership.

As a business that takes corporate social responsibility (CSR) very seriously, Rusal has worked with governments and public-sector bodies both in Russia and all over the world on public-private partnerships. And considerable sums are invested in these PPPs by Rusal. For example, in 2015, Rusal funded its public-private partnerships with some 90.2 million RUB. Once co-financing by other partners was taken into account, the sum invested socially was 167 million RUB.

Rusal’s diverse public-private partnership footprint

In the last decade, Rusal has been engaged in many different PPPs, covering everything from building ports to hospitals. For example, in 2011, Rusal worked with the Irkutsk Regional Government on a public-private partnership which would see Rusal fund a 7,000 person housing settlement for workers at the Taishet Aluminium Smelter.

The terms of this PPP by Rusal included the construction of housing, social and engineering facilities in the Taishet municipal district. As with so many public-private partnerships, this PPP had a multiplier effect, with the community in the area benefiting from not only the housing being built, but also the jobs generated by the demands of such a large-scale public-private partnership initiative. In total, it was estimated that 3,000 jobs were generated by this PPP.

As part of the project, other infrastructure including schools, kindergartens and medical centres were built. This sort of public-private partnership can be transformative for regions and make future, sustainable prosperity possible. As Dmitry Mezentsev, Irkutsk Region Governor, commented at the time: "Joint efforts from business, government and civil community ensures sustainable development of the region. This project is an example of successful public-private partnership and will attract additional investments to the region”

For Rusal, public-private partnerships enable it to combine good business with doing good for the communities and countries in which it operates. It is passionate about the power of PPPs and as such is doing its bit to inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

To this end, in March 2013, it launched yet another public-private partnership, this time with the aim of promoting the importance of PPPs themselves. This collaboration between Rusal and the Russian Agency of Strategic Initiatives, the Centers of innovation in the social sphere (CISS) is aimed at raising awareness of social entrepreneurship and how PPPs can be used for public and private benefit.

How Rusal used a public-private partnership to tackle Ebola

While many of the public-private partnerships that Rusal has become involved with have been years in the making, the company can act quickly when required in order to implement PPP solutions.

This was the case in 2014, when Guinea found itself at the epicentre of the destruction wrought by the Ebola virus. While many of Guinea’s other investors stepped away from the beleaguered African country, Rusal stepped in to help in the form of one of its most ambitious PPPs to date.

In order to assist Guinea in both containing the Ebola virus, and treat those already affected, Rusal began the construction of the Centre for epidemic and microbiological research and treatment (CEMRT), a medical centre built on public-private partnership principles.

Built in just 50 days and costing $10 million, the building was constructed using the most modern Russian engineering techniques, in partnership with experts at the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor).

The centre opened on the 17 February 2015, with facilities that included a provisional hospital, infection hospital, mobile laboratory and a blood and plasma transfusion department.

Proving that public-private partnerships of this kind can have demonstrable results, those treated for Ebola at the Rusal-built CEMRT facility had the best response rate of any treatment centre in Guinea, with 62.5% making a full recovery.

While it may have been launched during the Ebola epidemic, the CEMRT PPP is proving just as useful to Guinea now that the crisis has ended. As well as having been included in the Guinean national system to halt the spread of Ebola, the public-private partnership at CEMRT has been commissioned as a medical institution of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Guinea. It is also widely recognised as one of the leading centres of its kind in Africa.  

In February 2017, it was announced that as part of the continuing public-private partnership between Rusal and Guinea at CEMRT, an innovative new laboratory focussed on combatting varied infectious diseases would be opened at the centre. Earlier this month it was announced that a PPP between Rusal and the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation would launch a post-authorisation study of the Russian vaccine GamEvac-Combi at the CEMRT.

Rusal’s PPPs in Guinea are having a huge impact on the health of the country while advancing our knowledge about communicable diseases. They will continue to do so for many years. This is the core purpose of the public-private partnership model: bringing the public and private sectors together to pool resources in a way that meets both societal and commercial needs.