Russia has major challenges ahead in terms of improving its competitiveness on the world stage, but its current and former officials remain positive despite mounting Western sanctions.
Russian Railways chairman and former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio, Italy on Friday, admitted the slow pace of progress in the country of 144 million.
"I think we're far from where we want be … A long way to go, but we are getting more competitive with time," he told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick, emphasizing the country's plans to strengthen foreign partnerships and increase public and private investment into education and innovation.
Economic growth in Russia hovers around 2 percent annually, a pickup from the 0.7 percent average of the last 10 years but a far cry from the 6.9 percent average of the decade before that and still a way from the current world average of around 3.5 percent. Its longstanding reliance on raw materials revenues, observers say, has hindered the modernization of its economy and looks set to continue to do so, despite President Vladimir Putin's pledge to bring growth to 4 percent.