Belarus overview

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Cityscape at night

Since 1996 the EBRD’s activities in the Republic of Belarus have been limited by the country’s uneven progress in democratic and market-oriented transition. Previous Country Strategies have highlighted concerns about the Belarusian authorities’ commitment to and application of the principles of multiparty democracy, pluralism and market economics, as contained in Article 1 of the Agreement Establishing the Bank. As a result of the difficult operational environment, the EBRD’s engagement with Belarus has been constrained.

For now, in Belarus we focus on:

Promoting private sector development across all sectors of the economy, both directly and indirectly. The EBRD’s priorities in this area will include supporting the transparent privatisation of state-owned entities and assets; assisting partner banks to deepen financial intermediation in underserved segments and geographic areas and improve access to finance by MSMEs; and continuing to engage the authorities through policy dialogue to implement structural reforms that support private sector development and improve the country’s investment climate.

Commercialisation of the financial sector, the EBRD will offer operations to private and foreign-owned banks, and consider supporting non-bank financial institutions to further broaden access to finance by private sector players.

Ensuring the economy becomes more energy efficient over time, the EBRD will offer new instruments to Belarusian companies, via partner banks, and technical cooperation support to the participating institutions in order to develop necessary human resource capacity and skills.

Possibly extending the existing Environmental Infrastructure Facility to other municipalities and/or engage in other municipal sectors that benefit the environment and have tangible and direct benefits for the local population such as solid waste management. Policy dialogue on structural reforms will continue to be an inherent part of the EBRD’s activities in the municipal sector.

The EBRD’s latest Belarus strategy was adopted on 12 March 2013

GDP forecast for Belarus’s Real GDP growth in 2015 -2.5 per cent

GDP forecast for Belarus's Real GDP growth in 2016 0.0 per cent

In the first quarter of 2015, Belarus’s economy contracted by 2 per cent year-on-year. Significant economic and trade exposure to the crisis-hit Russian economy led to the decline in exports and industrial production. Currency depreciation in early-2015 affected consumer demand. After the authorities tightened monetary and fiscal policies, the exchange rate stabilized, allowing the reversal of currency and price controls imposed in late-2014. Currency pressure abated and the international reserves remained broadly stable in February-March, although external risks remain very high, stemming, in particular, from significant public foreign exchange refinancing needs and still unfavourable terms of trade in respect of main trade partners. The 2015 growth forecast is slightly downgraded to -2.5 per cent on current policies. Without significant domestic reforms, improvements in the external environment, and mitigation of Belarus’s material external liquidity and refinancing risks, growth in 2016 is likely to be nil.

Belarus in the EBRD’s 2014 Transition Report

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