Belarus overview

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 -1.5 per cent

  • Economic growth has slowed for the third consecutive year. Belarus continues to concentrate significant resources in the state sector and to stimulate domestic demand by raising social benefits. However, these policies are now leading to weaker growth, large external imbalances, and high refinancing and external liquidity risks.

  • Belarus has secured new funding from Russia amid large external imbalances. The government negotiated new loans and energy subsidies with Russia to avert a sharp external economic adjustment. Belarus also signed the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) treaty, which will come into effect in January 2015.

  • Much-needed structural reforms are further delayed. There has been some progress on price liberalisation, although utility prices remain far below cost recovery. Over-regulation continues to negatively affect the economy.

Belarus in the EBRD’s 2014 Transition Report