EBRD Vice President András Simor visits Belarus

By Anton Usov

The EBRD Vice President for Policy András Simor is visiting the Belarussian capital Minsk on 31 March - 2 April 2014 to meet senior officials, including the Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, the Minister of Economy Nikolai Snopkov and the First Deputy Chairman of the National Bank Taras Nadolny.

Mr Simor is also planning to meet International Financial Institutions, the diplomatic community and existing EBRD clients. During the visit he will host the official opening of the Bank’s new resident office in Minsk on 31 March.

EBRD operations in Belarus are determined by the current strategy for the country, adopted in March 2013 and focus predominantly on private sector development. Over the past three years the EBRD has nearly quadrupled annual business investments and its portfolio of projects. In 2013 the EBRD invested an unprecedented €255 million through 14 projects and guarantees to commercial banks under the EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). In the municipal sector the EBRD's Environmental Infrastructure Facility assists the towns of Baranovich, Slonim and Vitebsk to improve waste water treatment.

Over 60 Belarussian companies have received assistance through the EBRD’s Small Business Support programme, which offers domestic businesses consultancy support aimed at improving their strategic planning, IT systems and quality control management.

“The EBRD remains committed to Belarus and in particular to the development of the private sector,” Mr Simor said. “Subject to successful reforms in domestic politics and macroeconomic environment, we should be able to broaden our public sector involvement in the country.”

“The successful implementation of our Environmental Infrastructure Facility and a demonstrated commitment by the authorities to implement tariff reforms could pave the way for further investments in the municipal sector such as waste water treatment and solid waste management”.

The EBRD is a major investor in Belarus. As of 1 March 2014 the Bank had committed over €1.4 billion through 64 projects.