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10 May 2019

Belarus interested in raising EBRD’s annual investments up to €500m

Belarus interested in raising EBRD’s annual investments up to €500m

MINSK, 10 May (BelTA) – Belarus is interested in increasing the volume of annual investments poured by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) into the country up to €500 million in 2019, the Belarusian Economy Ministry press service told BelTA.

A Belarusian delegation led by Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi took part in the annual meeting of the EBRD Board of Governors in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7-9 May. Members of the delegation met with the EBRD’s top executives and managers on the sidelines of the meeting. In particular, members of the Belarusian delegation and EBRD Vice President Alain Pilloux discussed the current state of cooperation and progress in implementing joint infrastructure projects as well as promising avenues for advancing cooperation.

According to the source, Alain Pilloux expressed general satisfaction with progress in advancing cooperation. He spoke in positive terms about the announcement of the tender to choose the private investor as part of the pilot project to reconstruct the M10 motorway on public private partnership terms. Alain Pilloux also mentioned the importance of promptly finishing procedures and starting implementing the project to reconstruct the Minsk wastewater treatment plant. The project’s cost is evaluated at €168 million. The project will be financed equally by the EBRD and the European Investment Bank.

In turn, the Belarusian side expressed interest in increasing this year’s volume of EBRD investments in Belarus up to €500 million. The Economy Ministry press service added that there are plans to sign papers on projects on reconstructing the M3 Minsk-Vitebsk motorway and a number of bridges to the tune of €430 million in 2019-2020.

Apart from that, the meeting touched upon the signing of loan agreements concerning the water supply industry, in particular, the construction of water deferrization stations in Vitebsk Oblast (a project worth €15 million) and the third stage of the water industry program. There are plans to borrow a total of €40 million from the EBRD as part of the program in order to create modern water supply systems in seven Belarusian cities and towns.

Speaking about short-term prospects, the sides mentioned projects concerning energy effectiveness of housing and heating renovation of multiple-apartment buildings. The relevant pilot project may be launched in Minsk this year. Citizens of 27 houses have agreed to co-finance the project. Apart from that, the importance of implementing the project to build additional electricity and gas supply systems in free economic zones to the tune of about €50 million was confirmed. If this infrastructure is expanded, according to preliminary estimates the free economic zones are expected to attract more than €650 million as extra investment. Fanipol in the free economic zone Minsk will be the first site of the project.

Apart from that, the sides agreed it is necessary to expedite the project together with the EBRD to examine the appeal of infrastructure of Belarusian airports. The development of the transit potential, the implementation of tourism programs as part of the visa-free travel program, the potential for attracting budget air carriers, and other factors will be evaluated. According to the Belarusian Economy Ministry, the work is particularly of current interest in view of the goals the head of state outlined as he inaugurated the second runway in the Minsk National Airport. In particular, the head of state wants the development of the aviation industry expedited. The central government is supposed to accelerate the development of this sector of services.

The Belarusian economy minister met with EBRD Managing Director for Environment and Sustainability Alistair Clark. The sides discussed ways to attract grants from funds of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) and the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) for the sake of financing the abovementioned projects such as the new EBRD project to reconstruct water supply and water treatment facilities in seven Belarusian cities and towns, the housing heating rehabilitation project, and street lights as part of the bridge reconstruction project. The additional grants for these projects may exceed €15 million, the Economy Ministry said.

Annual meetings of the EBRD Board of Governors traditionally gather representatives of 67 member states as well as a large number of private sector representatives. The annual meeting of the EBRD Board of Governors in 2020 will take place in the EBRD HQ in London.

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