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18 Jul 2017

Belarus plans to boost high-tech exports by $1bn in 2017

MINSK, 18 July (BelTA) – Belarus intends to export $11 billion worth of high-technology products in 2017, Chairman of Belarus’ State Science and Technology Committee Alexander Shumilin told the media ahead of the presentation of Belarus’ innovative development review “Innovations for sustainable development” prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the State Science and Technology Committee on 18 July, BelTA has learned.

“Last year we exceeded the target for high-tech exports which made up some $10 billion. In 2017, this number is expected to total nearly $11 billion,” Alexander Shumilin noted. In 2016 the share of high-tech products in the total exports climbed up by 2.3% from 2015 and made up 33.2%. The share of innovative products sold by Belarus’ industrial enterprises has grown, too.

Alexander Shumilin underlined that Belarus is formulating the economic development strategy on the basis of innovations. “The third state innovative development program is underway. We have achieved a lot. For instance, we have built up a solid legislative framework for innovation and a centralized innovation fund. We have started to develop innovation infrastructure and innovative entrepreneurship. We have become a space power. We are developing nano- and biotechnologies. This all has been noted by the international experts,” Alexander Shumilin pointed out. He recalled that the head of state said that Belarus should become an IT country. “Belarus’ IT sector has advanced a lot over the last ten years. It can become one of the points of economic growth,” Alexander Shumilin added.

He spoke about the critical remarks of the foreign experts. “Our scientists do not have the so-called room for error. Today all the government support should be 100% reasonable. But success cannot always be ensured. Some experts remark that we should start financing venture projects,” Alexander Shumilin emphasized. According to him, in 2017 a decision was made to allocate 20% of the funds earmarked for state scientific and technical programs to finance venture projects. “We would like to show that these projects can bring results, make some money, and pay off. Then the share of such financing may grow,” he pointed out.

The experts also point to the need to promote innovative entrepreneurship and market-based financing. “We are working towards these goals. We have ten science and technology parks, eight centers for technology transfer. The output of innovative products made by science and technology parks doubled in 2015-2016. We created over 300 jobs in these parks and centers in 2016,” Alexander Shumilin noted.

Belarus’ innovative development review “Innovations for sustainable development” points out Belarus’ achievements in the legislative regulation of intellectual property commercialization, the centralization of sectoral innovation funds, the long-term strategic planning of innovations, the improvement of statistics and data collection methods, the preservation of human resources to stimulate innovative development, the promotion of the ICT sector, and the expansion of international cooperation. In general, the review summarizes that Belarus has managed to overcome the negative effects of the crisis. According to the review, in 2011-2016 Belarus managed to keep the main statistical indicators of innovative activity at the pre-crisis level.

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