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11 May 2019

Belarus, WB discuss possible financing for higher education project

Belarus, WB discuss possible financing for higher education project

MINSK, 11 May (BelTA) – Belarus and the World Bank have discussed possible financing for a project to upgrade the national higher education system, BelTA learned from the press service of the Economy Ministry following the talks between the minister and representatives of the World Bank.

The meeting of Dmitry Krutoi and World Bank Vice President Cyril Muller took place during the annual meeting of the EBRD Board of Directors in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Belarus outlined promising projects for 2020 and subsequent years. The parties discussed the bank’s possible financing of a project to upgrade the higher education system (€65 million) and additional funding for a project to modernize the public finance management system,” the Economy Ministry said. The bank was also offered to consider projects on energy efficiency of social facilities (€70 million), construction of deferrization stations in all regions of the country to provide the population with clean water (€180 million), as well as a number of facilities in the transport sector.

Dmitry Krutoi and Cyril Muller also discussed the preparation of two new investment projects, the loan agreements for which are to be signed this year. These are the project to improve the efficiency and quality of public services (€156 million), under which co-financing is expected from the European Investment Bank (EIB) (€66 million), and also the project to increase sustainable energy use (€180 million), where financing will be provided jointly with the EIB (€90 million each).

“The first project involves the modernization of 25 water supply and wastewater facilities, the construction of three regional landfills for municipal waste management, as well as support for reforms in the area, aimed at a significant increase in the collection, processing and introduction of all types of waste and secondary material resources into the new economic turnover,” the ministry said. The facilities included in the project are located in all regions of Belarus and are socially significant for specific districts and settlements. It is also expected that the project will increase the number of citizens provided with a centralized water supply of improved quality.

The second project aims to expand the use of local fuels (wood biomass) for district heating and increase investment in the thermal renovation of residential buildings. The project envisages finances to convert inefficient gas boiler houses to the use of wood chips, modernize the existing heat supply systems, as well as measures to warm the apartment buildings and install individual heat control meters in the apartments.

On 26 April, Education Minister Igor Karpenko and World Bank Country Manager for Belarus Alex Kremer signed an agreement on additional funding for the project to upgrade the education system of Belarus. The funds will help overhaul 220 schools in all the regions of Belarus, upgrade equipment in 262 classrooms, conduct the next stage of research on educational achievements of students and expand the management information system to all levels of education.

The World Bank's active portfolio in Belarus totals $800 million plus grant agreements.

The cooperation between Belarus and the World Bank is based on the World Bank Group partnership strategy for 2018-2022 adopted in 2018. Over the entire period of cooperation (1992-2019) the World Bank has invested about $1.7 billion in a number of significant infrastructure projects in Belarus.

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