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28 Jan 2020

Belarus’ new development program to use solutions of WB roadmap

Belarus’ new development program to use solutions of WB roadmap

MINSK, 28 January (BelTA) – The groundwork laid during the work on the roadmap with the World Bank will be used while elaborating the 2025 development program for Belarus, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Krutoi said as he met with World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine Satu Kahkonen who is finishing her mission in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

“Our roadmap has not been finalized during your term in office. Nevertheless, I promise that the work we have done together with experts will not be wasted. We will certainly use the results of the work while elaborating Belarus’ development program for the period till 2025 in all the areas – from the banking and financial sector to the efforts to improve the efficiency of state-run companies and to develop instruments of social support for the most vulnerable population groups,” Dmitry Krutoi said.

He thanked Satu Kahkonen for her great involvement in the work. “I believe we have had great relations; there have never been any topics banned from discussion. The lending commitments of the World Bank to Belarus have totaled $1.8 billion by now. The next regional director will have an honorary mission to achieve this psychological benchmark of $2 billion. You have laid a solid foundation for this,” Dmitry Krutoi said.

The investment lending portfolio has increased by nearly $500 over the past four years to cover six operations across the vital sectors. In addition to that, the World Bank suggested conducting a survey of possible reforms in healthcare and education. According to Dmitry Krutoi, Belarus is ready to scale up projects in energy efficiency, green economy, and forestry sector. The WB experts also help streamline Belarus’ housing and utilities sector with a view to removing cross subsidies; this cooperation is bearing fruit. “We see good results; households’  contribution to utility fees is increasing,” the first vice premier said.

Satu Kahkonen

The government of Belarus appreciates the increase in expert assistance in conducting research in foreign direct investment and public-private partnership instruments, support for small and medium-sized business. “These are the country’s priority development avenues in the mid-term. I hope that the expert assistance will remain in place and that the next regional director will also support these efforts,” Dmitry Krutoi emphasized. 

There are plans to take stock of cooperation between the World Bank and Belarus in Washington in spring. “I do not think there will be any dramatic changes to our cooperation. We have an absolutely comprehensible portfolio of current and promising projects; something else might be added to it. In any case, I am very positive about the future of our relations,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.

Satu Kahkonen shares the view that cooperation has made considerable strides in recent years. “We are making good progress in implementing the country partnership strategy. However, before I leave this post, a mid-term interim review of the strategy will be made. Our preliminary findings suggest that everything is proceeding as scheduled,” she said.

Satu Kahkonen will conclude her mission as World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine on 14 February. After that she will be transferred to Indonesia.

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