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Opinions & Interviews

6 Feb 2020

EBRD to continue to help Belarus attract new investors

EBRD to continue to help Belarus attract new investors
Suma Chakrabarti

MINSK, 6 February (BelTA) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will continue to help Belarus attract investment but much will depend on the country itself, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti told the media after a meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minks on 6 February, BelTA has learned.

“The Belarusian economy needs further modernization. We will work to help Belarus attract new investors and develop further. In the future, the amount of investment will depend on the context, on the conditions in which we operate. Growth of investments depends on reforms, concrete changes in policies, in strategies. The more there are such changes, the more investment will be in certain sectors of the economy,” he said.

He highlighted the constructive nature of relations between the bank and Belarus. “Last year was a record high in terms of investments and made our bank the largest institutional investor in the Belarusian economy. The amount of investment was about €400 million,” he added.

Such results are largely due to positive interaction at the level of the presidents of the country and the bank. Suma Chakrabarti expressed confidence that in the future, after he steps down as the head of the EBRD (in July 2020), such interaction will continue. “I am sure that whoever comes to this position after me will try to maintain a good level of relations that has developed between the country and the bank,” he assured.

According to him, a good sign for investors may be the completion of the deal to sell a stake in Belinvestbank. The EBRD is interested in entering the bank's equity capital and acquiring a 10-25% stake. Now the parties are discussing possible terms of the deal. Closing the deal with Belinvestbank can serve as a good example and can move investments forward. It is a decision to be made by the government. It is not easy. It takes patience and time, but we have a good relationship and we have a strategy to move forward,” he said.

Suma Chakrabarti also noted that the bank is looking forward to the first meeting of the Foreign Investment Council in Belarus.

As for new promising projects, the EBRD is interested in investing in Belarusian medicine and increasing the funding of the projects in environment and green economy.

Currently, the cooperation between Belarus and the EBRD is developing in two main areas - improving the competitiveness of the real sector of the economy, and improving the sustainability and quality of public infrastructure services.

With the help of EBRD, eight projects with a total investment of €339 million are currently being implemented in the public sector of Belarus, including about €42.5 million allocated for the project to reconstruct the R80 Sloboda-Papernya motorway and €126 million (first tranche of the total loan of €259 million ) to reconstruct the national bridges and the M3 motorway.   

Four projects with the possibility of attracting more than €163 million of EBRD funding, including €126 million for the reconstruction of bridges in population centers, are considered as promising for 2020.

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