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Opinions & Interviews

10 May 2018

Hope for larger World Bank project portfolio in Belarus

Hope for larger World Bank project portfolio in Belarus

MINSK, 10 May (BelTA) – Belarus expects the World Bank project portfolio in the country to grow larger. Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov made the statement as he met with representatives of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank Group on 10 May, BelTA has learned.

Andrei Kobyakov noted: “The current portfolio includes eight investment loans for a total of about $800 million. We highly appreciate the level of interaction we have reached and expect the existing portfolio to grow larger in the near future.” Projects worth about $1.7 billion have been implemented over the course of more than 25 years of Belarus’ cooperation with the World Bank.

“The essence of our partnership goes way beyond money for development purposes. We work together so that the investments funded by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation could address systemic tasks of enhancing Belarus’ competitive ability,” stressed the prime minister.

This is why the World Bank Group’s latest five-year framework strategy includes a balanced project portfolio, which correlates with priorities in Belarus’ economic policy.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, Belarus expects the implementation of projects together with the World Bank to make a contribution to the implementation of the main government programs in the medium term, thus creating the foundation for long-term sustainable growth of the country’s economy.

In 2015 Belarus and the World Bank put together a roadmap, which lies at the heart of the program guiding the government’s work. Most of the provisions the document specifies have been fulfilled and contributed to the economic growth in 2017 and 2018.

Andrei Kobyakov noted that close attention is paid to the encouragement of entrepreneurship and business activities in Belarus. A package of regulatory acts was passed in late 2017 to liberalize entrepreneurship and lay the foundation for a digital economy.

“We hope that it will give an additional impulse to the development of small and medium business and the private sector in Belarus. We are happy that the World Bank supports us on this,” said the Belarusian head of government. The World Bank’s project to expand access to finance for micro, small and medium companies in Belarus will become an additional source of funding for the development of commercial entities.

“We consider small and medium private companies as a powerful driver of economic growth and intend to continue bolstering the institutions and stimulating innovations,” added the prime minister.

Andrei Kobyakov also drew attention to opportunities in the Hi-Tech Park and the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone. “I believe that the International Finance Corporation as a private sector funding institution will also be able to find attractive areas of work in these parks, thus greatly increasing its portfolio in Belarus,” he concluded.

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