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Opinions & Interviews

6 Feb 2020

Lukashenko thanks EBRD chief for cooperation with Belarus

Lukashenko thanks EBRD chief for cooperation with Belarus

MINSK, 6 February (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has thanked President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Suma Chakrabarti for cooperation with Belarus and suggested naming one of the country’s roads in his honor, BelTA has learned.

“To our greatest regret, you decided to terminate your work as the bank’s chief. I would like to emphasize: it is a great pity. Nevertheless, life is life and it goes on. It will be absolutely right to thank you, on behalf of all Belarusians, for everything the bank has done for Belarus,” the president said addressing Suma Chakrabarti.

Since the EBRD launched operations in Belarus, it has invested €3 billion in the country. Last year alone the investments amounted to €400 million. “We were running projects in water treatment, housing insulation, and road construction using this money. You deserve a lot of credit for that, without exaggeration,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. He went on saying with a bit of humor that “one of the roads should be named after Chakrabarti, because the best roads were built with the help of the bank”.

In his words, Belarus hopes to keep running road construction and repair projects with the bank. “After all, the roads we have built together are not only and not so much for Belarusians, rather than for Russia and other eastern countries and the European Union. Last year alone, the east-west cargo traffic on Belarusian roads amounted to 110 million tonnes. Some 70% of this cargo was not meant for Belarus,” the president said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko hopes for fruitful cooperation with the EBRD’s new top executives, as well as with Suma Chakrabarti in his new capacity. “You are a prominent person in Great Britain. If you stay in London, we really count on you to help us build the same level of friendly relations with the UK as we have with your bank,” the head of state said.

“Taking into consideration that you are a reliable and very good friend of ours, you should know that you are always welcome in Belarus. We will be happy to host you anytime,” the Belarusian leader said.

Suma Chakrabarti thanked the Belarusian president for thinking so highly of his work in the capacity of the bank’s president: “You have made me blush”. He emphasized that Aleksandr Lukashenko made a substantial contribution to strengthening relations between Belarus and the EBRD. “It was under your supervision that we ran many projects here and invested efforts in the country’s development,” the EBRD president said.

Suma Chakrabarti took over as the President of the EBRD in 2012 and was elected for a second four-year term in 2016. As he has no plans to be re-elected again, his term expires in July 2020.

Chief of Belarus Resident Office Alexander Pivovarsky is leaving office in March 2020. He has held this position since 2016. he will be replaced by Marina Petrov who served as a Deputy Head of Ukraine.

Belarus has been a member of the EBRD since 1992 and owns 6002 shares (0.2% of the total). From 1992 to 2019 the EBRD has invested about €2.9 billion in the Belarusian economy.

In 2019 the EBRD set a new record in its operation in Belarus: the bank invested over $433 million (€390 million) beating the 2018 record of €360 million. This placed Belarus ninth among the countries in terms of annual volume of EBRD operations in 2019. Egypt, Ukraine and Turkey received the most financial assistance from the bank.

The EBRD’s total annual investments in 2019 reached the record-high €10.1 billion which were used to support 452 projects (€9.5 billion in 2018).

The EBRD is currently preparing its strategy for five years up to 2025. The bank is aiming to increase its investments up to €11.4 billion over the period. A key focus of the next strategy will be on projects to move toward a low carbon economy, leverage new technologies, and ensure equal opportunities.

The bank will continue its preparations to launch cooperation with new countries in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, in particular, Algeria, Libya and Syria.

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