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Opinions & Interviews

25 May 2018

Semashko: Belarus is well positioned to promote innovations and investments

Semashko: Belarus is well positioned to promote innovations and investments

GOMEL, 25 May (BelTA) – Belarus has everything in place to promote innovations and investments, Deputy Premier of Belarus Vladimir Semashko said at a plenary session of the 15th Gomel Economic Forum on 25 May, BelTA has learnt.

“Belarus has created all the necessary conditions to promote innovations and investments and to monetize them within a short period of time,” Vladimir Semashko noted. In his words, the country is constantly improving its legislation; it offers a series of preferences and discounts and operates several free economic zones, and the Hi-Tech Park. Apart from that, Belarus is an attractive platform for foreign investment companies seeking to enter the 182-million strong market of the Eurasian Economic Union, Vladimir Semashko emphasized.

He noted that the Gomel Economic Forum is one of the instruments to raise domestic and foreign investment. “The goods and services that Belarus exports make up 70% of the country’s GDP. In order to maintain momentum, we need to give a boost to innovations and investments,” the vice premier noted.

Speaking about investments in Gomel Oblast, Vladimir Semashko emphasized that the region is among the country’s leaders in this regard. “In 2011-2017 Gomel Oblast invested $17.7 billion, which accounted for about 16% of all Belarus’ investments,” he informed. Vladimir Semashko expressed confidence that the region will be able to retain momentum by implementing a number of large-scale projects, including retooling of Mozyr Oil Refinery, Svetlogorsk Sulfate Bleached Pulp Plant, Dobrush Paper Mill, Petrikov Mining and Processing Plant, a project to produce special steel and stainless steel, and other projects.

To illustrate how innovations and investments can drive economic growth, Vladimir Semashko cited the following facts and figures: in the early 1990s, Belarus’ agricultural sector employed about 1.068 million people, while in 2017 the figure dropped to 272,000. At the same time grain production doubled, the output of milk and meat increased, labor performance rose 4-6 times. In his view, this was achieved largely thanks to investments and innovations.

This year the Gomel Economic Forum has brought together over 650 participants from 32 countries. The forum will showcase economic and investment potential of the region. The panel session of the forum will be followed by six subpanel sessions. One of them will incorporate the 2nd Congress of Free Economic Zones.

First held in 2004, the Gomel Economic Forum is an effective platform to launch investment projects. From 2008 to 2017, an estimated 88 documents to the total amount of almost $2 billion were signed at the forum. About 50 projects have been implemented or are in progress.

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