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Opinions & Interviews

13 Mar 2017

Towards IT Nation: Belarus enters new stage in hi-tech development

Towards IT Nation: Belarus enters new stage in hi-tech development

MINSK, 13 March (BelTA) – Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has recently visited IT companies in Belarus to discuss the development prospects of the hi-tech sector and Belarus’ transformation into a regional leader in this industry. Belarus president’s aide Vsevolod Yanchevsky, investors Viktor Prokopenya and Mikhail Gutseriyev informed reporters about the decisions adopted by the head of state, BelTA has learned.

Vsevolod Yanchevsky noted that Belarus is indeed moving towards becoming an IT country. “We have all preconditions for that. We have many talented people who generate great ideas. I am absolutely confident that we will see a breakthrough here. We are not talking about a global breakthrough, but I strongly believe that Belarus will be a regional leader, a leader in Eastern Europe. We will see this happen very soon,” he stressed.

The official pointed out that many people abroad already know about Belarus’ achievements in the IT sector. However, now it is time for the high technology to advance to a new level. “Today we have seen a very interesting conversation between the head of state and investors, software engineers, those who are directly involved in the production of new products, who develop high technology,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky said.

He emphasized that he is an advocate of such a direct dialogue. Vsevolod Yanchevsky noted that Alexander Lukashenko has a good understanding of the issues that the IT sector is faced with. “Everybody knows that the IT sector has always been supported by the state and the president. It is quite possible that important decisions will be made to attract venture funds to our country, so that the product model could develop by leaps and bounds,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky said.

The official emphasized that all the preferences and support granted to the IT companies that operate in Belarus using different models, for instance, outsourcing, will be definitely preserved.

“In fact, the green light is given for the development of the IT sector, high technology, foreign capital, know-how,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky said.

He added that a big package of suggestions will be developed with the participation of all stakeholders and submitted for consideration to the head of state. “I am absolutely confident that the head of state will make his decisions (I would call them breakthrough ones) within a very short time,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky noted.

Investor Viktor Prokopenya believes that the development of this sector in Belarus holds great prospects. “I think that this day will go down in history as the day of a big change in the development of the IT industry in Belarus. The president fully supported the idea of establishing Belarus as an IT nation. This includes a large number of significant changes in legislation, its improvement,” the investor said.

According to him, decisions are expected on the product model in the IT business, venture capital funds and the necessary regulatory environment, support for education.

“In today’s world, a large number of different specialists are needed, particularly in product-oriented companies. Not only technical staff but also specialists in marketing, product design, other areas,” Viktor Prokopenya said.

After the meeting with the head of state, the investor highlighted the willingness of Alexander Lukashenko to support the necessary changes.

As an example of the issues in the IT sector, Viktor Prokopenya mentioned the difficulties with placing advertising products at the world’s major venues. To do this, the Belarusian law requires compliance with complex bureaucratic procedures that are not conducive to effective business.

“To buy advertising on Facebook from Belarus seems to be a very complicated process. Today’s decree on the Hi-Tech Park supports only the sale of software. For the time being it does not support the model to generate income from advertising when software is transferred free of charge,” the investor said.

He stressed that the meeting discussed a number of necessary changes. “I am very happy that the state will continue to support IT business. I am also happy that Belarus will be able to proceed to a new stage of development, create more product-oriented companies and further increase its visibility in the world,” Viktor Prokopenya said.

Investor Mikhail Gutseriyev believes that the meeting and the decisions that have been taken open up great prospects for the development of the industry. “What we are doing is in demand and is fully supported by the country’s authorities,” he said.

According to the investor, the first stage in the development of the IT sector in Belarus has been successfully completed. “Today we are talking about the second step which is the adoption of additional regulations that will make Belarus one of the most IT advanced countries in the world,” Mikhail Gutseriyev said.

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