The last two years have been quite good for Belarus, as far as awareness of the country is concerned.
Belarus has been involved in the peace negotiations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. In February 2016, the European Union lifted most of the sanctions that had been imposed more than a decade ago, citing “improving EU-Belarus relations” — and in October, the country resumed its trade dialogue with the EU. Next, in June 2019, Belarus will hold the second edition of the European Games. In the recently published World Bank’s Doing Business 2017, Belarus ranked 37th, 26 notches higher than in 2014. Continue reading Emerging Europe and the EBRD host the Outlook on Belarus conference in London
Belarus wants to be a link between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. It is using its geographic location and economic advantages to attract more foreign investors. One of the key advantages is its pool of young specialists.
Sergei Popkov, Belarusian minister of Communications and Informatisation, spoke to Nikodem Chinowski. They discussed the government’s priorities for the implementation of internet solutions to business and the rapid dissemination of internet access among young Belarusians. Continue reading “e-Belarus”: Embracing the Internet and its Possibilities
Belarus is the European Union’s 46th trade partner and its 3rd trading partner among the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. At the same time, the EU is the second trade partner for Belarus after Russia and accounts for above one quarter of its total trade. Interestingly, Belarus has the least stabilised contractual relations with the EU, among the Commonwealth of Independent States, as the bilateral Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that was concluded in 1995, has not been ratified by the EU for political reasons. On top of that, Belarus is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) yet. Continue reading The EU Is Encouraging Belarus to Join the World Trade Organisation
Political and economic relations between the United States and Belarus are enjoying a resurgence. Ten years ago political relations between our two countries were strained and economic relations were not what they might have been. Ten years on, American companies are now doing business in and with Belarus, at record levels and, hopefully, this is just the beginning. Continue reading Belarus US Business Relations Thrive as Conditions Improve
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) expects the Belarus economy to recover, only weakly in 2017-18, by just above 1 per cent, on average, from the protracted recession of 2015-16 which was Belarus’s first in 20 years. A modest rise in global energy prices, lifting Russian growth, will see the recently redenominated Belarusian rouble appreciate in 2017. This will encourage further disinflation, combined with weak domestic demand growth—although the rate of inflation will remain high in comparison to international figures. Continue reading Belarusian Economic Recovery May Downgrade Intended Reforms for Competitiveness
Italy “is the homeland of the soul” — that is what Nikolai Gogol, a well-known Russian writer, said during his journey to Rome. The historical relationships between Italy and Russia, and later the USSR, are rooted the ability of Italian companies to excite the consumer and their preference for a friendly and human connection with local partners. Continue reading Italy and Belarus: A Relationship Based on Complementarities and History
As an expat who has lived in Belarus, for three years now, I can say that it is not easy to shop for clothes here. There aren’t many recognisable international brands in the market and the ones that are here have only one shop in Minsk and lack in both quantity and variety, so finding your style or the right size is definitely a challenge. Continue reading The Shopping Experience Is Set To Go Global in Belarus from 2017 Onwards
There are 26 banks, including 21 with foreign capital, operating in Belarus and five foreign institutions have their representative offices in the country, according to the country’s National Bank. In January 2016, the banks’ aggregate registered authorised capital amounted to 4.5 billion (or €2.2 billion), having increased by 33.4 per cent compared to 2015.
Igor Likhogrud, chairman of the board at the Moscow-Minsk Bank, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the Belarusian banking sector, as well as his bank’s current position and future plans including the search for a strategist investor. Continue reading The Belarusian Banking Sector Moving Towards Modernisation Despite Some Challenges
With street names like Komsomolskaya, Karl Marx and Lenin, it is easy to portray Belarus as a remnant of the Soviet Union. The truth is more interesting, like a painting by Marc Chagall, one of Belarus’ illustrious sons. Continue reading Belarus and the EBRD:
Working to Expand the Country’s Strengths and Success
German companies are becoming increasingly more interested in seeking business opportunities in Belarus. Multiple conferences, bilateral meetings and trade missions organised in both countries are proving that point.
Peter Dettmar, German Ambassador to Belarus, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the prospects for economic, societal, scientific and environmental collaboration between Europe’s largest economy and Belarus. Continue reading Germany Is Not Letting Belarus’ Small Downturns Put it off Looking for Investment Opportunities
Despite the slowed growth of the world economy, Brexit and the other challenges of the European Union including a migration crisis and the instability of economic development in the Eurozone, associated with an increase of global risks, Germany is still the main engine of the integration process inside the EU. Germany is also one of the world’s leading FDI recipients and, according to the E&Y European Attractiveness Survey 2016 which was published in June 2016; it is the most attractive European country for investment. Continue reading Germany and Belarus: Thinking Globally Acting Locally
In autumn 2013, the strong and charismatic Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, announced the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century (in short: One Belt, One Road — OBOR). The project is currently shaping up to be the largest infrastructure-based, financially supported and economically vibrant geostrategic project on the globe today. Continue reading One Belt One Road: a Big Task for Europe
Increasingly, more foreign companies are identifying business opportunities in Belarus and are setting up their offices, or investing, in the country. Torsten Merkel, CEO of Pure Energy Intelligence; Selçuk Erdoğan, Managing Partner at Ketenci Law Firm, and Galymbek Mamrayev, Deputy Chairman of the Kazakhstan Public-Private Partnership Centre, discussed the energy sector, financial services and the public private partnership mechanism, as prospective areas for development in the country.
The current uncertainty which was caused by an increasingly right wing rhetoric from the UK government, has done little to quell the UK’s fears of finding ourselves out in the cold, on the world market stage, after Article 50 is finally triggered and the two-year negotiation period expires. However, we would be remiss not to appreciate the opportunities that the current situation offers. Continue reading UK Shores: the New Frontier, a View on a Series of Fortunate Events
The international community should not force Belarus to introduce changes and should let the country find its own way to emerge, Antonio Somma, head of the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme, said in an interview with Emerging Europe.
Being eager to know more about Belarus, one might face a situation where certain biased clichés are what is coming first. But it pays to search further so that the real picture of what Belarus is shows up! Not only turning out to be a beautiful and hospitable country with its own history (in fact, proving to be an integral part of the overall history of Europe), but striving to earn its place in the modern highly competitive world. And that competition is a never-ending story! Continue reading The UK and Belarus: A Partnership to Introduce the Real Belarus to Europe
When an emerging economy starts a conscious journey towards international financial markets, in order to attract foreign investments, there are several systemic and important points to consider, especially nowadays in the modern competitive and tumultuous world. Continue reading The Proof of a Country’s Readiness to Attract Foreign Investors Lies in the Development of the Insurance Market
Belarus is a country that an average Western European knows nothing, or very little, about. Businesses such as Viber, World of Tanks and Masquerade are only a few examples of how creative Belarusians are. Natural treasures such as Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the beautiful Braslaw lakes and finally, its great historical sights all prove that the country is definitely worth visiting.
Emerging Europe, together with TUT.by, the largest news portal in Belarus, invited three foreigners to investigate what foreigners who live and work in Belarus say about the country: Ian Fox, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy, Minsk; Philipp Brunner, CEO of Stadler Belarus; Dr Klaus Baier, Team Leader, EU Most Programme, Goethe Institut and former Chairman of the German-Belarusian Economic Club. Continue reading Emerging Europe Live: Life in Belarus As Seen by Foreigners
After nearly a quarter of a century of development cooperation with Belarus, the World Bank’s active project portfolio has reached $1 billion. The organisation is now engaged in projects in just about all major development areas and maintains a strong policy dialogue on the country’s structural reforms’ agenda.
Young Chul Kim, the World Bank’s country manager for Belarus, talked to Andrew Wrobel about the opportunities for sustained growth that exist in Belarus and the changes the country is making in order to attract more foreign investment. They also discussed the advantages that the country has to boast about.
Continue reading Belarus Has To Make an Extra Effort To Change Investors’ Perceptions
Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, is off to China to meet his counterpart, Xi Jinping, during a three day visit at the end of September. “We need a breakthrough in our relations. We need to not just take relations with the People’s Republic of China to the next level, but to shift them into a new orbit. You can see that they are ready for this,” President Lukashenko said, in July, when he appointed Kiryl Rudy as the new ambassador to China. Continue reading Belarus Is Where the New Silk Road Heads For Europe
Singapore has become one of the most developed countries in the world, in just thirty years. Its history began when the country became an independent republic, following its ejection from Malaysia in August 1965. How did this phenomenon happen, within such a short period of time, while other countries that have regained their independence still remain comparatively poor, for example Jamaica who separated from the British Empire two years after Singapore regained independence? Continue reading Belarus and Singapore Share the Same Factors for Economic Success
The longevity of Belarus’ president, Aleksander Lukashenko, owes as much to the structure of the country’s economy as it does to his sharp and often criticised leadership skills, which have resulted in a narrowing of the political space and the suppression of opposition. Continue reading Winds of Change for Belarus’ Reinsurance Industry?
In Minsk, construction on the new Great Stone Industrial Park, which will eventually exceed 91 sq. km, is well underway. The Park already has 13 km of internal streets, electricity, water supply, sewerage and gas and telecommunication services. On completion at the beginning of 2017, 20,000 sq. m of industrial and commercial space will be available for rent.
There are about 4,300 free economic zones across the world and more are constantly being added. Belarus, with its population of close to ten million and area of slightly over 200,000, sq. km, has six regional zones. It also has the Great Stone Industrial Park which is located near the country’s capital, and which is meant to take full advantage of the One Belt One Road initiative.
Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Chairman of the World Free Zones Organisation, based in Dubai, spoke to Eva Keller about the advantages of free zones over possible costs and about the strategic position Belarus holds in the One Belt One Road scheme. Continue reading Belarus Has Set an Example for Others to Follow
The financial market in Belarus is not generally accepted as a lever for the economy, despite having an actively developing legislative framework and a well-established stock exchange structure. The main obstacle to attracting long-term foreign loans, in the current economic environment, is the lack of infrastructure solutions. Continue reading Belarus Is Making the First Steps onto the International Finance Floor
Belarus is among the world’s top countries when it comes to the ease of starting a business. In the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report of 2016, the country is ranked 12th out of 189 economies. One needs just three days to open a new business in Belarus, which is three times less than the time it took last year. Continue reading Encouraging SME’s Development Will Help Build Belarusian Economy
The key objective of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, today, is maintaining financial stability under the current conditions of considerable external shocks and its main challenges are: high inflation rates, national currency devaluation and the underdeveloped financial sector, including the insurance and security markets.
Taras Nadolny, First Deputy Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about these challenges and also about the six-month-long denomination process that the Bank launched on July 1 2016, where they cut four zeroes off the large banknotes that Belarusian have been using for two decades.
Continue reading The Belarusian Financial Sector: An Industry in the Process of Restructuring
On September 11, Belarus is holding a parliamentary election. The EU will need to respond to this vote in a carefully calibrated manner. While the union is presently focused on other priorities, Belarus presents important geostrategic challenges that will test the EU’s ostensibly new European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and its global strategy. Continue reading Belarus’s Election Tests the EU’s Global Strategy
When talk turns to Belarusian exports, a popular picture emerges for most foreigners, of Belarusian vehicles — well-known timber and mighty mining trucks, time-proven tractors and chipping machines and many more. Production of the huge, state-owned manufacturers was a successful export product for many years and a symbol of the Belarusian economy. But what does the big picture of the country’s exports look like now and what are the challenges it has to overcome? Continue reading Belarus: Changing Old Ideas And Mixing With the New in Belarus’ Export Market
The most important thing, for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a clear vision of the country’s future. “We should specify the tasks required to ensure our strategic development. This is why we need an extremely sincere, honest and high-toned conversation,” Alexander Lukashenko said while speaking at the Fifth Belarusian People’s Congress on 22 of June, 2016, an event which takes place every fives years. Continue reading Belarus: On the Way to a Market Economy?
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and members of the Belarusian Government have repeatedly and harshly criticised Moscow’s trade policy with its allies, during recent integration summits: the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Summit in Astana, the Forum of Regions in Minsk and in bilateral meetings with the Russian leadership. Continue reading The Eurasian Economic Union Fails to Bring Belarus Closer to Big Brother
When the UK’s population voted on whether to remain within the European Union in June 2016, the result was neither expected nor welcomed by chambers of commerce and business associations that are members of the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE). In fact, just a few months earlier we polled them on whether they believed it to be in the UK’s best interests to leave the EU and 89 per cent were in favour of ‘remain’. Continue reading Brexit Makes Waves Across the European Union and Beyond
The Belarusian economy has still to be discovered by many potential investors, but it is worth the effort. For one reason or another, the prevailing public perception, in the West, is somewhat prejudiced towards what is happening in Belarus. However, those business people and investors, who are ready to overcome prejudices and an unjustified bad image, may be truly rewarded for their efforts. Continue reading Innovation Brings Great Opportunities to the Belarusian Economy
The European Outsourcing Association has just announced its shortlist for the Outsourcing Destination of the Year 2016 and one of the countries on the shortlist is Belarus. Continue reading Belarus Is One of the Top Outsourcing Destinations of 2016
The Belarusian economy has not had the best time for the past two years, with a recession and a massive depreciation of the rouble.
Kiryl Rudy is President Alexander Lukashenko’s former economic adviser and the co-author of The Financial Diet, a book about reforming the system of public finances and rational spending of budget money. He spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the challenges that the Belarusian economy is facing now.
Continue reading Belarusian Economy on a Diet to Change its Financial Outlook
By 2014, €15.8 billion, or over 23 per cent of Belarus’ GDP, was the foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in the country, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report from 2015. Foreign companies invested €1.7 billion in Belarus in 2013 alone. 2014 and 2015 saw an FDI of about €1.4 billion respectively, according to the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW).
Andrew Wrobel spoke to the CEOs of Austrian Velcom; Swiss Stadler; Priorbank, owned by Austrian Raiffeisen; Irish Pure Energy Intelligence and senior representatives of Austrian Kapsch and German Salamander about their experiences in Belarus.
Continue reading Foreign Investors: Belarus Offers Opportunities But Further Improvements Are Needed
In February 2016, the Council of the European Union decided not to extend most of the restrictive measures in regard to Belarus, as they recognised that there was an opportunity for EU-Belarus relations to develop on a more positive agenda and that progress in a variety of fields could be achieved through enhanced channels of communication. The Council also reiterated its firm commitment to strengthening the EU’s engagement with the Belarusian people and civil society and it emphasised that it attaches great importance to enhanced person-to-person contact with Belarus. Continue reading Belarus: MOST Builds a Bridge to the Future
It’ll take at least a $1.5 worth of net foreign direct investment (FDI) to stimulate economic growth in Belarus in 2016. These words were said by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in his annual Address to the Belarusian Nation and National Assembly. A statement of this calibre would seem to be targeting European investors, given the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s decision to lift the bulk of the restrictive measures against Belarus. Continue reading Will European Business and Institutions Bolster the New Trends That Have Appeared in Belarus?
Back in the year 2000, I had literally just finished a project in the HoReCa sector (the food and beverages service) in Ukraine. Twenty minutes after landing at Brussels airport, I received a call from a Belgian company. They asked if I was interested in restructuring a wood processing company in Russia. Continue reading Veni, Vidi, Vici, Or My Personal Experience of Doing Business in Belarus
After several quarters of recession the Belarusian economy is expected to grow by 0.2 per cent in Q4 2016. In addition, the average annual GDP growth between 2017 and 2020 will rise to 2.4 per cent, says the outlook from FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast Belarus — May 2016, published in May this year. That growth will help GDP per capita to slightly exceed the 2014 figure of $8,029, by 2020. Continue reading FocusEconomics: Belarusian Economy to Grow in Q4 2016 and Onwards
At the beginning of July, the Russian media reported on the success of two Belarusian programmers. Gennady Korotkevich and Adam Bardashevich, both students at the St Petersburg ITMO University, teamed up to win $16,000 in the finals of the VK Cup 2016. This event is widely regarded as the biggest competitive programming competition in the Russian-speaking world. Continue reading Why Is Belarus Tech Booming?
At the end of October 2016, the World Bank published its “Doing Business 2017” report and ranked Belarus 37th. It also included the country in the list of the ten most-improved economies. This clearly reflects the changes the country has been going through over the last few years, and there are quite of few of them. Continue reading The Reality Is More Interesting Than the Misconceptions
My very first encounter with any of the post-Soviet countries took place in the late 1970s, or in the middle of the Cold War, if you will. Back then I worked for a multinational company driving their business in the Soviet Union. I had no idea my Eastern European experience will be so useful in my future career. In 1989, I got my first assignment to relocate a manufacturing unit to Central and Eastern Europe, namely from Denmark to Poland. This project was followed by others. Out of over 100 projects, about 70 are in Ukraine but I also have a wide experience in Belarus. Continue reading From Denmark to Belarus — A Personal Experience of Business
It is common knowledge that the German market for IT services is suffering from a severe shortage of IT skills. While the economy is thriving and order books are full across the production and service sectors, there’s a cap on growth in the IT industry – there are simply not enough people to fulfil all the orders. Since the IT industry is characterised by a high intensity of labour, the lack of developers, project managers, quality assurance professionals and consultants is having a severe impact. Continue reading Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to
Although there is a lot of tech talent in Belarus and the start-up ecosystem is blossoming, when it comes to venture firms and angels’ groups there is a huge gap between talents and available funds. Continue reading Belarus Is Ready to Begin With Venture Capital Investments
The latest presidential elections were held on 11 October 2015, when the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko registered a first-round landslide victory with 83.5 per cent of the vote. His fifth term will end in the autumn of 2020. Continue reading Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral
The National Statistical Committee’s recent data on science and innovation in Belarus is rather disappointing. The number of applications for patents fell from 1933 in 2010 to a mere 691 in 2015. Continue reading Falling Student Numbers and Declining R&D Result From Lack of Funds
Hi-Tech Park (HTP) Belarus was set up a decade ago and today, it is home to 164 IT companies whose total revenues are approaching $1 billion. Apps developed by HTP residents are used by almost 1 billion people in 193 countries across the globe.
Dr Valery Tsepkalo, director of HTP, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the park’s growth within the first decade, as well as its residents and the fast-developing Belarusian IT sector. Continue reading HTP: Belarus’ Engineers Are Leading a Cool Revolution
Since the end of the 1980s, when the centrally planned Soviet economic system entered the final phase of its agony, at least five rounds of region-wide macroeconomic turbulence (which led to currency crashes) have been recorded. These include: the collapse of the Soviet monetary system (1989-1993), monetary instability and high/hyperinflation in the newly established successor states of the former Soviet Union (FSU) (1992-1995), the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) financial crisis of 1998-1999, fallout from the global financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the most recent crisis of 2014-2016. Furthermore, some countries have experienced individual currency crises, such as Belarus in 2000 and 2011. Continue reading The Deep Roots of Currency Crises in the Former Soviet Union
Belarus stands out as a special case in transition blending. On one hand, there are the signs of relative prosperity, the socially oriented policies and the buds of entrepreneurship and then, on the other hand, its remnants of the Communist past. Belarus has embarked on a transition path of its own, different from what is happening in other countries but still delivering a particular path to economic transformation. Continue reading The Belarusian Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms
Increasingly, more young Belarusians are choosing a career in the IT sector. In 2010, some 20,000 people had a job in the industry and that number grew to 36,000 in 2015, according to the Belarusian National Statistical Committee. Out of those, 25,000 software engineers work in companies that are residents of High Tech Park Belarus (HTP). Continue reading Young Well-Paid IT Specialists Are Making Belarus Known Internationally
Belarus and Poland share a long common history, perhaps not as much over the six decades since the Second World War or the Great Patriotic War, but definitely throughout the centuries before that, when Belarus was part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which formed a union with the Kingdom of Poland. Continue reading Long-time Neighbours Need to Share Awareness, Plus Trade & Investment
This year, Belarus was shortlisted as a top outsourcing destination of 2016, by the UK-based Global Sourcing Association (GSA). The country was also included in the Top 30 Locations for Offshore Services by Gartner. These two successes prove that Belarus has a great potential to becoming a leading IT outsourcing destination — according to Uniter’s IT Industry in Belarus 2016 report, more than 90 per cent of Belarusian companies out of almost existing 1,000 firms, developed customised software, in 2015. Continue reading Belarusian Tech Companies Lead a Global Technological Advance in Outsourcing and Product Development
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Emerging Europe are co-hosting the EBRD-Emerging Europe: Outlook on Belarus 2016 event at the EBRD Headquarters in London on Monday 24 October.
Continue reading EBRD Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus 2016