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.
Through the Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus, Emerging Europe has been discussing extensively the investment and trade environment in Belarus. All key stakeholders related to doing business in the country are involved in the conversation: international financial institutions, Belarusian government representatives, EU representatives, foreign investors present in the country, Belarusian companies, specialised media and business associations.
On October 24, 2016, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Emerging Europe brought the conversation to a real-life situation during the EBRD-Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus conference at the EBRD headquarters in London.
The event brought together policymakers, investors and prominent business people from the UK, Belarus and beyond to discuss the economic outlook on Belarus and explore investment opportunities in the country.
“It was a fantastic conference, with a lot of discussions and widely different opinions, which is great, as we have to discuss topics that are of interest to investors. We believe that such discussions enable us to find more opportunities to deliver valuable projects and to find investors interested in Belarus,” said Alexander Zaborovkskiy, First Deputy Minister of Economy of Belarus.
“It was refreshing to see how many new people the conference has exposed to Belarus. I have read most of the editorial content and believe this type of discussion is what Belarus and the region needs,” said Olga Sherbina, Country Manager for Belarus at the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“The Outlook conference provided an insightful experience into the growing investment potential that Belarus provides. Whilst not without its drawbacks the stability of the political regime and the desire to diversify its business interests is certainly evidence that this market has substantial potential in years to come. I wish to thank the ERBD and Emerging Europe for showing a glimpse of the future potential this market provides,” said Olexandr Kyrychenko, Solicitor, IMD Solicitors LLP.
“An excellent conference in every sense. Rich in interesting discussions and well delivered. Venue and support were perfect. Superb organisation and the event format made for better understanding of Belarus, thus creating a great platform for building excellent relationships and networking with business prospects,” added Igor Likhogrud, Chairman of the Board, Bank Moscow-Minsk.
“I believe that the Outlook in general was good, it allowed for good publicity for companies, and served to highlight Belarus as potential country for investment,” said Rudolph Younes, main shareholder, RRY Capital.
Special guest speakers and panellists included: Special guest speakers and panellists include: Alexander Zaborovsky, First Deputy Minister of Economy of Belarus; Alain Pilloux, EBRD’s Acting Vice President, Policy and Partnerships; Francis Delaey, EBRD’s Director of Belarus; Natallia Nikandrava, CEO at the National Agency of Investment and Privatisation; Nikolay Shestak, Deputy Director, Zubr Capital, Alex Kokcharov, Country Risk Analyst for Belarus, IHS Markit; David Baron, Chairman of the Belarus-US Council and shareholder at Greenberg Traurig and Valdas Vitkauskas, EBRD’s Senior Banker in Financial Institutions for Belarus and Moldova.
After the sessions, participants enjoyed a networking reception featuring the champagne from De Watère.
In the last week of November, Emerging Europe is publishing the Emerging Europe Outlook on Belarus magazine, featuring a selection of the special report content. The publication will be distributed to C-level executives, decision makers and influencers in investment banks, equity funds, consultancies and real estate companies.
Photo credit: EBRD