The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will continue to help Belarus attract investment, provided reforms and changes in the country’s economy.
Such a position was voiced by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti after a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on Thursday, 6 February.
For the bank, 2019 was a record high in terms of investments in Belarus. Over €390 million were invested in 24 projects in the private and public sectors, which is 30 million more than in 2018.
Belarus is ranked ninth among countries in the annual volume of EBRD operations last year. Chakrabarti expects that in a few years Belarus will enter the top 5 EBRD partners around the world.
“I believe in Belarus. It has great potential. I will recommend wealthy people to invest in Belarus. The country has reached the point when it is ready to boom, and it is safe to invest in it,” the official said.
He noted that the image of Belarus has become more positive in the eyes of the EBRD shareholders. This is largely due to the efforts of the president (he particularly loaded Lukashenko’s visit to Austria), as well as warming up of relations with the EU and the U.S.
EBRD head is convinced that the Belarusian economy needs further modernization. “In the future, the amount of investment will depend on reforms, concrete changes in policies and strategies. The more there are such changes, the more investment will be in certain sectors of the economy,” he said.
According to Chakrabarti, the completion of the deal to sell a stake in Belinvestbank will be a good sign for investors. The EBRD is interested in acquiring a 10-25% stake. The parties are now discussing the terms of the deal.
As for new projects, the EBRD is interested in investing in local medicine and expanding the funding of the projects in environment and green economy. At present, there’s cooperation in two areas – improving the competitiveness of the real sector and the sustainability and quality of public infrastructure services.