SCIENCE & EDUCATION
Belarus is a country located in Eastern Europe with a high human development index and a diversified industrial profile. After the breakup of the USSR, Belarus preserved a relatively well-developed industrial base. Pursuing the strategy of cautious reform with great concern for social welfare and stability, the Belarusian Government was implementing smooth transition from the command to market economy.
Since the late 1990s, Belarus has attained progress in economic reform and stabilization. Until 2008, Belarus showed a strong growth with its GDP increasing by 8.3 percent annually. Growth slowed down substantially in the context of the global economic crisis, and the country has gone through a period of recurring macroeconomic instability. In 2013, initial macroeconomic stability had been restored, though remains fragile as Belarus faces significant external refinancing needs. (Source: World Bank). The Belarusian Government takes certain steps to decrease the country’s reliance on the energy- and resource-intensive exports and to expand the SME sector.
In 2015, the Council of Ministers approved The National Strategy for the Sustainable Social and Economic Development of Belarus for the period until 2030. Aimed at ensuring high standards of living and enabling environment for harmonious personality development, the strategy implies the transition to a high-performance economy based on knowledge and innovation, while maintaining a favorable environment for future generations.
Belarus has been a UN member since 1945. The country is also a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that was formed after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union that today includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. The community was created to guarantee freedom of movement among the member countries. In 2010, Belarus joined the Common Economic Space and signed the Customs Union agreement with Kazakhstan and Russia.
The priority sectors of the Belarusian economy include machinery and metal working, oil refining, chemical and petrochemical industry, electric power, consumer goods and food processing, timber and woodworking industry. The role of services is becoming increasingly larger. Trade, services, and the industrial sector are the main sources of the country's economic development. In 2015, the industrial production amounted to 41.3 percent of GDP, agriculture to 9.3 percent, and services to 49.4 percent of GDP (CIA World Factbook, 2015 est)
Belarus' share of exports in GDP is 59.4 percent, more than a half of exported goods being industrial products. Our major exports are machinery, transport vehicles, chemicals, petrochemical products, rubber, fibers, mineral products, primary metals, fertilizers, food, agricultural raw materials, and IT and transport services (National Statistics Committee, 2015). Raw materials remain the main import, most coming from the Russian Federation. In addition, Belarus' imports include machinery, equipment, mineral products, metal products, and foodstuffs.
For several decades, Belarus is one of the world’s largest manufacturers. The country’s share in the world production of the following products comprises: 17% of combine harvesters, 6% of tractors, 6.4% of flax fiber, 1.6% of potatoes, and up to 30% of mine dump trucks. Producing 1.4% of world milk volume, Belarus holds about 5% in world exports of dairy products and about 11% of butter.
Belarus trades with more than 190 countries, its major trade partners being Russia (over 48% of foreign trade volume), Ukraine, China, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Italy, and Latvia. The Government takes measures to improve the competitiveness of Belarusian goods and achieve their expansion to the Western market.
Belarusian enterprises that form the core of the Belarusian industry include mechanical engineering giants, top-notch chemical enterprises, innovative IT companies, and manufacturers of clothing, footwear, and foodstuffs. Among Belarus' most powerful plants are the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ), the Minsk Tractor Plant (MTZ), Belarusian Steel Works (BMZ), Atlant (freezer and refrigerator plant), Belaruskali (the second largest producer of potassium fertilizers in the world), Belcommunmash (electric transport manufacturer), and oil refineries in Novopolotsk and Mozyr.
Belarusian agriculture specializes in animal farming (milk and meat products), flax, potato, grain and vegetable crops, sugar beets, rapes and fodder crops. Since independence, emphasis has been laid on grain production allowing Belarus to attain self–sufficiency and reduce reliance on expensive grain imports. Most of the land is still publicly or collectively owned. Although subsidized by the Government, the agricultural sector still needs substantial capital investment and working capital financing.
The IT sector is increasingly becoming an essential element in Belarus’ economy. Over the past ten years, the exports of IT services have increased more than 50 times. In 2015, it reached USD $818 million, marking an 18% increase from 2014. Read more about the Belarusian IT industry
A responsible environmental policy of the past two decades improved the state of environment in Belarus and made the economy more energy and resource efficient. In 2015, the Strategy of Sustainable Social and Economic Development of Belarus established a comprehensive national legal framework required for transition to green economy. From 2016 to 2020, the Belarusian Government will carry out a smooth transition to a balanced economy growth through the structural transformation of the economy based on the environmental friendliness and a high-tech manufacturing as a priority. It is planned that in the period from 2020 to 2030, the scientific intensive production and services will be accelerating and the development will move forward to the green economy.
By the year 2030, the expected results of the strategy implementation will include the following.
- 77 years as life expectancy at birth
- GDP growth by 50-100 percent
- GDP per capita $ 30-39 thousand PPP against 17.6 in 2013
- Higher costs for research and development, up to 2.5 percent of GDP
- Increase in the environmental costs, up to 2-3percent of GDP
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 15% compared to 1990.
Belarus has sufficient economic potential and human resources to be a proper member of the world community. The Belarusian people strive to make their land prosperous and flourishing.