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EBRD investments in Belarus may exceed €360m this year

MINSK, 23 October (BelTA) – The volume of investments poured by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) into Belarus this year may top last year's record high of €360 million, BelTA learned from representatives of the Belarusian Economy Ministry after Economy Minister Dmitry Krutoi met with EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti in Washington, USA.

Dmitry Krutoi and Suma Chakrabarti discussed the current level of cooperation and progress in implementing EBRD-financed public sector projects in the spheres of utilities industry and transport. The sides also discussed matters concerning the preparation of new investment projects in the area of infrastructure.

At present Belarus intends to borrow money from the EBRD to implement a major infrastructure project, which envisages the reconstruction of the M3 Minsk-Vitebsk motorway and a number of important bridges. The total sum of the EBRD's investments as part of the credit agreement, which is supposed to be signed this year, will be close to €259 million. Apart from that, work is in progress with the EBRD on taking out a loan and getting grants to reconstruct water supply and wastewater treatment systems in seven Belarusian cities and towns (Kletsk, Lyuban, Fanipol, Shklov, Zhlobin, Bereza, and Baranovichi). The total sum of the EBRD's investments as part of this credit agreement, which is also supposed to be signed this year, will be €26.8 million. Work on the pilot project for heat rehabilitation of residential buildings in Minsk continues, with the investments estimated at about €15 million.

During the meeting Dmitry Krutoi drew attention to the importance of promptly preparing the investment project for building energy infrastructure at a site of the free economic zone Minsk in the town of Fanipol and signing the relevant credit agreement this year. The volume of investments is expected to be close to €15 million.

On the whole, this year's EBRD investments in Belarus may exceed the €360 million in investments registered in 2018. The sides also discussed the beginning of the work on a new EBRD strategy for Belarus for 2020-2023. Suma Chakrabarti noted it is necessary to demonstrate progress in such areas as pre-privatization support for OAO Belinvestbank and OAO Dabrabyt Bank and a number of real sector companies, in particular, OAO Krinitsa and OAO Krasnoselskstroymaterialy.

The participation of a Belarusian high-level delegation in the EBRD investment summit for Eastern Partnership Initiative countries scheduled for 22 November was discussed as well as the participation of top EBRD executives in the first session of the Foreign Investment Council on 7 February 2020. The council's establishment was discussed when Suma Chakrabarti visited Belarus in March 2019.