The global economy is undergoing global restructuring. High volatility in commodity and financial markets, reduced effectiveness of traditional instruments of state policy and the slowdown in the world economy have forced many countries to rethink their development strategies and adapt to new realities. Belarus has also mapped out a series of measures to make the existing economic model more efficient and create new sustainable sources of growth.
Given increased competition and closer integration, all market participants and governments are supposed to have a swift response to new challenges and trends.
Belarus’ government has identified cost saving, quality and efficient management as the nearterm priorities of its economic policy.
The State Committee for Standardization (Gosstandart) is directly involved in the work to fulfill these goals and to make the national economy more competitive. The only way to do it is to keep optimizing our work.
Rapid development of the crowd economy in the entire world came as a surprise for many analysts. Meanwhile, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and crowdinvesting, which used to raise a host of questions not so long ago, have become important tools of entrepreneurs all over the world. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms dozens of thousands of start–ups, cultural and charity campaigns have been conducted. Experts estimate that the global crowdfunding market will expand by more than two times to reach $34 billion in 2015. Belarus is following closely these global trends. Although the crowd economy came to Belarus not long ago, its debut was quite spectacular. The country has hosted the biggest international conference on the crowd economy in Eastern Europe and has launched several crowdfunding platforms. Experts believe that the country might become one of the crowd technology leaders in the future.
The Belarusian ruble will be redenominated on 1 July 2016. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed decree No. 450 “Concerning the redenomination of the official currency of the Republic of Belarus” on 4 November 2015. Thus, the banknotes designed in 2000 will be replaced by the banknotes and coins designed in 2009 in the following ratio: Br10,000 will equal Br1. In other words, given the scale of the redenomination, the banknote of 100 rubles, which is currently the lowest denomination, will be replaced by 1 kopeck. In July the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) will release seven denominations of banknotes —
5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 rubles, and eight denominations of coins — 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 kopecks, and 1 and 2 rubles.
In the first year of operation the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) faced a lot of challenges. The global crisis, the sanctions against Russia, the fall in oil and gas prices did not allow the EEU to hit the targets it aimed for. However, much has been done to remove the barriers to mutual trade in goods and services, particularly in the manufacturing industry and agriculture. In an interview with the Economy of Belarus Magazine, Industry and Agriculture Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Sergei SIDORSKY talks about the benefits of integration for Belarusian industrialists, cooperation with China and the EU, and plans for 2016.
The past year was a time of expansion and action for the Eurasian Economic Union. Last year the three founding members were joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The member states started working to eliminate all barriers to the “four freedoms”: movement of goods, services, capital and labor. Some success has already been achieved. De–jure and de–facto the Eurasian Economic Union was recognized at the level of international organizations and states. At the same time, integration means not only new opportunities for everyone but also risks shared by all. To make the union run smoothly and in full force, its members will have to solve some major issues. More so, they will have to act in the face of new global challenges.
The building materials industry is an integral part of the construction complex in Belarus. Dozens of major upgrade and import–substitution projects have been implemented in recent years. The domestically–made building materials now comply with national and European standards. Belarus’ export has increased. The upgraded enterprises of the construction industry are viewed as potential growth points of the Belarusian economy. What is the market of building materials like today and what problems are the producers facing in the present–day difficult macroeconomic conditions?
After many years of cooperation with various companies in other countries and dozens of successfully completed projects, the Belarusian company Belzarubezhstroy and the high quality construction works
and services it provides are better known abroad than in Belarus. But just recently a significant event has taken place, which will become a milestone in the company’s operations. For the first time in the Republic of Belarus it has completed an ambitious project
of investment in the construction of the manufacturing facility for the next generation construction material – cement–bonded particle boards.
Citizens of Belarus and Finland, a Scandinavian country that amazes travelers with white nights and colorful northern lights, have much more in common than it might seem at first glance. Belarus and Suomi (the Finnish name for Finland) have similar historical destinies: for quite a long time they were part of more powerful states and gained their statehoods not so long ago.
Similar features can be found in the mentality of the two peoples: Belarusians and Finns are deliberate and thorough, reserved but friendly and hospitable. They also share love for nature and native land, winter sports. As regards culinary preferences, their number one choice is meat and potatoes. How similar are the business interests of the two countries, and what is the basis of the BelarusianFinnish cooperation? The Economy of Belarus Magazine addresses these and other questions to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Finland and concurrently to the Kingdom of Denmark Alexander OSTROVSKY.
Globalization makes every country adapt to the changing global market conditions and establish and promote new partnerships. Bearing this in mind, Belarusian exporters and importers turn towards Japanese companies in search for promising trade and economic partners. The main reasons behind the drive include the rising competition on traditional markets of Belarusian goods and services, economic slump in many of these markets, the natural need to diversify export, tougher product quality requirements. This necessitates retooling, looking for financial and technology investors, developing more sophisticated marketing and sales strategies to fit in the international manufacturing cooperation schemes.
To see and to be seen is the motto of the majority of thematic economic exhibitions. With regard to the expo of the Chinese autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Ningxia held at the National Exhibition Center BelExpo on 18–20 November it was actually the second part of the saying that was true. To display the widest range of goods and services was, in fact, the main objective of the expo which brought together representatives of more than 100 enterprises and 160 businessmen from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China. The Belarusians were given an opportunity to become better acquainted with the Great China through the economy of its north–western regions. By the way, Belarus attaches great importance to regional contacts when developing full–fledged cooperation with China.
Household appliances and electronics have become part and parcel of modern life. Today these products are made by a large number of companies all over the world and therefore the market is highly competitive. The market contains advanced technology products and is frequently refreshed. The year 2015 was a difficult one for manufacturers of household appliances and electronics due to the falling demand for their products. Experts attributed the falling sales to the current macroeconomic situation and the falling purchasing power. The panic buying witnessed at the end of 2014 played its part, too. Back then many Belarusians made purchases for the future needs in a rush to invest their savings. Nevertheless, H2 2015 saw the buying mood change in favor of an increase in demand for household appliances and electronics. Nevertheless, the market is far from fully stable. What performance figures can the Belarusian top manufacturers demonstrate and what do they focus on in the face of sagging market?
It is quite difficult to overestimate the role that physics plays in the life of the modern world. Physics brings to light mysteries of the universe, uncovers origins of the cosmos. Without physics space technologies, military, healthcare, information technologies and other ones would be unthinkable. The intense interest in this science is fueled by innovative ideas. Many of the ideas have been implemented by the Fraunhofer–Stepanov optical diagnostics lab of the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. This team of researchers carries out most complicated experiments to study biological cells and the effect that medications have on them. The team perfects solar cell designs, develops new diagnostic tools for healthcare in addition to unique high–precision optical devices for defense purposes. The scientists are about to create metamaterials in the optical part of the spectrum. The world’s most renowned physicists believe these materials will bring about another technological breakthrough. What can mankind expect from such new materials? It is possible that the technologies will produce higher resolution optics and even invisibility in the near future.
Knowledge economy and innovations have become increasingly popular concepts. Today we see science and production integrate and high–tech sectors make strides. Thus, the interest is increasing in technology parks which are designed to generate scientific ideas, implement research solutions and create the conditions for commercializing new products and technologies. This is one of the tools to open the economy to the outside world and bolster international ties, attract foreign investment. Belarus has experience in promoting such institutes. For example, its Hi–Tech Park specializes in information technology. The construction of the multi–purpose Chinese–Belarusian Industrial Park Great Stone has started recently. The National Science and Technology Park BelBiograd, a promising project in bio–pharmaceutics, nanotechnologies, micro– and nanosystem engineering, is to be launched in Belarus in the near future. Belarus’ National Academy of Sciences has been promoting this project for some time already. A relevant draft decree has been discussed and finalized by all government bodies concerned and now it is under consideration of the government.
Tourism has become a promising economic sector and a profitable business in many countries. This rapidly developing sector is considered to be an important export earner. How attractive are Belarusian regions for tourists and for investors?
Dubbed as Belarus’ entrance gate, Grodno Oblast has been consistently working to promote this sector. The region coordinates the multi–field activities of various organizations in order to make their cooperation more efficient.
Buying flowers any time of the year is no problem today. The market has become all–season. To make our loved ones happy we can give them well–familiar carnations and chrysanthemums, exotic orchids and gerberas. However, roses still remain the most popular flowers in Belarus.
Tel./Fax: 222-33-29. e-mail:  email@example.com