Belarus economy yet to reach ambitious goals

The Belarusian economy has yet to reach ambitious goals, said Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky as he met with Managing Director of Ausfuhrkredit Gesellschaft Bank (AKA Bank) Hans-Jorg Todt on 22 September.

"We don't scrap the ambitious goals set by the Belarusian Government. We will continue implementing investment and innovation programs for the next 3-5 years," said the Prime Minister. He remarked that with declining economies in the neighboring countries this year's investment growth rate in Belarus stands close to 117%. This is why investments are a vital part for implementing programs.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, Germany is one of Belarus' leading partners. In January-July 2009 the bilateral trade exceeded ?1 billion. In Belarus 352 enterprises with a share of German capital have been set up and work successfully.

Sergei Sidorsky confirmed the readiness of the Government to continue working with AKA Bank. He also thanked the bank administration for their objective evaluation of actions taken by the Belarusian government. In March and September 2009 AKA Bank revised the credit portfolio for Belarus and raised the limit available to the country.

According to Sergei Sidorsky, investments have been channeled into the real economy. On 21-22 September AKA Bank management got familiar with performance indicators of Belarus' leading companies that the bank had provided credit support to. Those are mechanical engineering, microelectronics, processing industry enterprises.

Sergei Sidorsky reminded that Belarus had been affected by the world financial crisis. However, the country has worked out a good anticrisis programme that has proved to be effective. At present many countries declare close recovery after the crisis. "We take an objective approach to it and do our best to make the Belarus economy feel confident. It is confirmed by the fact that this year Belarus' GDP is close to last year's, which means that we have last year's performance level," said the Prime Minister.

Belarus pursues reforms that are praised by the World Bank and other financial institutions. In particular, the latest report of the World Bank placed Belarus on the 58th position in the list of countries with the most favorable business conditions. Belarus plans to be one of the top thirty countries with the best business climate.

The management of the German AKA Bank is satisfied with results of its lending operation in Belarus. The statement was made by Managing Director of Ausfuhrkredit Gesellschaft Bank (AKA Bank) Hans-Jorg Todt as he met with Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorsky.

Hans-Jorg Todt remarked that bankers have an important rule: you should know the projects that you finance. It is the neglect of this rule that led to the worsening operation of several leading banks of the world. This is why during the present visit the AKA Bank management got familiar with the progress of the investment projects which are being implemented in Belarus with AKA Bank's aid. "It was important for us to see MTZ and the Integral company that we finance. I was not surprised that they have achieved success on the international market but I was surprised by the degree of the success. It is astounding. I thanked the management of these companies for what they have done," stressed the AKA Bank Managing Director.

In his words, the decision to increase the max amount of money available to Belarus to an extent much larger than the limits available to other countries confirms the bank's trust in Belarus.

In addition, Hans-Jorg Todt stressed: "I was pleased to hear that Belarus has managed to evade consequences of the global financial crisis. Germany could not do it. The economic growth there will be negative within 6-7%". He also reminded that the Belarusian Finance Ministry had lately arranged a presentation of Belarus' economic opportunities. Experts highly evaluated Belarus' potential and pointed out the excellent record of its economic development.

Apart from that, the meeting touched upon Belarus' possible transition from the seventh investment risk group to the sixth one. The AKA Bank Managing Director believes it is quite possible. "We are not glad that Belarus is in that category today," stressed Hans-Jorg Todt.

Ausfuhrkredit Gesellschaft Bank was founded in 1952. Its shareholders are the 19 largest banks of Germany. It specializes in medium and long-term financing, with one or more of its shareholders co-financing. AKA Bank borrowers are located in 70 countries, with 97% of the lending going to borrowers outside Germany. Those are such countries as Russia, Turkey, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Angola. Belarus is the third largest borrower in AKA Bank's credit portfolio. AKA Bank has signed basic loan agreements with six Belarusian banks.



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