The need for economic reforms — the main issue discussed by experts and officials in recent years in Belarus. There is no political will — there is no reform, so we are talking only about the diversification and adaptation of the current model to the rules of the global economy.
On 2 June at the international conference “Economic security in a globalized world,” the Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei said in fact, the official change of orientation of the Belarusian economy is only one main partner (Russia). According to the plan of the Belarusian leadership, the ally must have less than one third of Belarusian trade-economic relations.
Vladimir Makei: Agree, especially in the financial and economic global crises that periodically arise with an enviable regularity, it is impossible to survive such a small country as Belarus, if it will depend on one specific source from one specific direction. One way out is to diversify our trade and economic relations. This task was set by Belarusian head of state some time ago, and we are now working on a solution to this problem. The challenge is that we have a uniform relationship with our partners — with the countries of the “far arc”, with our partners in the Eurasian economic Union, with our partners in the European Union. If we ensure that the ratio “the third-third-third” about, then I think we will be able to feel confident in any difficult period.
One of the elements of diversification of the Belarusian economy — joining the world trade organization. According to Vladimir Makei, Belarus is already close to the final stage — the preparation of the draft report of the working group.
During the conference the participants were offered the survey, allowing to identify the main risks for the economies of the entire region. About the threats to the Belarusian economy RFI says the judge “Liberal club” Anton Boltochko.
Anton Boltochko: the First risk that we got in the top 5 risks for our region, it is one hundred percent relevant for Belarus. This economic stagnation. Our participants noted with more than a 70 percent probability that the risk will be implemented in our region and thus has a critical influence on the economy of our region. And for Belarus it is also important because we can get bogged down in slow economic growth, and thus every year the gap between us and countries that develop more rapidly. If we continue to lag behind, then catch up the developing world will be more difficult. What is the fourth industrial revolution in developed countries, for Belarus may be permanent tomorrow that will not come.
According to the expert, the Belarusian leadership is not ready for the restructuring of the economy, rather, it is about modernisation, anti-crisis measures, the number of departments, according to Bolocco, manages to carry out structural changes in his field. And it allows to hope for the best for the Belarusian model, says the economist.
Anton Boltochko: Yes, it’s slow, Yes, it can take years, but within our political system, within a given coordinate system — maybe even the only thing possible. Point reforming… but it’s never even served as a reform. In fact, perhaps this is one way towards full-fledged reform of Belarus, I mean the way the point of implementing those practices that are considered the best in the world. That is, to expect that we will have a transformation of the 90-ies, I think, not quite right. We’re not in the 90 years we’ve moved to a new stage, the Belarusian economy today is quite different — and on the structure and level of development and political system, which affects this structure. Therefore, it is rather necessary to look for other new approaches and modern knowledge of economic theory, not examples of history. Of course, the transformation or the agenda, which was during the transition in Eastern Europe 90 years, is now gone. And even in principle in scientific journals in Economics (terms) “transit country”, “transit economy” will not rise, and there are “emerging markets”.
The representative of the Supervisory Board of the development Bank of Belarus Daniel Krutzinna in an interview with RFI drew attention to the impossibility of development of the Belarusian economy due to changes in the world.
Daniel Krutzinna: In my opinion, this topic is more than reform. Now there is a global restructuring of economic relations. 20 years of rapid growth in emerging markets, which were secured by high prices for raw materials. It was an engine of growth for our region in the Russian economy, which led to others. Now we live in different economic realities, raw depreciated and the previous value will not return. Growth points are provided solely by the innovation, and the question of how Belarus is able to connect to the new global innovation economy.
According to the economist, Belarus should make a bet on IT-the economy, which set the tone for the USA and Asia on a “digital transformation”.
Daniel Krutzinna: Belarus, in fact, in this way can show some success stories. It’s Wargaming, which has created around itself an ecosystem and is one of the leading platforms in terms of computer games. Viber is one of the global digital platforms for the communications. But other than that the Belarusian IT-industry by and large does not produce the product yet. The question of what is a small country in the new economic reality can do to find its place? In a country where there are processes of high added value? And this, of course, additional complexity. The real sector of the Belarusian economy from the point of view of the digital transformation is very far from the present. And for Belarus the biggest challenge is to integrate real economy in global innovation processes. Because the Belarusian economy is too closed, tries to do everything on their own — and the integration between IT and the real sector in Belarus strongly enough lags behind. This is also linked to large social issues, because if we fully automate the production of what to do with freed labor?
Meanwhile, Belarus does traditional rate on loans. On 5 June in Minsk started the mission of the International monetary Fund. The Belarusian government earlier announced its intention to get a new IMF loan of $ 3 billion dollars at 2.28 per cent per annum for 10 years.