The FINANCIAL -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Belarusian Ministry of Economy agreed to jointly improve the business environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and support the growth of the private sector, key for Belarus’ sustainable development.
The Investment Climate Advisory program will advise the ministry and other state institutions on reducing regulatory burdens and increasing business competitiveness, helping the private and public sectors, including municipalities, implement reforms to help local producers expand and open new markets, according to IFC.
“Small and medium enterprises are a growing part of the country’s economy. There are over 1.5 million entrepreneurial Belarusians eager to contribute to the creation of a modern and competitive Belarusian economy,” said Vladimir Zinovsky, the Minister of Economy of Belarus. “We have high hopes for our entrepreneurs and greatly appreciate IFC’s readiness to share its global expertise with our country.”
The joint effort aims to support the country’s SME development strategy, including changes to legislation designed to harmonize Belarusian regulatory requirements with those of international markets. The project will help establish an e-registry for administrative procedures and streamline import-export procedures and cut costs to help Belarusian producers join global supply chains
“We aim to help enhance Belarusian producers’ competitiveness by reducing the administrative burden, while ensuring public interests are protected,” said Rufat Alimardanov, IFC’s Regional Manager for Belarus and Ukraine. “This is part of our broader efforts to help Belarus develop and diversify its private sector and create a more transparent, business-friendly investment climate, spurring growth and jobs.”
The project is being implemented by the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development.
The agreement signed builds on an IFC advisory program that has helped Belarus reduce the number of procedures for businesses 19 percent since 2010, and the number of licenses 60 percent, saving SMEs an estimated $14 million a year. IFC has invested over $577 million in 47 projects across different sectors in Belarus.