Belarus is ready to sell blocking stake in Belarusbank in attempt to attract large foreign capital

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May 27, 2016 13:45

According to the Prime Minister’s regulation, a working group should be set up in Belarus in order to coordinate the sale of a minority stake at JSC Belarusbank before November 1st, 2017. The main purpose is to attract equity capital in the Belarusian economy and optimise business processes in the bank. Overdue loans are likely to be transferred to the Development Bank, Belarusbank’s branch network and staff would be optimised. Due to the banks’ serious engagement in government programmes and weak financial performance, investors’ interest in the asset is unlikely to be huge. In addition, the state is likely to allow the sale only to a major Western financial institution. Since there may be no bids to purchase Belarusbank shares, the state may prepare documents for the sale of larger packages in other state-owned banks.

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The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.

Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.

Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.

In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.

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