EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund has approved USD 440 million tranche for Belarus
The fourth tranche, another USD 440 million, is anticipated to be allocated this autumn. However, for its part, Belarus has to privatize state assets worth at least USD 1.2 billion in January-September 2012. Annual proceeds from privatization of state assets should be USD 2.5 billion.
The list of assets for potential privatization includes an automobile manufacturer MAZ, telecommunications operator MTS, as well as medium-sized Belarusian enterprises and public real estate objects.
According to the Ministry of Finance, as of May 1st, Belarus’ foreign debt in January-April 2012 increased by USD 40 million (or 0.3%) up to USD 13.440 billion.
In the second half of 2012 the trend towards growth in external public debt will remain: loans will be obtained from the World Bank, China and the ACF of the EurAsEC. Moreover, an investment project for the construction of a nuclear power plant has been launched, funded by the Russian Government and Vneshekonombank’s loans. Belarus’ external public debt margin by the end of 2012 is set at USD 14.3 billion and is likely to be revised upward again for the next year.
For reference. According to the National Statistics Committee, assets of Belarusian enterprises in the Q1 2012 increased by 3.3% to Br 961.9 trillion in nominal terms, but in USD terms - by 7.6% to USD 119.938 billion as of April 1st.
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.