Foreign investments in the Minsk region
In the first quarter of 2011 the Minsk region attracted $ 20 million in foreign direct investment, said the Chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee Boris Batura during his press conference held on 13 May.
He noted that the primary goal was to attract $ 1 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2011. “All the calculations and 250 investment agreements, including more than 50 FDI agreements, make us believe that we will cope with this task”, said the Head of the Minsk region.
Optimism of the “governor” is questionable. Indeed, during April the volume of the FDI increased by about $ 13 million, which is almost double of the amount of the FDI attracted in January-February ($ 6.8 million). Nevertheless, the $ 20 million attracted in the first quarter is only 2% of the amount planned for the year. The Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee for Economy Alexander Ermak assessed the situation more realistically at a field meeting, held in late April in Dzerzhinsk, “Reserves are a significant however our inefficiency and sometimes reluctance to draft high quality proposals for investors brings no results. If this work is not improved, the foreign investment in the region will remain a distant prospect”.
“Reserves are a significant however our inefficiency and sometimes reluctance to draft high quality proposals for investors brings no results. If this work is not improved, the foreign investment in the region will remain a distant prospect”.
Among the projects already underway in the Minsk region is the construction of a logistics center with the participation of the Lithuanian capital in Rakov, and the logistics center “Prilesje” near the National airport “Minsk-2” with the involvement of the Iranian capital. Also, the JSC “Amkodor” attracts large amounts of foreign investment in Zhodino Molodechno and Dzerzhinsk, according to Batura.
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.