Outflow of foreign investment from Belarus
Last week Oman refused to implement an investment project worth USD 150 million in Minsk. Belarusian authorities are looking for new investors to implement a number of investment projects.
Omman’s State Reserve Fund refused to implement an investment project. The investor believes the project is unprofitable due to significant changes in the economic conditions resulting from the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2011.
In March 2010 the Fund, in face of “Eagle Properties four”, Ltd, received a land plot in the centre of Minsk (2.6 hectares) in private ownership for USD 10 million (no auction was held) for the construction of a residential complex, business center and a five star hotel. The overall investment was estimated at USD 150 million and the project should have been finished by 2016.
Quoting similar reasons an investment agreement with a Cypriot company IteraVnukovo Ltd (part of the group \"Itera\") was terminated. The contract envisaged construction of an aircraft maintenance and repair and business aviation centre at the Minsk National Airport.
Among other reasons that hinder the implementation of investment projects in Belarus are corruption and inefficiency of government agencies.
Nevertheless, the government continues looking for investors. For example, the Swiss Stadler Rail AG and JSC “Belkommunmash Holding Management Company” will build a plant to produce urban electric passenger transport in Dzerzhinsk district, Minsk region. For this, a JSC “Electric vehicles” has already been registered as a FEZ “Minsk”. Project implementation is envisaged between 2012 and 2016.
Lithuanian Norfa will build a vegetable processing plant in Belarus. Retailer Norfa Norfos mažmena has already acquired land plot in Belarus (in Vilejka). Currently design works are carried out, project cost is around Euro 5 million.
For reference. According to the National Statistics Committee, the net inflow of foreign direct investment in January-May 2012 decreased compared with the same period in 2011 by 18.5% to USD 605.7 million with the forecast for 2012 USD 1.2 billion.
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.