Services sector may step up influence on economic indicators in Belarus
In Belarus, in April 2016, nominal monthly salary reduced by BYR 85000 to BYR 7.086 million, despite the increase in wages in industry, agriculture and construction. In March 2016, the banking and IT sector paid bonuses based on performance in 2015. In April, therefore, salaries have been adjusted downwards in these sectors. The IT sector is the leader in wages in Belarus. In the future, the services sector is likely to increase its influence on the overall economic performance and its share in total GDP will grow. The IT sphere is likely to remain the leader in wages and the number of vacancies. With the reduction in exports of some goods, services may grow by up to 10% in 2016 relative to 2015 (information services, passenger transport). Visa facilitation and improving the quality of services may prompt tourism to become one of the economic drivers in Belarus.
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.