The Republic of Belarus is situated in the heart of Europe at the crossing of roads from West to East and from North to South. Its territory is traversed by the shortest communications linking the CIS member-states with West European countries. Belarus borders on Poland, Baltic countries, Russia and the Ukraine.
The territory of Belarus is 207 thousand square km, population 10.2 million people of which 70% are urban. About one fifth of the population is living in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Administratively, Belarus is divided into six regions. Official languages are Belarusian and Russian. Among the most popular languages of business contacts are Russian, English, and German.
Belarus is one of the most economically developed countries in the CIS. Industry calls in its economy for about one third of gross national product. A distinguishing feature of the national industry is production of finished products the greater portion of which is exported.
Successfully develop the basic branches of the industry such as mechanical engineering and metal working. The branch structure of mechanical engineering is diversified. This includes: electrical engineering, chemical and petrochemical engineering, machine-tool and tool industries, instrument engineering, automotive, tractor, agricultural, buildings and road, municipal machinery, production of ball bearing, equipment for light and food industry.
Radio-electronic industry is mainly specialized in the production of computer engineering facilities, mobile automated control systems, optical devices, telecommunications systems and facilities, airborne equipment, telemetric equipment, electronic devices, items of armament and military equipment. This accounts to a great extent for an advanced technical and production potential as well as highly-skilled labor and engineering manpower at the disposal of many radio engineering and electronic engineering enterprises.
The major electric engineering products produced in Belarus are ac motors, illuminating electric lamps, cables and wires, consumer electric appliances, control complexes.
The leading enterprises of the chemical complex in Belarus were put into service in 70s with the participation of specialists from UK, Germany, Japan, USA and other countries. Over the years that followed their production capacities were renovated more than once with the latest domestic and foreign equipment installed. This makes it possible to produce high-quality chemical products that is ever in great demand throughout the world. Chemical fibers and threads, glass cloth and polymeric material, fertilizers, tires, varnishes and paints produced in Belarus are in keen demand and exported to many countries of Europe, Americas and Asia.
In recent years light industry of Belarus has received further development. Key industries among them are textile, sewing and shoe industries. They are oriented to production of a wide range of articles; threads of various type, yarn and fabric of flax, cotton, wool and synthesized materials; carpets and floor-covering articles, non-woven materials, knitted wear, socks and stockings, garments, corset articles, products of natural and artificial leather, natural and artificial fur, footwear, etc. A major portion of light industry enterprises actively collaborate with foreign companies on the basis of technological and production co-operation.
Farming lands occupy about half the territory of Belarus. A major part of agricultural product is produced by large collective farms (kolkhozes) and state farms (sovkhozes). Family farming is also progressing.
Natural conditions in Belarus offer the possibility of producing highly profitable products such as milk, beef, pork, eggs, grain, potato, fiber flax, beet-root, etc. Much attention is given to reengineering of the industries engaged in processing of agricultural products, to building up the export potential of the agricultural sector.
Belarus has a highly developed research potential. The National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus, Belarusian State University, research and development institutes have been successfully conducting applied and fundamental studies in quantum electronics, solid-state physics, genetics, chemistry, powder metallurgy, and other advanced fields.
|Market Reforms of Economy|
The processes of building of a democratic society and formation of market economy are actively underway in the Republic of Belarus. A socio-oriented market economy offering the possibility of combining free private initiative and competition with an active role of state, economic efficiency with a high level of social security for population has been adopted as a national development model. Over the last years Belarus never stopped its effort in developing private business, completed denationalization of finance and banking, saturated the market with goods and resources produced by Belarusian enterprises of any ownership and imported.
Transformation of the Belarusian economy has been conducted in several directions, including restructuring of control over state-owned enterprises, nationalization and privatization of state-owned entities, creation of uniform and equal conditions for enterprises and organizations of various ownership, gradual liberalization of business activity and provision for private enterprise in conjunction with the mechanisms of state regulation as well as creation of favorable conditions compliant with the world practices for attracting foreign investments to the Republic of Belarus.
The achievements in the socio-economic development of the country testify that the adopted policy of improving the health of the economy has been sound. In 1995 was interrupted the recession of the production in the country, and in the last years was provided the increase of the gross domestic product and production in the number of branches of economy. Forward progressive movement of the Republic takes place against a background of the political stability of the society and unity of the nation.