Belarus represents its possibilities on the biggest business-ground of the world.
On November 18 the Belarus Investment Forum will take place in London. This was the topic of our talk with the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Belarus to Great Britain Alexander Mikhnevich.
— Alexander Yurievich, how did the idea of the Belarus Investment Forum appear and why in London?
— It is absolutely obvious for me and our industrialists, that Belarusian economy is so much developed that its own internal financial resources are not enough for further active forward motion. This is why it is vital to attract foreign investments. There are proved mechanisms, for example, bilateral economic commissions with many countries. Unfortunately, we don’t have such mechanisms with potentially powerful investors like Great Britain, the United States of America, Latin America countries and many countries of Asia and Africa. It is necessary to tell them clearly, in detail and keenly, what goes on in our country, how we change our investment climate, why today, upon application of many international objective institutes, estimating economy reforming, we are included into top-ten of the most active countries of the world...
The idea appeared to carry out the international forum outside Belarus, on an objective and authoritative ground. We are sure that London was chosen correctly. This city is a financial and business world capital...
— Alexander Yurievich, is it appropriate to carry out such an event today, when by the reason of a global financial crisis investors try to hold back their money? Judging by the mood of partners, will the crisis interrupt the forum?
— Vice versa, this is a ground where it is possible to discuss questions of not only overcoming the crisis, but also those calm zones, invulnerable and protected, where it is possible to invest money today. Logics of economic development shows that Belarus is this stable island. Of course, crisis also touches us, but if somebody is covered with it completely, it touches us a little bit. Belarus today is a stable calm ground, invitation to which is suitable on the background of crisis: come to us with your ideas, money, projects, with your management and establish your enterprises. The situation in the world economy today warms up the interest to Belarus.
— Which economic niches will be represented?
— The essence of the forum is to understand, which spheres give maximum feedback today, how to achieve this feedback, what blocks us, where there are positive examples and how to replicate them. Several companies, which have been working in Belarus for a long time and expand their business, will tell about this on the forum. But we would try to listen to new business, this is why approximately 2/3 of foreign participants are representatives of those companies, which want to come to Belarus for the first time.
Of course, we proceeded from the economy structure, which formed here, organizing four forum sections. Industry is one of the backbones for our economic potential, there are cardinal changes in it today. Big funds are needed for this, and not only funds, but the main thing — ideas. What to create? What is modern today?
Great work is carried out in our country on stimulating infrastructure — tourist and traffic. For this purpose small and medium business was given many taxes, and this is an interesting topic for discussion.
We offer to take into account the projects in an agricultural complex, starting, conventionally, from delivery of tens of hectares to the western businessmen, for breeding of agricultural products by modern technologies and finishing with its processing.
The situation is difficult in the light industry, though there is an example, when the Irish private company acquired our wool scouring plant and breathed life in it successfully. We want there were more such examples.
One more very important block is our technical park and high technologies. A very serious talk will be carried out in possibilities of cooperation in a high-tech sphere.
— Belarus in the Soviet times was called an “assembly site of the Soviet Union”, a high level of our industry was underlined by this fact. Will Belarus become the “assembly site of the European Union”?
— As a citizen of Belarus, I wouldn’t like Belarus to be an assembly site of Europe. Though we almost don’t have our own fossil minerals, we have to buy everything, collect, supplement with ideas and then to sell. We have to generate ideas, which then were caught by the world community. This will provide very powerful and advanced development of Belarus.
— You told about very serious content of business negotiations. It is important — what, but it is as important — how to present yourself. What is the zest of the Belarusian forum?
— Of course, forum is a PR action. It is important to show Belarus, positive people, who talk to the leading business of the planet head-to-head, who generate ideas... The forum will take place in Church-house, this is the center of London, the building belongs to Westminster Abbey and is situated within the distance of 100 meters from the parliament building. We want not only to attract investors, but to say clearly: Belarusian economy reached such a level today that it enters the international market without hesitation.
After negotiations in the halls, during the conferences we will gather in a beautiful old “Sheraton-hotel” for gala-supper and exchange opinions, but informally. A cultural program was prepared, where will be presented our best masters. I would especially like to note young musicians Alexey Kiselev, Alexander Muzykantov, Andrey Shishkov with a repertoire of classical music, required by the London audience. I can’t but mention the zest of the evening, which, I hope, will catch fancy. Several years ago by the offer of the embassy one of the leading European design schools of Cardiff university made advanced design suits out of cloth made out of our worsted plant. These models will be shown to the forum participants. In my opinion, this is not only beautiful defile, but a real example of cooperation of the Belarusians and the British.