The interest of European business in Belarus is growing, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to France and concurrently to Spain Pavel Latushko told BelTA.
“The government and the diplomatic corps would like to see investments to grow at a much greater pace than it is now. This is the objective we have been working to achieve on a daily basis. In recent years, we have arranged about 40 trade-economic and investment presentations of Belarus, both in Paris and in all the regional capitals of France. We also did about 10 presentations in Spain, two in Portugal. We can see that interest in Belarus on the part of the European business has been growing,” Ambassador Pavel Latushko said.
The Embassy of Belarus in France took part in the organization of the Belarusian-European Investment Forum which took place in Luxembourg on 27 October. We invited 17 French and Spanish companies interested in developing both investment ties and economic cooperation with Belarus.
On the sidelines of the forum talks were held with representatives of the Central African Republic and some other African countries that are interested in Belarusian products. It is expected that the projects will be supported by French companies. “We know that the French business has strong ties and strong positions in the markets of African countries. On 10 October we held a Belarusian-French-African Forum in Paris which was attended by about 100 representatives of African and French companies and
14 representatives of the largest machine-building enterprises of Belarus. Now the topic of promoting Belarusian goods with the support from French companies on the African market is a priority,” Ambassador Pavel Latushko noted.
African countries are mainly interested in purchasing agricultural machinery, BelAZ road haulers. “Following the forum on 10 October, the first order of delivering seven Gomselmash harvesters to Nigeria was implemented. This is the first delivery, but we hope that there will be more and that the volume will increase substantially. We can see that the African market is growing and is very promising. All analytical forecasts predict that in the next ten years the GDP of these countries will be growing. This opens up possibilities for the supply of our equipment,” the diplomat said.
He also explained why it is more beneficial for Belarus to work on the African continent through French companies. “Our companies also work directly. French companies hold a strong footing on the market. They know how to speak with potential partners, how to find ways of financing such projects. Therefore, this mediation benefits Belarus,” the ambassador said.
Ambassador Pavel Latushko told BelTA about the projects that were already implemented in Belarus in cooperation with the French business. “First of all, these are investments of Lactalis that bought a dairy company in Lyakhovichi District, Brest Oblast. The investment totaled about $5 million. At the forum in Luxembourg representatives of this company expressed interest in increasing investments in the Belarusian dairy industry,” he said.
The ambassador also took note of the successful project to launch the production of baby food. The project was supported by the French bank Credit Mutuel.
A representative of Airbus Concern attended the meeting in Luxembourg as well. “It is an international concern which has close connections with France, both in the investment and economic terms. We are discussing cooperation opportunities in the production of spare parts and equipment . It is important that the world's biggest concern shows interest in Belarus,” said Pavel Latushko.
The Spanish business is also interested in Belarus. “Not long ago Minsk played host to the first meeting of the commission on economic and industrial cooperation between Belarus and Spain. We can see that this market can be very promising both for Belarusian export and investment in our economy,” the ambassador said.