WBG BUYS BELARUS
WBG wrote, Ms. Satu Kahkonen, the newly appointed Country Director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, visited Belarus to exchange views on the country's development priorities and areas of cooperation, including the next phase of its structural transformation.
During her visit, Ms. Kahkonen met with H.E. First Deputy Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky, H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kalinin, H.E. Pavel Kallaur, Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, and representatives of the private sector, as well as the country's development partners.
Ms. Kahkonen also attended the opening ceremony for the new World Bank Group Office, which houses both the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (the Group's private sector arm). The colocation provides an opportunity to bring together the skills and expertise of the World Bank Group's institutions to deliver more integrated services to the country.
"Belarus has many advantages and a huge potential. We are in a time of opportunities and the World Bank would like to continue helping the country to reinforce its productive sector and strengthen social protection mechanisms in order for Belarus to reach where it dreams to be, from a country in transition toward a high-income economy," said Ms. Kahkonen.
Over the past three years, under the current World Bank Group Country Partnership Strategy for Belarus, the World Bank's active portfolio for the country has grown rapidly, from US$ 500 million to US$ 1 billion, composed of projects in energy, water, solid waste management, transport, customs reform, forestry, education, and public finance management.
New projects are currently being finalized – one on improving competitiveness and the other on enhancing health service delivery. Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled US$ 1.5 billion.
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IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.