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Socioeconomic Development of the Republic of Belarus in the First Half of 2007

The first half of 2007 saw Belarusian economy continuing to perform rather well.
On the first half of the last year,
- Belarus’ Gross Domestic Product grew 8.6 %. This rate keeps Belarus in the lead among the closest neighbors. The reference guide of the Eastern Committee on German Economy (Central and Eastern Europe, Yearbook 2007) indicates that in terms of GDP per capita Belarus (5,852 Euros) comes out ahead of most CIS countries and several new EU members, in particular, Bulgaria (3,270 Euros) and Romania (4,500 Euros);
- The Industrial Output grew 7.7 %. The chemical and petrochemical industries showed a growth of 118 %, engineering and metal working – 112.6 %, building materials output – 114.9 %;
- The production of Consumer Commodities grew 5.8 %, of them non-food-related ...

Socioeconomic Development of the Republic of Belarus in the First Half of 2007

The first half of 2007 saw Belarusian economy continuing to perform rather well.
On the first half of the last year,
- Belarus’ Gross Domestic Product grew 8.6 %. This rate keeps Belarus in the lead among the closest neighbors. The reference guide of the Eastern Committee on German Economy (Central and Eastern Europe, Yearbook 2007) indicates that in terms of GDP per capita Belarus (5,852 Euros) comes out ahead of most CIS countries and several new EU members, in particular, Bulgaria (3,270 Euros) and Romania (4,500 Euros);
- The Industrial Output grew 7.7 %. The chemical and petrochemical industries showed a growth of 118 %, engineering and metal working – 112.6 %, building materials output – 114.9 %;
- The production of Consumer Commodities grew 5.8 %, of them non-food-related commodities – 11.9 %;
- The inflow of investments into the capital assets reached 120 %. The housing construction in January-May accounted for 19.9 % of the total investments. The CIS Inter-State Statistics Committee indicated in the report “On Socioeconomic Development and Trade and Economic Relations between the CIS Member States in the first quarter of 2007” that the Belarusian budget earmarked the largest volume of investment (21.4 %) for the capital assets among the CIS member states;
- The residential spaces commissioned through all sources of funding reached 2.363 thousand square meters and grew 14.3 %;
- The Output of Agricultural Produce grew 5.2 %;
- In January-May the real revenues of the population grew 117.2 %. In terms of the middle-level and minimum salary, Belarus keeps the leading position among the CIS countries and in terms of pensioning comes ahead of all of them;
- In January-May the inflation rate in the consumer market was 3.2 % which brought Belarus into the lead among the CIS countries;
- The depreciation of the Belarusian rouble against the US dollar was 0.2 % which demonstrates stability of the national currency;
- The foreign trade in goods rose 18.5 % in January-May; the exports of Belarusian goods grew 15 %;
- The Unemployment Rate (as of late June 2007) was 1 % of the economically active population. The European Commission’s special paper “European Economy” (June 2007) indicates that Belarus has shown one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe along with growing salaries. The report concludes that this reflects stable economic growth and general socially oriented policies of governance.
In keeping with the rating set out by the UN Development Program (UNDP), Belarus ranks
- 67th among the countries with the most favorable living conditions for people and comes out ahead of many CIS countries in terms of quality of life;
- a leader among the CIS countries in such areas as education and health care, remaining in advance of many developed countries as far as a number of indicators are concerned.
The UNCTAD World Investment Report 2006 places the Republic of Belarus among the countries with the high inward FDI potential, which is not fully realized, however. The matrix of investment potential involving 12 indices brought Belarus upwards from the 65th standing in 2000 to the 50th standing in 2006 among 141 countries. The first quarter of 2007 saw over $ 1.2 billion worth of foreign investments brought into the Belarusian economy.
Pursuant to the UN Population Fund’s “State of World Population 2007” report, Belarus
- has the best indicator of infant mortality among the CIS countries, total of 14 per 1,000 live births. Ukraine – 15, Russia – 16, Moldova – 23, Armenia – 29, Georgia – 39;
- is the only country in the CIS where 100 % of births are attended by skilled health staff. For the developed countries the rate is 99 %;
- is in the lead in terms of access to improved drinking water sources (100 % of population);
- has one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the world – 0/1 (men/women, per cent, population older than 15 years). The world rate is 13/23.
- shares the first place with Russia among the CIS countries in terms of urban population – 73 %.
The World Health Organization places Belarus in the fifth position in the world in terms of the number of doctors per 1,000 people, which brings our country ahead of all countries of Western Europe and the US.
According to the 8th annual ranking of countries favorable for maternity that was issued by the Save the Children independent US charity, Belarus has become part of the first group of more developed countries, and ranks 30th in The Mothers’ Index. Belarus has the 29th standing in The Women’s Index and the 32nd standing in The Children’s Index. The 2007 ranking places Belarus ahead of all CIS countries and the EU member states Malta, Poland, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus.
According to the Social Watch non-governmental organization’s report about the socioeconomic development in the world in 2006, Belarus
- has the best standing among the CIS countries in terms of public health expenditure;
- comes out ahead of Austria, UK, Germany, Canada, US, France, most CIS countries in terms of public education expenditure;
- comes out ahead of Austria, Australia, Belgium, UK, Canada, Italy, US, Finland, France in terms of DPT-, Tetanus-, Polio-, Measles-Immunized children.
The Freedom House Human Rights Watchdog’s report “Nations in Transit” that has studied democracies in 29 Eurasian countries indicates that the state of democracy in Belarus has improved for the first time in the decade.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s report appreciates the efforts of the Belarusian law-enforcement agencies in preventing illegal drug trafficking of heroin, above all. The consumption of heroin (less than 0.3 % of population) and cocaine (less than 0.1 % of population) in Belarus is one of the lowest among the CIS countries.
In 2007, the Financial Action Task Force removed the Republic of Belarus from the Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories List created to combat international money laundering.
More information on: www.belarusembassy.org