Economy overview: Since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO led the country down the path of “market socialism”, Belarus has been undergoing minimal structural reforms. In line with his policies, LUKASHENKO restored administrative control over prices and exchange rates and expanded the state’s right to interfere in the management of private enterprises. Thus, along with the difficulties associated with high inflation, business came under pressure from central and local governments. The practice included arbitrary changes to business charters, numerous rigorous inspections, and the application of new retroactive business rules that prohibited activities that were previously considered legal. Other unfavorable economic factors are two consecutive poor harvest years, 1998 and 1999, and persistent trade deficits. Close relations with Russia, which may lead to unification, brighten up economic prospects. To date, Belarus remains in self-isolation from the West and its open market economy. See businesscarriers.com to know more about Belarus Economics and Business.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $78.8 billion (2000 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: 4% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: PPP $7,500 (2000 est.)
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 13%; industry: 46%; services: 41% (1999 est.).
Proportion of population below the poverty line: 22% (1995 est.).
Percentage distribution of family income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 4.9%; by the top 10% of families: 19.4% (1993).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 200% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 4.8 million people (2000).
Employment structure: industry and construction: n/a, agriculture and forestry: n/a, services: n/a.
Unemployment rate: officially 2.1% (December 2000); a large number of people who do not have a permanent job.
Budget: revenues: $4 billion; expenditures: $4.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $180 million (1997 est.).
Spheres of economy: production of machine tools, tractors, trucks, earth-moving machines, motorcycles, televisions, chemical fibers, fertilizers, fabrics, radios, refrigerators.
Growth in industrial production: 5% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 24.911 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuel: 99.9%; hydropower: 0.1%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 27.647 billion kWh (1999)
Export of electricity: 2.62 billion kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 7.1 billion kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk.
Export: $7.4 billion (free on board, 2000)
Export items: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, fabrics, food products.
Export partners: Russia 66%, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Lithuania (1998).
Imports: $8.3 billion (free on board, 2000)
Import articles: minerals, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, food products.
Import partners: Russia 54%, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Lithuania (1998).
External debt: $1 billion (2000 est.). Economic aid recipient: $194.3 million (1995)
Donor of economic assistance:
Currency: Belarusian ruble.
Currency code: BYB/BYR.
Exchange rate: Belarusian rubles per US dollar – 1,180 (end 2000), 730,000 (December 15, 1999), 139,000 (January 25, 1999), 46,080 (second quarter 1998), 25,964 (1997), 15,500 (end 1996); note – on January 1, 2000, the national currency was denominated in the ratio of 1 new ruble for 2,000 old rubles.
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 2,313 million (1997).
Mobile cellular telephones: 8 167 (1997).
Phone system: the Ministry of Communications controls all communication systems through Beltelecom Joint Stock Company, which is a monopoly; internal: local – in Minsk there is a metropolitan digital communication network and cellular communication NMT-450; many people are waiting for the installation of the phone; the local communication system outside of Minsk is underdeveloped and of poor quality; long-distance – Belarus has a fiber-optic backbone communication system operating in at least 13 large cities (1998); fiber optic cables form synchronous digital hierarchical rings passing through the communication systems of other countries; the imperfect analogue system is still in operation; international: Belarus is a member of the Trans-European Communication System (TEL), has access to the fiber-optic cable of the Trans-Asian-European Communication (TAE) and the Trans-Siberian Communication System (TSL); three fiber optic sectors provide communication with Latvia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine; through this infrastructure, Belarus is also connected to the rest of the world; there are additional analog communication lines with Russia; there are ground stations Intelsat, Eutelsat and Intersputnik.
Broadcast stations: AM – 28, FM – 37, shortwave – 11 (1998).
Radio receivers: 3.02 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 17 (1997).
Televisions: 2.52 million (1997)
Internet Country Code: by
Internet Service Providers: 4 (2000).
Number of users: 10,000 (2000).
Transport Railways: total: 5,523 km; broad gauge: 5,523 km (1.520 m gauge; 875 km electrified).
Roads: total: 63,355 km; paved: 60,567 km (these roads are considered I paved, some of them are asphalted, others are gravel and can be used in all weather conditions]); unpaved: 2,788 km (these roads become unusable in rainy weather) (1998).
Waterways: no data; note: Belarus has an extensive and widely used system of canals and rivers.
Pipelines: for crude oil: 1,470 km; for refined petroleum products: 1,100 km; for natural gas: 1,980 km (1992).
Ports and harbours: Mozyr.
Airports: 136 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 33; over 3,047 m: 2; from 2438 to 3047 m: 19; from 1524 to 2437 m:1; less than 914 m: 11 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 103; over 3,047 m: 3; from 2438 TO 3047 m: 10; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 11; from 914 to 1523 m:14; less than 914 m: 65 (2000 est.).
Branches of the armed forces: army, air force, air defense, internal troops, border troops.
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 2,729,956 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: men aged 15 to 49: 2,138,743 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 86,396 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $156 million (1998)
Military spending as part of GDP: 1.2% (1998).
International issues International disputes: no.
Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of opium poppy and hemp, mainly for the domestic market; a transit point for illicit drugs traveling to and through Russia, as well as to the Baltic countries and Western Europe.