Against the background of a slow-down in world economy in the post-pandemic period it is important to increase the Belarusian presence in Africa and Latin America. This was the statement expressed to BelTA by Bogdan Iodchik, analyst of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research (BISR).
Belarus has long-standing business interests in Africa and Latin America. Taking into account the global trend towards regionalization, the relevance of our presence in these regions is increasing, the BISR analyst thinks.
"We have a substantial working experience in the countries of these regions regarding production localization, creating a sales network and implementing other forms of cooperation. The Belarusian industrial products are quite well-known and often have competitive advantages in terms of quality and price. Belarusian exporters have proven themselves to be responsible, considering the interests of their partners", Bogdan Iodchik said. "At the same time, the geographical remoteness of Africa and Latin America, complex logistics, trade and bureaucratic barriers are natural obstacles to implement the full-scale cooperation. At the same time, some of African and Latin American elites received their education in the USSR which reinforces the positive image of the post-Soviet countries and Belarus, in particular, as a clear and reliable partner".
As an example, Bogdan Iodchik mentioned the first batches of Belarusian mining equipment that appeared in Africa in the early 1990s. The Belarusian experience in agriculture is relevant for a number of African countries experiencing problems with food, and potash fertilizers are a significant export item of our country to Africa and Latin America, the analyst believes. He also noted that the military-technical sphere is an important area of cooperation with a number of African countries.
"Belarus strives to develop balanced relations with the countries of Africa and Latin America inside economic diplomacy based on mutual respect and trust", Bogdan Iodchik said. "Markets of most countries in these regions are protectionist to a major extent, so it makes sense for Belarus to actively use the EEU format to establish a legal framework with regional integration entities. For our country, for example, the $260 million MERCOSUR market in Latin America is of high interest, as well as ECOWAS and SADC in Africa".
As the BISR analyst concluded, on the whole, the development of relations with African and Latin American countries according to the multi-vector principle confirmed by the All-Belarusian People's Assembly meets the long-term interests of the Belarusian state. Expanding ties with these regions allows to diversify Belarusian exports and gain access to new markets for national products in the “far arc” of the Belarusian foreign policy.