CEE & Central West Asia: Best Bank for Infrastructure/Project Finance in the Region 2019
Development Bank of Belarus
The expansion of Minsk National Airport is a crucial part of local policymakers’ drive to position Belarus at the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative. Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko officially opened the second runway at Minsk National Airport in May. The new facility, which took three years to complete and was built using state-of-the-art technology, is big enough to accommodate the largest commercial aircraft and doubles the airport’s capacity for passenger traffic.
Minsk National Airport is located next to Great Stone Industrial Park, the Chinese-Belarusian project inaugurated in 2012, which already hosts nearly 40 firms from China. The new runway will support the rapid growth of trade and passenger traffic between Belarus and China, as well as other Belt and Road countries, and will enhance Belarus’s appeal as a regional transit and transportation hub.
The project was financed by the Development Bank of Belarus, which provided more than $170 million of funding, and was completed exclusively by Belarusian construction companies in line with best international practice.
Development Bank of Belarus has long been a key player in Belarus’s cooperation with China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Since 2015, the public sector lender has offered $700 million of Chinese financing to Belarusian industrial companies and to small and medium-sized enterprises. The bank’s involvement in the second runway project at Minsk National Airport cements its central role in driving Belarusian-Chinese cooperation and supporting trade. In December, president Lukashenko appointed experienced banker Andrey Zhishkevich to the post of chairman of Development Bank of Belarus.