Belarus's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 2.4
percent in 2017. GDP per capita amounted to USD 18 900 in
2017. Of European countries, only Moldova and five countries
in the Balkans (Montenegro, Serbia, Northern Macedonia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Kosovo) which had a lower GDP
countryaah, the Belarusian economy is largely state-controlled and
based on close cooperation with Russia. Economic
developments since 1991 have been turbulent and alternated
between periods of severe currency crises and economic
progress. The periodic progress has been particularly linked
to the status of transit country for oil and gas from Russia
to Central and Western Europe. The private sector is small
and foreign investment has been minimal.
In the first part of the 1990s, almost all economic
sectors had a decline, and the annual rate of inflation was
very high. Belarus had access to affordable oil, gas and raw
materials from other Soviet republics during the Soviet era.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, prices for
these goods rose. This posed major financial problems for
business and many companies had to close down. The economy
was also hit by a significant decline in demand for military
equipment, which had traditionally been an important sector.
From the mid-1990s, limited economic reforms were
implemented, as an attempt to improve the situation.
The private sector is still small and foreign investment
has been minimal. Belarus has close economic cooperation
Agriculture contributes 8.1 per cent of the country's GDP
and employs 9.7 per cent of the working population (2017).
For several years after independence in 1991, state and
collective farming dominated the ownership of Belarusian
agriculture. However, private landowners account for most of
the country's production of potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
About 35 per cent of the total land area is land, 20 per
cent meadow and pasture and 35 per cent forest.
The soil is not very fertile, but the considerable areas
of wetlands that have been dried up have provided rich
crops. In the north, agriculture focuses particularly on
beef and cattle farming, in the middle of potato and pig
farming, in the south on hemp and cattle farming. In
addition, rye, wheat, sugar beet, vegetables and rubber
plant are cooks.
Animal husbandry accounts for more than half of the
country's total agricultural production. Large areas of
Belarus remain unused after the Chernobyl disaster in
Ukraine in 1986. It is estimated that about 70 percent of
the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl hit Belarusian
Forestry is an important industry, with spruce and pine
as the most important tree species. Most of the forest is
state or collective.
Belarus has relatively few mineral resources, but there
are smaller deposits of iron ore, potassium carbonate, rock
salt and phosphorus, among others. There is also some oil
and natural gas, but most of the country's energy needs are
covered by natural gas, which is mostly imported from
Oil and gas imports make up almost half of the country's
total import costs. The country's two significant oil
refineries are located in Navapolatsk and Mazyr. Annual
production accounts for approximately 7–8 per cent of the
country's annual demand.
The country has large deposits of peat that are used for
99.2 percent of the country's consumption of electricity
comes from non-renewable energy sources.
The industry contributes 40.8 per cent of the country's
GDP and employs 23.4 per cent of the working population
(2017). In 2017, industrial production increased by 5.7 per
As a Soviet Republic, Belarus was largely dependent on
other Union republics for access to raw materials and fossil
fuels. This has led to restructuring problems for the
industry after independence. Among other things, industrial
sector spending has risen sharply as Belarus has to import
fossil fuel at world market prices.
Half of the industry employees work in heavy engineering.
In addition to the workshop industry, the textile and
clothing industry is the most important industrial sector.
The wood processing and chemical industries are also
relatively large industries. In addition to petroleum
products, the chemical industry also produces fertilizers
and chemicals. The industry is largely concentrated in large
units and located in larger cities.
The country's most important export goods are machinery
and transport equipment, chemical products and food
products. Belarus imports large quantities of oil and gas,
more than ⅓ of the total import value. Other important
import goods are chemical products, machinery and metal
In 2017, total exports amounted to USD 28.65 billion.
Imports were $ 31.58 billion. Belarus had with a deficit of
the trade balance of nearly three billion US dollars.
In 2017, Belarus had three main export markets as
follows: Russia 57.2 percent, Ukraine 11.5 percent and the
United Kingdom 8.2 percent. The three main markets for the
country's imports were: Russia 57.2 percent, China 8.0
percent and Germany 5.1 percent.
Transport and Communications
Belarus has a relatively well-developed infrastructure.
In total, there are 102,000 kilometers of road, of which
86.5 percent are paved. Roads are the most important
communication network in the country.
The total length of the railway network is 5528
kilometers. The capital of Minsk is the most important
railway junction on the east-west rail link between Warsaw
and Moscow and on the north-south link between Ukraine and
the Baltic States.
Minsk has a subway as well as two airports, one for
domestic traffic and one for international traffic.
The larger rivers are navigable and several channels link
the Dnieper and Dvina waterways.