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Since its independence, Belarus has pursued a gradual transition path, characterized by limited structural reforms and a modest expansion of the private sector. The benefits of trade, especially with energy commodities, contributed to the success of a gradualist strategy in terms of real GDP growth and poverty reduction.

High rates of economic growth during 2003–13 were accompanied by a fall in the number of households below the national poverty line and an increase in household income among the bottom 40 percent of the population. However, despite high GDP growth rates, Belarus’ income levels remained below regional peers.

In 2020, the COVID-19 shock had a limited impact on the economy due to the absence of mobility restrictions and credit support to state-owned enterprises. While strong exports growth drove a 2021 cyclical upturn, the economy is expected to weaken considerably in 2022.


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