Minsk – Belarus’ authoritarian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, on Monday thanked China for a billion-dollar loan his government badly needed to stay afloat.
‘We will modernize Belarus’s economy and bring advanced technologies and innovations with Chinese investments,’ Lukashenko said on Monday, according to state media.
Beijing on Sunday granted Minsk the 1-billion-dollar loan to assist the former Soviet republic’s ailing economy and infrastructure.
The Chinese funds will fund Belarus’ first industrial park and, among other initiatives, Lukashenko said, form the basis for a long-term partnership between the two countries in advanced technologies.
Belarus is mired in its worst economic crisis in two decades because of the high cost of imported Russian energy and inability of much of Belarus’ centrally controlled economy to produce goods in demand internationally.
Lukashenko has turned to Moscow and even the International Monetary Fund for possible financial assistance. But Belarus is considered a pariah by most countries because of the government’s poor human rights record.
A former collective farm boss, Lukashenko obtained near total control of Belarus’ government in a 1996 constitutional coup. He has said discipline, along with cost-cutting and economic cooperation with unaligned nations like Venezuela and Iran, will prevent the country from going bankrupt.