A national workshop for Belarusian stakeholders in the framework of the new EU-funded Initiative “Mayors for Economic Growth” was held on 8 September in the Technopark Mahilioŭ in cooperation with the Mahilioŭ Oblast Executive Committee and the Mahilioŭ Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
The “Mayors for Economic Growth” Secretariat Project operates in six Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine with the life span till December 2020 and the total budget of 5 mln Euro.
The Project is aimed at strengthening the capacities of the local public authorities of the Republic of Belarus and other Eastern Partnership countries for them to become active facilitators for economic growth and job creation through improving local business environment, stimulating entrepreneurship, and attracting investment at the local level for sustainable economic development.
Mr. Ruslan Strahar, Chairmen of Economics Committee of the Mahilioŭ Oblast Executive Committee, Mr. Peter Korsby, the Project Secretariat Team Leader and Mr. Viktar Krasouski, Executive Director of the Mahilioŭ Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs greeted the participants of the event, stressing the importance of promoting local economic growth and the role of the local administrations in order to achieve success. The participants discussed the benefits and opportunities opening up to the aspiring local authorities from participating in the Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative as official signatories, and the respective commitments on their part.
A short overview of the first cooperation results was made, namely:
- 15 local administrations in Belarus have joined the Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative as of September 2017;
- 12 applications were submitted to the European Commission Call for Proposals “Mayors for Economic Growth Pioneer Projects” by Belarusian local administrations;
- 5 applications out of 12 were pre-selected for the second competitive phase. The results will be announced in mid-October.
The overview was followed by the discussion of further necessary steps and the parties’ responsibilities, as well as future project activities for Belarus.
Mr. Peter Korsby, the Project Secretariat Team Leader, observed: ”We are very glad to see profound interest towards the Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative on the part of Belarusian local authorities. We see a lot of potential for the local administrations in Belarus to improve local business environment and create inclusive economic development partnerships to promote growth and employment in their locality with the EU support. Now, with the Council of Ministers approval of the Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative as one having high relevance for Belarus, we are happy that we can engage Belarusian stakeholders to the full extent. We are positive that it will greatly benefit the country itself, and the Eastern Partnership region as a whole”.
The workshop was concluded with the Award Ceremony for the Belarusian members of Mayors for Economic Growth Initiative. 15 Belarusian signatories were awarded certificates to recognize their joining the regional network of over 170 members in 6 countries who have committed to jointly work on the local economic development interventions for the benefit of their citizens and territories in general.
The workshop “M4EG - new initiative of EC to support local development” gathered together 50 participants of regional and local authorities, deputies, international and civil society organizations.