Supported by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, discussions are underway in Belarus on the cluster approach as an innovation driver. After initial difficulties a number of concrete measures have been initiated in the meantime.
In the Belarusian state innovation program for 2011-2015, it is planned to create seven clusters, including a chemical cluster in Grodno, a petrochemical cluster in Nowopolozk, a cluster of automobile and tractor construction in Minsk and an IT cluster in Minsk.
Round table on "Cluster development of the economy: Foreign experiences and possibilities of its application in Belarus", Minsk. Picture by Pavel Berasneu
The responsibility for the organization of the clusters has been transferred to the territorial (Regional Executive Committees) and industry-specific administrative bodies (ministries, corporations). However, an analysis conducted by the Ministry of Economy showed a fundamental lack of interested by central administrative bodies and the industry groups in the design of innovative industry clusters. In addition to this lack of interest, other factors, especially the Belarusian economic structure that contradicts the creation of horizontally integrated structures, have to date prevented the establishment of clusters.
The idea of clustering, which is currently so popular that some economist talk about a "cluster epidemic", has not been forgotten, and a working group was formed that aims to promote the establishment of clusters in Belarus. In October 2014, the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations invited the cluster expert Wolfgang Dürig from the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI) in Essen to a round table in Minsk. Dürig lectured there on the cluster approach as a tool for regional economic development and answered numerous questions of participating representatives from politics, business and science.
Following this event, number of other measures were taken: