After the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, more than 30 years have passed. In the affected areas of Belarus, which areas are located near the site of a nuclear tragedy, life comes back. In any case, the largest of them - the Gomel region - has become very attractive for local and international investors.
Sixty percent of the region’s products — including meat, dairy, and handicraft goods — are exported to other regions and neighboring countries. The volume of direct investments that could attract in the region from 2011 to 2017 amounted to more than 17.7 billion dollars. This is 15.6 percent of all investments in the country.
“For the 33 years that have passed since that tragic night, the local population has been weaning off the term“ affected areas and communities ”. Stereotypes regarding these areas are still widespread, but the economic recovery is already evident. This is a fertile and productive region where very open, persistent and enterprising people live, ”says Zachary Taylor, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Republic of Belarus.
In the affected areas of the Gomel region today there are 37,000 thousand of small and medium enterprises. In 2002, for example, there were only 2,375 of them.
“However, let's not rest on our laurels,” warns Zachary Taylor. - In order for the region to continue to grow steadily, there is still a lot to do. It is necessary to invest in such areas as training, security, long-term planning, new technologies, economic development, including tourism and organic agriculture. This region has already been “overboard” for a very long time. Let's double our efforts and help him catch up. ”
The Chernobyl tragedy continues to be a huge financial burden on the affected countries. Last year, Ukraine allocated about 5-7 percent of the state budget to overcome the consequences of the disaster. In Belarus, the economic damage associated with Chernobyl is $ 235 billion. And if we evaluate lost profits and lost investment opportunities, the losses are estimated at $ 13.7 billion.
UNDP, together with other UN agencies and international partners, is helping regions in Belarus and Ukraine affected by the Chernobyl accident to move from receiving humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation to full recovery, which includes the creation of new jobs, the development of quality and modern social services, the introduction of new technologies and communications, improving the infrastructure and business conditions, increasing the investment attractiveness of these territories.