Mostly Unfree: Belarus between Mali and Cambodia in Index of Economic Freedom

In the 2019 Index, Belarus’s economic freedom score is 57.9; its economy being the 104th freest. The ranking covers 12 freedoms – from property rights to financial freedom – in 186 countries.

Its authors, the US Heritage Foundation, measure economic freedom based on 12 quantitative and qualitative factors, grouped into four broad categories, or pillars, of economic freedom (Rule of Law, Government Size, Regulatory Efficiency, Open Markets). Each of the twelve economic freedoms within these categories is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall score is derived by averaging these twelve economic freedoms, with equal weight being given to each. According to its score, a country is considered as Free, Mostly Free, Moderately Free, Mostly Unfree or Repressed.

Heritage Foundation experts have ranked Belarus 42nd among 44 countries in the Europe region; its overall score is below the regional and world averages. It has decreased by 0.2 point, with higher scores for fiscal health and monetary freedom unable to offset declines including for government spending and judicial effectiveness.

According to them, Moscow has a great impact on the Belarusian government and economy which is in the Kremlin’s influence area.

“Economic growth has been fueled by domestic demand and investment. The recovery of the Russian economy helped to increase exports of manufactured goods. Higher global prices for key exports such as petroleum products and potash fertilizer have helped Belarus service its external debt. The government has had some success with deregulation, but broad-scale liberalization has not been a priority. Instead, pervasive state involvement in and control of the economy still severely hamper growth and development, and the small private sector remains marginalized,” the experts stress.

As for the neighbouring countries’ situation, Lithuania takes 21st position, Latvia – 35th, Poland – 46th, Russia – 98th, Ukraine – 147th.

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