Belarus’ Potential of Becoming Europe’s “Silicon Valley” by 2015
In the recent years the Belarusian ITO market has been developing at a fast pace, with:
- 24% – 28% growth rate on a year-on-year (YOY) basis (since 2009),
- 25% revenue increase, and
- Market volume assessed at $384 million (as of 2011) (see Fig. 1).
In the 2011 “Analysis of Belarus as an Offshoring Destination” Gartner concluded:
“A strong education system and cost-competitive salaries, together with a reasonably strong workforce, have enabled Belarus to develop a mature IT outsourcing industry, supporting the country as an alternative destination for offshore activities, especially software development.”
While being one of the most controversial countries in Europe, often times referred to as a “dictatorship”, over the past few years Belarus has managed to become one of the most powerful hotspots for the outsourced Research and Development (R&D) and IT, even though it is rarely mentioned in the official global industry ratings. Since 2005 Belarus has made and continues to make important steps towards becoming a true e-country with a well-developed ICT infrastructure, well-promoted ICT education, best-on-market IT resources and innovative ICT projects for both private and public sectors – steps that other officially recognized Central and Eastern European (CEE) hubs have not even planned yet.
The fact that many international giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Siemens, T-Mobile, Alcatel, Coca-Cola, Philips, SAP as well as leading innovative niche players such as eBuddy and Steely Eye have entered the Belarusian ITO market in recent years proves Belarus’ ability to offer robust technology solutions and qualified resources comparable to the leading recognized ITO hubs.
Today’s Belarus ICT Talent pool is assessed at 25,000 specialists, which makes it one of the largest pools in the Central and Eastern European region.
According to the Forbes Magazine, per capita income from IT services export in Belarus exceeds that of Russia and Ukraine.
Belarus is ranked 56th by the ICT price basket, leaving behind such EU states as Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic and countries like Argentina, Brazil, India, China, and Mexico. In the 2011 Ease-of-Doing-Business Rating Belarus has climbed up by 22 positions from 2010. These and other indicators already put Belarus in an equal position with other CEE ITO leaders such as Ukraine, Hungary, Romania or Poland. The Belarusian government has ambitious goals of expanding the pool of ICT resources from today’s 25,000 up to 300,000 and increasing significantly the ICT readiness by 2015.
Table 1: Belarus at a Glance: Politics, Economics and ICT Climate