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Belarus near bottom in Index of Economic Freedom photos

15:47, — Economics

Belarus was ranked 150th among 177 countries in this year`s Index of Economic Freedom.

Belarus moved up four places in the report published annually by the US-based Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

Belarus was 42nd among 43 countries in the European region, with Ukraine being at the bottom of the list. Belarus` overall score rose by 2.1 to 50.1 on the 0 to 100 Index scale. The increase was mainly due to notable improvements in investment freedom and government spending, the report says.

Belarus scored higher on freedom from corruption, government spending, fiscal freedom, labor freedom, trade freedom, and investment freedom and lower on business freedom and monetary freedom. The countrys score on property rights and financial freedom did not change, BelaPAN said.

Over the 20-year history of the Index, Belarus has improved its economic freedom score by 9.7 points, driven by gains in seven of the 10 economic freedoms including fiscal freedom, monetary freedom, and trade freedom, the report says. Offsetting much of the overall score gain, three other critical areas of economic freedomproperty rights, investment freedom, and financial freedomhave recorded losses of 20 points or more over the same period.

In the 2014 Index, Belarus has moved up from the economic freedom status of repressed to "mostly unfree" for the first time, the report says. Nonetheless, pervasive state controls persist in many areas of the economy, and widespread state investment and redistribution activities have stifled progress in the development of a modern diversified economy, the report says.

With a score of 90.1, Hong Kong was ranked the world`s freest economy for the 20th consecutive year.

The Belarusian government has repeatedly declared an intention to make Belarus one of the world`s 30 most business friendly nations in the World Bank`s Doing Business report.

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