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Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Belarus

FDI in Figures

On February 24, 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, dragging in Belarus as its ally facilitating the invasion of Ukraine, which profoundly upsets the political  and economic context in these countries and will have substantial ramifications on the investment climate. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.


Foreign capital inflows to Belarus experienced a sharp increase in the first half of the 2000s but declined since 2008, attributed to the global economic crisis and challenges in the Russian economy. UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2023 revealed that FDI inflows to Belarus amounted to USD 1.6 billion in 2022, marking a 29.5% year-on-year decrease. The total stock of FDI was estimated at USD 16 billion, approximately 22% of the country’s GDP. According to data from the national Ministry of Finance, Russia was the main investing country (48.4% of the total), followed by the UK (21.6%), Cyprus (8.5%), Poland (3.2%), Lithuania (2.9%), Ukraine (2.7%), Austria (2.6%), the Netherlands (1.4%), Germany (1.3%), and China (1.3%). Key sectors for FDI included trade (37.4%), transport (36%), and the processing industry (14.6%). In 2023, foreign investors injected USD 7.7 billion into Belarus' real economy, with entities from the Russian Federation (66.7%) and Cyprus (14.7%) being the primary investors. Foreign direct investment totaled USD 5.8 billion, representing 74.8% of all foreign investment.

Belarus is part of the customs union with Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, which is the largest in the region and heavily linked to hydrocarbons, featuring major oil pipeline projects and associated services. The country hosts six Special Economic Zones, boasts developed energy access, and maintains openness to neighboring countries with a skilled workforce. The National Agency for Investments and Privatization outlined Belarus’ 2035 FDI long-term strategy, focusing on high-tech and science-intensive production industries, logistics, transport infrastructure, the finance sector, and the housing and utilities sector. However, Belarus' privatization program has seen limited activity, with the State Property Committee announcing no plans for mass privatization. Despite formal rights for both foreign and domestic investors, the national government may impose limits on a case-by-case basis. Following the Russian war against Ukraine, Western countries, including the U.S. and the EU, imposed broad sanctions against Belarus due to accusations of facilitating the invasion, reducing its attractiveness for FDI. In response, the Belarusian government approved a decree imposing special fees for early contract terminations, restricting sales of shares in Belarusian joint stocks by partners from "unfriendly" countries, increasing taxation on foreign partners' income, and mandating all debts to foreign partners to be paid in local currency. Belarus ranks 80th among 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and 153rd out of 184 countries on the latest Index of Economic Freedom.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 1,3981,2381,603
FDI Stock (million USD) 13,71714,65716,055
Number of Greenfield Investments* 1794
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 689338154

Source: UNCTAD, Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Belarus Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 6.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 2.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 8.0 6.8 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

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What to consider if you invest in Belarus

Strong Points

Belarus' main strong points include:

  • An advantageous geographical position, the country is a point of entry into Europe and the CIS countries
  • A satisfactory fiscal balance and public debt at a correct level
  • A number of measures favourable to direct foreign investments
  • Competitive taxation system and investment conditions
  • Political and economic stability
  • A qualified and low-cost labour force
  • Well developed transport infrastructure
Weak Points

The country's weak points include:

  • A strong dependence on the Russian economy (especially with regard to its energy imports)
  • A complicated business environment due to an economic policy based on a Soviet philosophy (and strong interventionism of the State)
  • Slow and complicated reforms to put in place
  • High risk of corruption    
  • Heavy administrative procedures
  • Isolation on the international scene, partly because of sanctions by the United States and the European Union
  • High inflation (5.1% in 2020 - IMF)
  • Great external debt  (40.7 billion in 2019 - World Bank, latest data available)
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
For a number of years, the government has been seeking to enhance the country's appeal at a global level. It has implemented a number of measures to ensure investor protection, has created six duty-free zones in the country and set up Investment Advisory Offices as well as the National Agency of Investment and Privatization.
Belarus’ 2035 FDI long-term strategy was outlined by the National Agency of Investment and Privatization and will focus on the following sectors: high-tech and science-intensive production industries, logistics, transport infrastructure, the finance sector, the sector of housing and utilities.

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Latest Update: April 2024