Slovakia flag Slovakia: Investing in Slovakia

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Slovakia

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023, Slovakia attracted USD 2.9 billion in foreign direct investment inflows in 2022. At the end of the same period, the total stock of FDI stood at USD 57.3 billion, around 50.5% of GDP. Given that a very large share of Slovakia's FDI directly depends on the Eurozone, the country is dependent on the economic health of its European neighbors, especially Germany and France, and is sensitive to regional tensions (the Russia-Ukraine conflict). Data from the Slovak Central Bank show that, as of the end of 2022, the majority of FDI stocks were held by the Netherlands (22.9%), Austria (15.9%), Czechia (13.4%), South Korea (7.1%), and Germany (6.5%). Cumulatively, Europe accounted for 91.3% of the stock. As per sectors of activity, manufacturing and industrial production, financial and insurance services, wholesale, and retail are those that attract the most investments. The latest figures from OECD show that FDI inflows were negative by USD 287 million in the first half of 2023, compared with a positive inflow of USD 1.22 billion recorded in the same period one year earlier.

Slovakia is an attractive FDI destination due to a relatively low-cost yet skilled labor force, and a favorable geographic location in the heart of Central Europe. However, some regions have failed to attract major investment, which has aggravated regional disparities in many economic and social areas. The overall outlook for public and private investment is favorable, but the ongoing global crisis may pose some risks (especially for the manufacturing sector, which attracts most of FDIs to the country). Recent increases in corporate taxes, changes to the Labor Code, slow dispute resolution as well as recurring corruption issues are the factors that can undermine the attractiveness of the Slovak market. Furthermore, as of 1 March 2023, Slovakia introduced an FDI screening mechanism that requires compulsory screening in the case of critical investments (energy, transportation, healthcare, chemicals, IT, military, digital services, media, news, etc.) or voluntary screening for non-critical investments. For the legislation purpose, are considered foreign investors not only natural persons that are not nationals of an EU member State and legal persons without a seat or place of business in the EU, but also any other person (including Slovak legal persons) linked to any person of a third country as defined in the FDI Act. Overall, Slovakia has a good business climate and ranks 45th among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and 35th out of 184 countries on the latest Index of Economic Freedom.

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) -2,404592,905
FDI Stock (million USD) 64,29359,36757,375
Number of Greenfield Investments* 274647
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2,2762,9073,608

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 Slovakia Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 3.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 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.

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Slovakia

Strong Points

The main assets of the country are:

  • Strong political stability and good international relations reinforced by the country's accession to the European Union
  • A strategic geographical location in the heart of Europe
  • A qualified and low-cost workforce
  • Strong growth (Coface forecasts a 4.3% growth rate in 2021)
  • The adoption of the euro since 1 January 2009, which has made it possible to eliminate the risks associated with the exchange rate and to strengthen an already strong banking system
  • Public and external accounts maintained at the correct levels
  • A positive and very attractive business environment for foreign investors, including a favourable tax system and the existence of numerous foreign investment grants (which can range from 20 to 50% of investment costs depending on the project)
  • Among the most export-oriented and open economies in the EU, with the highest trade integration in the single market for goods
Weak Points

The main weak points of the country are:

  • High dependence of the economy on the automotive sector and export performance
  • Important technical and administrative barriers: requirement of import licenses especially for raw materials, energy and some agricultural products
  • High energy costs: Slovakia must import 90% of its energy needs.
  • Deficient infrastructure. Although governmental reforms have been set up, the infrastructure is not yet well developed and the country has no access to the sea.
  • The small size of its domestic market with a population that has low purchasing power
  • Complicated access to the labour market with a qualified labour shortage and high levels of long-term unemployment (6.7% unemployment in 2020 - National Statistics Office of Slovakia).
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The Slovak government encourages foreign investment since it is one of the driving forces of the economy. It has also established financial incentives such as tax credits and subsidy systems. These aids are granted depending on the type of project, geographical location and the sector of activity.

The country's low tax rate is one of the key elements that attract FDI. A 21% corporate tax rate is applied, except for small companies with a turnover of less than €100,000, for which the tax rate was reduced in 2020 to 15%. Slovakia also benefits from European financial aids and many investors can benefit from participating in the country's large renovation and modernisation projects.

Foreign nationals can acquire real estate without restrictions. Slovakia ranks 8th out of 190 countries on the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 property registration indicator, with an average of 16.5 days to register a property, compared to an average of 23.6 days for high-income OECD countries.
Bilateral investment conventions signed by Slovakia
Slovakia has signed 63 bilateral investment treaties. For more detail, consult the Slovakia page - UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: May 2024