Belarus is often regarded as Europe's final frontier, the continent's last dictatorship where foreign businesses fear to tread. However, there is a growing interest in the country among investors looking beyond the negative headlines and instead striving to be among the first to tap its unexploited potential.
Belarus beckons: Europe's final FDI frontier opens up
There is a common perception that investing in Belarus is only for the risk-takers. However, the country can point to many examples of companies large and small operating successfully within it. The key, according to those working in the country, is in the preparation.
While many of its former Soviet peers were embracing privatisation programmes, Belarus shied away from such activity. However, the government has recently announced that it will be conducting tenders for many of its state-owned companies, and while foreign companies face a few obstacles should they want to get involved, first-mover advantages might be worth considering.
The pharmaceutical market in Belarus is seen as one of the country's most promising areas for economic growth, and with two pharma producers among its most profitable state-owned enterprises, this is a fact not lost on foreign investors.
Hi-Tech Park in Belarus is a growing hub for both regional and international software and IT firms that offers its registered businesses economic incentives. This is one example of how the eastern European country is capitalising on its highly skilled workforce of engineers, which has also attracted the attention of the likes of Microsoft and NEC.
Belarus's expertise in nanotechnology is respected in the scientific community but has yet to attract the attention of the country's private sector. Professionals in the field hope that foreign investors can help fill this gap.
Belarus's minister of economy and the director of the country's national investment agency explain to Michal Kaczmarski how the former Soviet state offers a welcoming environment for foreign investors.
A guide to the key data and useful information regarding Belarus.
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