Belarus - Foreign investment

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) financed several major infrastructure improvement and commercial projects. The World Bank was financing construction and telecommunication projects, but these were discontinued in 1996 by President Lukashenka. At the end of the decade, President Lukashenka's steadfast refusal to implement market reforms continued to keep foreign investment levels low. In May 2002, however, the government announced a new program aimed at raising the share of foreign investment in GDP from 19% to 26–28%, with most investments coming from Russia. Several state-owned enterprises (SOEs), including oil refineries and chemical plants, were to be transformed into joint stock companies in preparation of selling 49.9% in blocks of 10%. Many restrictions are still tied to foreign investments and in June 2003, President Lukashenka announced that he had turned down proposals from foreign investors amounting to $10 billion because of unacceptable terms. The president stated that the government's goal was at least $1 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2003.

FDI inflow for Belarus reached $444 million in 1999, up from $352 million in 1997 and $203 million in 1998. However, the inflow was reduced to a trickle in 2000 ($90 million) and 2001 ($169 million). During the decade 1903 to 2003, according to the Belarus government, foreign investment totaled $4 billion, $1.7 billion in FDI and $2.5 billion in credits guaranteed by the government. All but a small proportion of foreign investment has come from Russia. Other sources include the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States (McDonald's, Coca Cola, and Ford). However, McDonald's and Coca Cola have both had problems with the government and the Ford plant is closed.

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