Romeo Abdo: Trade, Industry and FDI in Belarus
The general climate for foreign investors in Belarus has been favourable until recently, at least. The government succeeded in creating an atmosphere of friendly and mutually profitable cooperation. In response to that, almost 70% of the money flow from foreign countries came as FDI.
The question on many people’s minds now is whether the situation is going to change as a result of the reorientation that Belarus seems to be going through. This article intends to throw some light on the key factors that affect the country’s international trade in an attempt to provide a preliminary answer to the question.
We shall also mention Abdo Romeo Abdo’s successful experience in the Belarusian construction industry since that sector of the Belarusian economy may be especially attractive to potential investors.
Current Situation in Belarus
To understand whether Belarus is a potentially safe and profitable target for investment, one should consider the following general aspects of the current state of affairs in the country.
Belarus enjoys a favourable geographic position as it’s located on the trade routes between several trade markets, namely Western Europe, the EEU and the Scandinavian countries. Moreover, the country’s infrastructure is well-developed in that:
- The commercial transportation network operates efficiently,
- The logistical operations are performed intelligently,
- The communication procedures are greatly simplified.
As a result, Belarus serves as a direct and smooth access channel to the Western European, the Central Asian, the Western Asian and the Northern European suppliers and consumers. And the geographically unbiased attitudes that Belarus exhibits only enhance the advantages of the country’s geographic location.
Until recently, the country’s geographically unbiased commercial orientation was hampered by an imbalanced prevalence of Russia on the Belarusian foreign trade and investment markets. However, the situation has changed radically in the last few years.
While the CIS still consumes more than half of the Belarusian export, approximately 40% of the total export production goes to Western Europe, Sweden, and the UK. And although Russia still accounts for the largest share of the foreign investments, Belarus remains a member of the EBRD, the IMF and other reputable international financial organisations.
As a new arrival on the scene, China is now actively trying to establish its position on the Belarusian market. The two governments seem to be reaching mutually profitable agreements, successfully removing barriers to lucrative commercial cooperation. The Chinese involvement in the Belarusian economy occurs mainly in the investment sector, though.
Although the country used to exhibit all the macroeconomic signs of a stable development until recently, the pace seems to have slowed down to such an extent that some observers even predict imminent economic stagnation. But the slow pace might be nothing more than an inevitable consequence of the radical reorientation that we have described above.
Nevertheless, the Belarusian economy remains unchanged in its fundamental principles.
- It is based mainly on the industry. Besides, the industry isn’t limited to food and mining. It aims at production, particularly of high-tech commodities, instead of concentrating on natural resources.
- The production is mainly export-oriented, and Belarus strives to maintain its friendly and unbiased international orientation.
- As reported by the UNECE, The Belarusian industry is based mainly on highly skilled human resources.
Commercial Construction in Belarus
Production of building materials and timber processing are two well-developed sectors of the country’s industry. The Belarusian building materials are in high demand in foreign markets, mainly for their high quality and low prices. The local demand remains low, however. That is strange since the construction of the commercial property is a potential goldmine in a developing country, and Abdo Romeo Abdo’s experience in Belarus confirms it.
Abdo came to Belarus from Lebanon to study at a university, founded a construction company four years later and another one ten more years later. Since then, his companies have successfully built several commercial centres in Minsk. His enterprise has done well enough to become an almost exclusive shareholder in one of the largest banks in the country.
Belarus may seem confused due to its recent attempts to reorientate its trade, but it continues to move in the direction that has made the country attractive to potential investors. The open and friendly attitudes towards FDI make the situation look even more promising. And the Belarusian construction industry continues to provide potentially lucrative investment opportunities.