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Investor profile of Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus

The ‘land of blue lakes’, Vitebsk region is famous for its history, culture and natural beauty. It borders Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, and is on a major transport crossroads, including the Paris-Moscow and Helsinki-Kiev trans-European road routes. Railways to Riga, St Petersburg and Warsaw all pass through the region, as does the Yamal Europe gas pipeline.

Home to 1.3 million, it is the least dense of all Belarusian Oblasts. Vitebsk is the home to Belarus’ ‘lake district’; Polotsk, one of the oldest towns in Central and Eastern Europe; and a museum dedicated to 20th century modernist painter Marc Chagall, who was born and raised in the city of Vitebsk.

More than half of the region’s economic output is generated in the energy sector, with major enterprises including Lukoml hydroelectric station and Novopolotsk power station. Other industries include food, light, fuel and chemical concerns.

Vitebsk Free Economic Zone

Has 34 member businesses, of which two-thirds enjoy foreign investment including from the USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Poland and Russia.

  • Located in north-east Belarus, 50km from the Russian border and 200km from Lithuania and Latvia. Targeting markets in Russia, central Europe and Scandinavia
  • Occupies twelve square miles in the city of Vitebsk, on the Helsinki-Athens transport corridor
  • Businesses include construction, food processing, electronics, veterinary medicine, agricultural chemicals, clothing, and fibre-optic cabling
  • Just under half of goods are made for export, a quarter are produced as part of Belarus’ import-substitution programme
  • Exported US $143 million of goods in 2008, and imported US $125 million (excluding oil and oil products)
  • Vitebsk is a thriving industrial city with a population of 356,000 and pedigree in the fuel, chemical and petrochemical sectors, electric power generation and food-processing
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