Belarus has been determined to boost foreign investment to capitalise on its domestic liberalisation and privatisation programme. In 2008 it drew total overseas investment of US $6.5 billion, of which US $2.23 billion was direct investment, up 28.9% on 2007, which in turn saw a five-fold increase on 2006. In 2009 the total overseas investment amounted to US $9.3 billion, of which US $4.8 billion was direct investment, 1.4 times up compared to 2008.
In November 2008 Belarus held its first investment forum in London, and trade delegations have been travelling the globe to attract interest. The majority of investment in 2008 came from EU states (43%) and Russia (33%). In 2009 among the major investors were Russia (82.5 %), Switzerland (7.3%), Cyprus (2.2%) and Germany (1.1%).
At the last measurement, more than 4,800 companies have been started in Belarus with foreign backing, with investors from more than 77 countries choosing Belarus. The leading investors have been Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland and the UK. The most favoured sectors for investors have reflected Belarus’ traditional strengths with machine-building and metal-working, chemical and petrochemical, and timber the most popular. Consumer goods, retail, communication, transport and medical sectors have also proved attractive.