Inward FDI in Russia and its policy context, 2012
Columbia University. Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Russia is potentially an attractive host economy for foreign direct investment (FDI), mainly due to its large market and rich natural resources. The Government has, however, been unable to make the radical changes needed in the country's investment climate for attracting FDI on a scale and to a range of industries in line with Russia's potential. Nevertheless, oil and gas, power generation and motor vehicles industries, as well as wholesale and retail trade and several other industries have recently received new and significant FDI. After a steep decline in 2008, inward FDI (IFDI) stock recovered, to reach US$ 491 billion in 2010, although there was a moderate fall again in 2011. IFDI flows fell considerably in 2009 but rose to US$43 billion in 2010 and US$ 53 billion in 2011. In 2008–2010, the largest number of significant greenfield projects were in power generation. Large mergers and acquisitions (M&As) took place in various industries, but the size of the largest deals was usually smaller in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. High levels of corruption, lack of competition and a distorted dialogue between the state, business and society are main barriers to the rapid growth of inward FDI. The recent global financial and economic crisis has revealed weaknesses of the Russian model of development in the 2000s. It is doubtful whether the efforts currently under way by the Russian Government to "repair" the existing model without political and economic reforms will lead toward a major improvement of the investment climate as only slight changes are being made (e. g., the improvement of the Russian migration regime and the development of special economic zones). However, the federal elections in 2012 could lead to more efficient steps, although it is difficult to predict the scale of probable positive shifts in the investment climate.
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