Serbia has grown into one of the premier investment locations in Central and Eastern Europe. A list of leading foreign investors is topped by world-class companies and banks such as Fiat, Telenor, Stada, Michelin, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Gazprom, Intesa Sanpaolo, Siemens, He Steel Group etc. resulting in around USD 27 billion of inward FDI since 2000.
It attracted some USD 2.0 bn of foreign direct investments inflows in 2015, becoming the top 5 host transition economies in 2014, the top 5 home transition economies in 2015 and best performer in Southeast Europe, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in its 2015 and 2016 World Investment Reports. The Reports also showed that in 2015 Serbia was the only destination country in the SEE region with announced greenfield FDI projects and country with above average share of mixed (domestic-foreign) joint ventures in total number of FAs (foreign-controlled enterprises).
According to the World Bank Group report, ease of doing business index per Serbia changed from 68 for year 2014 to 59 for year 2015, and shows improving of business conditions especially in the meaning of increasing of business-friendly regulations.
According to fDiIntelligence (a specialist division of The Financial Times Ltd) report 2016, capital investment in Serbia almost doubled to USD 4.4bn following a United Arab Emirates-based real estate investor committing to jointly invest USD 3bn in the country.
As one of the favored destinations in Europe for large manufacturing projects (food, beverages, tobacco, petroleum products, metal products, motor vehicles and other transport equipment, machinery and equipment etc.), Serbia drove FDI in manufacturing facilities (51 projects, up 76%). Serbia performed well in terms of greenfield FDI in 2015, attracting 14 projects (100% of total announced greenfield FDI projects in SEE) according UNCTAD.
FDI created 10,631 jobs in the country in 2015 (108% percentage change compared to the year 2014), which ranked 9th in Europe for FDI job creation. As far as jobs are concerned, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) saw the creation of 50% of all FDI jobs in Europe, thanks to the strength of the region in manufacturing, which accounted for 69% of the FDI projects in the region (EY’s Attractiveness survey Europe 2016).