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New Market: an exploration into the changing nature of business environments, informal barriers and emerging markets in the post-Soviet region

Project description

Investment risks in post-Soviet republics

During the first two decades of the 21st century, many post-Soviet republics introduced economic reforms to attract foreign investment. However, investors still face risks from high rates of corruption and the role of local oligarchs. The EU-funded NEW MARKETS project will detect invisible and non-official risks that could harm foreign business activity. The project will compare the development of economic reforms in two groups of countries: those which adopted full liberalisation earlier (Estonia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) and those that only recently opened their markets (Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan). It will also conduct an empirical evaluation of policies aiming to ameliorating the business environment in the above countries.


The past ten years have seen several changes in post-USSR business environments. From Kazakhstan to Belarus, and eventually Uzbekistan in 2016, a growing number of post-USSR republics have gradually begun economic reforms to allow foreign businesses to operate in their territory. These declared intentions, however, are sometimes contrasted by non-official, or informal, barriers into domestic and regional markets. Indeed, from rampant corruption to the necessity to get protection from local oligarchs, entering post-Soviet markets involves several risks. New Markets addresses the current limited existence of clear instructions that could enable new, and existing economic actors to gain an overview into the hidden risks associated with business activities in the post-Soviet region. Our research follows a three stage approach:

First, we will conduct a review of policy measures adopted in the past 10 years (2008-2018) to liberalize the markets in our target countries. Our analysis will compare three countries that have fully opened to foreign investors already in the early 2000 – Estonia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan - with three countries that have only recently shown a more cooperative attitude - Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan. We will survey the major mechanisms, and policies, adopted in these six countries to evaluate how they have ended up affecting the business environment.
Second, we will conduct an empirical evaluation of the measures adopted for improving the business climate in the target countries. This will be done through a national survey of core business actors in each country
Third, building upon results of the second stage, we will map challenges and opportunities in the region comparing macro and micro perspectives and testing government-led decisions against their results.



Net EU contribution
€ 220 800,00
9 Dublin

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Ireland Eastern and Midland Dublin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (7)

Partners (4)