In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Syria | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information
Before entering a political crisis in 2011, Syria was determined to gradually open its economy, moving from a closed and centralized approach to a model close to the market economy. Indeed, between 2000 and 2010, the Syrian legal corpus underwent profound changes. Structural reforms, such as the renovation of the commercial code (2007), the code of the sea (2008), the finance law (2004) and the bank law of 2004, made it possible to phase out the model of the planned economy in effect for decades. The Investment Law had greatly encouraged foreign investment, with measures such as the legalization of full business ownership, the importation of machinery, and exemption from customs duties on transport and raw materials. Private investors benefited from a five-year tax holiday (which has been extended to seven years in the case of a joint venture with 25% public sector participation). The establishment of a private banking system and private insurance companies (national or foreign), the opening of the local market with the liberalization of imports (gradual removal of tariff barriers to market access and reorganization of the customs administration with the help of the European Union) were tangible results of the modernization of the country's legislative and fiscal framework. Syria had also created a number of industrial zones providing a favourable framework for foreign companies wishing to set up in the country. However, the civil war which has torn the country apart since 2011 has caused a serious humanitarian and economic crisis that has triggered a fall in investment. The country is subject to sanctions from the United States and the EU, which limits trade and investment. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act that came into force in June 2020 dissuades any investor from participating in Syria’s reconstruction.
No reliable international data has been published on FDI inflows into Syria since 2012. According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2022, the stock of FDI in Syria amounted to USD 10.7 billion in 2021. Data collected by the Syrian Investment Agency on the stock of FDI between 2008 and 2014 shows that Russia was by far the largest investor in the country (75.8%), followed by Germany with 19,7%; whereas the majority of investments were directed towards the telecommunications, financial intermediation, and electricity sectors. Regarding FDI inflows into the country in the first half of 2016 (latest data available), the total amount was SYP 17 billion (around USD 33 million - Syrian Investment Agency).
|Foreign Direct Investment||2020||2021||2022|
|FDI Stock (million USD)||10,743||10,743||10,743|
|Number of Greenfield Investments*||0||0||0|
|Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD)||0||0||0|
Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
|Main Investing Countries||2014, in %|
|Main Invested Sectors||2014, in %|
|Oil and gas||7.0|
|Hotels and restaurants||5.9|
Source: Syrian Investment Agency, Latest data available.
|Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors||Syria||Middle East & North Africa||United States||Germany|
|Index of Transaction Transparency*||7.0||6.4||7.0||5.0|
|Index of Manager’s Responsibility**||5.0||4.8||9.0||5.0|
|Index of Shareholders’ Power***||3.0||4.7||9.0||5.0|
Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.
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Latest Update: September 2023