On January 10th, 2018, SSE Riga Associate Professor Arnis Sauka presented the third Foreign Investors‘ Council in Latvia (FICIL) Sentiment Index report “The development of the investment climate in Latvia: The viewpoints of foreign investors”.

The results of the 2017 study suggest that the investment attractiveness of Latvia, according to the viewpoints of foreign investors, has slightly improved, as compared to 2016.

In his opening remarks, the author of the report A.Sauka said that "The main reason we are talking about foreign investment is because of the impact it has on our economy - these companies seem to be more productive". A.Sauka stressed that according to results “demography is the most challenging topic, not only for people who do business in Latvia but also for whole Latvia”. “If demographic problems cannot be solved, other solutions must be found. Healthcare - government has promised progress, but we see no signals,” A.Sauka concluded.

Empirically, the FICIL Sentiment Index study draws on mini case studies: in-depth interviews with the CEOs of key foreign investors in Latvia. 42 CEOs were interviewed.

Foreign investors were asked to evaluate whether there has been any progress within key areas of concern as identified in previous reports.

According to results, the majority of the interviewed foreign investors do not see any progress with regards to the most significant areas of concern: demography, access to labour and improvements in the healthcare system in Latvia. For example, 30 or more out of 42 interviewed investors answered that no progress has been achieved in any of these areas over the past 12 months.

Investors concede that the demographic situation is a complex one and may take time to resolve. However, access to labour and improvements in the healthcare system are areas where policy makers should invest more time and efforts to achieve results in the short term.

The FICIL Sentiment Index was established in 2015 by the Foreign Investors’ Council in Latvia (FICIL) in cooperation with the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga), to foster more evidence-based policy decisions in promoting a favourable investment climate in Latvia.