News round-up

3 - 10 March 1997

FDI increases into region

Foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia accelerated in 1995 and the first half of 1996, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). The stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) rose by 60 per cent, to US$45.7 billion at the end of 1995, compared with US$28.7 billion 12 months earlier; preliminary information for 1996 suggests that the flow of overseas investment is continuing at a rapid pace.

Albania declares state of emergency

Albania has declared a state of emergency after a week of violence in which anti-Government protesters set fire to the President's residence and other government buildings, and looted army weapons.

Twelve people have been killed and 150 injured in the violent protests that followed the collapse of several pyramid saving companies. Thousands of Albanians who have lost their savings blame the Government for encouraging the fraudulent investment schemes.

Coca-Cola invests in Tashkent

Coca-Cola, the world's largest soft drinks producer, is accelerating investment in Uzbekistan, the most populous country in central Asia. Coca-Cola bottlers Tashkent, its local joint venture, is investing US$55 million to build a greenfield bottling and distribution facility at Koyluk, near Tashkent.

Ukrainian ministers sacked

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has sacked his finance and statistics ministers, his press service said. Valentyn Koronevsky lost his Finance post for "serious inadequacies". Olexander Osaulenko was reported to have been sacked for bad management. The President has also moved Vasyl Hureyev, the Economy Minister, and the Minister for Machine-building and the Military Complex, to other posts.

Slovenia Government voted in

Slovenia's Parliament approved a left/right coalition government on 27 February, ending four months of post-election drift. The alliance of Janesz Drnovsek's Liberal Democrats, Marjan Podobnik's People Party and the small DeSuspensioners Party won 53 votes to 37 against in the 90-member national assembly.

Coalition bid in Estonia

Mart Siiman was named to form Estonia's next government. He has two weeks to put together a coalition and win approval from the fractious 101-seat Parliament. His appointment came two days after the previous Government fell following a scandal after the sale of apartments. The Government will be the country's fourth in two years. The 1995 general election resulted in a divided Parliament, marked by weak voting loyalty. Despite the political uncertainty, however, economic policy has held steady, bringing sustained growth and foreign investment.

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