AOFI’s mission is founded on boosting exports by Serbian companies through funding and insuring export-oriented projects, and cooperating with similar institutions from Serbia’s trading partners with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of domestic businesses.
What are the Agency’s most important tasks?
AOFI is the official export credit agency of the Republic of Serbia, established for the purpose of export promotion and the development of foreign economic relations. Our aim is to create a strategic improvement in operating conditions for Serbian exporters and to promote exports from the Republic of Serbia in general. As a government instrument to improve the competitiveness of exporters in foreign markets, AOFI has recognized that providing support SMEs is crucial in achieving one of its strategic aims, fulfilling the adopted strategy for SMEs and contributing to the overall goal of the Government. The global financial crisis has worsened conditions for the already vulnerable SME sector in Serbia, but by setting a good policy framework in which SMEs can operate, the Government has provided economic benefits through a range of business support instruments, the problems they address and the way the instruments are delivered.
Which are the greatest problems of export-oriented SMEs?
2016 has been proclaimed as “The Year of Entrepreneurship” and the Government has adopted a strategy to support the development of SMEs, entrepreneurship and competitiveness for the period from 2015 to 2020. Despite the importance of the role of SMEs, which is even more pronounced in times of crisis, they face huge difficulties in financing their work and maintaining liquidity. It is of great importance for Serbia to secure the development of the SME sector, as this will also determine the further course of Serbian integration into the European Union.
In our experience, our key tasks are to ensure proper communication with clients, understand the day-to-day obstacles they meet, provide straightforward access to services and offer them the most suitable solutions
Which services and what kind of support do you offer to the SME sector?
There are several services under the AOFI portfolio that allow us to support SMEs. In the area of financing, we provide direct lending, guarantees and factoring services. In insurance, we provide ST insurance against commercial risks and are currently developing MLT insurance services. Numerous successful Serbian export companies have used the Agency’s services so far, including Pestan, Umka, Tigar, Agrotrading, Foodland, Gosa, Drenik, Termomont, and many others. Thanks to these companies and our joint activities, the volume and the security of our export and the visibility of Serbian brands have been significantly increased. This is why we can confidently say that AOFI’s services are well recognized by SMEs.