Dejan Vukotić, Director of the Serbian Export Credit and Insurance Agency, AOFI

Competition Has Strengthened Us

The AOFI’s goal is to increase the value of exports of domestic companies, increase the number of exporters, improve the quality of export products, advance the structure of Serbian exports and strengthen the position of companies on existing markets, but also entry to new markets. The result of everything should be a reduced foreign trade deficit, a strengthening of the balance of payments and the creation of conditions for the continuous growth and development of the Serbian economy

The Serbian Export Credit and Insurance Agency (AOFI) is the only export credit agency in the region that didn’t register a decrease in insured turnover with the entry of competition but rather, on the contrary, experienced growth.

How would you explain this fact?

– AOFI has, in its 13 years of operations, become a recognisable and reliable partner to Serbian exporters, especially in terms of insurance, which has certainly helped us greatly in maintaining our position even despite the changes that have taken place in this market game.

The entry of competition “forced” us to achieve even better quality in realising our primary goal – increasing exports of the Serbian economy through an even better quality offer of products and services. I must mention that the market of credit insurance in the Republic of Serbia is very small and has great potential for continuous growth!

The AOFI further accelerated its offer of international factoring in 2018 by opening up the possibility for Serbian exporters to secure their purchased receivables and thus further relax their cash flow

On the other hand, it can and should be an instrument for creating a competitive position for Serbian products on foreign markets. The arrival of “large” and renowned players will help to develop faster the credit insurance market and to thereby create conditions for the growth and development of the Serbian economy as a whole and, also of the AOFI itself.

The 2017 ‘Year of Entrepreneurship’ project has grown to become the ‘Decade of Entrepreneurship’ project. Businesspeople can take advantage of more than 30 programmes and more than 18 billion dinars from the budget. What is the AOFI’s role in this project?

– Given that the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Economy see the development of private entrepreneurship and the SME sector as one of the priority goals of our economic policy, the AOFI redefined its programmes and directed them towards the export-orientated part of this sector of the economy. This is also reflected in a change in the structure of the AOFI portfolio, which is now dominated by precisely such companies. The AOFI’s support is reflected in financing of the preparation of exports, the guaranteeing and insuring both foreign and domestic receivables, all with the aim of achieving the continuous growth of these companies through the conquering of new foreign markets and stronger positioning on existing ones.

The AOFI also directed its operations towards international factoring two years ago. What kind of results are you recording in this area in Serbia?

– International factoring is a financial instrument, which – apart from allowing parties in work to operate more efficiently and continuously – can also have a positive impact on the macro environment, i.e. the national economy, especially in the post-crisis period, when financial sector stability is more than necessary. This kind of instrument is the easiest way to solve the liquidity problems currently faced by Serbian exporters, because it represents a new “space” in a limited financial market. Due to all of the aforementioned, the AOFI shifted part of its activities to this product, and the results over the last two years are extremely satisfactory.

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