There is no doubt that Brexit, European Parliament elections, discussion of the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the EU’s internal future are placing discussions of EU enlargement on the back burner, however, Serbia is also falling short when it comes to pushing sincerely for its EU future
As part of the strategy for Serbia’s development and the country’s chance on the international scene, the number one priority and potential that is often mentioned is a knowledge-based economy, highly skilled people and new technologies
This autumn saw American software cloud company Nutanix acquire Serbian- American start-up Frame for 165 million dollars, representing the most expensive acquisition of a Serbian start-up to date. As some believe, if everything goes well, Frame represents the first ‘unicorn’ to come from Serbia. But is this a one-off or a sign of a growing start-up community in the country?
The number of Serbian citizens who rate their personal health as being bad or very bad is twice the average of EU member states. Simultaneously, indicators that could monitor the quality of health, comparable to European and global criteria, are often non-existent or are monitored in Serbia in a way that is incomparable with those parameters
The Ministry of Finance’s announcement that it could consider lowering the tax burden on businesses could have multiple effects on the economy and on employees, depending on how it is tailored. The context of such a measure is not only fiscal, rather any potentially larger intervention in this sphere would also require the reform of pension and health insurance
There are all sorts of barriers preventing foreign investors from enjoying economies of scale while investing in the Western Balkans, though the region does still deliver a solid return on investment. A good-quality workforce, coupled with national and local efforts in Serbia to improve the business climate, result in German companies being eager to expand and reinvest
Accelerated reforms, particularly those in the area of improving the business climate, ensure that the opinions of business associations are more important than ever. The increasingly open and constructive dialogue between the government and business leaders, which also resulted in Serbia making continuous progress on the World Bank’s ’Doing Business’ list, compelled us to set aside space in the New Year’s edition of CorD for the comments of presidents of chambers of commerce and organisations, business clubs and associations that bring together members of industry, NGOs and representatives of the local community.
One topic clearly stood out as the unifying factor mentioned at all KBF panels as a game changer – digitisation. One could find numerous reasons why digitisation is in focus. In the view of the FIC, the key reason is that digitisation could turn out to be a universal recipe for treating the two biggest challenges in Serbia
One word – digitisation - resonated during this year’s Kopaonik Business Forum, both in panels and in informal discussions. We could hear that businesses, the media, governments etc. all should go, or are already going, digital
The task of the forum’s participants is to give “diagnoses that someone needs to harmonise and guide in the right direction” – this is one of the theses that could be heard after the Kopaonik Business Forum. The one who should do that has long since ceased to be just the state, but rather is all of us who come from the economy
The Kopaonik Business Forum confirmed that the reform agenda has been well established and that it features the most important issues for improving conditions for doing business – the corporatisation of public companies, the development of eGovernment and digitisation, infrastructure, rule of law, education etc
Due to my belief that digitisation and an innovation-driven economy represent the greatest potentials for growth, I would highlight the panel organised by the Digital Serbia Initiative. This panel addressed many opportunities brought by the digital economy, three of which I will point out here