Christophe Di Marco, Fund Manager at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH:

BFC SEE Municipalities Top Investment Destinations

The certification of municipalities is the first regional project that encourages competition among municipalities for new investment and sets new standards

BFC SEE aims to create a favourable business environment through efficient administration, transparent local govern­ment, solid infrastructure and a partner relationship to the economy. Certification is carried out on the basis of clearly de­fined criteria and based on good examples of certification in Serbia.

The GIZ Open Regional Fund for the Modernisation of Municipal Services has supported the expansion of the BFC SEE programme from Serbia to other countries in the region. How do you assess the success of that programme, bearing in mind that is one of the few that exist in this region?

BFC SEE is a unique initiative for fos­tering business friendliness in the region. The programme includes 20 institutions and organisations from five countries and today more than 60 municipalities are improving their business environment through the programme. The quality of their services to businesses has been ac­knowledged by the Financial Times, which ranked BFC SEE certified municipalities among the top destinations for investment in Europe. This is one reason why this year Montenegro joined the network and Albania officially expressed its interest in joining. We are very proud to have done this together with our partners.

The Regional Working Group on Business Friendliness will further support BFC SEE and develop other initiatives aimed at improving the business environment in this region

Thanks to the BFC SEE network, the positive experience of Macedonia with e-permits has been replicated in Serbia, and now in other countries as well. How do you motivate governments of the region to support such projects that are aimed at improving the conditions for doing business?

The key element for motivation is the proven success of such programmes. Moreover, we have taken the initiative of proposing a Regional Working Group on Business Friendliness under the SEE Investment Committee. This Working Group will further support BFC SEE and develop other initiatives aimed at improving the business environment. BFC SEE partners and NALED, as the Technical Secretariat of the BFC SEE Network, are fully acknowledged by ministries and the Regional Cooperation Council as the driving forces for fostering improve­ments in business conditions in the region. GIZ ORF MMS is committed to supporting further initiatives proposed in this frame.