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Dejan Vukotić, Director, Export Insurance And Financing Agency AOFI

AOFI, Another Name For Security

AOFI supports exporters with direct financing for preparing exports through a range of credit programmes and by insuring the risk of unpaid invoices both at home and abroad. This is important both in regular and now in extraordinary circumstances

It is extremely important that our businesses, especially exporters, are sure of collection and that the risks of foreign trade are as low as possible. The certainty that receivables from foreign and domestic business will be realised is a condition for uninterrupted business and planning, for sustainable economic growth.

Despite everything that’s happened over the last two years, the Serbian economy has preserved exports, investment and employment. How did you contribute?

– The Republic of Serbia responded in good time to the challenges posed to the economy, and above all to fiscal policy, by the pandemic.

Despite the pandemic and difficult business conditions, exports were preserved, investment and employment were preserved, and at AOFI we actively participated in the implementation of the programme of economic measures to support Serbian industry. In cooperation with the Government, both during and after the pandemic, we intensified our activities related to credit insurance of claims by domestic exporters and helped a large number of export-oriented businesspeople to continue their business without hindrance.

How do the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia affect our economy?

– The Serbian economy is closely connected with the economy of the region and the EU, but also the rest of Europe, which certainly includes the Russian Federation and Ukraine, so any instability and crisis in those markets strongly affects us. Our economy has managed to withstand the first blows of the global crisis, exports are growing and other parameters are good, but we must be careful, because we think that the crisis in the world and from the world is yet to come. The war in Ukraine will undoubtedly have great consequences on the world economy and that’s already reflected in the average growth of inflation.

Over the past two years, the Export Insurance and Financing Agency has actively participated in the programme of economic measures to support Serbian industry

Is the risk of uncollectable receivables and the interest of export insurance companies growing? Do you expect the situation to stabilise?

– We are facing a challenging period that we cannot influence so much, because of the problem’s global nature. However, despite the challenges, the Serbian economy continues to grow and we are far from a recession. The challenges facing the economies of the whole world are enormous, because wars, energy crises, sanctions and instability are factors that put the world in danger of inflation. Fortunately, our state has taken a number of measures to protect the interests of industry and the Serbian public, from the controlled price of fuel and low prices for electricity, to prices limits on foodstuffs, which are in sufficient supply.

We continue to cover payments for Serbian exporters in more than 80 countries on all continents. Just as in the middle of the pandemic, this is extremely important now because there are definitely unforeseen circumstances and a war, and market changes can lead the most trusted long-term clients into a situation where they are unable to meet their obligations.

It is important to note that AOFI also deals with short-term lending, which means providing financial resources to finance the working capital of exporters. This has a number of advantages, including improved liquidity, simpler lending procedures and lending services tailored to the needs of exporters.

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