Tag Archives: CEE

  • Take a walk through Prishtina

    By Evliana Berani, Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo | Mixed identity or no identity at all? This overarching question is raised whenever visitors talk about Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital. And the longer the debate lasts, the stronger one conclusion prevails: Regardless of the fact that the city lacks beautiful, old or fancy buildings, Prishtina has a strong mixed […]

  • Arrival of digital trends disrupting payments in CEE

    By Christian Wolf, RBI | Driven by the aim of providing better and better customer experience, changes in the global payments landscape have accelerated over the past few years and resulted in an increased array of payment options to choose from for customers across the globe. In addition to the advancements in technology, Open Banking […]

  • The Austrian real estate market

    By Michael Heller, RBI | Financial markets had for a long time prepared themselves for an initial interest rate hike by the European Central Bank (ECB) in 2019, but developments in the first half of the year were almost diametrically opposed – with corresponding bullish implications for the local real estate market. The financing environment […]

  • ATOMI: Identifying and supporting extraordinary intelligence

    By Edita Pozhegu, representative of ATOMI | The ATOMI organization in Kosovo has been established ten years ago as an initiative of a group of professionals and is one of its kind in the Balkans region. It focuses on the identification and support of gifted students with extraordinary intelligence in Kosovo. ATOMI aims to identify […]

  • Economic and cultural facts about Kosovo at a glance

    In September, the Discover CEE spotlight is on Kosovo! Watch out for several blog posts on Kosovo’s business, culture and success stories. Today, we have the most interesting economic data and cultural facts about Kosovo at a glance for you. The fact sheet is also downloadable in print version. Click here to print the fact […]

  • Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) celebrates 25 years

    Amra Tabaković and Vesna Topić, Raiffeisen Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina The Sarajevo Film Festival is an international film festival with a special focus on the region of Southeastern Europe. It is held in August and showcases an extensive variety of feature and short films from around the world. Sarajevo Film Festival was born 25 years […]

  • Evaluating the impact of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s economic forum

    Belma Hadžiomerović, Raiffeisen Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina, interviewed Emir Kurtic

    In February, Sarajevo hosted the third edition of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Economic Forum. One of its organizers, Emir Kurtic from the Sarajevo Faculty of Economics, spoke to Discover CEE about the importance of the forum.

    Dr Emir Kurtic, Sarajevo Faculty of Economics

    The Economic Forum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is an annual gathering of representatives of the BiH executive government, local and regional companies, the diplomatic sector and the academic community. It has been organized in Sarajevo since 2017 and so far, it has attracted more than 1,000 participants every year.

    “A central idea behind the BiH Economic Forum is to establish a platform for an open dialogue between representatives of the business community, the academic community and economic policy makers in the country,” says Dr Kurtic. “By organising this forum, the Sarajevo University’s Faculty of Economics is trying to contribute to the development of stronger ties between different interest and influential groups sharing a common business interest in BiH – concrete proposals and guidelines for the creation of future economic policies also set as concrete goal of the forum.”

    The program for all three forums held so far was organized in three or four sessions covering key economic topics in BiH.

    “Some of the topics covered included reforms, the business environment, the importance of the academic community, public-private partnerships, the rule of law and legal security as a basis for investment and development, the quality of university education, as well as economic cooperation between the Republic of Austria and BiH – this was the central topic of the last forum,” adds Dr Kurtic.

    The forum concluded that the definite priority for BiH is to solve its economic issues, while the region needs to establish a set of active reform policies to raise competitiveness via public-private partnerships. “The forum also discussed university education and the employment of young people upon completion of their studies. We need to find a better method of cooperation between employers and universities and to work on developing a more efficient support mechanism for graduate students in their job hunting process. University enrollment policies should account for real sector needs, while universities and representatives of the business community should jointly promote the importance of quality university education,” says Dr Kurtic.

    In Dr Kurtic’s opinion, the BiH business environment must be shifted from an economy of seeking support and cheap labor to one that focuses on innovation and the production of highly sophisticated products and services.

    “Improvements may also extend to investors by providing them with a more favorable environment,” he says. “This can be made possible only through reforms of the present conditions, thus ensuring the rule of law and sound management in line with top EU standards. We are all aware by now that the road to the EU requires the elimination of any setbacks present in BiH. Key factors to the BiH image improvement would be the security of investments, as well as institutional and political stability.”

    When it comes to exports, Dr Kurtic believes that only leading companies are currently in a position to export their products.

    “In terms of investment in this country, the situation in BiH has much improved via new technologies, best practices, innovations, research and development investments, new jobs and the creation of market opportunities that foreign companies have brought and will continue to bring to our country. One of key conclusions of the third forum is that the Republic of Austria, as the largest investor in BiH, needs to remain committed to further improving economic and political cooperation with BiH.”

    Dr Kurtic also believes that the positive effects of the forum regarding the generation of new investments in BiH reflect in, among other things, the fact that the formal program of this year’s forum included participants from one of the most developed EU countries – the Republic of Austria.

    “At the third economic forum in BiH, Austria has re-confirmed its strong commitment to cooperation with BiH. This refers to both the official state level and individual investors. Austrian investments in BiH show a constant increase, as attested by the fact that there are approximately 200 Austrian companies in BiH employing over 7,000 people.”

  • Banking in Bosnia – without the ups and downs

    By Ivona Zametica, Raiffeisen Bank Bosnia and Herzegovina and Gunter Deuber, RBI The entire banking system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (with assets in the range of EUR 15-16 billion) roughly corresponds to the balance sheet of a mid-sized regional lender or larger savings/cooperative bank in a Western market like Austria, Germany or Italy. Therefore, the […]

  • Doing business in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Two companies share their stories

    By Amra Tabaković and Irma Ahmetspahic, Raiffeisen Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina As in most countries, small and medium-sized companies play an important role in the economic growth of Bosnia and Herzegovina and are essential for creating new jobs. But overcoming obstacles and starting a solid business is never easy. Begex doo Hadžići, a kitchen […]

  • A trip to Sarajevo

    By Benedikta Schlange, RBI | When visiting Sarajevo, it is best to start the day with a traditional coffee: served thick, foamy and slowly brewed in a copper pot. For Sarajevans, drinking coffee is not necessarily a way to wake up, but a ritual to relax. The best way to enjoy coffee or a cup […]