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Serbia faces important transition challenges in the coming years. The past four years have revealed the inadequacies of the pre-crisis growth model and the need for a new reform agenda that would foster private sector-led development and investment. Further strengthening of a sustainable and healthy financial sector will be a necessary and crucial component of this agenda.
In the forthcoming strategy period the Bank’s main strategic orientations will be:
Enhancing the role and competitiveness of the private sector: Serbia’s level of private sector engagement in the economy is modest even by regional standards. The state retains a significant share in key industries, while many private companies are not sufficiently competitive to assure long-term viability, being stymied by the lack of management, technical and operational expertise, as well as that of sound corporate governance. Moreover, the crisis has left a number of companies in need of financial restructuring.
Bolstering the banking sector and deepening the financial intermediation: While the financial sector has survived the crisis without significant bank failures, its role as a driver of economic growth has been significantly diminished. Credit growth is weak, the share of non-performing loans is high, deleveraging pressures persist, and the level of euroisation is high. The Deposit Insurance Fund has been depleted due to the failure of a few local banks and the full repayment of even uninsured deposits. In line with the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South-Eastern Europe, the Bank will seek to help stabilise the financial sector and encourage lending by working with the authorities to explore a possible recapitalisation of the Deposit Insurance Fund in a joint effort with the World Bank.
Developing sustainable and efficient public utilities: Large transition gaps remain in the energy and infrastructure sectors. The implementation of investment projects in these sectors is typically slow and often disrupted. This results in a widely recognised infrastructural gap in the country. Other transition challenges include: adjusting tariffs to cost recovery levels, strengthening the regulators’ capacity, commercialising and restructuring public enterprises, and increasing private sector participation. The Bank will focus its efforts on accelerating the implementation of its already financed projects and, given the limited fiscal space, will carefully select new investments it would consider financing.
In all these activities the EBRD will seek to align its operation with the priorities of the Government of Serbia and closely cooperate with the European Union and other international financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral donors, both by co-financing selected projects and by coordinating policy dialogue initiatives.
In particular, the Bank will coordinate, and if possible implement joint operations, with the European Investment Bank and the World Bank under the Joint IFI Action Plan for Recovery and Growth.
Last updated 15 April 2014