Serbia overview

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Cityscape nearby the river

In Serbia we focus on:

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. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which form the backbone of the Serbian private sector, face limited access to finance. The EBRD will thus work to increase private sector competitiveness, with an added focus on the agribusiness value chain. We will seek to assist SMEs in financing projects conducive to sustainable growth. Finally, we will further support pre-privatisation and privatisation alongside strategic investors.
 
Bolstering the banking sector and deepening the financial intermediation. While the financial sector has survived the crisis, its role as a driver of economic growth has been significantly diminished. Credit growth is weak, the share of non-performing loans is significant and the level of euroisation is high. In line with the Joint IFI Action Plan for Growth in Central and South-Eastern Europe, we will seek to help stabilise the financial sector. We will continue our policy dialogue, directly with the National Bank and through the Vienna Initiative 2.0, to encourage local currency lending and improve cross-border cooperation on banking sector issues and help in resolving the problem of NPLs.
 
Developing sustainable and efficient public utilities. Large transition gaps remain in the energy and infrastructure sectors. 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 EBRD will focus its efforts on accelerating the implementation of its already financed projects and, given the limited fiscal space, will carefully select new investments. In the energy sector in particular, we will aim to continue to play a key role in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, while assisting with replacing the aging electricity generation capacity and bringing power generation into compliance with the EU environmental standards.
 

The EBRD latest Serbia Strategy was adopted on 11 April 2014

Current EBRD forecast for Serbia’s Real GDP Growth in 2015 0.5%

  • The introduction of improved fiscal discipline, expected in the spring, will help reduce the government’s budget deficit and restore and investor confidence but accompanying austerity measures will likely keep domestic demand at depressed levels in the short term.
  • European Union (EU) accession negotiations have begun. The formal opening of talks in January 2014 is a key milestone for Serbia’s path to EU membership.

  • Important business environment laws have been approved. The government has pushed through major legislation on privatisation, bankruptcy and employment. Effective implementation of these laws  and other measures to the investment climate and good governance, in cooperation with the EBRD and other international partners, could help  reinvigorate the private sector.

Serbia in the EBRD’s 2014 Transition Report

 
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