EBRD Sarajevo meeting to highlight Western Balkans investment opportunities

By Vanora Bennett


Annual Meeting and Business Forum to connect domestic and international businesses

The EBRD will hold its 2019 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Sarajevo on 7-8 May, throwing a spotlight on the economic opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Western Balkans, where the EBRD is a major investor.

Some 2,000 delegates will attend the conference, which will focus on the business outlook for Western Balkan economies and on how growth in the region can be strengthened.

The leaders of the six Western Balkan nations – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – will attend the conference, taking part in a high-level panel discussion that will underscore the importance of regional cooperation.

Regional cooperation and integration will play a key role at the Annual Meeting and Business Forum, where the theme this year is Connecting Economies for Stronger Growth.

Particularly in the Western Balkans, the EBRD has placed a very high priority on promoting connectivity via its investments, with the aim of promoting both physical infrastructure links as well as ties between markets that strengthen trade and improve the business climate as the countries continue on their path towards EU approximation.

The EBRD is a leading investor in the Western Balkans, providing a record level of finance of €1.1 billion in 2018, and supporting their economies’ goal of membership of the European Union.

Important EBRD investments in the Western Balkans include projects that link the region to Europe, such as the construction of the road Corridor Vc that will strengthen Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ties with its immediate neighbours and beyond.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina alone, the EBRD has invested a total of €2.3 billion in 159 projects since the start of its engagement in the country in 1995. The Bank’s total investment in the six countries of the Western Balkans exceeds €11.6 billion.

The Business Forum will also provide a platform for high-level discussion on themes ranging from boosting small business to the effects of migration on labour markets, the opportunities and pitfalls of tourism and ways to connect local and regional economies to the wider global economy. More than 900 business representatives are expected to attend the event.

EBRD aiming for record investments of over €10 billion in 2019