EBRD and partners visit beneficiaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Volker Ahlemeyer

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Mattress producer Delibašić Poliuretani is an EBRD client in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ahead of the 2019 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Sarajevo, a delegation of EBRD donors visited several project beneficiaries to learn more about the impact of their funding.

The Bank supports a wide variety of investments across Bosnia and Herzegovina, which aim to build strong enterprises, modern and reliable infrastructure and a green, sustainable economy. Many of them would not be possible without the commitment of our donors.

On the road from Sarajevo to the south and towards Zenica, the participants saw for themselves what a difference good transport links make to people’s every-day lives.

Various upgrades have made the journey on the motorway safer and more convenient, with travel time between the two cities halved.

The road is part of Corridor Vc, which connects Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Adriatic Sea and through eastern Croatia to Hungary. About half of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population lives along the motorway, which is the largest infrastructure project in the country.

It has been supported in an international donor effort by the European Union and bilateral donors through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) with almost €120 million, as well as additional funds from Italy and the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

At the same time, this transport artery is also vital for the country’s companies and economy, since better connection to export markets means better business for them. 

The Rama Glass group is one such business. It produces, for example, glass facades which are mainly exported to Norway. The EBRD helped the company to improve its quality management and information and communications technology – with the support of EU funding. 

The Tirana stadium is one of Rama Glass’ clients, for whom it currently produces some 12.000 square metres of glass, soon to be transported by 60 trucks to Albania’s capital.

“The key to success is to strongly believe in what you do and to have fair and honest relationships with clients, employees and all other stakeholders,” said Nahid Hasanbegovic, the owner of Rama Glass.

The donor delegation also visited mattress producer Delibašić Poliuretani, the largest one in the country. The EBRD provided the company with a loan to help it become more competitive. 

It also supported it in developing a modern website, including an online shop, and in improving its management and processes. The projects were supported by the EU and Sweden.

“The biggest challenge for us was to position our brand in the Bosnian market as a high quality line, because Bosnian people didn’t have a lot of trust in local furniture brands,” says Beadisa Delibašić Husika, CEO of the company.

“We introduced high quality control standards and together with the excellent team that we have we managed to establish our brand as a strong local one which can compete with international producers.”

Most participants may not have known it, but likely they knew the company’s products better than they thought. Delibašić Poliuretani provides many hotel chains in Sarajevo and elsewhere with its mattresses.

The quick tour around Sarajevo’s surroundings presented a glimpse into the EBRD’s very active work with its donors and partners.

Across the Bosnia and Herzegovina, we work together to make cities greener and more liveable, help entrepreneurs to invest in their production processes and explore new export markets, and to make businesses and buildings, such as Zenica’s hospital, more energy efficient.

“The two companies are great examples of how technical assistance both at the company and local bank level can help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create jobs,” Kay Parplies, Head of Unit, DG Development and International Cooperation at the European Commission.

“It is really impressive to see how a limited contribution can have such an important impact on companies,” stressed Christina Danielsson, Head of Unit for Eastern Europe, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

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