Information on agricultural/food market in Bosnia

Today I found this great web site abundant with useful info on agricultural market in Bosnia. The web site is operated by USAID or more specifically their LAMP II project intended to develop agricultural sector in Bosnia. 

Here you can find demand analysis, inventory reports of different agricultural sub-sectors, consultant reports, budget analysis and so on.

See it for yourself:


Five companies apply for oil prospecting in Bosnia

Energoinvest - Bosnian company leading prospecting operations has reported that Transglobal Petroleum (Texas, USA), Longwiew Capital Partners (Canada) through it's subsidiary Seed Rock, Delta Hydrocarbons (Holland), MOL (Hungary) and INA (Croatia) have submitted their letters of intent regarding prospecting for oil in Bosnia.

Other companies from Austria, Germany, UK, Persian Gulf and Malaysia have also shown interest but are still to submit formal offers once the tender gets published.

So far the most interesting proposal has been submitted by Longwiew Capital Partners whose delegation has been to Sarajevo for discussions.

Prospecting is being planned in three different regions in Bosnia and above mentioned companies are ready to invest 80 to 100 million $US initially, per region . American Transglobal Petroleum is also offering to invest around 600 million $US in building an oil refinery with a capacity of 50.000 barrels a day.

The tender is to be published by the end of the year.


Coal mines generate losses

As I wrote before coal mines and coal plants are a big headache for Bosnian economy. Despite those facts Bosnian political decision makers continue to pump tax payers money into those economically and environmentally devastating fields.

Recently published facts show that eight mines (Kreka, Banovići, Đurđevik, Kakanj, Breza, Zenica, Bila i Gračanica) are 11,1 million KM (ca 5.5 million €) in minus.

At the same time those mines haven't payed health insurance and retirement fees for 12.600 miners to an equivalent of 170 million KM (85 million €). They owe their suppliers 48 million KM (24 million €) while 123 million KM (61,5 million €) of taxes are yet to be paid.

The combined loss of those eight mines reaches 352,1 million KM (176,05 million €) which clearly speaks for closure of those coal mines and investment of all that tax payer's money into something more lucrative, such as alternative energy, road and rail-road infrastructure or educational programs for all those unemployed who can't get any work due to lack of vocational training or poor education.


IT-outsourcing to Bosnia

Many companies go through laborious and costly processes of outsourcing their IT-services to countries like India and China. I have talked to a few people working with far-east and have heard them complain about quality, cultural differences and severely hampered communication.

On the other hand they still work in those countries due to the cost reduction it results in. Many are also happy with quality and have managed to overcome cultural differences but all of that took time and loads of money.

Is there a place for Bosnia to become an IT-outsourcing services provider?
Wages in Bosnia are higher then those in China or India but way below IT-wages in Western Europe or the US. On the other hand cultural differences are minor, time zones are the same (at least with the Western Europe) and communication is friction-free. 

So why don't we see IT-projects being outsourced to Bosnia on a larger scale? When do cultural differences and good communication bypass lower wages or how low should the wages be so that cultural and communications aspects become important? 

There are good examples of IT-outsourcing to former Yugoslavia. Swedish company Seavus is number one IT-company in Macedonia that has witnessed fully-organic growth. How can that happen in Bosnia?


Nuclear power plant in Bosnia?

Bosnia is about to boost it's power producing capacity by building several coal and water power plants. This means that several untouched beautiful places that could be used for tourism and generate much bigger revenues are about to get destroyed.

This also means that coal-mining will increase (keep in mind that working conditions in Bosnia's mines are often on the level of middle-ages), that pollution will increase, that Bosnia will focus on production of raw materials instead of final products or services and knowledge, that many people will get stuck in low-wage jobs (since many will be available) and that big areas of already small country will become inhabitable.

Wouldn't it be better to build a nuclear power-plant or two and explore the possibility of even closing-down existing coal-power plants and subsequently most of the coal-mines?

This would mean that pollution would radically decrease, stability would improve and costs in health-care and retirement-care would decrease dramatically. This would also mean that tens of thousands of people would be forced to improve their skills, get higher education which would empower them and in the long run give them much better lives then being stuck with a shovel in some mine pit. Revenues and savings made on decreasing health and retirement costs could be used to finance education of workers that would get sacked from closing mines and coal-plants.

Bosnia need visionaries brave enough to dream, hope and work hard no matter what people tell them. We need people who will act like a ruling family of Dubai that turned desert sand into gold.

What are your views on this subject?

LinkedIn group problems

Dear reader,

If you were a member of the "Doing Business in Bosnia" group and all of a sudden were removed from it be aware of the fact that you were not removed by me but that there seems to be some technical glitch at the linkedin.com web site that caused you to be removed.

I have e-mailed their technical support and I am expecting an answer shortly. Please re-join the group and I will make sure you are listed.

/Haris Alisic


Opportunities in oil business in Bosnia

Recently there have been several reports of possible oil findings in Bosnia. Few days ago Bosnian newspaper published an article of unnamed British-Canadian company presenting a letter of intent to the Bosnian government regarding oil exploration. They supposedly claimed possible proceeds of 80 billion dollars over the next 30 years.

Before that, Dean of the Faculty of Technology and Mining in the northern Bosnian town of Tuzla, Abdulah Basic, was quoted by some Bosnian media outlets claiming that some 500 million tonnes of oil could be located in several locations in the northern Bosnia as well as further in the southern Bosnia in a the depth of between 4,000 and 6,000 metres.

According to several Bosnian experts, British Petroleum (BP) and American Oil Company, AMOCO, now also part of BP, were interested in potential oil resources in Bosnia before the 1992-1995 Serbian, Montenegrin and Croatian aggressions against Bosnia.

In cooperation with these two companies, one of the biggest Bosnian construction companies, Energoinvest, carried out a research which proved the existence of oil pools in the northern region of Posavina, as well as in several locations in the south.

Basic says that Energoinvest still has the original report which indicates that Bosnia may have oil resources as big as Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

Do you have an opinion or additional info regarding this matter? Should Bosnia let private investors run this operation or form it's own state-owned company?


Taking it to the street...

Bosnia, a country of wast opportunities just waiting to be explored.

Idea with this blog is to be a meeting point of all of those who in any way are interested in doing business in Bosnia. Exchange of experiences, info-sharing or connecting with presumptive partners are some of those things that I hope to facilitate here.

Whether you are planning multi-million green-filed investment, looking for ways to export your products or are a student scanning the opportunities in Bosnia I hope you will find some useful info here.

From time to time I will post info I find interesting but I also invite you, my respected reader, to contribute with your own thoughts, ideas and comments.

I hope that you will find the time spent here well invested.