Bosnian exports rebounding

For the first time since they started dropping in January 2009 (yoy), exports have rebounded and grown for two consecutive months in January and February.

Jan-Feb exports were up 17% (yoy), but they are still 9% below where they were during the same months in 2008. By industrial groupings, export growth was strongest in the energy sector (33%), intermediate goods (32%) and durable consumer goods (22%). On the other hand, exports of capital and non-durable consumer goods were down 16% and 2% respectively. Export growth is observed across all traditional BH industries: electric power, steel, aluminum, furniture, as well as primary agricultural products.

Imports continued dropping, reflecting tight credit and indicating still weak investment. Jan-Feb imports dropped 6% (yoy) and they were 28% lower than during the same months in 2008.

Sarajevo Waste Water Project gets funding

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved Sarajevo Waste Water Project.

The objective of the Sarajevo Waste Water Project for Bosnia and Herzegovina is to improve the living conditions of populations in the areas covered by the Sarajevo Water and Waste Water Company and in downstream riverside communities by: (a) reducing the populations' exposure to, and reliance on highly polluted water from the Miljacka and Bosna rivers; and (b) improving the efficiency of the waste water collection network in the Sarajevo Canton. There are three components to the project. Component A is high priority infrastructure rehabilitation. This component will finance priority investments for rehabilitation of waste water infrastructure in the Sarajevo Canton. Component B is the institutional development support. This component will finance technical assistance (TA) to the Sarajevo Water and Waste Water Company (VIK) for capacity building and institutional strengthening. Component C is the project management. This component will support project implementation by the Project Management Team (PMT) and Project Implementing Team (PIT).

IBRD Loan: US$35 million

Terms: Maturity = 25 years; Grace Period = 5 years

Project ID: P090675


€25 million investment in Sarajevo International Airport upgrade to meet growing traffic

The EBRD is supporting the modernisation of Sarajevo International Airport with a €25 million loan to expand the airport's infrastructure and help it address capacity constraints. The loan is extended directly to Sarajevo International Airport and is guaranteed by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sarajevo International Airport is the main gateway to Bosnia and Herzegovina, handling the majority of the international traffic flow. In recent years passenger traffic at the airport has increased significantly and continues to grow.

The EBRD loan will be used to finance the expansion of the passenger terminal, to build a new rapid runway and to expand the aircraft parking apron. The project will add close to 7,000 square meters to the current area of the passenger terminal of 10,000 square meters.

The expansion is supported by grant financing from the Dutch government, the Western Balkans Fund and EBRD Shareholder Special Fund of nearly €1 million. The grants will be used for tasks including preparation of the final design of the expanded passenger terminal and updating the corporate plan outlining the airport's future strategy.

The project will support greater commercialisation of the airport's activities and will facilitate implementation of the EU's Single European Sky initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which involves gradual liberalisation of air traffic.

"We are pleased to support the expansion of the main airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a time when investment sources remain scarce. The upgrade of Sarajevo International Airport will improve the quality of air traffic movement stimulating further growth in passenger flow," said Sue Barrett, Director of the EBRD Transport Team.

Dragan Vrankic, Minister of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina, added: "I am glad that this project relies primarily on the creditworthiness of the company for repayment of the loan. The project will also help us to test the new legal structure for financing of public utilities whereby, through direct loan agreement with international financial institutions, the utilities assume much more accountability and responsibility for all aspects of project implementation."

"This project is a result of the long-standing co-operation between the EBRD and Sarajevo International Airport. In addition to solving the airport's needs in light of the future growth, the expanded terminal building will provide much higher quality of services to the passengers, while improving the image of the country by offering it a modern gateway", said Bakir Karahasanovic, General Manager of Sarajevo International Airport.

Since the beginning of its activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EBRD has committed over €1 billion to the country's economy, of which over a third has been in the infrastructure sector.


Bloggers given unparalleled access to the forthcoming Malaysia Global Business Forum - Bosnia

The bloggers will be given unparalleled access to the forthcoming Malaysia Global Business Forum - Bosnia, for the first time in Malaysia.

The keynote speaker, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (Malaysia's former Prime Minister) is an avid blogger himself and will be the keynote speaker during the forum. Dr. Haris Silajdzic, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina has also confirmed his presence and will lead the Bosnian delegation to the Malaysia Global Business Forum, scheduled 8 – 11 November, 2009 at Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching, Sarawak (one of Malaysia's states located in Borneo).
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad will be delivering the keynote address with other speakers include:
Amer Bukvic – CEO Bank Bosnia International – who is recognised as Europe’s leading Islamic banker
Amer Jeralgic – CEO of Elektrpravada, Bosnia’s largest and most profitable company which is equivalent to TNB and is involved in the energy and mining sector
Sam Osmanagic – Discoverer of the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids and Bosnia’s Indiana Jones
Tarik Dodic – Secretary General of Foreign Trade Chamber Bosnia who is leading a strong delegation of Bosnian business leaders

The forum will be focusing on various sectors such as Higher Education, energy and power, biotech, agro-tech, Halal, Islamic Banking, tourism, and more.

As for the bloggers who wish to attend and cover the event, will have the following access:
  • Dedicated stage for bloggers to blog from during the main session
  • Access to all press conferences
  • Access to VIP speakers
  • Access to break out sessions for industry specific sessions
  • Broadband access to upload live
  • Pre and post-event access
To register as a blogger, or for more details, please send your contact details and blog site to either azizul@asiaprc.com or diyana@asiaprc.com


Malaysia Global Business Forum — Bosnia Herzegovina to be held in November

A forum aimed at exposing and exploring business opportunities in Bosnia-Herzegovina will be held in Malaysia from Nov 8 to 11.

The Malaysia Global Business Forum — Bosnia Herzegovina, organised by Glenreagh Sdn Bhd, will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

Glenreagh managing director Nordin Abdullah said yesterday Bosnia-Herzegovina had been reported as one of the faster growing economies in South Eastern Europe, with a steady growth of five per cent per year since 2000.

“Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the most stable countries in Europe. In addition, it will enter the European Union (EU) in a few years.

“Bosnia-Herzegovina is the gateway to the European market. However, there is not enough business going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Malaysian companies,” he told a press conference held at BCCK yesterday.

He pointed out that ‘halal’ food and renewable energy were the two key areas that businesses in Malaysia could consider in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In order to further enhance that strong relationship between Malaysia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, various joint ventures between the two nations had been established, said Nordin.

For instance, Nordin said, the cooperation could be seen in the area of higher education, information technology and transportation.

“Besides, Bosnia-Herzegovina is a culturally diverse country which is very similar to Malaysia. I believe that the cultural similarity would be an advantage for Malaysian businesses,” he said.

The four-day forum would see the presence of heads of states and trade ministers while the most prominent figure would be former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said Nordin.

He explained that Dr Mahathir who during his tenure as the prime minister had been instrumental in providing the much needed support for Bosnia-Herzegovina and its people.

“Among the renowned speakers and presenters expected at the forum is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

“From Bosnia-Herzegovina are Bosnia Bank International chief executive officer Amer Bukvic and Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia-Herzegovina secretary general Tarik Dodic,” he said.

For further information on the Malaysia Global Business Forum — Bosnia-Herzegovina, members of the public can visit the official website at www.malaysiaglobalbusinessforum.com

Also present at the press conference was BCCK chief executive Trevor McCartney.


BH Telecom signs a 3G deal with Ericsson worth € 4.4 million

BH Telecom, the largest operator in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ericsson signed new contracts amounting to 4.4 million EURO. The contracts are related to the extension of 3G network, as well as to the upgrade of the core network of BH Telecom. The extension of 3G network confirms the satisfaction of BH Telecom with the cooperation with Ericsson, in the initial phase of introduction the 3G technology. The contract covers the delivery, installation and integration of the equipment, i.e. it is made on the turn key principle. The realization of the above projects starts immediately.

Gordana Kovačević, MSc EE, made comments on the above signed contracts: „I’m very pleased, that on the basis of further extension of BH Telecom 3G network, we shall enable the offering of the advanced 3G services to the considerably larger number of Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens. This achievement is the result of the strategic commitment of BH Telecom to introduce new technologies, and simultaneously it confirms the excellent cooperation between the two companies”.


Bosna Bank International starts financing purchase of agricultural land

Bosna Bank International (BBI) created a Security Food Program within which it is offering financing purchase of agricultural land. Financing is intended for interested individuals and corporate entities at favorable profit rates and simple procedures of the submission and processing of applications.

BBI decided to create the Program and financing after an analysis of recognized research agencies, which anticipated huge worldwide shortage of food in the following two years.

Within the Program, interested customers will also be able to receive financing for construction and refurbishment of agricultural facilities, purchase of agricultural mechanization, equipment, tools, trunks, seeds, etc. Bosna Bank International will also start activities in order to provide the interested applicants choice of better and more favorable land and help them in connecting with food producers and farmers, who could again help the applicants in changing of the land they bought into fertile soil.

That way, BBI not only provides the clients with an opportunity to secure their own piece of land but to invest in actual value as well.