BIRN Discusses Regional Economic Cooperation

Posted on

Over thirty economic experts and journalists attended a panel discussion Tuesday, June 19 on foreign investments in the Balkans, organised in Sarajevo by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

Apart from discussing the current good and bad practises in this field, the conference, under the name of “Countries of the Region: Competitors or Allies in Investments”, sought to improve dialogue between regional economic and investment experts and the media.

Five journalists from the region and five from Bosnia and Herzegovina had an opportunity to speak with leading names in the business and investment sector as well as with representatives of the country’s two stock exchanges.

The first part of the conference looked into the stock exchanges in the region and their stimulation of foreign investments.

Panelists were Almir Mirica and Darko Lakic of the Sarajevo Stock Exchange and Banja Luka Stock Exchange, respectively, Almir Begic, an investment consultant, and Ahmed Hodzic of FIMA International Investment Company.

Panelists agreed that local investors lost out during early stages of investment in listed stocks mainly due to lack of understanding and education about this field.

Mr. Begic added that currently many foreign investors in the stock exchanges are speculative investors and that the two exchanges have to work on attracting serious long-term foreign buyers.

Asked if there was any movement on the initiative to merge the two stock exchanges, Mr. Hodzic said that such issues would be out of the question for as long as political interests outweigh economic interests.

The second panel at the conference looked into regional cooperation needed for the growth of Balkan economies. Speakers included Maida Becirovic, FIPA, Haris Mesinovic, World Bank, Nermin Zukic, FIC, and Prof. Dr. Anto Domazet, Economic Institute, Economic Faculty, Sarajevo.

The discussion revealed a number of fields in which the countries of the region can cooperate, including free trade, EU accession, and the development of infrastructure.

“We should cooperate as much as possible and compete only when necessary,” said Professor Domazet.

Organisation of the conference was supported by the Foreign Investments Promotion Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, FIPA.