Bosnia and Herzegovina seeks to attract Indonesia’s investors to invest in the country’s infrastructure, energy, agriculture and tourism in an effort to boost economic growth in the southeastern European state, says the envoy.
Tarik Bukvic, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s ambassador to Indonesia, said its capital, Sarajevo, would
organize a “Sarajevo Business Forum” from 6-7 April where it expected 150 investors, including investors from Indonesia, to present at the event.
He said Jakarta and Sarajevo had sturdy bilateral relations in politics but it had not translated into vast economic opportunities for both countries. Bilateral trade stood at US$1.5 million in 2008.
“Lack of investment information and the distance barrier have hampered flow of investment from Indonesia to Bosnia and Herzegovina and vice versa,” he said.
He said 70 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s railway track needed restructuring. The country also wanted to develop hydropower energy plants and a food processing industry to maximize its 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land.
Bukvic said Sarajevo offered many incentives to attract foreign investment such as tax exemption and property ownership for foreigners. He added Sarajevo also had a stable political and security condition and it offered skilled labor to support investment.
Political ties between Jakarta and Sarajevo has flourished as Indonesia is among the first countries to recognize Bosnia and Herzegovina’s independence from Serbia in 1992.
Indonesia built one of Sarajevo’s largest mosques, the Istiqlal Mosque, in 2001.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population of 4 million consists of three main groups: The Bosniak, Bosnia Serb and Bosnia Croat with a Muslim majority.
Indonesia also placed peacekeeping troops in the country from 1992-1995 under UN leadership.
Bukvic said Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoyed macroeconomic stability marked by low inflation.
Economic growth has stood at 5 percent annually since 2000.
Bukvic said the bulk of the country’s industry was in mining and mining-related industries as the country had abundant deposits of lignite, iron ore and bauxite.
He said Indonesia’s investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina lagged behind Malaysia, which invested in real estate projects.
Its biggest investors are Austria, Germany, Croatia and Slovenia.
Bukvic said that Indonesian food company PT Indofood Sukses Makmur was looking to build a food processing plant in Sarajevo and would make it a base to distribute it across Europe.
Indonesia largely exports cacao, furniture, wheat and wheat products, wood and carpet to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and imports electrical products, machines and mechanical equipment from there. Indonesia has planned to open an embassy in Sarajevo this year.
Business forum information: http://sarajevobusinessforum.com.