DESPOTOVSKI: WITH A NEW SMART APPROACH THE WESTERN BALKANS CAN ACCELERATE PROGRESS AND BECOME ONE OF THE MAIN GLOBAL REGIONS FOR FDI
The advantage of the Western Balkans region compared to other investment destinations, in light of new global developments and the convergence of supply chains, as well as the opportunities and benefits of investing in the Western Balkans region were the main topics of the Western Balkans Investor Conference organized by Western Balkans 6 Comoros Investment Forum (WB6 CIF) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), supported by the European Union.
European investors from Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia were presented with the opportunities offered by the region for foreign investments as well as the advantages of the common regional market.
At the panel dedicated to foreign direct investments in the region of WB6 and what are the main advantages, challenges and risks, Jovan Despotovski, director of TIDZ, presented the new concept of TIDZ.
“What we are doing, which can be mirrored in the whole region, is that we have stopped being predictable. We have implemented several pilot projects for the efficient use of available resources in order to bring in investors who will bring added value – more and better paid places and more money in the budget. We have positioned ourselves as partners and co-investors and together with companies we share successes and risks. We listen to the needs of investors, but also make it clear what the state expects from them. We offer clear and applicable regulation, efficient services and in return we demand well-paid jobs for our fellow citizens, increased payment of taxes that finance education, health, infrastructure, and we also invest in further training of employees in the zones. Analyzes and figures show that we are succeeding in this – this year alone we have a 15% growth of employees and increased payments to the budget, while companies record growth in exports and profits. We grow together.”
Despotovski emphasized that with a new smart approach, the region can speed up progress and reduce lagging behind the European level.
“The fact that we have a common past, we understand each other and we have a common culture and tradition is what makes this region different from others and that is our advantage. A region with a market of over 20 million is more attractive to investors than if we act separately as competitors. Thus, together we can become one of the main global investment destinations and create European conditions for work and wages in the region and keep young people at home.”
The meeting was attended by over 70 representatives of companies from Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Croatia, investment promotion agencies from the Western Balkans, ministries responsible for investment policy and promotion, regional organizations and international financial institutions, and the opportunities and advantages of doing business were presented. in the region of the Western Balkans, and examples of successful investments in the region were also shown.
The Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6 CIF) is a joint initiative of chambers of commerce and industry from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Chambers established a cooperation platform in 2017 in order to provide a common voice to the business community in the region and to facilitate inter-business contacts and promote the region as an investment destination.