Entrepreneurs, business leaders and officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania, have gathered in Belgrade for the seventh Summit100 Business Leaders of Southeast Europe.
Digital transformation is the main topic of this year’s Summit100, with participants also expected to discuss implementation of projects in the region, energy efficiency, labor market mobility, and how to prevent the brain drain.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said during the opening ceremony that she believed the entire region could become the ‘region of winners’ by joining digital transformation processes.
“I firmly believe that the fourth industrial revolution represents a huge opportunity for Serbia and the entire region to catch up and keep pace with the developed world”, said Brnabic. “I think that this can be the region of winners and leaders in innovation and implementation of new technologies in economic growth on the wave of the fourth industrial revolution, marked by digitalization”, she concluded.
The two-day Summit will gather experts and ministers from the region, including Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations in the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirko Sarovic, Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of Serbia Rasim Ljajic, and Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Kocho Angjushev.
Addressing the Summit100 on Monday, Sarovic said that inadequate infrastructure represented one of the key obstacles and problems for companies in the region.
“I’m one of those who believe that poor infrastructure, especially in the field of transportation, is the biggest obstacle to further development of trade and economic relations in the region”, Sarovic said, adding that it was necessary to adapt the infrastructure and make it such that it encourages companies to come to the region.
During the Summit, Sarovic advocated upgrading of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) into some kind of a CEFTA-Plus agreement that will cover not only trade in services, but also the issue of customs and duty-free area.