As organizer of the Kopaonik Business Forum, the Serbian Association of Economists strives to maintain and nurture cooperation between relevant stakeholders and to offer an interactive platform for exchange of thought and a constructive debate with strong argumentation, thereby perceiving key reform challenges from different perspectives: political and economic, micro and macroeconomic, from the perspective of real and financial sectors, domestic and foreign investors, private and public enterprises, theory and practice. The Forum aspires to be a true holiday for the economists, a show for displaying ideas, as well as a kind of an annual reality check for economic policy makers, a place where the results of our country’s economic policy between two Forums are summarized.
Owing to its tradition and excellent reputation, the Kopaonik Business Forum has become the most important event of its kind in Serbia and the region. In terms of its relevance and impact the Kopaonik Business Forum has been recognized as “Serbian Davos” and has certainly contributed to creating a positive image of Serbia in the world. Every year it attracts plenty of media attention.
An overview of the most important conclusions and recommendations are prepared in the document “Kopaonik Consensus”. This document, intended primarily to the Government of the Republic of Serbia, National Bank of Serbia and relevant institutions, is a contribution of the organizer to designing feasible and efficient policies with the aim of continuing Serbia’s economic transition in a faster and high-quality manner.
Empowering the regional dimension in recent years the Forum attracts increasing number of participants from neighboring countries and the Western Balkans. Regional cooperation stands as an indispensable prerequisite for the future of the region as a whole as well as for each individual country, foremostly when it comes to their European perspective. Closer cooperation, partnership and contacts with more advanced, experienced EU members would provide these countries with opportunities for direct learning, adopting best practices and translating them to the Western Balkan context which would ultimately enhance resolution of the present issues and challenges in the region.
This year’s edition of the Kopaonik Business Forum was again an important place of gathering, business connectivity and dialogue between the business, political and academic elite. The Forum was held from 5th to 8th of March, 2023, at the Congress Centre of Hotel Grand in Kopaonik. The central topic of the 30th edition of the Kopaonik Business Forum was “Pursuing Resilient Economy in Uncertain Times: Major Challenges for Serbia and the Western Balkans”. This year’s Forum included 34 panels, three plenary addresses and four special events, dedicated to ongoing economic, political and social challenges, with participation of approximately 200 renowned experts and eminent figures from the national and regional business and political domain. The Forum’s special guest was Indermit Gill, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics at the World Bank Group. Participants of the Forum were also the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Governor of the National Bank of Serbia Jorgovanka Tabaković, all relevant corresponding ministers, the most important Serbian business persons from the real and financial sector, business persons from the region, representatives of international financial institutions, ambassadors, as well as local and foreign economic theorists.
In conditions of growing global uncertainties and pronounced economic and geopolitical risks, the Forum saw discussions on sustainable growth and the macroeconomic situation in Serbia and the Western Balkans, the “Digital Serbia” initiative and the “Open Balkan” economic agenda. The resilience of Serbian economy was analyzed from the investors’ perspective, while energy security, environmental protection and infrastructural connectivity were analyzed as well. Furthermore, numerous sectorial analyses on banking, insurance, agriculture and education were presented, as well as the tax administration reform, digitalization of public administration and the initiative to construct the BIO4 Campus, a unique place of development in the field of biomedicine, bioinformatics, biotechnology and biodiversity.
During the first two months of the current year, Serbia has achieved favorable macroeconomic results. Despite the slowdown in growth of global economy, evaluations of international financial institutions concerning the resilience of the economy in the euro area are more favorable than expected, which, coupled with the slowdown of inflation and drop of energy prices on a global scale, is a good signal to our national economy. Provided that the inflation in the eurozone continues to decrease at the current rate, it is realistic to expect that inflation in Serbia by the end of the year will be two times lower than projected, with a sharper decline in the second half of the year and going back to the targeted range in mid-2024.
This year, as well as in the years to come, the main challenges for Serbia remain the same – to reaffirm itself on its EU accession path, EU being our most important foreign trade partner, to accelerate structural systemic reforms, primarily, to continue to restructure public companies, to improve the quality of institutions and the business climate with the aim of increasing private domestic investment, as well as to establish a contemporary education system and apply the concept of lifelong learning. The most important conclusions and recommendations of the four-day constructive work and discussions shall be forwarded to relevant institutions and companies. It will be our contribution to designing feasible and efficient policies with the aim of continuing Serbia’s economic transition in a faster and high-quality manner.
We are proud of the exceptional interest of the business and professional circles, as well as of the media, in this important event. By organizing this year’s Forum, with approximately 1,600 participants and more than 130 accredited journalists from the country and abroad, we have achieved our goal and affirmed once again that Kopaonik Business Forum is the most important event of its kind organized in Serbia. All photographs and video materials, news and press clips will be posted on the website www.kopaonikbusinessforum.rs
, and a complete analysis of the media content is under way.
The Forum was organized in partnership with Mastercard, which will be the Forum’s partner in the following year, as well, and with NLB Komercijalna banka as the general sponsor.