Journal № 1 (17) 2023 Investment

However, it seems apparent and predictable that Asia has been experiencing a strong rise for decades and that its industry and trade have become a strategic factor in international economic relations. Yet, it is beyond doubt that such a strong development in Asian countries would not have happened if it was not for the proactive political and entrepreneurial ideas and decisions, but also a key reliance on their own science and brave innovations. The result is obvious.

It should also be noted that the countries of the Asian continent, despite their diff erences, have begun to unite in regional, continental communities, thus promoting and capitalizing on their cooperation for the benefi t of their countries and their citizens, but not to anyone's detriment.

Serbia also understands this, and has been implementing the same strategy of cooperation, openness and strong investments in the economy and other aspects of social life for years, in accordance with and within its means. This precisely is incorporated in our idea of the "Open Balkans", with a view to progress together faster and accelerate the free movement of people, goods and capital.

Without any doubt, Serbia is currently the leader in attracting foreign investments in its region, primarily because of the favourable environment and conditions it off ers to investors.

For example, in 2020 and 2021, after Ireland, Serbia had the highest cumulative GDP in Europe. We also have a serious increase in wages, and it should be said that since 2014, the number of employees in Serbia has increased by 450,000. We have also had a large increase in the number of employees in the information and communication technology sector since 2016, amounting to 50%. At the same time, the export of that sector exceeded 2.6 billion euros.

We have built hundreds of kilometres of new roads, we are also building new high-speed railways, and traffic on our roads has recorded a sharp growth of 81% from 2012 until today (about 62 million vehicles per year).

We also have a constant increase in exports and trade on global level, but it should be said in particular that we have an agreement with the Russian Federation on mutual trade taxation at the level as low as 1%.

Therefore, Serbia is an excellent place to invest, bearing in mind that our government financially stimulates and subsidizes investors who open factories here and employ our highly qualified workers, and the price of electricity for the economy and production is very low.

Above all, Serbia wants to invest in a new energy policy, but also in the socalled Green transition.

When it comes to energy, the necessary investments are estimated at around 12 billion euros, including renewable energy sources.

The priority is the construction of new capacities for the production of electricity, the construction of new reversible hydropower plants Đerdap 3 and Bistrica, the construction of new power plants on the Drina River with our neighbours.

Likewise, we want new solutions for energy storage, but we also want to change the existing heating practices. We also want smart cities.

Our intention is to build new gas pipelines, as well as a new oil pipeline to Hungary, in order to ensure our energy security. In this context, the construction of another oil refinery is planned, which would be able to process the remaining types of oil.

We are also turning to renewable energy sources, so we already have installed wind power plants, solar power plants in early phase, but we intend to further support these and other environmentally acceptable types of energy production from renewable sources.

We have to invest a lot in the infrastructure for environmental protection – in green energy, in wastewater treatment plants (about 5 billion euros for about 350 systems), in waste management about 2 billion euros, in air protection, afforestation, as well as in other segments, which in total amounts to about 15 billion euros.

Further investments are also needed in road and traffic infrastructure. About 4.8 billion euros should be invested in railways and building of new 900 km of railroads, but we also want to develop water transport and its infrastructure, as well as to regulate the river courses of the Danube, Sava, Drina and other rivers, not only because of droughts and low water levels, but also due to the prevention of floods and erosion. Also, in addition to the newly built ones, we also need new airports, as well as new intermodal and goods transport terminals, new marinas on the Danube, as well as efficient and fast electric chargers for vehicles on the roads.

We have also started the construction of the Belgrade metro, and the first phase of construction will cost around 2.5 billion euros, yet we want to attract investors for the following phases as well.

Possible investments in agriculture and food production, which record constant growth in production and exports, are extremely interesting and potent for us. Serbia has always been an agricultural country, with quality soil and good and healthy food, and that is certainly the future that has already arrived. This is precisely why we want to build numerous systems for irrigation, organic plant and livestock production (which have recorded a growth of 271% in the last 10 years).

Tourism is of particular importance to us. Beautiful Serbia has a lot to offer, but it lacks capital. That's why we want partners for the development of spa, rural, recreational and ecological tourism, which are very popular in the world.

We would like to have even more hotels of all categories, since the current capacities cannot meet the needs of a large number, especially foreign tourists.

In our country, creative industries show a strong growth, foreign film audio – visual production brought us about 200 million euros last year, and we want to provide them with even better conditions, and attract more new productions. There are also over 100 companies and teams for the development of video games, as well as other types of creative IT fields.

And inevitably, Serbia wants to develop the field of science and innovation, artificial intelligence, establish scientific – technological and industrial – technological parks. This also requires new partners.

Finally, it should be said that the fifth technological revolution is underway.

Biotechnology. Being aware of that fact, we will do our best to be a part of that future and a part of the forces that lead the intensive development of biotechnology, biomedicine, bioinformatics, and biodiversity. Given the fact that biotechnologies and the pharmaceutical industry are the fastest growing areas in the world, with the tendency of even faster development, we are extremely interested in partnerships and investments in these areas.

This vision of Serbia has only one goal, and that is – man. Actually, a healthy person, a person who is happy and who sees with optimism the future of his children, his country, his planet... Therefore, the previously stated should be applied in healthcare and further innovated: there should be investments into modern equipment and facilities, but with new, perhaps personalized approach, new methods and new means.

And finally, for all the mentioned projects, Serbia is ready to open its doors wide to our friends from Asia, to provide them with support and assistance. It is quite certain that these ventures can be to our mutual benefit, both to the companies and countries they come from, and to our citizens.

And, actually, we are all citizens, aren't we?

Goran Trivan

Born in 1962 in the city of Kladovo. He was the Secretary for Environmental Protection of Belgrade (2008-2017), worked as the Minister for Environmental Protection with the task of forming the relevant ministry (2017-2020), then – Deputy Director of the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research of the University of Belgrade.

Author of numerous publications and scientific papers published in domestic and international journals. In 2020, he received the title of associate professor/researcher.

For professional achievements, as well as for active activity in the field of culture and public work, he was awarded the highest state awards.