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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
   

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 5,249 4,800 4,400 109
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,270 1,240 1,230 126
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
51,129

Population
3,989,018

Capital
Sarajevo

Currency
Convertible Mark 

President 
Zivko Radisic

  

Update No: 090 - (28/10/04)

A Million refugees return home
The United Nations have said more than a million people displaced by the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early 1990s have now returned home. A spokesman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Peter Kessler, described it as a "significant milestone."
Nearly 500,000 of the returnees went back to areas where they were ethnically in a minority - especially Muslims, but also Serbs and Croats. Kessler stressed that "enormous obstacles" still had to be tackled. The problems on the ground include restoring infrastructure, education and healthcare, rebuilding homes and simply finding jobs. More than 2m people fled their homes during the war.
"Nevertheless, this return movement over the last 9 years has been important because it demonstrates that when the international community is prepared to put money into these operations refugees can go back - and can go back in sure and stable ways," Kessler said. The returnees included more than 560,000 displaced and 440,000 who came back from abroad, he said.
"We think there are another half a million people who may go back, but on top of that indeed there are hundreds of thousands more who have built new lives in countries where they have integrated." Nato deployed some 60,000 troops to Bosnia at the end of the 1992-95 war, but its troop presence has shrunk to just 7,000. It will hand over peace-keeping duties to an untested European Union force at the end of the year.
Some observers warn that the country remains a "powder keg," with ethnic tensions still running high in many areas. The UNHCR said nearly 75% of the returnees went back to the mainly Muslim-Croat entity - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 25% to Republika Srpska.

Problems abound: 
A) isolation
The dramatic progress of its neighbours in preparing the way for them to join the EU highlights just how much ground Bosnia-Herzegovina has lost recently simply by standing still. Bosnia is still unable to begin negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement - the very first milestone on the long road to Europe. With its economy and political system still far from satisfying the Copenhagen criteria, the prospect of full EU membership seems decades away.
In fact, Bosnia and Herzegovina is more internationally isolated today than it was five years ago. It remains on the black list of countries for which a visa is required to travel to the European Union. Together with Serbia-Montenegro, it is one of the last countries in Europe excluded from NATO's Partnership for Peace programme, which with members like Turkmenistan, Belarus and Tajikistan has not traditionally been considered an exclusive club. It has not yet joined the World Trade Organization, whose 147 members include Moldova and Angola. The only major European organisation that Bosnia has been able to join is the Council of Europe. Yet in August 2004, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reviewed the quality of Bosnia's democracy, and questioned "the extent to which the current role of the [High Representative] is compatible with membership of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Council of Europe" (Resolution 1384).

B) Poor economy
International isolation is not the only concern: over the past seven years, Bosnia and Herzegovina's economy has performed consistently worse than even the most pessimistic projections of its international advisers. In 1995, the World Bank hoped that the country would become creditworthy by 1998; now, the most optimistic projections are for 2007. Privatisation has failed to prevent the collapse of industries and very few strategic enterprises have found buyers. The international competitiveness of Bosnian products is low, and the progress of its neighbours towards the EU makes it even more difficult for Bosnia to attract foreign investment. A slight improvement in export performance over the past year cannot mask the fact that, in the first eight months of 2004, Bosnia and Herzegovina exported less to the European Union than Gaziantep, a Turkish city of 1.3 million inhabitants not far from the Syrian border.
As a result, Bosnians face a desperate shortage of employment. Less than a third of Bosnia's working-age population participates in the labour force, compared to an EU average of 64 percent, and employment rates among women and young people are among the lowest in Europe. Forced out of the formal economy, many Bosnians are scraping together a living from itinerant labour and informal trade, returning to a life of subsistence agriculture, or simply leaving the country.
The overall conclusion is stark: in the past five years Bosnia and Herzegovina has not just failed to catch up, it has fallen further behind the rest of Europe. A recent UNDP Early Warning Report commented: "As a country and as a society, Bosnia-Herzegovina has been politically stagnating for several years now… This protracted state of affairs, well over nine years now, can no longer be seen solely as a consequence of the war."
To move towards Europe, Bosnia-Herzegovina needs to overcome its authoritarian temptation and embrace a genuinely democratic political process. For the international community, this means leaving responsibility in the hands of elected governments, rather than feeding old habits of dependency. For the European Union, it means offering Bosnia the kind of support offered to candidate countries like Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. The sooner this happens, the sooner Bosnia-Herzegovina will truly set out on the path towards Europe, but in a country that was so recently a killing field with three ethnic groups in murderous confrontation, the process of international de-coupling is a far from simple one.

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Pakistan, Bosnia to enhance economic ties

President Pervez Musharraf, and his Bosnian counterpart, Sulejman Tihic, recently agreed on bolstering trade and economic cooperation through increased investment and joint ventures between the two countries, World News reported.
The two leaders told newsmen after formal talks that they also discussed a host of regional and global issues of common interest, including the fight against terrorism, Indo-Pak relations and restructuring of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
President Musharraf said the two sides also discussed the scourge of terrorism. "We discussed the requirement of contributing toward bringing harmony in the world and ridding our own countries and the world in general of this scourge."
The president described discussion with his Bosnian counterpart as fruitful, saying the two shared the desire and conviction to boost bilateral ties in political, economic and cultural fields. He expressed the confidence that President Sulejman Tihic's visit and discussions would help give new depth and direction to political and economic ties between Pakistan and Bosnia. The two sides also decided to look into cooperation in the field of military training.
President Musharraf said he apprised the Bosnian leader of the situation in South Asia, in particular the state of relations between Pakistan and India. "I underlined my commitment for a result-oriented composite dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Finance Minister and prime minister-designate, Shaukat Aziz, Foreign Minister, Khursheed Kasuri, Commerce Minister, Humayun Akhtar, and Minister for Privatisation and Investment, Dr Hafiz Sheikh, aided the president in the formal talks between the two sides.
Pakistan and Bosnia also signed agreements on holding regular bilateral consultations between their ministries of foreign affairs and avoidance of double taxation for increased economic and trade cooperation. President Musharraf and his Bosnian counterpart, Sulejman Tihic, oversaw the signing of the agreements at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Foreign Minister, Kasuri, and his Bosnian counterpart, Mladen Ivanic, signed the agreements.
Later, President Musharraf hosted a banquet in the honour of his Bosnian counterpart at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Prime Minister, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, also attended the banquet. Earlier, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, Dr GG Jamal, received the Bosnian president at the Islamabad airport. Talking to Sulejman Tihic at the VVIP Lounge, he said Pakistan wanted to bring the OIC back to life under the dynamic leadership of President Pervez Musharraf.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Bosnia Herzegovina Telecom creates new nationwide broadband network with Redback Next Generation Platform

Redback Networks Inc. (RBAK), a leading provider of next-generation broadband networking systems, has announced that the Bosnia Herzegovina Telecom (BH Telecom-Sarajevo) is creating a new, integrated nationwide broadband and IP network, Business Wire reported.
The network will bring ADSL broadband and IP access and services to the country, for the first time, as a part of its rebuilding effort after the war. With the SmartEdge(R) Service Gateway platform and NetOp(TM) Policy Manager from Redback Networks, Bosnia Telecom will create a Smart Broadband Network to meet the broadband needs of consumers and small-to-medium businesses, while at the same time providing leased line and frame relay termination and MPLS VPN services for larger companies. 
"Broadband will play a critical role as the underlying infrastructure of Internet-enabled commerce, communications and delivery of content," said Nedim Dzaferovic, director of data transfer directorate of BH Telecom Sarajevo. "The Redback platform will be an essential element of that infrastructure for us to meet current consumer and business needs and scale with great flexibility to meet the needs and opportunities of the future." 
"We are pleased to help BH Telecom in its rebuilding effort to create essential national infrastructure with a Smart Broadband Network that offers the reliability, flexibility and scalability to meet the demands of an emerging and quickly growing market," said Marco Wanders, vice president of sales and operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa regions for Redback Networks. "BH Telecom has the vision, and now the infrastructure, to meet the challenges and opportunities of both today and tomorrow." 
Initially, BH Telecom will offer broadband and IP service within all larger city centres and then will extend the broadband network to all other urban and suburban parts of the country. Currently the country has dial-up and narrowband fixed-connection Internet service, but BH Telecom plans to build a world-class broadband network for all citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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