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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina


 

Update No: 152 - (20/01/10)

The aftermath of war
Everything in Bosnia is overshadowed by the 1992-95 war, which saw 240,000 killed, a like number maimed and a million and a half out of a four million population becoming refugees. The scale of destruction involved was so ferocious it is difficult for citizens of peaceful Western democracies to understand it all.

It was one conflict where the US did finally end it by intervention, albeit of a diplomatic nature, negotiated by someone who has rather better a claim to the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama. This was Richard Holbrooke who negotiated the Dayton Agreement fifteen years ago.

NATO to the rescue?
It is a curious fact, but the 1999 war over Kosovo, the next great crisis in the Balkans, was not fought under the auspices of NATO, although the prime members of the coalition were of course NATO members. The reason was to secure Russia's co-operation, which proved decisive in ending the conflict by ensuring Belgrade's compliance with the West's agenda.

But Bosnia's entry into NATO is now very much on the cards. US Armed Forces’ contingent started arriving in August in Bosnia and Herzegovina for NATO’s Joint Endeavour 2009 military exercise. “Joint Endeavor 2009 is a test for Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Republika Srpska Television opined on August 21.

This is the first time this annual NATO exercise was taking place in a country that is not a NATO member. The Alliance decided to hold the training operation in Bosnia in order to show its support for the country's NATO membership process.

The exercise was held from September 4th to the 17th at the Kozara military barracks near Banja Luka, the administrative seat of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity.

The exercise provoked considerable controversy, with local media and officials expressing their concerns that NATO may have a hidden agenda in holding the exercise in Republika Srpska. Some officials said NATO may have used the event to gain information on or from Republika Srpska communication facilities, or on weapons and ammunition depots.

Concerned at these prospects, some Bosnian Serb veterans’ and citizens’ associations pledged to hold demonstrations ahead of the exercise. These were duly held but to no effect.

IMF to the rescue?
Encumbered by petty political plots and growing social unrest, Bosnia is staggering closer to garnering a first loan tranche from the IMF.

Both Bosnian entities – the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) and Croat Federation and predominately Serb Republika Srpska – have moved closer to adopting required budget rebalances over the past few months.Once this process is complete, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have met the first benchmark in curbing their expenditures and will be able to start using the first tranche of an IMF loan, totalling US$ 280 million, which has already transferred to the country’s Central Bank.

Bosnia has secured a US$1.6 billion loan from the IMF, intended to act as a bulwark against the ongoing economic downturn. In the Federation, the House of Representatives has adopted a budget rebalance. The upper house, the House of Peoples, did the same.

Yet, despite these developments, the crucial loan deal still faces a number of potential hurdles.

In Republika Srpska, the final, legal confirmation of the budget rebalance is in dispute. The Bosniak caucus previously announced that it would block all key Assembly decisions until the Serb-dominated legislature's code of conduct is changed to prevent Bosniaks from being outvoted.

Bosnia’s Office of the High Representative, OHR, which is the ultimate arbiter in such disputes, is still considering the issue and has so far failed to resolve it.

The Bosniak-Croat Federation, is experiencing a different set of problems. The Federation government, and its new prime minister, Mustafa Mujezinovic, have been facing increasing pressure and intense criticism from influential war veterans' associations and workers’ syndicates, over the planned reduction of salaries and social benefits paid from the Federation budget.

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