The ninth Sarajevo Business Forum (SBF) began on April 25 in the Bosnian capital with Turkey calling on its entrepreneurs to invest in the Balkan country.
“We encourage our companies to come and invest here because we believe in this country’s long-term prospects. I think there are huge investment opportunities,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek on the first day of the vent.
Turkish firms have invested $35 billion abroad over the last decade, he noted.
“I have heard that Bosnia-Herzegovina is actually one of the least leveraged countries, which is yet another reason why we should have confidence in the future of this country. I have heard of their great potential in energy, agriculture, and tourism. There is a huge opportunity here. My government, my country is committed to the stable prospering of peaceful Balkan nations,” Şimşek said.
The deputy prime minister said he was delighted to have learned that Turkish people accounted for more than 7 percent of all tourist arrivals in Bosnia.
“In fact, if you exclude your neighbors, Turks look like number one visitors. This is really important because that would help strengthen the people-to-people relationship,” he noted.
The inauguration of the business forum was attended by members of the Presidency of Bosnia, Slovenian President Borut Pahor, and ministers from Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Morocco.
The Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, said during the nine years of the Sarajevo Business Forum, successful investments had been made so far, which have contributed to Bosnia becoming an attractive place for investors.
“Bosnia-Herzegovina is the meeting point of business people from the East and the West. It is also the center of southeast Europe. Representatives of neighboring countries have also shown we could join this organization and create business alliance opportunities. When we consider these things, it is now time to come to Bosnia for investment. Today’s efforts will pay off in the near future. I believe that industry leaders see it is the right time,” said Izetbegovic.
Rasim Ljalic, Serbia’s deputy prime minister and minister of trade, tourism and telecommunications, said the region’s economic integration had been in stagnation because of politics.