Foreign investments "exceed EUR 500 million"
BELGRADE -- Foreign investors put in over EUR 500 million in various projects in Serbia in the first half of the year, Serbian officials said.
Director of the Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) Božidar Laganin presented the numbers on Wednesday, citing information from the National Bank of Serbia.
He says that taking into account ongoing and expected projects, it is realistic to expect foreign direct investments (FDI) will exceed a billion euros this year.
"We are not satisfied either with the results to date in attracting FDI, or the expected inflow for all of 2013, and everything tells us that a lot of work is needed to achieve an FDI inflow which would fully satisfy Serbia's needs at this level of development," Laganin said in an interview with Tanjug.
The SIEPA director says that considering the real state of the Serbian economy, as well as the situation in the global economy, a satisfactory level of FDI would be around EUR 2 billion a year, or approximately five percent of the GDP.
We need to keep in mind that last year FDI dropped 18 percent on the global level, which makes it more difficult to win projects, he said.
Laganin says this is precisely why state institutions must continue to pass all the necessary regulations to facilitate foreign investments.
He nevertheless notes that in a recent attractiveness survey by Ernst and Young, Serbia ranked a high sixth among European countries in the number of jobs created by foreign investments.
"This is very important for a country like Serbia, where unemployment is now above 24 percent," he said.
Among new and promising projects which should be realized soon, Laganin highlights several large investments which have already been agreed or are expected with businessmen from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and some other Arab countries.
The deal signed with an UAE partner to form Air Serbia should serve as a sort of signpost for other major investments, said Laganin.
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