"If it weren't for wars, Serbia would be like Switzerland"

If there weren't for wars, Serbia would today be like Switzerland, says businessman, author and founder of the Swiss organization WORLD.MINDS Rolf Dobelli.

Source: Blic, Tanjug
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(Thinkstock)
(Thinkstock)

In an interview for the daily Blic, Dobelli said his organization will start organizing its gatherings in Belgrade next year. He also says that Serbia "made good progress and is doing a good job."

"We had a meeting with the prime minister who was one of the people who had a great influence on us coming to Belgrade, and Mr. Vucic also initiated this. We would like to bring as many people from our original community to WORLD.MINDS in Belgrade," Dobelli, who was visiting Belgrade, told Blic.

"With your government, we could, a day after the symposium, organize meetings with those who took part, to see who can offer what, to talk about investments, etc. But, I can tell you that it is really good to work with your government, it is quick and does not complicate things," he says.

When asked "why Belgrade and Serbia," Dobelli said the organizations received many queries from other cities about the possibility of organizing a symposium there - but the Serbian government expressed strong support.

He added that there was another reason - "Serbia is similar to Switzerland, with an approximate population, no oil, and, as we generate our wealth through science and entrepreneurship, so will Serbia."

"Do not forget you had three wars, Switzerland did not, we did not participate in the First World War, we were spared in the Second, and of course we did not have the Yugoslav war. So you went through three wars and that's the difference... We had a better start and better luck, and you've had bad luck. If it were not for that, you would be like Switzerland, I guarantee that," said Dobelli.

When asked how Serbia can prevent a brain drain, he said the country "should find a way to reconnect with these people."

"And WORLD.MINDS can help in that. Belgrade has a regional influence and is the leading center for science in the region. Serbia should become a magnet, its scientists go abroad and they should do that, but Serbia needs to find a way to draw them back. It's a long-lasting project, but that must happen," Dobelli said.

Asked "how Serbia can attract investments and improve its image in the world," he said that would "come in time."

"But I think EU integration will really help, as soon as this happens, a lot of investment will come to the country. I think it will take a few more years, but you have made good progress. Meanwhile, it helps that you are working on digitization, cutting the red tape, stimulating entrepreneurship, building techno-parks... I think Serbia is doing a good job, and now we are a small part of it," he said.

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