The Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WBCIF) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) gathered European investors from Austria, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia, WB investment promotion agencies, ministries responsible for investment policy and promotion, regional organizations and international financial institutions to present opportunities and benefits of investing in the region at the Western Balkans 6 Investment Conference, in Ljubljana on November 22nd 2022.
The conference disseminated information on the investment framework, presenting opportunities and advantages of doing business in the Western Balkans, showcased examples of successful investments to the region and supported networking. Furthermore, the conference presented the comparative advantage of the Western Balkans region compared to other investment destinations in light of new global developments and nearshoring of supply chains.
At the opening of the conference in his address to the present guests from the government institutions, the business sector and international organizations Mr. Marko Cadez, President of the WBCIF Managing Board pointed out that: “When the story of Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum started, it was an initiative to invite all chambers of commerce and not only work and cooperate together, but create a perception of a successful region where people make money, and not a region that people leave. We live in two realities. The political reality is a story of conflict and lack of trust. The reality of business and regional cooperation is a positive reality that creates true success stories. The political reality makes the headlines, making the effort of business reality much larger. Our goal is to show that cooperation can create capital, new jobs and build trust, because business reality always starts from what brings us together”
“Since 2019, according to World Bank report, FDI contributed 4.9% of the region’s GDP, 5.3% in 2020, 5.8% in 2021 and this year it is estimated to contribute 5.2%, with a similar percentage forecasted also for the upcoming two years. While we cannot guarantee how the economic outlook will look like in the years to come, we are certain that the Western Balkans has becoming increasingly important investment destination and a place where transparency, all-inclusiveness and confidence is widely shared and promoted. This cannot be built over night but can be continuously consolidated through different areas, be it through transport, mobility, roaming, innovation, industry, you name it. That the regional cooperation is the only viable way thinks 76% of Western Balkan citizens and 69% of Western Balkan businesses who understand and support the importance of working together in addressing challenges that come from outside and within the region,” said Pranvera Kastrati, RCC Coordinator of the Common Regional Market (CRM) Action Plan, in her opening remarks.
WB6 investment potentials have been presented at the conference, but also testimonials of the lead investors, such as NLB Group, KOLEKTOR CCL, ATLANTIC GRUPA, SOL GROUP / TGS TEHNICKI GASOVI, SIGAL UNIQA GROUP AUSTRIA, MIKROELEKTRONIKA, and many others, focusing on experience gained, as well as key issues of WB6 governments in light of new global and regional developments. In addition, the conference offered the opportunity for B2G meetings during the networking phase of the event.
Stressing that it is time for mutual trust, Marko Cadez – President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, handed over the chairmanship of the WBCIF Managing Board to Lulzim Rafuna – President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s time to trust each other, to celebrate what unites us, not what divides us.” Therefore, I have decided to hand over my mandate as President of the Managing Board of the WB6CIF, as our common regional chamber, to my dear friend Lulzim Rafuna, President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce. Let’s build a better future for our business together, to build a region of success from a region of conflict, said Mr. Čadež and thanked Mr. Rafuna for the accepted mandate.
“And that’s why I’m extremely glad when I see colleagues from all chambers of commerce – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo – together today, when I see that we share a common vision, that we share a different reality. And that is not something that is said for the sake of order, because only what you actually do counts, and this is another step in that direction,” said Čadež.
The Conference is a part of the Western Balkans Common Regional Market Action Plan implementation