Bosnia expecting more foreign investment bids

Bosnia expecting more foreign investment bids

Bosnia expecting more foreign investment bids

Bosnian miners work inside the coal mine “Sretno”, near the central Bosnian town of Breza. REUTERS photo

Esteemed organizers of the conference, Your Excellencies, senior officials, guests, hosts and media representatives, ladies and gentlemen,

I am extremely honoured to have an opportunity to address the participants of the esteemed Euroasian Economic Summit and first of all I want to thank the organizer for the invitation and to congratulate for an extraordinary organization.

I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina where global and local have been pervading for centuries. The same is now, too. The sector I am in charge of in the Government of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry is facing similar challenges which the whole modern world is facing.


Erdal Trhulj, Federal Minister of Energy,
Mining and Industry

Maybe the only difference between Bosnia and Herzegovina and most of the countries of the rest of the world is that 20 years ago there was a terrible war which left enormous consequences on all of its citizens and which has slowed down its development in many ways. Before 1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina had the youngest basic resources of all republics of former Yugoslavia. The majority of basic resources was destroyed in the war. Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet reached the level of economic development it had before the war. These are the facts which we cannot forget, beacuse they are part of the hardest period of its citizens. Despite everything, we are turning to the future in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Higher standards

The Ministry I am in charge of is making all efforts together with the Government to improve the economic situation in the country and to create an environment for a better life of our citizens. That is not a simple task, especially in the last few years when everybody feels the consequences of the economic crisis.

For this reason we are endeavouring to put all our available resources in the function of development and a higher standard of our citizens. Energy is definitely one of the most significant resources. Energy is an important and unavoidable factor in the quality of life and environmental status. It is necessary to strengthen our economy and to secure a pleasant life, but the way we are getting and using it has also local and global implications on the environment we live in. The quality of air is a justified concern of every local community, and climate changes are one of the largest challenges we are facing at the global level.

On the one hand we are witnessing enormous increase of demand for energy as a result of the industrial development and increase of population. On the other hand global warming and climate changes have become an unavoidable general world’s problem and a dangerous threat to numerous aspects of life and development on the Earth.

For this reason it is a deep and real present concern of humanity for climate changes, increase of energy consumption, increased dependance on fossil fuels, and its hazardous effects on the environment and economy, but on the other hand for the significance the energy has on the total development from the local to global community.

Therefore it should not be surprising that the security of energy supply and protection of the environment will be having a significant effect on decisions and policies to define the world’s order in the following decades.

The ability of every country to possess and utilize energy sources will determine the status of its economy, national security and quality and sustainability of environment. Therefore energy supply and protection of environment should be used as basis for regional and global cooperation.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is clearly oriented in the direction of EU integrations and is therefore prepared to accept all achievements and acquis of the European Union in the field of energy which is mostly governed by the signature of the Treaty establishing the Energy Community of Southeast Europe. This is how Bosnia and Herzegovina created conditions and real assumptions to make important steps in the adjustment of its energy system and market mechanisms under international requirements.

All available data are saying that energy intensity in Bosnia and Herzegovina is considerably higher than the value of the world’s and European average, and that it is an indicator that there is a large potential for further improvement of the energy sector.

The gap to be bridged in order to achieve “international standards“ has decreased in the last two years with the elaboration of a set of regulations, but it is requesting the continuation of activities on the full implementation of adopted legislation.

Every country has its specificities and the set goals are representing only the framework we need to move in. Realization of these goals is not in question, but the way of implementation has to be adapted to the specificities of the country implementing them.

The possibilities for further development are enormous, because we are using only 35% of our hydro potential, we have enormous solar capacities, but also wind and biomass capacities which are almost not used. In present conditions this is becoming our develoment opportunity, but also our contribution to the fight against climate changes and stability of the global energy sector.

The possibilities for upgrading energy efficiency are enormous. I cannot say that we have been taught earlier to save, but we were saving when trouble made us do so. Therefore our commitment for a permanent education of our citizens for rational energy use and increase of energy efficiency has become our development and investment opportunity.

With large possibilities for development in the field of energy I have to emphasize that in the previous year we achieved enviable results in the industry sector also, despite the economic crisis, where the growth of industrial production has reached almost 10%, and the growth of export has also increased by 10%.

Special improvements have been made in the military industry which has increased its profit in three years for more than three times and through the signed cooperation with the American partner we have created conditons for the following years for expansion of capacities, introduction of modern technologies, new employments and continuation of production increase.

We are aware of the fact that as a small country we can symbolically affect the global flows, but we are deeply aware and responsible that we can create an excellent local environment which will attract foreign investors and foreign capital. The proof for this is exactly the presence of a multinational company Shell which has expressed its interest after two years for starting negotiations on concession award for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. I hope that we will position our country as significant in terms of energy also in the local and global frameworks by finding significant oil and gas reserves.

Today I will not speak about our potentials in coal reserves, metal ores which the European Union is missing, biomass where the woods are covering more than 50% of the whole country, the world’s oasis of healthy food, a touristic destination which in the last two years has the largest increase of tourist visits in the region.

Large human resource

Today I also want to emphasize maybe our largest resource, larger and more significant than energy resources. These are our human resources, human potentials. I will not be immodest when I say that there are few places like our Bosnia and Herzewgovina where you will be welcomed on every step by the warmth of people, hard-working and professional. For this reason I am inviting potential investors at this summit to come to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to convince themselves of all these potentials I presented today.

Experiences of foreign investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina are more than good. However, our Government and Ministry of Energy, Mining and Industry which I am in charge of will not be satisfied until Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes a country full of prosperity because its citizens and people deserve this.

Herewith I want to to use the opportunity to thank the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people who have shown towards Bosnia and Herzegovina great understanding, friendship and help. I sincerely hope that the projects we are discussing will soon be realized to the interest of all parties.

Finally I want to point out that it is more than obvious that we are at the same time part of the global and the local or part of the local and the global, depending from which side we are observing it. Marmara Foundation is exactly contributing that we meet each other better and that we find possibilities for different forms of cooperation and I am exceedingly grateful for that.

Thank you for your attention and I hope to meet you soon in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This is the speech by Erdal Trhulj at the 17th Istanbul Eurasian Economic Summit.