Unveiling the first Sustainable Business Environment: Regional 2023 Report

The first panel held on this years CORE days was related to the presentation of the newly developed Sustainable Business Environment: Regional 2023 Report. Dušan Vasiljevi, NALED, presented the Regional 2023 Report, comprising of the results of a composite index developed for the purpose of the report and best practices in each of the economies that can be disseminated in the region. The index aggregated 34 indicators per economy providing a comprehensive overview and estimation to the levels of business environments in the region. The economies were ranked in five pillars Fundamental Prerequisites,  Markets, Business Friendly Regulation, Level Playing Field and Business Innovation and Sustainable and Equitable Development. The results suggest that Croatia is the leader in the region with Serbia in second place followed by Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo* and with Bosnia and Herzegovina in last place.

The panel was moderated by Daniel Berg, Strategic Advisor and Former EBRD Director in Serbia, and attended by Oksana Pak, Head of Access to Finance and Entrepreneurship at EBRD, Saša Čegar, Professor at University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics and Business, Antoni Peshev, Executive Director at Economic Chamber of North Macedonia, Milan Ćulibrk Editor in Chief of NIN Weekly News Magazine.

This kind of a report was needed for the region as it filed the gap left by the Doing Business Report, it has the potential to stimulate regional development and allow for a faster convergence with EU economies in the opinion of Daniel Berg. Milan Ćulibrk agreed that the convergence rate is of great importance and that it needs to be stimulated, stating that in some estimates most of the regional economies are not developing at a rate needed to achieve such a result. Professor Čegar, pointed out that from the perspective of Croatia that the main reforms need to be institutional and of the legal framework, but that that requires addressing a number of hard truths, he further pointed out that it is important to invest in education and specialisation in technology related sectors. Antoni Peshev pointed out the importance of the workforce and cultivating a healthy work environment with sufficient benefits in order to retain workers as now there is a shortage in the workforce, further pointing out that now is the time to think about integrating foreign workers that will undoubtedly come to the region. Oksana Pak pointed out the importance of including Sustainable and Equitable Development as a pillar in the SBE Regional 2023 Report, as it is her belief that it hold the keys for futureproofing, she pointed out that local governments play a crucial role in development and that the EBRD will be focusing on sustainable and green solutions in the future. All the panellist agreed that cooperation is paramount, and it needs to superpose competition, the SBE Report is a step in the right direction allowing for the recognition of possible weaknesses and dissemination of solutions.

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