New Convocation of the Business Council of the Diaspora Presented
September 28, 2023
Belgrade, 27 September 2023 – Within the initiative for stronger connections and development of cooperation of representatives of the Serbian community in the diaspora with the institutions and economy in Serbia, the New Convocation of the Business Council of the Diaspora has been presented today. The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Serbia (CCRS), with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The new convocation is a part of the transformation of the Business Council of the Diaspora affiliated with the CCRS, the aim of which is to facilitate the diaspora investments in Serbia, and open new opportunities for Serbian enterprises on export markets, as well as to stimulate exchange of knowledge and experiences between Serbia and the diaspora, especially in utilising new technologies.
The Minister without Portfolio delegated with coordinating the activities and measures in the field of relations between the Republic of Serbia and its diaspora Đorđe Milićević emphasised that the diaspora has represented an endless resource for our country.
“Our collaborators who live and work outside our country’s borders are its ambassadors, promoters of our products and market, and the key actors in improving our economy. They are also a connection to the international economy and they bring with them an immense investment potential, both when it comes to their own and their business partners’ funds. It is up to us, as representatives of the Serbian Government and the Chamber of Commerce, to establish connections between the diaspora, local self-government units and small and medium enterprises. This partnership may prove to be crucial for the maintenance of our economic growth and strengthening of the trade ties between the diaspora and the motherland,” clarified Minister Milićević and stressed that the Government dedicatedly worked on improving the relations with the diaspora and creating an environment conducive to their active role in the development of Serbia.
The majority of the 50 members of the Business Council of the Diaspora’s new convocation, would comprise renowned representatives of the diaspora from the business and academic community. Also, the Council will include members of local self-governments, ministries and leading scientific institutions in Serbia.
The Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Serbia Richard Kohli said that recently, attention was increasingly dedicated to the relationship of migrations and development.
“From the perspective of development cooperation, engagement of the private sector is crucial for the economic development of a country. In our economic programmes, we put an emphasis on the development of skills, innovations and competitiveness. As we still have much to learn about the connections between migrations, diaspora, private sector and concrete potentials in Serbia, we believe that today’s first meeting of the Business Council for the Diaspora is one of the important steps that may bring about progress in this field,” added Kholi.
The event also involved the presentation of a new Draft Strategy of the Business Council of the Diaspora. As the priorities, it highlights the presentation of potentials for investment, as well as support in the realisation of the already-existing initiatives for the investment of the diaspora in Serbia, support to the development of export and tourism, especially by utilising digital technologies, increased inclusion of the diaspora in the green transformation of Serbian private sector, as well as the development of women’s entrepreneurship, based on the experiences of women entrepreneurs from the diaspora.
“Serbian diaspora has a great potential to aid better economic growth in Serbia. This, for example, involves mentoring support to small and medium enterprises, especially those that are export-oriented. Also, by investing their own capital in the enterprises operating in Serbia, the diaspora may contribute to higher employment of the local population. I believe that, with the new priorities and the new convocation of the Business Council of the Diaspora, we would be able to create a stronger bond between the diaspora and Serbia, to the benefit of this country’s citizens within and outside its borders,” said Bojana Balon, Acting Deputy of the Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia.
Director of the Department of Strategic Analysis, Services and Internationalisation of the CCRS, Mihailo Vesović said that in this new strategy, the operation of the Business Council has been regulated for the next four years, with the aim to connect as best as possible business people from the diaspora with the local companies, members of the CCRS.
“It is our pleasure that the mandate of the Business Council for the Diaspora of the CCRS is being renewed, after a two-year break caused by Covid-19. We hope that in the following period, these sessions will become regular in June and December when there is the greatest presence of the diaspora in Serbia,” added Vesović.
The event was organised as a part of the Global Programme on Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development, implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with financial support from the Government of Switzerland via the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).