“There exist millions of cities where you can go, but only one where you can come back” this quote refers to a famous city on the FMRS, the inspiring city of Sarajevo, Bosnia. A uniquely structured country with a transitional economy and limited market reforms, on April 28th was the date that the debate was destined to begin in Sarajevo.
The Commercial Attaché of Austrian Embassy in Bosnia, Sigmund Nemeti, opened the conference emphasizing the importance of continuation of organizing this event in Sarajevo and reminded the audience that “the economy is the backbone of the society”.
It started as it did in many cities, with a discussion on the theme “to grow or no to grow” and the possible ways of how to provoke economic growth and finally leave this era of stagnation. The Keynote speech came from Mark Klugmman, who reminded the audience that the creation of free trade zones led to China becoming an economic giant in the last decades. In this regard, he mentioned the latest attempt of the Republika Srpska towards the creation of small economic zones that will generate a lot of opportunities and jobs in the near future.
“The implementation and turning the Federation into tiny zones would lead to economic prosperity and better wellbeing for the people” he summarized.
“The difficult access and the lack of reforms along with less economic freedom in the country” are the main obstacles standing in the path of economic development, based on Kate Sheehan.
Kerry Halferty Hardy presented an interesting view on entrepreneurship and economic growth when it comes to France. She criticised the countries rigid labor market that makes things more difficult. “Tolerance for risk is very low. The French people are the highest risk aversion nation” explaining the current poor economic situation and faded entrepreneurship spirit. A young spirit talked in the last panel; Alfredo Pasqual giving a new interesting alternative for reaching economic growth. “The cannabis legalization and its usage for industrial purposes will lead to economic growth” he claimed.
The panel was closed by Mark Klugmman who has noted that the missing element in the Balkan Peninsula is the “lack of aiming high” – satisfied with the status of being second.
Matt Kibbe began the second panel quoting Steve Jobs “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. He continued by adding that “an entrepreneur is the one that sees the future that no one other can’t see”. Addressing this mostly to the youngsters in the audience, he stressed the fact that “entrepreneurship is about failing, you are going to fail. Thus, don’t be discouraged because there lie the success”.
The scenario if Bosnia joins the European Union was portrayed by Pieter Cleppe along with a comparison of the decision making process in EU and Bosnia. “The euro adoption in Bosnia would float things, getting cheap money which will lead to investment bubbles and an avoidable crisis” he claimed. After that it was Richard Zundritsch’s turn who briefly described the situation of this territory when central planning was present. “Government regulations hinders you and sometimes can go crazy” he said. Summarized by saying that “better system and more stability will lead to economic growth”.
In the closing remarks, Pieter Cleppe claimed that “more trade will lead to more independent economy and more engaged civil society will lead to more enforcement of law”. The conference was closed by Matt Kibbe saying that “We need to start and build a community, changing mentality and public opinion that will promote and even, try to change and implement them”.
The final speak was reserved for the local organizer and host, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology, Adisa Omerbegovic Arapovic who spoke about the importance of the event.