Overview of the market
- The term economy in transition is still valid, for Serbia cannot yet count as a developed economy, albeit it is among the fastest growing economies in the region.
- Serbia’s pre-accession status (to the EU) infers, on one side, relevant investments from Brussels, to update the country’s physical and institutional infrastructure; on the other, it means the country needs to do its homework to adapt to the “acquis communitaire”.
- Even so, geopolitics and historical issues may still hinder the country’s accession credentials.
- It has had an important influx of EU’s IPA funds, among others to address governance and rule of law, competitiveness and basic infrastructure.
- It has a way ahead to adapt to the EU’s legislation; in this sense, it is currently aligning the local procurement legislation to EU’s Directives: shifting from a price based criterion to a MEAT one.
- Although the recent past is still taking its toll, the country has huge potential: it has good relations with other Slavic markets, such as Russia, as well as it is still a point of reference in the Balkans region.
- It is still suffering a noteworthy brain drain, similar to that of its neighbors (including Croatia), due to the higher salaries in next door countries, such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany…
- The other side of the coin: Serbians are well qualified, hard workers at competitive costs.
Opportunities to explore by GOOSE
to help European SMEs:
- The fact that local competition is low, opens the door to foreign bidders, also with financial and technical capacity to run the projects.
- Local companies are eager to take part in International consortiums. GOOSE will tap into the rich network established by Slovenian companies, considering it is the second investor after Croatia, with 1 BEURO last year, and with up to 177 companies established in the country.
- Serbia has embarked in ambitious transport infrastructure projects in railways, roads, airports and fluvial ports, all of which are areas subject to public procurement. The total investments in transport infrastructure alone is expected to be around 13 BEURO for the next 5-6 years.
- Other sectors within the scope of public procurement with great potential during the next years are health infrastructure and equipment, clean energy (Serbia stands among the biggest air polluters in Europe), water management and disposal, and environmental projects.
- Understandably, Serbia has huge challenges concerning its climate goals: it is heavily reliant on coal, and highly inefficient in its use of energy, both at the industrial and household level. In this sense, there are specific projects from development donors to tackle this issue.
- ICT Is Serbia’s 4th exporting sector, thanks to investment from foreign multinationals, as well as its educated workforce. Yet, that contrasts with the low path to integrate the digital technologies, in business and government.
In 2022 we will be uploading our Fact sheet with the Main highlights and opportunities of Serbia’s public procurement market