Opening Remarks: by Mr. Amer Bukvic, CEO, Bosna Bank International

Dear Mr. President, Chairman and member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Your Highness, Your Excellencies, Ministers, Government Representatives, Ambassadors, Distinguished guests, Business Representatives, Media Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of Bosna Bank International, welcome to the 8th International Investment Conference – Sarajevo Business Forum 2017.

First, let me express my gratitude to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is again the Patron of the Forum. Their continued support and Patronage is deeply valued and appreciated. I take this opportunity to thank:

H.E. Dr. Mladen Ivanić, Chairman of the Presidency of B&H and, H.E. Mr. Bakir Izetbegović, member of the Presidency of B&H, for joining us today.

SBF is recognized as one of the most important business and investment events of Southeast Europe initiated in 2010 in cooperation with our shareholders Islamic Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank. I thank them for being present with us today and for their continuous support and guidance. I must also take this opportunity to specially thank H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group for honoring us with his presence as the new President of IDB Group.

I extend my warmest welcome and gratitude to:

  • E. Dr. Denis Zvizdić, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • E. Mr. Stjepan Mesić, Former President of the Republic of Croatia
  • E. Dr. Danilo Turk, Former President of the Republic of Slovenia
  • Christian Danielsson, European Commission Director-General for Enlargement Negotiations and Neighborhood,
  • E. Mirko Šarović, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BIH
  • E. Vjekoslav Bevanda, Minister of Finance and Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BIH
  • E. Ismir Jusko, Minister of Communication and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • E. Dr. Damir Šehović, Minister of Education of Montenegro
  • E. Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
  • E. Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Turkey
  • E. Sahib Mammadov, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

I am pleased to extend a sincere welcome to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum and His Excellency Mohammed Al Shaibani for honoring us with their presence.

I would also like to acknowledge the presence of all the international government representatives and business participants that have joined us from Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.

I am further pleased to receive distinguished government officials and business representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia who have enriched SBF since its inception.

I cannot forget the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina that recognize SBF’s ambitions to attract new investments and business deals. We have established a true public-private cooperation in organizing SBF, and we hope it will continue in the years to come; thank you all.

[PAUSE]

Trust is at the heart of every business deal. It is incredibly delicate - and powerful. It is also at the heart of this year’s theme: building a bridge between East and West. As this region moves closer to EU integration, our global partners can build avenues of commerce that create value here and abroad. Our theme ‘One Region, One Economy’ is also alive and well: no single country in Southeastern Europe can accomplish this on their own. Only with a united approach and strong cooperation can our Region represent opportunity for investors. Our differences should be presented as an opportunity and not a threat. As such, this year’s discussions will integrate energy, infrastructure, education, IT, tourism, trade and agriculture into a broader international context.

Complementing these themes, we are honored by the significant EU presence at SBF 2017. This year Sarajevo Business Forum has established cooperation with the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a link with the European Business Summit, which is taking place in Brussels today. I am glad that we, during preparations for Sarajevo Business Forum, cooperated with Regional Cooperation Council (successor of Stability Pact for Southeast Europe) and Summit100 business leaders of Southeast Europe.

Of course, the West is only half of our ‘corridor’ theme. We will examine potentials with our longtime friends and partners in Eastern, Western, and Central Asia. We are eager to engage the East and West through our region’s unique blend of cultural traditions and historic ties.

The key to our success as a corridor for business is our entrepreneurs. Southeastern Europe needs their open-mindedness, courage, and daring. These qualities will shepherd and develop business opportunities from thousands of kilometers away. Our entrepreneurs will need help, however. Success requires a joint-effort with governments and regional development institutions.

Dear friends, excellencies, guests, business representatives, and members of the media, I am humbled by this gathering in Sarajevo, now in its eighth consecutive year, with 1.577 registered participants and 321 accredited journalists from around the globe. This is not to mention the many others who view our conference through internet streams.

Together we can strengthen this region, create success for our international partners, and give the next generation an opportunity to build a better and brighter future.

With that, I wish you all a pleasant stay. May you find many fruitful investment opportunities and cultivate long term business relationships.

Thank you.