The second day of the Sarajevo Business Forum 2019 was marked by the topics like digital revolution and expansion of the wood industry, which were discussed at round tables as well.
The Digital Revolution is already largely present in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and experts at the roundtable on “Fourth Industrial Revolution - the Digital Revolution“ discussed the strong influence of IT sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its potential for the future.
Digitalisation was discussed also during the round table - wood industry and the expansion of the furniture industry.
Opening the Round Table, Ramo Palalić, professor at the International University in Sarajevo, emphasized that the wood industry is the oldest branch of economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and today it is based on the private sector, with companies mostly export-oriented. "It is important to emphasize that investments in this sector are increasing. Some 60% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is covered by forests, and geographically, Bosnia and Herzegovina is ideally located in Europe for the development of the wood industry and provides plenty of potential that many investors have already recognized," said professor Palaić.
Amir Ćoralić, Board Member of Swedish Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the sectors mentioned, is one of the strongest in the region and currently exports most of the wood and furniture to Germany. However, he also stressed many challenges that domestic businessmen encounter.
"The biggest challenges facing manufacturers are transportation and a difficult export procedure. The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently working on a project to create a hub that will enlighten these procedures, and we hope that through the project the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina will also be actively involved in introducing facilitations and financing in this regard," Ćoralić said.
Nebi Hoxha, President of Economic Chamber of North-West Macedonia also spoke about challenges of the wood industry.
"Another challenge is the issue of maintaining market prices, especially for small businesses, which make up most of the Bosnian business. Customers want unique and high-quality furniture, made according to their wishes, but at affordable prices. It is very difficult to maintain this balance of price and quality. Also, there is a problem of departure of skilled staff from the country which is the main topic of the conference."
Zlatan Faik Uzunović, Managing Director of Prevent Group, referred to the future of the furniture industry.
"The future of the furniture industry lies, like many other industries, in digitalization. More and more manufacturers decide to sell furniture online, as they reduce costs. Also, mass production of furniture is less common because customers want unique products, designed by their performances and desires," Uzunović pointed out.
The round table conclusion was that the wood industry and furniture industry are the two business sectors with the greatest potential for development. Investors have already recognized the quality of the domestic businessmen of the mentioned branches, and solutions are expected to improve export and transportation procedures, which will further stimulate growth and development.
The second day of the Sarajevo Business Forum 2019 was completed by signing two Memorandums of Understanding. The first Memorandum was signed between the Federal Chamber of Commerce of North-West Macedonia and Bosna Bank International d.d., thus establishing stronger co-operation and opening the door for new business ventures.
In order to strengthen the business network with businessmen from Malaysia, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Bumiputra Manufacturers & Services Industry Association from Malaysia and BBI Bank before the Round Table on Malaysia & Bosnia and Herzegovina - Research and Networking.
Among others, Chris Gabriel (CEO of Fly Bosnia), Tuan Junada Said (Chief Executive Officer of HUMAN LIFE ADVANCEMENT FOUNDATION MALAYSIA – HLAF), Amir Zukić (Government of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Federal Minister of Development), and Mohd Redzuan bin Md Yusof (Minister of Entrepreneur Development in Malaysia) spoke on the aforementioned topics.
On this occasion Mohd Redzuan bin Md Yusof expressed his satisfaction with the attendance at the Sarajevo Business Forum 2019, considering that this is a great opportunity for Malaysia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to expand their business network, underlining the need to open a direct airline between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Malaysia.
"I am glad that the director of FLYBOSNIA is with us today, so we can discuss the possibility of direct line between these two perspective countries. We hope to establish many other business links in this forum," said bin Md Yusof.
Chris Gabriel, CEO of FLYBOSNIA, welcomed bin Md Yusof's proposal, and stressed that discussion on this topic would continue on the following day and would explore the options and possibilities for launching the airline. This step would expand the business of these two countries with the aim of boosting the economy.