SECO’s interventions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are complementary to those of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The country has a complex political system with two separate entities and an independent district. SECO strengthens the public infrastructure in urban areas and promotes job creation in the private sector.
In recent years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has sought to install economic, political and social reforms, bringing the country closer to EU standards. However, there are still some huge issues to overcome. The country consists of two separate entities (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska) and an independent district (Brcko), often resulting in some complex and inefficient state structures.
Poor growth and water shortages
Bosnia and Herzegovina entered the new millennium with a thriving economy, but growth in per capita income has stagnated since 2009 to around 3% p.a. This is due in part to a skills gap in the private sector, low investment and high unemployment. Women and social minorities often tend to face discrimination. Many projects have been planned in water supply and other basic infrastructures in order to enhance the quality of public services.
What are SECO’s objectives?
Switzerland supports Bosnia and Herzegovina in local governance, economy and employment, health and migration. Switzerland
maintains a migration partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina. SECO’s main focus is on:
Improved public infrastructure
SECO is working to improve public services at a local level. To build up the urban infrastructure, for example, it encourages investment in a sustainable clean water and sanitation system.
A more competitive private sector and job creation
SECO is improving the framework conditions for the private sector. For instance, it strives to raise the quality of the microfinance sector and local advisory services for private debt. SECO supports local entrepreneurship and, in doing so, job creation. Moreover, it contributes to increase macroeconomic stability and transparency by strengthening the financial sector.
SECO and the SDC, for which Bosnia and Herzegovina is a priority country, jointly define and implement the Swiss Cooperation Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
From 2017 to 2020, a total of some CHF 74 million is earmarked for Swiss transition cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which around CHF 16 million is from SECO.