Economic situation Hoping for foreign investment

The political upheavals of the last two decades have had a dramatic impact on Serbia's economy. After many years of isolation as a result of UN sanctions, Serbia is still in the process of rebuilding its economy.

Belgrade by night

Belgrade by night

Belgrade by night

In 2016, economic growth was 2.8 per cent. According to current estimates, the growth rate dropped below 2 per cent again in 2017. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that growth in 2018 was 3.5 per cent.

One important growth industry is the service sector. The industrial sector, by contrast, having once been well set up, is now struggling to compete on the international markets. Serbia requires foreign knowledge and capital in order for its industrial products to do better in Western markets.

Business climate has improved

Serbia's reform efforts within the framework of the EU integration process and as part of an IMF support programme are already bearing fruit. In the World Bank's Doing Business Report (External link), which looks at the business climate in about 190 countries, Serbia's position has improved significantly – from 91st in 2015 to 44th in 2020. Since 2017, domestic and foreign investment has increased considerably, and the budget has been stabilised.

However, if the government wants to sustain this development and attract further investors to Serbia, it still needs to remove a number of obstacles, such as red tape, corruption, weaknesses in the legal system, inadequate protection of competition, and the shortage of skilled workers.