Strengthening Regional Co-operation in Podrinje

Promoting and facilitating economic and inter-municipal co-operation between municipalities and businesses in Podrinje is key to boosting local economic development and strengthening regional co-operation.

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Background

Despite possessing a wealth of potential and possibilities, co-operation between municipalities and businesses within Podrinje remains under-developed and under-exploited. Accordingly, this project aims to stimulate economic trade and municipal ties between Republika Srpska and Serbia by strengthening the capacity of SMEs and municipal officials to understand and contend with the specific challenges and practicalities of regional co-operation.

This project will encourage regional co-operation by providing mechanisms through which municipalities and SMEs can work to identify and develop shared solutions to specific problems facing the Podrinje region, including its comparative remoteness from national markets, poor transport and economic infrastructure, high levels of reported and unregistered unemployment, and relatively low income levels; problems which have previously impeded the region’s sustainable development.

By helping to build regional networks that facilitate exchanges of information, knowledge and innovate practices, meanwhile, this project will help expand the access that SMEs have to alternative markets by providing a framework both to establish contacts with potential partners and to become better acquainted with the respective markets, legislative frameworks and customs regimes.

In promoting inter-municipal and SME co-operation, this project will therefore contribute to improving the region’s economic competitiveness and socio-economic cohesiveness, whilst simultaneously creating new employment and investment opportunities. With the potential for regional co-operation also extending to tourism, cultural exchanges and co-operation between education/training centres, this project will also strengthen co-operation amongst local communities throughout the Podrinje region.

The ‘Strengthening Inter-Municipal and Economic Co-operation in the Podrinje Region’ is composed of a variety of events and activities, combined with on-going networking and best practice exchange elements, intended to contribute to the project’s long-term sustainability and the realisation of joint initiatives, particularly between municipalities. Throughout the project, the participating municipalities, SMEs and other counterparts will work to elaborate strategies for further developing and facilitating regional trade and co-operation. Ultimately, this project will enable municipal authorities to prepare joint project proposals that will help secure additional capital financing for projects that tackle concrete problems inhibiting regional trade, such as those related to transport and communications infrastructure, a lack of economic and low levels of investment in human capital.

Business Sector Focus

Four business sectors have been identified as areas with significant potential for facilitating economic trade and co-operation between Republika Srpska and Serbia.

Business Sector Brief Description

Agriculture Linking producers to food processors, encouraging cattle breeding (and dairy products), production and marketing of healthy foods, agricultural co-operatives;
Natural Resources Such as forestry, mining, mineral water springs, hydro-electricity power generation, Drina River usage;
Light Manufacturing Production of components for use by larger manufacturers, links with primary resource suppliers;
Tourism Including Drina River-related tourism, rural and health tourism (spas and wellness centres), religious and other cultural heritage

Objectives

The main objective is to promote and facilitate inter-municipal and economic co-operation between Republika Srpska and Serbia by strengthening the skills and knowledge of, and information available to, municipal officials and small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) from throughout Podrinje.

Other strategic objectives include:

  • to improve co-operation between municipal officials and SMEs in Republika Srpska and Serbia through the development of initiatives that support regional trade and co-operation;
  • to establish a Podrinje region trade fora and network to enable direct contact between SMEs from Republika Srpska and Serbia, respectively;
  • to promote the sharing of experience between SMEs and municipalities on economic policy formulation, strategic planning and trade promotion through regional partnerships;
  • to increase awareness amongst citizens, municipal officials and SMEs about the positive effects of regional co-operation and the process of European integration;
  • to stimulate foreign investment, entrepreneurship and strategic partnerships by promoting regional and European integration.

Participating Municipalities

The following municipalities have been selected to participate in the project.

Republika Srpska Serbia
Bijeljina Bajna Bašta
Bratunac Bogatić
Han Pijesak Čajetina
Lopare Kosjeric
Milići Loznica
Rogatica Ljubovija
Rudo Mali Zvornik
Srebrenica Priboj
Ugljevik Šabac
Vlasenica Šid
Višegrad Sremska Mitrovica
Zvornik Užice
Valjevo

In order to facilitate the establishment of regional partnerships, these municipalities have been divided into three separate clusters, based upon their geographical proximity.

Bijeljina-Srem/Mačva Zvornik-Mačva/Kolubara Višegrad-Kolubara/Zlatibor
Bijeljina Zvornik Višegrad
Lopare Bratunac Han Pijesak
Ugljevik Vlasenica Rogatica
Šid Milići Rudo
Sremska Mitrovica Srebrenica Bajna Bašta
Bogatić Mali Zvornik Užice
Loznica Ljubovija Čajetina
Šabac Valjevo Priboj/Kosjeric

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