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SERBIA
Economy

Cities in SERBIA

Belgrade

Economy

General

Serbia's economy is slowly recovering after years of sanctions, war and domestic unrest. The biggest problems started around 1991, when Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia split from Yugoslavia. This meant that Serbia had to start reflecting on a new economic structure, which until then had been centrally managed from the capital Belgrade.

In addition, Serbia lost a large part of its manufacturing industry to Croatia and Slovenia and the important tourism sector came to a complete standstill. Fortunately, the Vojvodina region still remained the most productive agricultural region of the Balkans, and raw materials were still extracted in the coal mines of the southeast and the mineral mines of Kosovo. In the mid-1990s, inflation reached a world record 600,000%, with 500 billion dinars banknotes worth only six dollars and an inflation rate of 3% per hour!! The poorest people in Serbia at that time lived at the level of prosperity of a developing country. Many, especially young and well-educated, left the country and that only exacerbated the situation. This deplorable economic situation was one of the reasons why the population protested in late 2000 and eventually led to the downfall of the Slobodan Miloševic regime.

Since that time, the Serbian parliament has only made hard economic decisions: stabilizing the dinar, simplifying the tax system and reforming the banking sector. In 2001, Serbia became eligible for interest-free loans from the World Bank and a $540 million credit, intended for political, economic and social reforms. In 2003, Serbia received another 229 million euros from the European Union. All this resulted in economic growth in 2006 reaching 6.3%, despite an unemployment rate of 20%, a large export deficit and a government debt of more than 12 billion dollars. Corruption and organized crime also lost their grip on Serbia's economy, making it more interesting for foreign countries to invest in Serbia. People are therefore reasonably optimistic about the economic future of Serbia. The development of the Serbian economy will also strongly depend on the much desired integration into the European Union.

In January 2014, EU accession negotiations officially started. Economic growth in 2017 amounted to 1.9%. The GDP per capita is $15,100 (2017).

Agricultural sector

The main agricultural products are: maize, wheat, rye, fruits, wines and meat. Vojvodina is the breadbasket of the country. Apples, plums and other fruits are widely grown in the high-altitude areas around Belgrade. Serbia is the world's largest producer of plums.

Large grain-growing and dairy farms in the nearby Pannonian Basin provide food for the residents of Belgrade and the rest of Serbia, while livestock and meat products are exported. The fishery mainly supplies canned fish.

Most of the arable land in Serbia is privately owned, although there is a legal limit to the amount of land a farmer can own. The government owns and manages the remaining agricultural land with collective farms or cooperatives. 19.4% of the population works in agriculture. The sector contributes 9.8% to GDP.

Mining and energy supply

The former Yugoslavia is rich in raw materials, especially lignite and lignite. Copper, gold and silver, bauxite, lead, zinc and magnesite are also found. Trepçë is the largest producer of refined lead in the world.

About half of household energy consumption comes from coal. Own oil and gas production is nowhere near enough to meet domestic demand and is imported from Russia, the Middle East and Libya. Electricity is mainly supplied by hydroelectric power plants located in Serbia and by lignite and lignite-fired thermoelectric plants.

Industry

Industrialization has been widespread since 1945, but the collapse of the old Yugoslavia and international boycott have hit the industry hard.

The plastics industry recovered quickly and was even able to focus on exports. Production is mainly for construction and infrastructure domestically and PVC products for export.

Due to the many new construction projects, there is a high demand for paints and varnishes. Today's industry produces mainly for the domestic market, but cannot meet that demand.

Metal and oil processing, chemical and pharmaceutical companies are present in Vojvodina. Cars and trucks (including Zastavas), tractors, agricultural machines, electrical appliances, chemical and pharmaceutical products are made in Serbia. Industry contributes 41.1% to the GNP and 24.5% of the population works in this sector (2013).

Trade

Foreign trade slowly resumed after the revolution in 2000. Serbia's main trading partners are Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Italy, Germany and Macedonia. The total value of exports was $15.69 billion in 2017 and the total value of imports was $20.4 billion. Serbia therefore has a hefty trade deficit.

Traffic

Although the road network was greatly improved and expanded in the 1970s, it is overloaded and still of insufficient quality. The total length of the road network in 2013 is approximately 50,000 km, of which the largest part is asphalted. Vojvodina is an important hub of traffic, waterways and railway connections.

The railway network has a length of approximately 4000 km, of which 1342 km is electrified. The rail infrastructure, wagons and locomotives are on average about thirty years old and almost completely written off.

The merchant fleet consists of only a few dozen seagoing ships. The only remaining seaport is Bar. Inland waterway transport takes place mainly on the Danube (90%) and rivers and canals (together 10%) in the north of the country. The inland shipping fleet consists of approximately 500 ships.

Serbia has Belgrade International Airport.


Sources

Detrez, R. / Servië-Montenegro : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen ; Novib

Milivojevic, J. / Serbia
Children’s Press

Mitchell, L. / Serbia
Bradt Travel Guides

Schuman, M.A. / Serbia and Montenegro
Facts On File

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info