A one-day business forum of BH diaspora in Switzerland “Kozarac in the Heart”, organised by BKC Kula, was held in the town of Küssnacht am/Rigi, Switzerland, on March 2, 2018.

The event was supported by Diaspora for Development (D4D), a project of the Government of Switzerland and Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina in partnership with UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina and IOM in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Switzerland, H.E. Anđelko Grahovac, opened the business forum and stressed the importance of connecting businessmen from Bosnia and Herzegovina and BH diaspora in this country. He mentioned the region of Kozarac and Prijedor as an example of good practice, where BH diaspora from Switzerland is one of the most important investors.

The project Diaspora for Development supported the participation of six companies from the metal and wood processing sector from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their representatives participated in bilateral meetings with partners from Switzerland.

Mr. Ratko Macanović, the owner of the company Grossist d.o.o. from Prijedor, stated that B2B meetings in particular, which were held during the visit, provided an opportunity to enter into business contacts with representatives of Swiss business companies and achieve specific cooperation and potential joint investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the coming period.

“Given the great efforts of the diaspora in providing all kinds of support to Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, the project aims to provide more information, high-quality services and support in the planning and implementation of specific investments”, said Merima Avdagić, Head of Diaspora for Development Project. She also stressed the importance of transfer of professional skills and know-how of the BH business diaspora to actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina and said that the project would help achieve specific interventions.

A bilateral meeting between the representatives of the local community Küssnacht am/Rigi and the City of Prijedor was held during the forum. It was also attended by the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Switzerland and Mr. Zeid Mešić, the representative of BKC Kula. The meeting provided an opportunity for an exchange of experiences between the two local communities, establishing first contacts and opened up the possibility for long-term cooperation between the City of Prijedor and Municipality Küssnacht am/Rigi.     

Local authorities play an extraordinary role in the process of economic development, and the project aims to encourage the diaspora and local self-government units to cooperate on the development of their local communities. Specific interventions to be undertaken by the local authorities and the private sector in cooperation with the diaspora will ensure 400 new jobs and improved income for 300 households. In addition to this, 30 companies and 150 professionals will benefit from the know-how transferred in the framework of the D4D Project.

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