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11 reasons for investing in eastern Serbia

The closest neighbor of the EU and 330km from the border with the EU
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Skilled and adaptable workforce with competitive labor costs
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Extensive interventions are in progress to improve the transport infrastructure in the region
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Large offer of locations for greenfield and brownfield investments at more than competitive prices
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A large number of potential local suppliers
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Numerous examples of successful investments
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Quality business environment with excellent incentives from the state
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Foreign trade of the region (import-export) doubled in the last 5 years
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Preserved environment and significant natural resources
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Dedicated local self-government that sees investors, above all, as partners
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Key facts

  • The closest neighbor of the EU - Eastern Serbia has 330 km of border with the EU (Romania and Bulgaria).
  • Area of 7,133 km²
  • Two administrative districts - Zajecar and Bor, two cities - Zajecar and Bor and six municipalities: Knjazevac, Boljevac, Sokobanja, Negotin, Majdanpek and Kladovo.
  • 217,000 inhabitants
  • More than 6,000 entrepreneurs and 1,500 companies.
  • About 53,000 people are employed with an average salary of about 50,500 dinars (net), while there are about 18,000 unemployed.

ECONOMY

Population:

CITY/MUNICIPALITY DISTRICT POPULATION
Bor Bor district 44.639
Kladovo 18.332 
Majdanpek 16.174
Negotin 32.007 
District total 111.152 
Boljevac Zajecar district 11.148 
Knjaževac 27.476 
Sokobanja 13.967 
Zaječar 53.509 
District total 106.100 
Eastern Serbia Total 217.252 

People with secondary school education dominate the educational structure of the region, including 35.2% women and 48% men, while there are 10% women and 11.6% men with university and master degree.

 It is estimated that today more than 30,000 people are in the diaspora.

Total investments in assets in 2018 in Eastern Serbia amounted to 121.5 million euros, and the structure of investments looked like this:

Territory

Construction
works

Land

Domestic equipment

Imported equipment

Cultivated biological
resources

Intellectual
property

Ukupno istočna Srbija  121.523  17.890  8.202  24.572  44.133  141
Boljevac 1.848 1.421 8 158 254 0
Bor 81.733 5.647 7.076 2.931 40.082 0
Zaječar 6.562 1.270 5 3.930 1.323 0
Kladovo  2.900 1.526 15 1.224 90 0
Knjaževac 2.329 687 30 863 450 135
Majdanpek 9.851 930 41 8.075 658 6
Negotin 14.502 5.246 996 7.093 1.027 0
Sokobanja 1.795 1.160 29 296 246 0

Source: Chamber of Commerce of Zajecar and Bor administrative districts

In the period from 2015 to 2019, the total exports of the region of Eastern Serbia more than doubled and had a fairly even growth. Compared to 2015, when it amounted to slightly more than 34 billion dinars, it increased to more than 71 billion in 2019.

The increase in exports in that period amounted to 209%, which is significantly higher than the growth of exports of the Republic of Serbia, which in the same period had a total growth of 142%.

Total exports by years in the period 2015-2019 (in millions of RSD)

Territory 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Bor 11.252 15.616 24.897 24.844 42.930
Kladovo 1.071 1.370 1.745 1.823 2.109
Majdanpek 6.829 6.082 7.071 7.439 6.644
Negotin 2.100 3.421 2.774 2.221 7.726
Boljevac 606 631 911 713 851
Zaječar 8.473 8.056 8.320 7.750 5.341
Knjaževac 3.781 4.579 4.581 4.875 5.735
Sokobanja 3 5 7 11 15
Eastern Serbia Total 34.115 39.763 50.308 49.679 71.353

Imports had a similar trend of export growth, which increased from close to 35 billion dinars in 2015 to almost 73 billion in 2019. This represents the same increase as in the case of exports (209%), which is also significantly more than the increase recorded by the Republic (155%). In that period, Eastern Serbia mostly recorded a surplus.

Total imports by years in the period 2015-2019  (in millions of RSD)

Territory 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Bor 13.541 15.858 22.618 25.017 49.616
Kladovo 2.978 1.204 1.632 1.769 1.816
Majdanpek 7.096 6.083 8.543 7.697 6.233
Negotin 1.218 1.401 2.078 2.391 3.026
Boljevac 274 441 498 377 437
Zaječar 7.669 7.906 9.954 9.460 9.064
Knjaževac 2.084 2.265 2.621 2.643 2.689
Sokobanja 4 29 27 35 50
Total Eastern Serbia 34.866 35.190 47.974 49.390 72.934

On the territory of Eastern Serbia in 2019, about 53,000 people were employed, ie about a quarter of the total population. The structure of the number of employees by activities is dominated by services. Today, about a quarter of the total number of employees work in the processing industry of Eastern Serbia, and mining with nearly 10% of employees is of exceptional importance for the region.

Average salaries without taxes, in the period from 2015-2019 recorded a significant increase from 41,149 dinars in 2015 to 50,474 dinars in 2019.

In 2020, there were 17,963 registered unemployed in Eastern Serbia. The number of the unemployed has been decreasing in the last three years, from 20,710 unemployed in 2018 and 18,967 unemployed in 2019.

In Eastern Serbia in 2019, there were 1,524 active companies and almost 4 times more registered entrepreneurs (6,045). The number of active entrepreneurs has been constantly growing in the last five years.

One of the most significant investments in Eastern Serbia is certainly the purchase of the Bor Mining and Smelting Complex by the Chinese company Zijin, which has so far invested nearly 700 million dollars, and the planned investments in the mine are more than 3 billion dollars in the municipalities of Bor and Majdanpek.

The largest investment in tourism in Serbia is located in Eastern Serbia - in the municipality of Knjazevac, and that is the construction of a ski center on Stara Planina - construction of ski and supporting infrastructure and hotels) in which over 42 million euros have been invested so far.


Significant investments in the region:

 

Zijin (China)

Bor


 

Poseidon Property (United Kingdom)

Zaječar


United Serbian Breweries („Heineken” i „Efes”)

Zaječar


 

Rhein-Donau Yard (Netherlands – Romania)

Kladovo 


Telefonica Cable (Poland)

Zaječar


 

Falc East (Italy)

Knjaževac


Strabag (Austria)

Zaječar


 

Dutch Desing Studio (Netherlands)

Kladovo


Hatiba (Germany)

Knjaževac


 

Bio Energy Point (Serbia)

Boljevac


Eliksir (Serbia)

Negotin

 

 Agromehanika (Serbia)

Boljevac


The region of Eastern Serbia also has significant resources for tourism development: the Danube River with Iron Gate Gorge and Djerdap National Park, mountain massifs dominated by Stara Planina, with a ski center, but also Crni Vrh, Kučaj Mountains, Deli Jovan, Mali and Veliki Krš, Miroč, Veliki Greben, Homolje mountains, Ozren, Rtanj, Devica, Tupižnica, Tresibaba, and Vrlejica, then thermo-mineral springs - primarily Sokobanja, as well as Gamzigradska Banja Spa and Brestovačka Banja Spa. There are potentials for further development of tourism in Nikoličevska Banja Spa, Rgoška Banja Spa, Jošanica Banja spa and many others.

Cultural heritage is represented by archeological sites, cultural monuments, ethno-values of traditional villages: archeological sites Gamzigrad-Felix Romuliana (under UNESCO protection), Lepenski Vir, Ravna-Timacum minus, Diana-Zanes, Fetislam, Trajan's tablet, Trajan's bridge, Vrelo -Šarkaman, Sokograd, Vrmdžanski grad, wine cellars in Rajac, Rogljevo and Smedovac, as well as numerous churches and monasteries.  

Number of tourists and number of overnight stays in 2019:

By municipalities

Tourists Tourist overnights Average number of tourist overnights
total domestic foreign total domestic foreign domestic foreign
Bor 16.215 11.276 4.939 40.327 27.138 13.189 2,4 2,7
Kladovo 36.875 28.462 8.413 79.758 64.296 15.462 2,3 1,8
Majdanpek 29.372 23.642 5.730 75.058 63.394 11.664 2,7 2,0
Negotin 5.932 5.197 733 13.512 11.714 1.798 2,3 2,5
Zaječar 20.780 13.972 6.808 61.114 38.792 25.322 2,8 3,7
Boljevac 8.905 7.141 1.764 25.865 14.071 11.794 2,0 6,7
Knjaževac 24.286 15.548 5.738 81.347 65.516 15.831 3,5 2,8
Sokobanja 124.877 105.151 16.726 588.422 540.928 47.494 5,0 2,8
Total Eastern Serbia 267.240 216.389 50.851 968.403 825.849 142.554 3,5 2,7

Source: Republic Statistical Office

By tourist resorts

Tourists Tourist overnights Average number of tourist overnights
total domestic foreign total domestic foreign domestic foreign
Gamzigradska banja 2.072 1.685 387 21.991 16.537 5.454 9,8 14,1
Sokobanja 124.877 108.151 16.726 588.422 540.928 47.494 5,0 2,8
Majdanpek 5.134 3.189 1.945 14.615 9.688 4.927 3,0 2,5
Rajac 2.737 2.510 227 8.424 8.056 368 3,2 1,6
Rtanj 2.886 2.671 215 5.609 5.176 433 1,9 2,0
Stara planina 21.873 17.342 4.531 75.534 62.011 13.523 3,6 3,0
Bor 14.178 9.798 4.380 32.843 21.565 11.278 2,2 2,6
Donji Milanovac 24.238 20.453 3.785 60.443 53.706 6.737 2,6 1,8
Zaječar 18.122 11.971 6.151 40.997 21.654 19.343 1,8 3,1
Kladovo 33.719 25.513 8.206 67.513 52.406 15.107 2,1 1,8

Source: Republic Statistical Office

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