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Serbia – Important Facts

Serbia is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, covering the central part of the Balkans. Serbia is bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania. The geography of Serbia is varied and includes fertile plains, limestone ranges, and in the southeast: the Dinaric Alps and the Carpathian Mountain range. The government system is a republic; the chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Serbia has a mixed economic system in which the presence of the state in the economy is considerable, but there is limited private sector freedom. Serbia is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).

High unemployment and stagnant household incomes are ongoing political and economic problems. Structural economic reforms needed to ensure the country’s long-term prosperity have largely stalled since the onset of the global financial crisis. Growing budget deficits constrain the use of stimulus efforts to revive the economy and contribute to growing concern of a public debt crisis, given that Serbia’s total public debt as a share of GDP more than doubled between 2008 and 2014. Serbia’s concerns about inflation and exchange-rate stability preclude the use of expansionary monetary policy. During 2014 the SNS party addressed issues with the fiscal deficit, state-owned enterprises, the labor market, construction permits, bankruptcy and privatization, and other areas.

Major challenges ahead include: high unemployment rates and the need for job creation; high government expenditures for salaries, pensions, healthcare, and unemployment benefits; a growing need for new government borrowing; rising public and private foreign debt; attracting new foreign direct investment; and getting the IMF program back on track. Other serious longer-term challenges include an inefficient judicial system, high levels of corruption, and an aging population. Factors favorable to Serbia’s economic growth include its strategic location, a relatively inexpensive and skilled labor force, and free trade agreements with the EU, Russia, Turkey, and countries that are members of the Central European Free Trade Agreement.

Important Details

  • Country ISO3 : SRB
  • Country Code : 688
  • Income Group : Upper Middle Income
  • Lending Category : IBRD
  • Region : Europe and Central Asia
  • Currency Unit: Saudi Riyal (hal’l, SR)
  • WTO Member : Yes
  • Trade organisations : WTO, OPEC, G-20 major economies, BIS, ICS, IOS, WCO, GCC, World Bank IMF
  • world rank : 77
  • Regional Ranking : 33rd in Europe