Overview of the 2012 Macedonia Global Investment Summit

The Macedonia Global Investment Summit organized by Macedonia2025 was the first event of this kind to ever take place in the country. The purpose of the event was to gather in one place representatives of Macedonian companies, industry leaders, stakeholders, decision-makers from the government and potential foreign investors. Macedonia2025 invited a number of speakers who have significant experience in leading successful companies to give their analysis on how Macedonia can improving the climate for investors and how the economy can become more robust. In retrospect, the 2012 was especially important because it set the groundwork for the consequent summits and business forums that Macedonia2025 organized. The result is international recognition of Macedonia as an investment destination, successful mapping of competitive sectors and dialog between stakeholders.

The Recession and Macedonia’s effort to stay afloat

The 2012 Summit in Ohrid came only couple years following the initial impact of the global economic crisis. The burning questions on everyone’s mind were how can Macedonia avoid the contagion and how the country can continue attracting foreign investors despite the obvious effects. The experts that we invited as speakers provided some answers and opened up a debate. In that regard the Summit was if not the only platform in Macedonia that discussed publically these matters.

The discussion identified eleven areas that foreign investors want to see improvement. Here are few of those recommendations:

  • Strengthening the capacity of the public institutions, including regulatory bodies
  • Reducing effective tax rates and costs (costs associated with some local taxes, permits, licenses, etc.)
  • Increasing the supply of technical solutions
  • Promotion and implementation of the public-private partnerships

The rest can be read in the Conclusions document on pages 28 and 29.

Increasing visibility of Macedonia as an FDI destination

The efforts to make Macedonia a visible destination for foreign investments should be based on a multi-layer principal through the government’s efforts and continuously sustaining and improving the competitive advantages of the country. On the Government’s side, there are strong and constant efforts to attract foreign investors and to present the investment opportunities in Macedonia worldwide. There is a well-established institutional framework for promotion of FDIs, assistance to the potential investors, as well as after-care services, led by ministers for FDIs, investment promoters, Agency for Foreign Investments and Promotion of Exports, the Technological Industrial Development Zones (TIDZ), etc. These efforts need to continue and improve continuously based on the past experiences.

Competitiveness is the key for future growth

The participants on the Global Investment Summit agreed that the country’s competitive advantages lie both in the costs, quality and the economic setting. Relatively low costs for doing business in Macedonia come from low taxation, low labor costs, low and declining administrative burden on companies, low costs and time needed for opening a business in Macedonia, relatively low corruption, as well as the benefits and concessional conditions offered in the TIDZ. While being a low cost business destination, Macedonia also offers quality. It has quality infrastructure in comparison to the countries at similar level of development, a quality and well-educated workforce, strategic geographical position. A strong Macedonia advantage comes in addition from the excellent record of macroeconomic stability, the government commitments and success in keeping low taxation. Last but not least, the positive experience of current foreign investors in the country is the best promotion channel worldwide.

Commitment by foreign investors in Macedonia

Current foreign investors have offered to all potential future investors their assistance and support in starting a business in Macedonia. Notwithstanding, foreign investors hold a view that there is also a room for increasing their commitment and contribution to the economy, through:

- Increasing the transfer of know-how
- Strengthening corporate governance
- Increasing business standards and ethics
- Strengthening the cooperation with the universities (educational institutions).

The role of the Diaspora in improving economic development

The participants at the Summit advised on a common understanding between the government and the private sector in building trust in the economic conditions and the business environment in the country in order to attract potential investors from the diaspora. The stablishing of business relations on an international level should be directed at improving exports and developing products that are tailored to foreign markets, where they can be consumed and promoted by the diaspora community. 

On the topic, Zoran Martinovski, Board Member of Macedonia 2025 and Chair of the Summit said: “Building a strong platform for business relations between the Macedonian companies and Diaspora, both in a form of foreign investments in Macedonia, as well as possible cooperation between the Macedonian and foreign companies abroad is one of the main goals of this Summit”.

SEAF and Macedonia 2025 announce the SEAF Macedonia I fund

The Macedonia I fund was established following the first venture capital fund ever to be established in the country. The first fund was successful SEAF is establishing the Fund to follow up on its first fund, which backed companies such as Tinex, On.Net, Krug (Dnevnik) and Login, all of which are successful and are present on the market today.

The new risk capital fund is aimed to target growth orientated enterprises in Macedonia. Besides SEAF as an initiator of the Fund, Macedonia 2025 comes on board through a group of successful entrepreneurs and executives in private business globally who have strong Macedonian roots, emigrated from Macedonia to form a successful business careers in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Not only will Macedonia 2025 members commit capital to the Fund, but they will also provide key mentoring and market access for Macedonian entrepreneurs.

Speaker and participant testimonials

“The Macedonia Global Investment Summit is an excellent opportunity to create platform for cooperation, meetings and joint projects between companies from the country and abroad.“ H.E. Zoran Stavreski; MA Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Republic of Macedonia

“Macedonia 2025 has done remarkable job organizing this very important economic summit.“ Makram Ghribi; Plant Manager of Johnson Controls Macedonia 

“This Summit is of great importance to our country. We are very satisfied that we gathered so many business leaders, investors from the country and abroad and government representatives. Today together with them, through Macedonia 2025 we are on our way to build a new solid platform for leveraging the business Diaspora. There is no better place for living than at home and that is why we should continuously work on our country’s growth.” Zoran Martinovski, member of the Board of Directors of Macedonia 2025 and Summit Chair.

“ThisSummit is the perfect moment for creation of transnational network of high achievers drawn together by common heritage. Canada has managed to weather the storm better than other countries and remained stable. Canada has strong relationships with Macedonia that are proven through many realized projects. What I am really delighted with is the support of the Macedonian State institutions. The time is right to take the business relationships between Macedonia and Canada to a different level.” H.E. Roman Waschuk Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Serbia, Montenegro and Republic of Macedonia

“Macedonia has handled the economic storm well, and is on track to achieve small positive growth this year, and about 2% growth next year. Fiscal debt and deficit levels are moderate overall. The attraction of foreign direct investments is generally successful and this Summit is definitely going to help this process. Going forward, the government needs to focus on formulating clear goals and integrating them into policies. One of the biggest challenges is the high unemployment level. Companies and local universities should work together in enhancing work force skills that are necessary in the global market. ” Alexander Tieman President Representative of the International Monetary Fund to the Republic of Macedonia

Survey Results

The summit survey  was distributed to 350 participants, out of which 61 people have responded (17% response rate).

Here is a short summary of the results:

97% of the participants are satisfied with the overall event, and 80% of the participants are planning on attending the conference next year

97% of the participants have rated the Summit speakers as excellent to good, while 88% of them believe that the panel topics were well structured

 The organizing staff was rated as being excellent by 67% of the participants, while 25% consider the staff was good.

 51% of the participants have participated on the bilateral meeting, and 93% of them are satisfied with the networking possibilities.

98% of the participants would recommend the Summit to other people

 

You can access the Summit conclusions brochure in PDF here