Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes part of the Digital Europe Program

SARAJEVO, June 4 (FENA) – The Minister of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Edin Forto, signed today the Agreement on joining the Digital Europe program, the aim of which is to bring digital technology closer to citizens, businesses and public administration in the EU and the countries associated with the program, and to build digital infrastructure.

Bosnia and Herzegovina today becomes part of the locomotive of digital Europe through participation in the significant Digital Europe Program worth 7.5 billion euros, said the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Johann Sattler.

“There are three things that should be emphasized that are important elements of the program, and the first is artificial intelligence, which is a current topic all over the world, while the second topic is supercomputing through the digital revolution, one element in which BiH has significant potential. It’s not just about artificial intelligence and machines and devices, but the third component, which concerns human resources and skills improvement,” said Sattler.

These activities, he added, build on everything that was done within the framework of an important program supported by the EU called EU4DigitalSME. Through the program, support was provided for small and medium-sized enterprises, and work was being done to establish four digital innovation hubs, two in Sarajevo and one each in Tuzla and Banja Luka.

Sattler reminded that the Growth Plan as a program is intended for the entire region and that the total value is around six billion euros for the region. He emphasized that additional commitments and obligations are needed that the local authorities will undertake in order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be part of that important program.

The Minister of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Edin Forto, clarified that this is an international agreement developed with the European Commission. He emphasized the importance of BiH’s accession to that program, which can open access to funds for the private sector, scientific research institutions, universities, and hubs.

2Today, that signing will be symbolic, considering that I already did it digitally with a certificate issued to me by the Indirect Taxation Authority of BiH, and we, together with IDDEEA BiH, are trying to make our private sector and our citizens aware that this makes the entire process easier,” added Forto.

For the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as he stated, companies and citizens in this field see serious progress in the withdrawal of grants for the development of their businesses, institutions, universities, as well as state institutions.

The event was organized as part of the project “Innovations and digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina – EU4DigitalSME”, which is aimed at creating a stimulating environment for small and medium-sized enterprises with the aim of successful digital and innovation transformation.

The project is co-financed by the European Union (EU). and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Program Director at GIZ BiH Eva Näher stated that the project started in 2021 and focused on establishing digital innovation hubs in BiH.

“These four digital innovation hubs are the basis for the implementation of the Digital Europe program, here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, considering that they will offer services that are essential for the implementation of digitalization. Our focus was on the introduction of digitalization and raising the awareness of small and medium-sized companies in the country in this regard and that is why we also had trainings for more than 700 companies,” said Näher.