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In an exclusive one-on-one, Telecom Review spoke with Nemanja Jevtović, strategic investments advisor, The Government of the Republic of Serbia - Development Agency, to share his views on the ICT developments in the country.

How is Serbia attracting foreign investment in ICT sector and fostering relationships with other countries?

We have around 250,000 active students out of which around 85,000 are with STEM degrees. We, as a government, are increasing quotas and capabilities of IT students every year so that they will be competitive and ready to meet the demands on the market. On another hand, the competitive costs in Serbia are unmatched anywhere in the world. And because of this balance between the talent pool and the competitive operating costs, we were ranked by Startup Genome as the top five affordable talents country in the world. So basically, every time when we look at IT, we need to look at the balance of the costs and the talents, which is something the markets need.

Which are the most promising industries in Serbia in terms of leveraging the technology?

As of now, the most promising industries related to technological breakthroughs are biotech, blockchain, IT development and gaming. For the biotech, we are very proud to announce that we will be the first country in our part of Europe that will have a state-of-the-art bio-campus where the universities, institutes and private sector will collaborate on the new technologies in the fields of biomedicine, bioinformatics, biodiversity and so on. We were recognized by Startup Genome in 2019 as one of the most promising ecosystems for blockchain development and gaming. We had many acquisitions in the last couple of years in Serbia that testify that we are the country of gaming development. For example, Take-Two Interactive acquired Serbian Nordeus this year. In the last couple of years, we also had US-based Epic Games entering Serbia through the acquisition of Serbian 3Lateral. Having in mind all mentioned, Serbia is setting itself up to become one of the tech giants in this part of the world.

What according to you are the bottlenecks for entrepreneurship in Serbia, and how it can be addressed?

To answer this question, we will again need to mention that we are ranked as the top 5 affordable talents country in the world, so we do have all the necessary requirements to go and to step out in the world. However, one of the major challenges that we still have is our entrepreneurial spirit and the promotion of our entrepreneurial achievements, not just within the country, but also globally, among global professionals willing to evaluate Serbia as an investment or entrepreneurship destination. So, we need more occasions such as GITEX, where we would be having various startups and IT ecosystem giants from Serbia presenting themselves to the world and returning that global IT energy that we are experiencing here back to Serbia. One of the major reasons why I mentioned this is that we are a very resilient and proud country, we showed this during COVID, we showed this back in history, and I am quite certain that once our people get the opportunity to experience that global IT energy at the conferences and the exhibitions such as GITEX or Expo, they will use the experience from these global stages as a catalyst and also as an inspiration to go beyond boundaries and bring innovations to the world that will exceed all expectations and overcome all limitations.

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