The Republic of Serbia, with a population of around 7 million and an area of around 88,499 km2, is a landlocked country in Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkans. It shares land borders with Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. Its capital Belgrade is also the largest city.
Serbia has a long history and has passed many ups and down including the World Wars etc., and the bitter experiences have helped to emerge a very mature nation. Today’s Serbia is a strong, united, mature, and forward-looking nation. Keeping all the differences, disputes, and tensions have focused on its developments.
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Understanding the matter better
With its GDP (PPP) total of US Dollars 157 Billion (estimated 2022), and per Capital income of US Dollars 22,900, is considered a middle-income country. But, the recent measures on the ground are promising. So many new projects have been launched, few have been completed and some are in the execution stage, but, many more are in the pipeline.
Due to its strategic location and long history of friendship, China has focused on Serbia and investing heavily. Many projects have been initiated under the mega initiative of developments BRI. It seems, Serbia will be a focal point for Chinese developments in this part of the world, and China is engaged in infrastructure developments for interconnectivity of the whole region.
The automobile industry is booming and new factories are being established, especially due to its competitive labor and flexible policies, many European manufacturers are shifting to Serbia.
IT Industry is Serbian strength and a major source of export
Its IT industry is competitive and caters to the demand of the EU and America. It is the pillar of the Serbian knowledge economy.
Most of Serbia is leveled plans and cultivatable land. An abundance of water – the Danube the second largest river in Europe running through Serbia and plenty of rainfall has made Serbia a potential Agriculture nation.
The climate of Serbia is under the influences of the landmass of Eurasia and the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. With mean January temperatures around 0 °C (32 °F), and mean July temperatures of 22 °C (72 °F), it can be classified as a warm-humid continental or humid subtropical climate. A comfortable temperature for a living has attracted many foreigners to settle down in Serbia.
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On the invitation to Belt and Road Institute, Belgrade-Serbia, I attended a Conference as a speaker. Shared my views and Pakistan’s experience of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Availing of this opportunity, I stayed a couple of extra days and visited the city, and interacted with the local public. It was noticed that there exists a general awareness about Pakistan among the masses and positive sentiments. When a taxi driver, a shopkeeper, or street vendor, or a common man on the street, when come to know that we are from Pakistan, they greet us with smiling faces and express solidarity and friendship with Pakistan. Sometimes faced a language barrier, but, body language and facial expressions were always positive and welcoming. There exists immense goodwill for Pakistan.
Pakistan is the 5th largest nation with a population of around 240 million, and the rich workforce can meet any demand for workforce in Serbia. Pakistan is very good in small and medium-sized Industries, whereas Serbia might need a trained workforce for its upcoming development projects. Pakistan can cooperate in the agriculture sector, whereas Serbia has huge cultivatable land. Being in Europe, Serbia has an edge to export to the EU on preference treatment. Pakistani investors may avail of this opportunity to re-export. Its liberal and flexible policies may be beneficial.
Both countries may support each other in their weak areas and may benefit from each other’s strengths. It is urged that various ministries, departments, and institutions in the Government of Pakistan may proactively explore matters of mutual interest and materialize the collaboration. The private sector may also play its due role in bringing the two nations closer.
Looking forward to the day when Pak-Serbia relations transform into practical cooperation and mutually beneficial.
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: email@example.com). The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.