What is BFC SEE?
Certification of cities and municipalities with a favorable business environment in Southeast Europe (BFC SEE) is a unique program for evaluating and improving the conditions for business and investment at the local level. The certification program provides municipalities and cities with a reform plan and clear guidelines on creating a good business climate and introducing internationally recognized standards of efficient and transparent local administration.
BFC SEE provides a stable and predictable business environment for businesses and investors looking to relocate or expand their business to Southeast Europe. It helps identify municipalities and cities that offer the best investment conditions and have the most significant potential for development.
Partners for success
The BFC SEE certification program was launched by a network of institutions from the region with the support of the German Development Cooperation – GIZ Open Regional Fund for Modernization of Municipal Services (GIZ ORF MMS), to establish the first common standard and seal of business environment quality in Southeast municipalities and cities. Europe. The regional network consists of:
- Federal Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (BiH)
- Ministry of Economic Relations and Regional Cooperation (BiH)
- Ministry of Administration and Local Self-Government (BiH)
- Ministry of Finance – Directorate for Financial System and Improvement of Business Environment (Montenegro)
- Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka / Center for Local Economic Development – CLER (Croatia)
- Association of Local Self-Government Units – ZELS (North Macedonia)
- Union of Chambers of Commerce – MCC (North Macedonia)
- National Alliance for Local Economic Development – NALED (Serbia)
BFC SEE has been implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia since 2012, and in Montenegro since 2016. The BFC SEE platform is open to new partners and participating countries who want to exchange best practices and contribute to regulatory standardization, improving business conditions at the local and national levels, and the region’s economic integration.
Benefits of the BFC SEE program
- Harmonization and improvement of business conditions in local governments and the region through the application of a common standard
- Strengthening the position of certified local governments in attracting and negotiating with potential investors
- Exchange of knowledge and replication of best practices, local policies and regulatory solutions between local governments and countries in the region and the EU
- Strengthening the image of Southeast Europe as an investment destination through a common seal of quality (BFC SEE)
- Encouraging economic cooperation and exchange, attracting new investments in the region
- Strengthening competitiveness at the local and national levels and ranking on the international lists of the fDi Financial Times
- Promotion of certified municipalities and cities and building recognition at the national and international level
- Identifying environments that have the greatest potential for development and investment – by the state, donors and investors
- Support from national and international institutions and donors
- Connectivity of all actors, data, statistics and results electronically (e-certification)
- More than 90 local governments from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, North Macedonia and Serbia are improving their business environment by up to 70% through the BFC SEE certification program
- Conditions for doing business in cities and municipalities certified according to the BFC SEE standard are 76% better than in other local governments according to the “mystery shopper” survey
- The Financial Times has included almost 40% of certified municipalities and cities in the list of the best investment destinations in Europe (fDi Cities of the Future)
- 90% of certified cities and municipalities in the region find that having a certificate of favorable business environment and BFC SEE quality seal is useful or very useful
- 20 institutions and organizations from 5 countries participate in the BFC SEE network and thus contribute to strengthening regional cooperation and exchange – among them the relevant ministries, chambers of commerce, municipal associations, development agencies, CSOs and universities
- The BFC SEE network has developed regional structures and strengthened the capacity of 450+ local government officials, verifiers and evaluators from SEE region, who have been trained in business environment standards and certification
- The BFC SEE network has inspired new regional initiatives and implemented projects worth more than € 2 million with the support of key international institutions such as GIZ, SDC, USAID, SIDA, RCC and the World Bank