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Economic Seminar in Zenica

By 1Lt. Franois-Xavier Miller
First published in
SFOR Informer#107, February 21, 2001

Zenica - A crowd has gathered at the Muncipal Hall. The second economic seminar is held by SFOR MND (North) Economic Action Group (EAG) with the help of the Turkish Bn Taskforce Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) EAG team.
The event took place on Thursday, 15.February.2001 at 10H00 in the Municipal building, where it was hosted by the Mayor of Zenica in conjunction with its Business Leaders.
The seminar was introduced by Muhamed Pasic, Chief of City Department for Economy, Ibrahim Adic, Zenica-Doboj Canton Economic Council, and Pane Skrbic, Association of Zenica-Doboj Canton Businessmen. Political knowledge of the issues at stake were clearly stated, as Adic stated : "Wealth will not rise from public administration. We need more small and medium businesses," he said, opening the session. "People complain it is hard to get credit, we'll see we have different counter-examples."
Representatives of consulting firms, banks or micro-credit organisations discussed opportunities on how to apply for small and large business loans. They spoke about terms, conditions, and insisted on quoting examples of successful credit-started firms. Business information planning, basic business skills, for example labour management, marketing, advertising, and supply and demand issues were also discussed.
Fuad Tabak, Business Turnaround Advisor, from US AID, explained all that was to be known on the two major programs, loans and consulting, carried by this organisation. "At first, it wasn't possible to have loans for service firms, but now it is. Credits are only available for private companies," he emphasised. "230 million DM of loans were already engaged in this program. It works very well. Some fields such as weapons, cigarettes, alcohol manufacturing are excluded from our programs."
Tarik Kadir, from Action Contre la Faim (ACF), a major French NGO, intervened to describe aspects of different programs carried out with farmers and beekeepers. ACF representative talked about one program which started one year and a half ago. It supplied livestock to refugees, and yielded a 100% return on investment since they doubled the herds. Another program trained and supported farmer's associations' initiatives. A way to fight hunger is to help farming business, and efficiency through good management also applies to agriculture.
American Capt. Glenn Woodson, from Eagle Base CIMIC, made the concluding point and reminded the basic rules to run an Internet business. The so-called New Economy offers lots of opportunities but it has to be properly managed in order not to disappoint entrepreneurs.
The first seminar, which took place last year, was already quite successful, with around 100 people attending. And if figures account for success, the second one was definitively a red-letter day with more than 140 people attending it.
CIMIC activity is not just building houses or supplying basic products. If long-lasting development is nowadays a fashionable concept in economics, it is also a necessity of urging people to run businesses to rebuild by themselves their economy. Step by step, Turks and Americans are just opening the way.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: US, Turkey