June 26, 2023

The first BitA Brunch held in Sarajevo: The start of a dialogue between state government and IT industry representatives

On Thursday, 22 June 2023, as the umbrella association of IT companies in BiH, the Bit Alliance organized the first BitA Brunch for state government and BiH IT industry representatives. The newly elected Minister of Communications and Traffic of BiH, Edin Forto, addressed the IT company representatives and attendees.
BitA Brunch is a key event that opens some room for discussing issues of vital significance for the digital transformation of society. The goal of BiTA Brunch is to set up a constructive dialogue between the IT industry and government representatives in order to ensure an efficient information flow and synergy when it comes to the development of society. The IT industry became a key factor in the transformation of society, impacting all aspects of life, from education to health services and business operations. BitA Brunch brought together stakeholders who had the opportunity to voice their viewpoints and suggestions regarding IT industry development. This dialogue opens the door to IT industry representatives to communicate their viewpoints, experience and needs to the regulatory authorities of the state government in a constructive way.
“As the leading Association of IT companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we have been continuously working on finding solutions for years to two key problems that the IT industry is facing every day - lack of qualified labor force and a poorly developed infrastructure in the IT industry that is underlined by the lack of development incentives. With BitA Brunch, we want to set up a partnership between the private sector and the government in order to jointly work on the challenges and creating a favorable business environment. Only through an active collaboration are we able to bring along positive changes and make progress that will have a wider beneficial role in society. We think that creating a platform for direct communication is the right way to achieve an efficient information flow and we believe that other sectors should recognize the importance of implementing similar initiatives” said Damir Maglajlić, CEO of Bit Alliance.
Organized under the auspices of Klika, one of the leading IT companies in BiH, BitA Brunch brought together the representatives of the IT sector and decision makers.

“The IT industry is one of the most significant export-oriented industries in BiH and it is extremely important that the government at all levels, especially at the state level, recognizes its significance. It is sufficient to say that relief measures and incentives for IT could yield returns of BAM 2 billion in just 2 years, which for such a small economy as ours, would be an immense success, but also a potential for the development of other industries that are connected or can be connected to the IT industry. To realize the potential of the sector, we need immediate, comprehensive and strategic measures that will ensure continuous growth, but also help in overcoming current market turbulences that also affected the IT industry in BiH. The digitalization process is inevitable. EU approached the process very seriously, and I am sure that in that regard, new opportunities could open up to us as a EU membership candidate. We are currently living in exciting times where AI is becoming an integral part of our personal and work life, and BiH as a country has to be ready to respond to global AI trends, not only in the context of catching up with the latest tech developments but also in the context of regulation. The FBiH Development Strategy 2021-2027 defines IT as a strategic branch of the economy and foresees a number of measures for IT development. We expect our potential and possibilities to be recognized at the state level as well. What would help the development of our industry are opportunities such as access to new markets, better regulation, introducing and facilitating a range of practices that would further open up our market, tax relief measures and a strategic approach to education. We expect a good collaboration with Mr. Forto, and we believe that during his term, we will be able to respond to some of the existing challenges” said Edin Deljkić, co-founder of Klika, and since last year, the President of the Board of Directors of Bit Alliance, which he has been a member of for years.
Mr. Forto emphasized the significance of the development of information and communication technologies for economic growth and the country’s development. He also stated that the BiH Ministry of Communications and Traffic would actively support the work and development of the IT industry.

The Minister emphasized cyber security and the digitalization processes as key priorities. It was highlighted that the Ministry will make efforts to advance those processes in order to achieve higher security and efficiency. He also emphasized the importance of being a part of Digital Europe and he already set certain processes in motion to open up negotiations. The negotiations are expected to be finalized by year end and have us approved for Digital Europe, which will provide access to digital innovation funds.

“Based on today’s event, I am hopeful that in the coming period, we will be the Ministry’s communication channel to make all of the above come true through initiatives of the private sector and industry experts. I believe that this is just the first of many talks we will have” said Edin Forto, Minister of Communications and Traffic of BiH.
During the event, the attendees had the opportunity to voice their viewpoints, suggestions and ideas on key issues concerning the IT industry and its impact on the economic development of BiH.

The BitA Brunch initiative is envisioned as a significant step towards developing a fruitful collaboration between the IT industry and the government representatives in BiH. Its role in promoting innovation, digital transformation, dialogue, connecting the IT industry and social development stakeholders, will certainly yield long-term positive effects on the economy and all areas of life within BiH. The Bit Alliance announced that BitA Brunch will become a reoccurring event, providing an ongoing platform for dialogue and collaboration between the IT industry and the government, and thereby, stimulate growth and progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the digital age.