Export of information and communication technology (ICT) from Serbia reached a record EUR 900 million last year, which is 21.5 percent more than in 2016.
The Serbian government announced on Tuesday, citing this year’s report of the National Bank of Serbia on the balance of payments showed.
Thus, a positive growth trend in this industry has continued, from more than 20 percent annually in the previous three years.
The ICT sector, which is in the focus of the government of Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, remains the most promising industry in Serbia and is one of the biggest drivers of the country’s economic growth. A positive trend of accelerated development and promotion of services continued, primarily in the field of Internet and mobile technologies, applications development, and outsourcing, the government announced.
The ICT sector contributed most to the reduction of foreign trade deficit from EUR 473 million of trade balance and accounts for half of the trade balance of all services.
Computer programming accounts for about 70 percent of the trade balance, which is recording a remarkable growth within the sector.
Export of ICT services was higher than exports in traditional branches of industry such as fruits and vegetables, non-ferrous metals and rubber products, and it was only exceeded by exports of electric machines and road vehicles, whose exports exceeded EUR 1.2 billion.
The Serbian government has launched a number of projects for the improvement of education, infrastructure and the legal framework for the development of the ICT industry in order to increase the number of professionals on the market and thus meet the needs of digitization of the traditional industries.
Among the most important results of the Serbian government in 2017 for the improvement of the ICT sector are the increase of enrollment quotas in the IT departments at faculties by more than 20 percent, the expansion of accommodation capacities of the largest IT faculties, and the initiation of the construction of innovation infrastructure in Nis, Novi Sad and Belgrade, in which we have invested about EUR 70 million.
Within the framework of education reform, informatics was introduced as a compulsory subject from the fifth grade of elementary schools, approximately 1,750 schools have been connected to a secure academic Internet network, and a second phase of retraining in the IT sector was launched.
A major progress has also been achieved in the area of solving the issue of backlogs for flat-rate tax payments.
In 2018, the Government of Serbia will continue to work on the implementation of 35 projects that the Ministerial IT Council has adopted as a priority and which will contribute to the further development of the ICT industry in Serbia.