In the two and a half years since the small south-eastern European nation of Montenegro regained its independence, it “has been an international hit among investors”, says minister of economic development Branimir Gvozdenovic. “For the past few years it has been the European leader in FDI per capita at €1600 per capita. It has recently been ranked by the World Travel and Tourism Council as the third fastest growing tourism destination in the world.”

Competitive legislation

“Now we are very much aware that we have to work hard in order to maintain that position. That is why we have devoted a lot of effort into changing the legislation by making it more competitive. For example, we have changed the tax laws and we are now definitely the most competitive country in the region,” he says.

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“Also, we have recently adopted an excellent and very competitive law on spatial planning and building construction, and we have adopted new laws relating to state property and concessions,” adds Mr Gvozdenovic.

Promoting tourism

Of course, the minister’s main purpose at Mipim was promoting investment in developments in the all-important tourism sector, the largest being the Velika Plaza (Long Beach) project along the Adriatic, which has a 20-year development plan and will eventually entail investment of about €10bn.

Keeping funding flowing for such projects is a challenge – and explains the presence of a cabinet-rank minister such as Mr Gvozdenovic at the event. And in such a challenging global environment, every little bit helps.

“Montenegro is not a big country and with just a couple of successful projects and foreign investment, our economy will develop,” says the minister. “Although there is a world crisis, not everything has been stopped, so we will try to attract those who are still able to invest.”