International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Demography experts: Bosnia could lose hall of its workforce

February 12, 2020

Bosnia is among the countries with the highest brain-drain in the world but the emigration trend slowing down would be even more of a reason for worrying, demography experts told N1 on Wednesday.

“That means that the area is practically left without an able-bodied young population which has an intellectual, reproductive and economic potential,” expert Aleksandar Cavic explained.

There is no clear data on how many people actually still live in Bosnia, he said, as “we are relying on the 2013 census which was not conducted in accordance with any rules and whose results and the way they were presented were problematic.”

“We generally do not know how many of us there are, so we rely on estimates that depend on figures of external migration,” he said.

“However, we also do not have official data for external migration that meet the criteria of accuracy,” he said, adding that “we are left with assessments of some governmental and non-governmental organizations.”

Demography expert Amer Osmic said that, according to his own estimates, there are about three million people living in Bosnia and that it is presumed that the country has some 500,000 people less than in the 2013 census.

“We have to speak about a general sense of dissatisfaction among citizens here. In the 21st century, you still need three hours to go to Tuzla from Sarajevo, and a lot more to go to Bihac,” he said, giving the example of the inefficient infrastructure in the country.

Demography expert Sanda Mesinovic said that Bosnia is simply not an attractive place for living and that the fact that the war is over is not enough for young people.

“It is not enough for a child in a home to be fed and clothed,” she said, arguing that children want to have opportunities to “play, explore, learn and grow.”

“That is the point. We must change the paradigm of how we perceive our population and how we create tools for children to grow, develop and stay in their home, Bosnia,” she said.

“I support all those who want to leave Bosnia and Herzegovina because Bosnia then has a chance to reach a kind of catharsis. People and systems change at a point when it seems like there is no solution,” she said, describing Bosnia as “very sluggish.”

“If you would describe Bosnia as a person, it would be an old man who is dressed nicely and smells good, but at his core, he is rotting away,” she said.

Osmic said that Bosnia’s authorities should look at how other countries with the same problems tackle them.

“It’s necessary to unite the entire approach to this problem,” he said, advocating for the “formation of a ministry on the state level, so we have access to every person regardless of where they live.”

“This is the final alarm for our authorities to start asking themselves who will be left living here in 20, 30 years. It is as if they don’t care about that,” he said.

Osmic said that Bosnia’s authorities need to pay special attention to the education and healthcare system and that it is important to “create an atmosphere where young people have optimism and a feeling that something is improving.”

“You can see the dissatisfaction among young people, the state of depression, they simply have no choice - as they have no options. They only see their family living in Germany as an option. Nothing can happen overnight - but the focus must be in changing the atmosphere,” he said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a409876/Demography-experts-Bosnia-could-lose-all-of-its-workforce.html

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