Fact Sheet: USAID Assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996-2017)

Since 1996 the American people have contributed more than $1.7 billion to improve the lives of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and help lay the foundations for the country’s future. USAID’s assistance has helped the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina:
  • Completed 1,600 infrastructure repair projects, worth $372 million.
  • Repaired bridges in Brcko, Brod, Dubica and Novi Grad.
  • Restored power plants, ensuring a stable power supply to 1 million people.
  • Reconstructed water systems, schools, health clinics, roads, and power lines, directly helping more than 100,000 refugees and displaced persons return to their homes. 
  • Provided recovery assistance after the catastrophic floods in 2014, helping 70 companies and 3,300 farmers recover from damages; nearly 9,000 jobs (farm and non-farm) were preserved.
  • Supported 45 community infrastructure projects to enable citizens and 262 companies to regain access to flood-damaged bridges, water supply, and electricity.
  • Constructed 150 homes for vulnerable families in flood-affected areas (75 in each entity).
Create Jobs
  • Provided 600 loans worth $162 million to help businesses restart operations and employ more than 16,000 citizens. No other single program had such a profound impact on economic recovery after the war.
  • Assisted 600 companies (171 women-led) in the wood and metal processing and tourism sectors to improve manufacturing processes, introduce new products, meet quality requirements and access new international markets, creating 2,900 new jobs and increasing sales (+40%) and exports (+57%) of beneficiaries.
  • Guaranteed 312 loans ($59.2 million), helping to create or sustain 5,400 local jobs. 
  • Provided 300 unemployed youth of Srebrenica with practical work experience through internships.
Reduce Rural Poverty
  • Assisted more than 500 small farmer and agri-business groups (nearly 23,000 beneficiaries across BiH) to expand production, improve product quality, adopt new technologies and access new markets. While the rest of the agricultural economy was shrinking, total sales of USAID beneficiaries increased by 52%.
  • Helped develop and introduce new disease-resistant raspberries and blackberries for export.  
  • Helped overcome constraints for the export of food products to the EU. Milk, potatoes, fish, and honey now eligible for export. 
  • Provided nearly $9 million in grants to microcredit organizations for loans to more than 5,500 small farmers, creating 1,247 new jobs and helping nearly 12,000 indirect beneficiaries.
Develop a Better Business Environment
  • Established the state-level Deposit Insurance Agency, substantially increasing deposits in commercial banks.
  • Reduced time to obtain a construction permit from 260 days to less than 60.
  • Reformed the tax system by introducing harmonized taxes – personal income, corporate, and real estate taxes – across both entities and Brcko District.
  • Developed and implemented a Unified Collection System to centralize registration and de-registration of employees. The system also prevents tax fraud and selective payment of social contributions. It increased revenue collection by 15% and the number of registered taxpayers by 12%.
  • Compiled registries of all taxes and fees in both BiH entities and Brcko District to reduce the burden of non-transparent para-fiscal fees on businesses.
  • Formed, staffed, and trained three electricity regulatory commissions to create a public, transparent, and fair system for setting tariffs.
  • Developed procedures for a functioning electricity market and enabling new suppliers to enter the market.
  • Implemented 17 energy efficiency pilot projects to present SME opportunities and demonstrate the benefits: total annual savings of 356,000 KM and 2,260 MWh of energy, and reduced CO2 emissions (by 1,264 tons).   
Introduce More Efficient Justice System
  • Updated court procedures for the first time in 34 years, cutting in half the time taken to resolve a case.
  • Introduced modern case management practices in 18 prosecutors’ offices.
  • Reduced Supreme Court’s backlog by 75%.
  • Created a Justice Network of 64 civil society and legal professional groups, successfully partnering with government and advocating for legal reforms, including adoption of juvenile protection law.
  • Introduced use of audio equipment to record hearings to increase transparency and accuracy.
  • Improved case management systems in all prosecutors' offices in BiH.
Increase Transparency and Accountability
  • Assisted 100 organizations to monitor government performance and advocate for policy changes.
  • Improved business and journalism practices in more than 100 media outlets.
  • Freedom of Information law and law on registering non-governmental organizations adopted and implemented.
  • BiH Whistleblower Protection Law introduced and passed.
  • Reopened the National Museum in 2015 through one of the most significant and successful civic campaigns in the country, which was conducted by Akcija, a USAID-supported CSO of 3,000 citizens. 
  • Created 84 one-stop local government centers, cutting waiting time in half for many services. 
  • Created three (the first ever) Women’s Caucuses in the Balkans (in the Federation of BiH Parliament, Sarajevo Cantonal Assembly, and Herzegovina-Neretva Assembly), uniting MPs from different parties and ethnicities.
  • Produced a toolkit for drafting gender-balanced budgets and legislation that was adopted by the BiH Government as a mandatory requirement for all ministries and institutions. 
  • Developed fair, transparent guidelines for judicial integrity, discipline, and conflict of interest, all of which were adopted by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, to eliminate risks for corruption in the justice system.
Promote Tolerance and Acceptance
  • Created and integrated violence prevention curriculum into mainstream education.
  • Facilitated conflict resolution among youth in 31 ethnically mixed communities through more than 784 community development projects. 
  • Worked with 250 victim groups to provide psycho-social support in trauma healing and forgiveness. For the first time, ex-prisoners from all three sides of the war jointly visited monuments to civilians killed in the war.
  • Supported participation of 120,000 children and youth from 46 municipalities in organized sports throughout the country. 
Support Marginalized and Vulnerable Groups
  • Supported civil society coalition to provide a framework for improving the BiH Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, which was amended and adopted in 2016.
  • Strengthened 50 local organizations to advocate for the rights and empowerment of underrepresented groups of BiH society, including disabled, Romani, LGBTI, and young people.
  • Supported local organizations to strengthen LGBTI activism in three cities – Banja Luka, Mostar, and Tuzla. Established regional centers in each city to protect LGBTI citizens and teach the public about LGBTI rights.
  • Established the first ever service centers for children with disabilities in BiH to provide disabled children and their families with the basic right to proper care and support.
  • Supported civil society to develop a program for responsible deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities.
  • Established Empowerment and Rehabilitation Centers in four BiH cities to teach disabled people independent living skills to enable them to live in their local communities rather than institutions.
  • Provided special hardware and software to enable disabled voters to cast ballots privately and independently.