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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "Greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Peace Accords retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission was to deter renewed hostilities. European Union peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR in December 2004; their mission is to maintain peace and stability throughout the country. EUFOR's mission changed from peacekeeping to civil policing in October 2007, with its presence reduced from nearly 7,000 to 2,500 troops. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Bosnia and herzegovina ranked next to macedonia as the poorest republic in the old yugoslav federation. although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. the private sector is growing and foreign investment is slowly increasing, but government spending, at nearly 40% of adjusted gdp, remains unreasonably high. the interethnic warfare in bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. with an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-07 when gdp growth exceeded 5% per year. national-level statistics are limited and do not capture the large share of black market activity. the konvertibilna marka (convertible mark or bam)- the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro, and confidence in the currency and the banking sector has increased. implementing privatization, however, has been slow, particularly in the federation, although more successful in the republika srpska. banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the communist-era payments bureaus were shut down; foreign banks, primarily from western europe, now control most of the banking sector. a sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious macroeconomic problems. on 1 january 2006 a new value-added tax (vat) went into effect. the vat has been successful in capturing much of the gray market economy and has developed into a significant and predictable source of revenues for all layers of government. bosnia and herzegovina became a full member of the central european free trade agreement in september 2007. the country receives substantial reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.

Environmental Issues

Air pollution from metallurgical plants; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; water shortages and destruction of infrastructure because of the 1992-95 civil strife; deforestation

Government Type

Emerging federal democratic republic


4,590,310 (july 2008 est.)


Southeastern europe, bordering the adriatic sea and croatia


Total: 51,209.2 sq km land: 51,197 sq km water: 12.2 sq km

Slightly smaller than west virginia

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: none conventional short form: bosnia and herzegovina local long form: none local short form: bosna i hercegovina former: people's republic of bosnia and herzegovina, socialist republic of bosnia and herzegovina


Name: sarajevo geographic coordinates: 43 52 n, 18 25 e time difference: utc+1 (6 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in march; ends last sunday in october

Military Service

17 years of age for voluntary military service in the federation and in the republika srpska; conscription abolished january 2006; 4-month service obligation (2006)

International Disputes

Sections along the drina river remain in dispute between bosnia and herzegovina and serbia; discussions continue with croatia on several small disputed sections of the boundary related to maritime access that hinder final ratification of the 1999 border agreement

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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