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Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Information

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Bosnia and Herzegovina Map

Introduction

Background

Bosnia and Herzegovina declared sovereignty in October 1991 and 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 ended 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 multiethnic and democratic government charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government composed of two entities roughly equal in size: the predominantly Bosniak-Bosnian Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the predominantly Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments are responsible for overseeing most government functions. Additionally, the Dayton Accords established the Office of the High Representative to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. The Peace Implementation Council at its conference in Bonn in 1997 also gave the High Representative the authority to impose legislation and remove officials, the so-called "Bonn Powers." An original NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops assembled in 1995 was succeeded over time by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR). In 2004, European Union peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR. Currently, EUFOR deploys around 600 troops in theater in a security assistance and training capacity.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia

Geographic coordinates

44 00 N, 18 00 E

Map references

Europe

Area

total: 51,197 sq km

land: 51,187 sq km

water: 10 sq km

country comparison to the world: 128

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than West Virginia

Land boundaries

total: 1,543 km

border countries (3):Croatia 956 km, Montenegro 242 km, Serbia 345 km

Coastline

20 km

Maritime claims

NA

Climate

hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast

Terrain

mountains and valleys

Elevation

highest point: Maglic 2,386 m

lowest point:Adriatic Sea 0 m

mean elevation:500 m

Natural resources

coal, iron ore, antimony, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, cobalt, manganese, nickel, clay, gypsum, salt, sand, timber, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 42.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 19.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 20.5% (2018 est.)

forest:42.8% (2018 est.)

other:15% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

30 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

37.5 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Population distribution

the northern and central areas of the country are the most densely populated

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Montenegro, and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east

People and Society

Population

3,824,782 (July 2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 130

Nationality

noun: Bosnian(s), Herzegovinian(s)

adjective:Bosnian, Herzegovinian

Ethnic groups

Bosniak 50.1%, Serb 30.8%, Croat 15.4%, other 2.7%, not declared/no answer 1% (2013 est.)

note: Republika Srpska authorities dispute the methodology and refuse to recognize the results; Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam

Languages

Bosnian (official) 52.9%, Serbian (official) 30.8%, Croatian (official) 14.6%, other 1.6%, no answer 0.2% (2013 est.)

Religions

Muslim 50.7%, Orthodox 30.7%, Roman Catholic 15.2%, atheist 0.8%, agnostic 0.3%, other 1.2%, undeclared/no answer 1.1% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

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

abbreviation:BiH

etymology:the larger northern territory is named for the Bosna River; the smaller southern section takes its name from the German word "herzog," meaning "duke," and the ending "-ovina," meaning "land," forming the combination denoting "dukedom"

Government type

parliamentary republic

Capital

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

etymology: the name derives from the Turkish noun "saray," meaning "palace" or "mansion," and the term "ova," signifying "plain(s)," to give a meaning of "palace plains" or "the plains about the palace"

Administrative divisions

3 first-order administrative divisions - Brcko District (Brcko Distrikt) (ethnically mixed), Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine) (predominantly Bosniak-Croat), Republika Srpska (predominantly Serb)

Independence

1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia); note - referendum for independence completed on 1 March 1992; independence declared on 3 March 1992

National holiday

Independence Day, 1 March (1992) and Statehood Day, 25 November (1943) - both observed in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity; Victory Day, 9 May (1945) and Dayton Agreement Day, 21 November (1995) - both observed in the Republika Srpska entity

note: there is no national-level holiday

Constitution

history: 14 December 1995 (constitution included as part of the Dayton Peace Accords); note - each of the political entities has its own constitution

amendments:decided by the Parliamentary Assembly, including a two-thirds majority vote of members present in the House of Representatives; the constitutional article on human rights and fundamental freedoms cannot be amended; amended several times, last in 2009

Legal system

civil law system; Constitutional Court review of legislative acts

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only:at least one parent must be a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina

dual citizenship recognized:yes, provided there is a bilateral agreement with the other state

residency requirement for naturalization:8 years

Suffrage

18 years of age, 16 if employed; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Chairman of the Presidency Milorad DODIK (chairman since 20 November 2020; presidency member since 20 November 2018 - Serb seat); Sefik DZAFEROVIC (presidency member since 20 November 2018 - Bosniak seat); Zeljko KOMSIC (presidency member since 20 November 2018 - Croat seat)

head of government:Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zoran TEGELTIJA  (since 5 December 2019)

cabinet:Council of Ministers nominated by the council chairman, approved by the state-level House of Representatives

elections/appointments:3-member presidency (1 Bosniak and 1 Croat elected from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1 Serb elected from the Republika Srpska) directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term, but then ineligible for 4 years); the presidency chairpersonship rotates every 8 months with the new member of the presidency elected with the highest number of votes starting the new mandate as chair; election last held on 7 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022); the chairman of the Council of Ministers appointed by the presidency and confirmed by the state-level House of Representatives

election results:percent of vote - Milorad DODIK (SNSD) 53.9% - Serb seat; Zeljko KOMSIC (DF) 52.6% - Croat seat; Sefik DZAFEROVIC (SDA) 36.6% - Bosniak seat

note: President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Marinko CAVARA (since 11 February 2015); Vice Presidents Melika MAHMUTBEGOVIC (since 11 February 2015), Milan DUNOVIC (since 11 February 2015); President of the Republika Srpska Zeljka CVIJANOVIC (since 18 November 2018); Vice Presidents Ramiz SALKIC (since 24 November 2014), Josip JERKOVIC (since 24 November 2014)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliamentary Assembly or Skupstina consists of:
House of Peoples or Dom Naroda (15 seats - 5 Bosniak, 5 Croat, 5 Serb; members designated by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's House of Peoples and the Republika Srpska's National Assembly to serve 4-year terms)
House of Representatives or Predstavnicki Dom (42 seats to include 28 seats allocated to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 14 to the Republika Srpska; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms); note - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature that consists of the House of Peoples (58 seats - 17 Bosniak, 17 Croat, 17 Serb, 7 other) and the House of Representatives (98 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms); Republika Srpska's unicameral legislature is the National Assembly (83 directly elected delegates serve 4-year terms)

elections:House of Peoples - last held on 18 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022)
House of Representatives - last held on 7 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022)

election results:House of Peoples - percent of vote by coalition/party - NA; seats by coalition/party - NA; composition - men 13, women 2, percent of women 13.3%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by coalition/party - SDA 17%, SNSD 16%, SDS/NDP/NS/SRS-VS 9.8%, SDP 9.1%, HDZ-BiH/HSS/HKDU/HSP-AS BiH/HDU BiH 9.1%, DF, 5.8%, PDP 5.1%, DNS 4.2%, SBB BiH 4.2%, NS/HC 2.9%, NB 2.5%, PDA 2.3%, SP 1.9%, A-SDA 1.8%, other 17.4%; seats by coalition/party - SDA 9, SNSD 6, SDP 5, HDZ-BiH/HSS/HKDU/HSP-AS BiH/HDU BiH 5, SDS/NDP/NS/SRS-VS 3, DF 3, PDP 2, SBB BiH 2, NS/HC 2, DNS 1, NB 1 PDA 1, SP 1, A-SDA 1; composition - men 33, women 9, percent of women 21.4%; note - total Parliamentary Assembly percent of women 19.3%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); Court of BiH (consists of 44 national judges and 7 international judges organized into 3 divisions - Administrative, Appellate, and Criminal, which includes a War Crimes Chamber)

judge selection and term of office:BiH Constitutional Court judges - 4 selected by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina House of Representatives, 2 selected by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and 3 non-Bosnian judges selected by the president of the European Court of Human Rights; Court of BiH president and national judges appointed by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council; Court of BiH president appointed for renewable 6-year term; other national judges appointed to serve until age 70; international judges recommended by the president of the Court of BiH and appointed by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina; international judges appointed to serve until age 70

subordinate courts:the Federation has 10 cantonal courts plus a number of municipal courts; the Republika Srpska has a supreme court, 5 district courts, and a number of municipal courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for a Better Future of BiH or SBB BiH [Fahrudin RADONCIC]
Alliance of Independent Social Democrats or SNSD [Milorad DODIK]
Alternative Party for Democratic Activity or A-SDA [Nermin OGRESEVIC]
Croat Peasants' Party or HSS [Mario KARAMATIC]
Croatian Christian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina or HKDU [Ivan MUSA]
Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina or HDU-BiH [Miro GRABOVAC-TITAN]
Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina or HDZ-BiH [Dragan COVIC]
Croatian Democratic Union 1990 or HDZ-1990 [Ilija CVITANOVIC]
Croatian Party of Rights dr. Ante Starcevic or HSP-AS Bih [Karlo STARCEVIC]
Democratic Alliance or DEMOS [Nedeljko CUBRILOVIC]
Democratic Front of DF [Zeljko KOMSIC]
Democratic Peoples' Alliance or DNS [Marko PAVIC]
Independent Bloc or NB [Senad SEPIC]
Movement for Democratic Action or PDA [Mirsad KUKIC]
Progressive Srpska or NS [Goran DORDIC]
Our Party or NS/HC [Predrag KOJOVIC]
Party for Democratic Action or SDA [Bakir IZETBEGOVIC]
Party of Democratic Progress or PDP [Branislav BORENOVIC]
People's Democratic Movement or NDP [Dragan CAVIC]
Serb Democratic Party or SDS [Vukota GOVEDARICA]
Serb Radical Party-Dr. Vojislav Seselj or SRS-VS [Vojislav SESELJ] (members joined the PDP)
Social Democratic Party or SDP [Nermin NIKSIC]
Socialist Party or SP [Petar DOKIC]
United Srpska or US [Nenad STEVANDIC]

International organization participation

BIS, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Bojan VUJIC (since 16 September 2019)

chancery:2109 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

telephone:[1] (202) 337-1500

FAX:[1] (202) 337-1502

consulate(s) general:Chicago, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Eric NELSON (since 19 February 2019)

telephone:[387] (33) 704-000

embassy:1 Robert C. Frasure Street, 71000 Sarajevo

mailing address:use embassy street address

FAX:[387] (33) 659-722

branch office(s):Banja Luka, Mostar

Flag description

a wide blue vertical band on the fly side with a yellow isosceles triangle abutting the band and the top of the flag; the remainder of the flag is blue with seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars top and bottom along the hypotenuse of the triangle; the triangle approximates the shape of the country and its three points stand for the constituent peoples - Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs; the stars represent Europe and are meant to be continuous (thus the half stars at top and bottom); the colors (white, blue, and yellow) are often associated with neutrality and peace, and traditionally are linked with Bosnia

note: one of several flags where a prominent component of the design reflects the shape of the country; other such flags are those of Brazil, Eritrea, and Vanuatu

National symbol(s)

golden lily; national colors: blue, yellow, white

National anthem

name: "Drzavna himna Bosne i Hercegovine" (The National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina)

lyrics/music:none officially; Dusan SESTIC and Benjamin ISOVIC/Dusan SESTIC

note: music adopted 1999; lyrics proposed in 2009 and others in 2016 were not approved; a parliamentary committee launched a new initiative for lyrics in February 2018

Economy

Economic overview

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a transitional economy with limited market reforms. The economy relies heavily on the export of metals, energy, textiles, and furniture as well as on remittances and foreign aid. A highly decentralized government hampers economic policy coordination and reform, while excessive bureaucracy and a segmented market discourage foreign investment. The economy is among the least competitive in the region. Foreign banks, primarily from Austria and Italy, control much of the banking sector, though the largest bank is a private domestic one. The konvertibilna marka (convertible mark) - the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro through a currency board arrangement, which has maintained confidence in the currency and has facilitated reliable trade links with European partners. Bosnia and Herzegovina became a full member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement in September 2007. In 2016, Bosnia began a three-year IMF loan program, but it has struggled to meet the economic reform benchmarks required to receive all funding installments.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's private sector is growing slowly, but foreign investment dropped sharply after 2007 and remains low. High unemployment remains the most serious macroeconomic problem. Successful implementation of a value-added tax in 2006 provided a steady source of revenue for the government and helped rein in gray-market activity, though public perceptions of government corruption and misuse of taxpayer money has encouraged a large informal economy to persist. National-level statistics have improved over time, but a large share of economic activity remains unofficial and unrecorded.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's top economic priorities are: acceleration of integration into the EU; strengthening the fiscal system; public administration reform; World Trade Organization membership; and securing economic growth by fostering a dynamic, competitive private sector.

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 920,407

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:23.95 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4,300,743

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:111.91 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: mobile services dominate fixed-line; integration with the EU has given stability to the present economy, as an EU candidate country, the regulatory framework and telecom market has been liberalized and the regulator has given LTE license to 3 MNOs; DSL and cable are the chief platforms for fixed-line connectivity, there is a small market presence of fiber broadband; new mobile roaming fees come into effect similar to other EU countries; rural areas still suffer from insufficient connectivity (2020)

domestic:fixed-line teledensity roughly 24 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly and stands at roughly 112 telephones per 100 persons (2019)

international:country code - 387; no satellite earth stations

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

3 public TV broadcasters: Radio and TV of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federation TV (operating 2 networks), and Republika Srpska Radio-TV; a local commercial network of 5 TV stations; 3 private, near-national TV stations and dozens of small independent TV broadcasting stations; 3 large public radio broadcasters and many private radio stations

Internet country code

.ba

Internet users

total: 2,699,544

percent of population:70.12% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 693,554

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:18 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers:1

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers:7,070 (2015)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers:87 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

T9

Airports

total: 24 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 129

Airports - with paved runways

total: 7 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m:4 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m:1 (2017)

under 914 m:2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 17 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m:1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m:5 (2013)

under 914 m:11 (2013)

Heliports

6 (2013)

Pipelines

147 km gas, 9 km oil (2013)

Railways

total: 965 km (2014)

standard gauge:965 km 1.435-m gauge (565 km electrified) (2014)

country comparison to the world: 90

Roadways

total: 22,926 km (2010)

paved:19,426 km (4,652 km of interurban roads) (2010)

unpaved:3,500 km (2010)

country comparison to the world: 109

Waterways

(Sava River on northern border; open to shipping but use limited) (2011)

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, Brcko, Orasje (Sava River)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Oruzanih Snaga Bosne i Hercegovine, OSBiH): Operations Command (includes Army, Air, and Air Defense units), Support Command (2021)

Military expenditures

0.9% of GDP (2019)

0.9% of GDP (2018)

0.9% of GDP (2017)

0.9% of GDP (2016)

1% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 131

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina have approximately 9,000 active duty personnel (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory for the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina includes mainly Soviet-era weapons systems with a small and varied mix of older European and US equipment (2021)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; mandatory retirement at age 35 or after 15 years of service for E-1 through E-4, mandatory retirement at age 50 and 30 years of service for E-5 through E-9, mandatory retirement at age 55 and 30 years of service for all officers; conscription abolished in 2005 (2019)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force (2019)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Serbia delimited about half of the boundary with Bosnia and Herzegovina, but sections along the Drina River remain in dispute

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 5,116 (Croatia) (2019)

IDPs:99,000 (Bosnian Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks displaced by inter-ethnic violence, human rights violations, and armed conflict during the 1992-95 war) (2019)

stateless persons:75 (2019)

note: 73,755 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-April 2021)

Illicit drugs

increasingly a transit point for heroin being trafficked to Western Europe; minor transit point for marijuana; remains highly vulnerable to money-laundering activity given a primarily cash-based and unregulated economy, weak law enforcement, and instances of corruption

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