Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.
Croatia will receive more than $30 billion in EU funding through 2030, which has the potential to provide a significant boost to the economy. This includes more than $7 billion in grants through the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, 40% of which will be spent during the next three to five years on green transition and 20% on digital transformation projects. U.S. companies will be welcome to bid on the public tenders for these projects.
As it endeavors to further integrate into NATO and European Union structures, Croatia primarily needs technologically advanced, cost-effective U.S. goods and services that will help modernize its defense capabilities, increase energy independence, and improve governance and production. Targeted U.S. exports and investments could provide critical support to Croatia’s efforts to remain a safe, democratic, and prosperous country that serves as an example for others in the Western Balkans that are yet to join the EU or NATO. The industry sub-sectors in which U.S. companies could most contribute to Croatia’s security and wellbeing include hi-tech defense equipment and cybersecurity, smart technologies, energy prosumers, and medical tourism.
For example, Croatia is replacing its outdated and Russian specification defense infrastructure with modern, NATO-compatible equipment. The key Western procurements on the horizon include helicopters, UAVs, air defense systems, and radar system modernization. Cybersecurity and protection of critical infrastructure are emerging as defense policy priorities for hybrid threats.
The local telecom operators have begun introducing 5G networks, which will soon widely open the doors for digital applications requiring reliable high-speed connectivity. Croatia will need to fully digitalize its administration, cities, industry, agriculture, transport, courts, hospitals, and schools. U.S. firms can help by leveraging their expertise with advanced information and communication solutions based on the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, or Blockchain.
Croatia’s mild, Mediterranean climate with high solar coverage, as well as its strong tourism industry makes it attractive to U.S. firms supplying Distributed Energy Resource technologies. These would primarily include smart grids as well as photovoltaic units and advanced batteries to be used by prosumers – households and businesses that produce energy for their own consumption and sometimes sell the excess electricity on the market.
Croatia’s privately-owned clinics and hospitals are steadily increasing in number and size, providing a sound alternative to the struggling public healthcare system. This trend could be further boosted by the development of medical tourism, an area in which Croatia has excellent potential, given the high quality of its physicians, their relatively low wages, and the attractiveness of the country as a destination for tourists and retirees. U.S. medical equipment and services suppliers could help Croatia’s private healthcare providers grow into large and highly profitable businesses.