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Croatia Smart City Opportunities

Most of the Croatia´s municipalities have begun implementing one or more intelligent (Smart City) solution initiatives, with EU funds being the strongest driver. The European Commission has allocated 1.57 billion euros for the Croatian Integrated Territorial Program 2021-2027, which has a goal of supporting sustainable urban development. Additional industry-specific EU funds are available for cities to develop and fund their projects.

Two main organizations encouraging Smart City concepts and enabling knowledge sharing are the Association of Cities in Croatia and the Smart City Group within the Croatian Chamber of Economy. According to the census from 2021, 60% of the population in Croatia lives in cities. Although Croatia is a country with less than 4 million inhabitants, strong centralization generates challenges for city management, forcing them to seek Smart City solutions. Coastal cities, like Split, Dubrovnik, and Zadar, have additional challenges posed by the tourism season, when the number of people in those areas doubles or triples.

An important aspect for the implementation of the Smart City programs is IT literacy and Internet coverage. According to the EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index 2022, Croatia ranks 21st out of 27 EU Members when scored on human capital, connectivity, integration of digital technology, and digital public services. 63% of Croatian citizens between 16 and 73 years old have at least basic digital skills, necessary for the use of Smart City programs. 88% of households are covered by fast broadband coverage, and 55% of internet users use e-government services.

Many projects in this area are expected, holding potential for U.S. companies with expertise in smart city technologies, digitalization, AI, IoT, mobility, energy and environment, green building, infrastructure, and other related sub-sectors. For additional information and assistance, please e-mail the U.S. Commercial Service office in Croatia at: