Honoured hosts, esteemed participants of the 17th China International Finance Forum,
it is my pleasure to greet you on behalf of the National Bank of Serbia and my own, even if it is in this virtual way. The topic of this year’s Forum emerged on its own. It is not easy to talk about financial services in the era of digital economy in front of you because you are the leaders in this respect.
But it is not difficult either, because you are the kind of leaders that assist and encourage others to make advances in this field.
You are the leaders who share their experience and knowledge with others. And Serbia is a proof of that.
This is a good opportunity to quote a great Serbian poet Desanka Maksimović and her timeless advice to young people: STAY HEALTHY, GAIN KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE YOUR COUNTRY.
We live at a time when knowledge has taken a back seat to information and when wisdom has taken a back seat to knowledge. And wisdom is eternal. Like the ancient Chinese piece of wisdom that if you think in terms of centuries, you should teach the people.
That is why I first and foremost want to say that technology should serve people and not the other way round.
Innovations make our lives easier and safer. They save time, our most valuable resource. Therefore, they are tools for achieving goals, and not the goal itself. Chinese citizens know this very well, because you are global leaders in this respect. You know that technology alone cannot solve big economic challenges: it cannot set priorities, or make decisions about spending and investments. People will always be those who make these calls. This is why technology must serve people, and not the other way around. On this path, as on any other, we are called to cooperate. Serbia wants to build future with those who look far and see far. With our proven friends who are creating future to the benefit of the human civilisation, which can survive and thrive only if we all cooperate.
for the National Bank of Serbia, easier and cheaper financial services are among our top priorities. In the centre, at the end and at the beginning – is man and its wellbeing in the 21st century.
Acting in this manner – proactively, more than two years ago, the National Bank of Serbia developed a national instant payments system: our NBS IPS. Since October 2018, our citizens and corporates can use a modern payment system, available to them at all times, 24 hours a day, with the option of executing a money transfer in one second. Our NBS IPS is one of the first instant payment systems in the world – it was introduced a month before the ECB launched its system. The option to pay bills of any major service provider within seconds – simply by scanning the NBS IPS QR code – is another thing that makes Serbia unique in this part of Europe.
Here in Serbia, we worked hard on a law governing the issuance, secondary trading and provision of services related to digital commerce. Platforms for trading in virtual currencies and their exchange for money will come to life in Serbia, but security will remain our priority. Providers of these services will be carefully licensed and supervised equally so.
While developing services, we don’t let our guard down for a moment when it comes to the security of our payment infrastructure. All of the most successful countries have their national cards, because not using expensive international brands allows them to make savings and to ensure the independence of their own payment infrastructure. This is another field where Serbia stands out, because we have our Serbian Dina card. We named it Dina symbolically – after our national currency, the dinar, whose relative stability is the backbone of the overall macroeconomic stability in Serbia. A nation has its language, and a national financial system has its national payment card – therefore, it is our obligation to choose who to cooperate with on making it stronger. We have chosen the largest card system in the world – China UnionPay. Personally, I had the privilege to agree on the details of our cooperation and sign the Agreement on Cooperation, as the crown of our efforts. The UnionPay card is already accepted at ATMs in Serbia, and our goal is to ensure that it is accepted in the entire acceptance network of our national card system. We have also agreed with China UnionPay to issue our joint Serbian-Chinese DinaCard–UnionPay payment card.