What Is the Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark (BAM)?

The Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark (BAM) is the national currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is comprised of 100 subunits called fenings and was first introduced in 1995.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark (BAM) is the national currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • It was introduced in 1995 as part of the Dayton Agreement, which brought an end to the Bosnian War.
  • Today, the economy of Bosnia-Herzegovina relies largely on tourism, information technology, and certain manufacturing sectors.

Understanding the BAM

The Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, established in 1997, issues and circulates the Bosnia-Herzegovina convertible mark (BAM). The creation of the central bank, as well as the convertible mark, came as part of the Dayton Agreement. This diplomatic agreement marked the end of the Bosnian War, forming the basic governing structure of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The newly-created BAM replaced two currencies that were previously used in the region: the Bosnian dinar and the Croatian kuna. Instead, the BAM became the sole currency for Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the BAM was initially pegged to the German Deutschmark (D-Mark) at par, its exchange rate was fixed to the euro (EUR) at a rate of 1 EUR per 1.95583 BAM when Germany adopted the EUR in 2002.

Today, the BAM is distributed in banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 marks. Its coins, meanwhile, are circulated in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 marks. Smaller coins are also available, in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 fenings. The banknotes feature portraits of prominent regional poets, such as the Yugoslav poet, Skender Kulenović; and the Bosnian poet, Musa Ćazim Ćatić.

Real World Example of the BAM

Bosnia and Herzegovina, located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, was a portion of Yugoslavia until 1992 when it achieved its independence. The area is home to three main ethnic groups: the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. This mixture has led not only to a vibrant cultural existence but also to years of bitter conflict. Currently, the country has a three-member presidency with one member from each ethnic group.

Bosnia and Herzegovina have an economy as varied as their history and culture. The Bosnian War of the 1990s caused substantial damage to the economy, but the country has since begun to rebound. Tourism and information technology services make up two of the country’s largest export industries, although the country also has experience in certain specialty manufacturing sectors such as car seats and footwear products.