Bosnia and Herzegovina is still struggling with efforts to move from socialism to private sector, market-led capitalism. Commerce has been severely restricted by the ongoing interethnic civil strife. In the Bosnian Serb area, senior police commanders and officials in the governing Serb Democratic Party have a monopoly on cigarette and gasoline sales. Retail establishments tend to be very small with limited inventories, however, some large shopping centers are gaining ground. Direct marketing and sales are also gaining in popularity. Installment plans and financing, even for very low cost items, is common, since credit is not widely available or accepted.
Though post-war reconstruction is nearly complete, as of 2002, the country's economy still depended heavily on foreign aid. With the establishment of the Central Bank and currency board in 1997, inflation has since been brought under control; however, unemployment is still high, at about 40% in 2002. As of 2002, the private sector only accounts for about 35% of the economy.