Make it in Albania. Creating prospects for employment, development and growth
Programme title: Sustainable economic and regional development, promoting employment, vocational education and training in Albania (ProSEED).
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Prime Minister’s Office
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
As it comes to the end of its transition to a market economy, Albania faces the challenge of strong unemployment and high levels of emigration from the country. According to Albania’s Institute of Statistics, overall unemployment reached 17.5 per cent in 2015. The rate among 15-29-year-olds is particularly high, at over 30 per cent. Meanwhile, nearly 15 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. Nearly all the companies operating in Albania are classified as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. They produce little economic growth and do not have a significant impact on employment. Direct foreign investment is rare. In a country where the labour market and the education system, especially vocational education, are disjointed, it is hard for young people to find suitable jobs.
The capacities of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Albania have improved, Albanian institutions are better able to pursue investment projects, and the country’s vocational education and training system has been modernised and adapted to the needs of the labour market. As a result, employment opportunities for Albanian citizens are increasing and young people have better prospects if they stay in Albania.
By addressing the combined areas of economic and regional development, employment promotion and vocational education and training – which were previously the focus of separate GIZ projects – this single programme benefits from a strong foundation and established relationships. It provides technical support to its main partners: the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth. The new programme builds on approaches already applied, while extending their scope. The result is an integrated approach to employment promotion that addresses both supply and demand within the labour market. By creating better prospects, it encourages young people to stay in Albania. The programme actively includes people returning from pe-riods spent abroad, especially in Germany.
The programme is active in four areas:
- Vocational education and training. The programme is working in selected sectors and regions to boost the quality and market-orientation of vocational training providers, thereby contributing to the National Employment and Skills Strategy (2014 – 2020). Taking the Multifunctional Centre of Kamza, which previously benefited from GIZ support, as a model, the programme is now also working closely with the National Agency of Vocational Education Training and Qualifications to further develop five vocational education and training centres, as well as a number of private training providers.
- Support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. By strengthening the capacity of MSMEs, the programme expects to encourage economic growth and achieve positive employment effects. Since small businesses make up the overwhelming majority of Albanian companies, any improvements to their operations and competitiveness will increase the demand for a skilled workforce. At the same time, training providers are encouraged to offer new courses in entrepreneurial skills for such enterprises. To that end, the programme cooperates with MSME clusters and business representative organisations.
- Social participation of youth and minorities. To enhance the employment skills of marginalised youth and strengthen their social cohesion, the programme assists civil society initiatives that tar-get this group. Selected initiatives receive both financial and management support. Young people get the chance to engage actively in finding common solutions to social and economic problems. They benefit from greater social acceptance while developing new occupational prospects.
- Regional development, economic growth and employment. Here, the programme aims to improve the environment for the projects and strategies of the relevant ministries, and it works to enhance the implementing capacities of public institutions, enabling them to undertake and support both public and private investment projects with an employment impact. Following the funding decisions of its Albanian partners, the programme then provides these institutions with expert assistance for the subsequent processes of preparation, negotiation and implementation.