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Success Story: ICT Cluster

Cluster Academy Supports ICT Industry Growth in Kragujevac, Republic of Serbia

As the ICT sector in Serbia continues to grow, it requires a skilled, motivated workforce of IT professionals. The ICT Cluster of Central Serbia in Kragujevac – a key business association for Serbian ICT companies -- has created Cluster Academy to better meet this demand. Cluster Academy is an innovative program developed in conjunction with Cluster member companies to “re- act to the “turbulent and constantly growing IT industry, both globally and in Serbia.” A better-qualified workforce positions member companies to be more competitive in offering their services both domestically and abroad.

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Report: Western Balkans - Regional Instability and Resilience to External Shocks

Provisional Impacts of the Situations in the EU, Euro-zone (including Greek Crisis), EAU, Russia & FSU, Turkey and the Middle East

The report assesses threats to the economic and political stability of the WB countries, other countries from New Europe (NE – Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Romania) and the Former Soviet Union (FSU – Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) are used for comparison. The report’s focus is on political risk and it’s affect on economic development, defined as a destruction or expropriation of resources and capital, or a threat of such destruction affecting the likelihood of future prosperity. The period analyzed is 2007-2016, concentrating on the effects of the recession period monetary policies (the Euro and the ECB), investment, fiscal affairs, redistribution, FDIs, specific policies on energy dependence, effects of the Greek default and the current banking crisis in Italy, “pure” political matters (like refugees), exposure to terrorism, the political fate of the EU and the WB post-Brexit, geopolitical standoffs, Russia’s and Turkey’s role in the region and the capacity of governments to deal with these threats.

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Report: Regional Trade Report on Free Trade Agreements

The purpose of this report is to analyze the effects of WB Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and membership in other international trade arrangements (WTO, custom unions and EU status) on the regional trade facilitation throughout the Balkans. It compares the political arrangements like EU SAA with FTAs, and the FTAs, economic and political processes with the impact of the Eurasian Union (and Russia) and the EU accession process of the Western Balkans. 

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Assessment: Public-Private Dialogue in Albania

Dialogue between the public and private sectors is not a new concept. It has been a feature of public life for decades in some countries. But recent years have seen a surge in interest in PPD as a means for promoting private sector development.
PPD has become an important part of the private sector reform process, and it is here to stay. This means it is increasingly necessary to promote understanding of what PPD is, and what it can and can’t achieve.
PPD comes in many forms. It can be structured or ad-hoc, formal or informal, wide-ranging or focused on specific issues. It can be initiated by forward-thinking governments, frustrated entrepreneurs, or third parties such as international donor agencies. Sometimes it involves only a few private sector representatives, sometimes it includes labor unions and civil society groups. It can take place at the local, national, or international level. It can be organized by industry sectors, clusters or value chains, or it can cover cross-cutting economic issues.

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Assessment: Public-Private Dialogue in Macedonia

Macedonia is widely aware of the need to establish and maintain a functioning public-private dialogue process, and cognizant of the considerable benefits that such a dialogue provides for stakeholders. Though the country has a specific multi-stakeholder community on the part of the businesses, a national consensus on this issue is present and wider commitment from different stakeholder groups has been emphasized over the years.

Efforts in the past years, with strong assistance from the donor community and with active involvement from the public, private and the civil sectors, have focused on building a favorable environment based on the principles of inclusivity, efficiency and transparency. For that purpose, significant progress was made in building awareness and level of expertise in all three sectors, to enable them to constructively contribute to the establishment of a functional public-private dialogue environment.

The progress Macedonia has achieved thus far established the adequate institutional infrastructure and a solid ground on which sustainability can be built, assuming innovative and continuous activities to further increase stakeholder capacities to take a more active part in the process and maintain commitment to the principles of public-private dialogue.

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Report: Public-Private Dialogue in the Republic of Serbia

With expert and financial support of USAID Regional Economic Growth Program, NALED prepared the report “Public-Private Dialogue in the Republic of Serbia – the existing practices, the role of business community in creating public policies and recommendations for improving the process“, with the aim to better perceive the existing mechanisms for engaging businesses and business associations into the process of drafting and implementing regulations in line with the needs of all interested parties, both the citizens and businesses on one side, and the line ministries, local governments and other public institutions on the other.

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Success Story: Western Balkans Geotourism Network (WBGN)

With continued assistance from the USAID Regional Economic Growth (REG) project, the Western Balkans Geotourism Network (WBGN) has evolved into an entity with the potential to spur considerable growth and improvement in the tourism sector in the Western Balkans. The Network has been well received by businesses, institutions, and public and private associations in the region. Membership is growing and currently includes a National Tourism Organization, two National Parks, several municipalities, local tourism organizations, and around 100 businesses and NGO’s. 

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Study on Non-Bank Financial Institutions in the Balkans, February 2015

This study looks at the alternative, non-commercial banking financial instruments currently being deployed in the Balkans, and their current and potential roles in financial inclusion and growth.  

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Comparative Regional Study on Collateral Valuation, January 2015

More reliable collateral valuation schemes in the Region have the potential to enhance access to finance and increase economic growth. To those ends, the study analyzed the status quo and then proposed a series of cost-effective regional programming activities that, if implemented, would contribute to increased conformance with international standards on collateral valuation.

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Western Balkans IT Survey, May 2014

Identification of IT quality standards and certifications required on target markets
REG conducted two surveys to identify the IT quality standards and certificates most required and recognized in these target markets and the gaps in the capabilities of leading IT service and product providers in the Balkan region. One survey seeks to identify the current trends in the IT industry standards, models and certification schemes required in the target markets noted above. The second survey  assessed the IT industry standards and certificates prevalent in the region and the gaps from the demand from target markets. In addition, the analysis included list of national/regional service providers to support firms in obtaining these IT industry standards and certificates for each country, and recommendations for future REG activities.

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Western Balkans Agricultural Assessment, April 2014

Survey to assess and prioritize technical needs in leading Ag sub-sectors and identify new export opportunities. 
The REG Project engaged AgBizMK to design and conduct a survey to identify and prioritize agricultural sub sectors in order to gain a better understanding of export trade circumstances and key constraints in standards and certifications that impede fresh and processed fruit and vegetable producers and exporters in the region. The analysis of the survey will inform specific activities undertaken by REG to increase AG producers, processors and exporters’ adherence to internationally recognized standards and certifications that are required in key export markets. The background, methodology, and key findings of the survey can be found in the report.
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Western Balkans Stakeholders Survey, February 2014

Stakeholder Survey of key constraints in priority sectors,
In order to expand information on opportunities and constraints to growth of the priority sectors in the region, interviews with key stakeholders were conducted by separate consultants in each of the included countries in the REG project. The REG team conducted interviews with key stakeholders, analyzed and systematized the answers and prepared the report. Priority sectors covered in the report are: Tourism; IT (including mature IT companies and innovation / start-ups); Agribusiness (fruits and vegetables); Footwear manufacturing; Food manufacturing and Manufacturing of vehicles and parts thereof. 
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Relevant documents up to to 2013 can be found on the websites of REG predecessor projects: