Developing economic perspectives and addressing the issue of persistent high unemployment especially among young people, women and marginalised groups, are fundamental challenges for Macedonia. The main challenges are difficulties for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to access financing, a shortage of skilled labour (including managerial skills), inefficient use of resources leading to a significant ecological footprint, and a cumbersome government bureaucracy. As one of the few remaining bilateral donors in Macedonia, Switzerland has an opportunity to make a difference by addressing these challenges. Since 2013, Switzerland has launched a new domain in its cooperation with Macedonia, building on a number of on-going regional economic development interventions and broadly aiming to promote competitiveness and inclusiveness of the economy on a larger scale.
The overall objective in this domain is to further adjust the economic system towards a social market-based economy that creates jobs and growth.
Switzerland will work with partners to develop and introduce innovative financial products, strengthen business skills of entrepreneurs and improve corporate governance practices of companies. Particular attention will be paid that the assistance provided by Switzerland directly supports the private sector, including SMEs located outside Skopje in economically less developed regions.
Equal job and income opportunities, including demand-oriented skills development, will be promoted in the areas of tourism, creative industries, and green economy. Switzerland will apply the principles of a ”green economy” in line with Agenda 21 and the EU’s growth strategy “Europe 2020” in all its activities.