Albania

Switzerland supports Albania in the development of a democratic society, a competitive economy, and in the country’s integration into European structures. Switzerland‘s support is focused on governance, economic development and health care as well as urban infrastructure and energy.

Map of Albania

Although poverty has decreased in Albania, the country is still confronted with major structural problems. High unemployment, especially among young people, and its insufficiently developed private sector are hampering economic development and encouraging emigration. The country must continue its efforts to establish genuine rule of law and step up the fight against corruption and organised crime. It has made initial progress, however, in democratisation and reform of the judiciary, and it has been recognised as a candidate for membership of the European Union.

Democratisation, decentralisation and local governance

Switzerland is supporting institutional reforms and encouraging democratisation and decentralisation. By promoting regional development and strengthening local authorities, it is also encouraging civil society to play a more active role in decision-making processes. Switzerland is also actively working to ensure access to good-quality local public services, in particular for disadvantaged population groups such as the Roma.

State and Economic Reforms 

Economic development

Swiss support for strengthening the management of public finances, monetary policy and the supervision of the financial sector is contributing directly to improving the macroeconomic situation in Albania. Thanks to targeted measures to improve the overall legal framework and access for private companies to markets, Switzerland is contributing to the growth of the job market. Switzerland is also involved in providing attractive vocational training opportunities for young Albanians that is more up to date and better adapted to meet job-market demands.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Urban infrastructure and energy

By combining measures to strengthen institutions and investment at the local level, Switzerland is encouraging the provision of good-quality public services in Albania. To this end, Switzerland is supporting efforts to improve urban infrastructure as well as the supply and proper management of drinking water and wastewater; it is also active in promoting greater energy efficiency. The Albanian authorities are being supported in the negotiations on the management of the Trans Adriatic pipeline through Albania.

State and Economic Reforms

Health

Switzerland is strengthening basic health services for the Albanian population by supporting national reforms and helping to improve management, equip medical facilities and support continuous training for health personnel. Swiss efforts also include preventive measures to reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, raising awareness of health issues among the general public and holding healthcare providers to account. This contributes to improving access for marginalised and vulnerable population groups to health services.

Health 

History of cooperation

From humanitarian aid to transition assistance 

Swiss cooperation with the countries of Eastern Europe began working in Albania in 1992. Since 1997, the SDC has been represented with a cooperation office in Tirana. The major humanitarian operations that were conducted in the years immediately following the collapse of the communist system have since been replaced by technical and financial cooperation projects in support of transition. 

Current projects

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Developing skills for better employment

A student screwing a solar panel together.

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018

Unequal access to employment and the mismatch between education and labour market requirements are among the reasons for the high youth-unemployment in Albania. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) system therefore is undergoing a reorientation in order to meet labour market needs. Through the Skills Development for Employment Programme Switzerland is supporting these reforms.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Education
Economy and Employment
Vocational training and skills development
Labor market development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)

15.12.2014 - 31.12.2018


CHF 3'000'000



Supporting Decentralisation and Local Government

Albanian women visiting the Bushat municipal office.

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2018


Switzerland supports Albania's transition to a democratic society. The decentralisation and local development programme (dldp) strengthens local government in North Albania and disseminates best practices at national level. It has introduced new models for local government functioning in areas such as waste management, public finance management, and e-governance.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)

01.01.2014 - 31.12.2018


CHF 9'620'000



Increasing the quality of health services for all

15.10.2013 - 31.12.2018


Albania has the lowest public health spending in the region. Many patients bypass primary health care and overcrowd hospitals, especially in larger cities. In addition, non-communicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore health promotion, prevention of diseases and improved primary health care services are a top priority for the country.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Health
Health system strengthening
Non-communicable diseases, incl. Mental health
Primary health care
Non-communicable diseases, incl. Mental health
Primary health care

15.10.2013 - 31.12.2018


CHF 10'000'000



Enhancing social inclusion for the vulnerable

Meeting of members at a Roma centre in Kucove, Albania.

01.09.2013 - 31.05.2017

Due to limited financial, human and institutional capacities the Government of Albania so far does not adequately respond to the needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups. Switzerland in partnership with the United Nations (UN) is addressing this issue through the project Support to Social Inclusion in Albania that assists current reforms led by the government.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)

01.09.2013 - 31.05.2017


CHF 3'500'000



Stronger municipal structures and increased cooperation

Local council members in Kukës, North Albania, during a training on the new public administration law.

15.08.2012 - 30.06.2017

Since 2010, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), together with the Council of Europe supports a project for strengthening local governments in Albania. The "Strengthening Local Government Structures" project aims to increase cooperation between municipalities, improve human resources management and include to a greater extent local governments in national decision-making processes.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)

15.08.2012 - 30.06.2017


CHF 2'740'000



Making Labour Market Work for Young People in Albania

01.07.2012 - 31.10.2017

An estimated 34% of Albania's youth are unemployed or underemployed. The main causes of this situation are low labour demand, ineffective job matching services and lack of skills. Youth employment is a priority and the Swiss-supported project “Making Labour Market work for Young People” - RisiAlbania - responds to this issue by promoting entry into the labour market.

 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Labor market development
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development

01.07.2012 - 31.10.2017


CHF 5'100'000



Better planning for Albania's government

Meeting of the Government of Albania

01.01.2012 - 31.12.2018

Albania’s economy, public finance, and debt remain areas of concern as the government tries to keep positive growth and stability in a challenging context. Although capacities for policy and financial planning have improved, there still is a need for better performance, monitoring and integrated planning. Since 2005 a group of donors including Switzerland introduced the Integrated Planning System, a tool that aids the government in strategy planning while observing budget constraints.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Albania
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Decentralisation - local governance - democratization (incl. accountability)
Public financial management (including activities against corruption)
Public financial management (including activities against corruption)

01.01.2012 - 31.12.2018


CHF 1'375'000



Regional Development Programme in Northern Albania

01.12.2016 - 30.09.2018

Citizens of Albania will benefit from better social and economic opportunities. Since many Albanian citizens face the negative consequences of social, economic and environmental disparities between and within regions of the country, the project will tackle these disparities by strengthening the institutions working on regional development through an active involvement of all relevant stakeholders and increasing strategic investments in the regions.


Skills for Jobs in Albania

01.03.2015 - 28.02.2019

As a result of the project, at least 8’500 youth will benefit from improved VSD trainings in five public VSD schools and centres in three regions of Albania. The S4J project responds to the challenges of the Albanian vocational skills development (VSD) system such as the quality of its training offer, image, labour market orientation and private sector involvement. It promotes work-based learning, private sector cooperation and Swiss expertise. With its focus on vocational schools it complements other ongoing Swiss funded initiatives on policy level.


Fostering civic engagement in Albania

Civil gathering in Albania

15.10.2013 - 30.06.2019


Civic engagement in Albania is low. The relationship between citizens and local authorities is still not based on accountability, transparency and participation. Corruption is pervasive while checks and balances are weak and under utilised.


Lugano Summer School - Support for health professionals and managers from Low- and Middle-Income Countries with a SOC health focus

01.05.2013 - 30.04.2017

Empowering the workforce at all levels and within each of the building blocks of the health system through training is mandatory for improving health system performance. Therefore the goal of the of the Lugano Summer School is to strengthen and sustain the capacity of health professionals in selected low and middle income countries to manage, develop and promote health services and health systems at conceptual, strategic, and operational levels.


Support to Public Accounting Reforms in Albania

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2020

This project aims at developing and strengthening the public accounting framework in Albania in order to improve transparency and budget allocation. The direct beneficiaries of the project are the Ministry of Finance as well as other budget institutions at central level. The project will be implemented by the World Bank.

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