North Macedonia

Switzerland’s transition assistance in North Macedonia is based on mutual interests in attaining socio-economic development, stability, security and European integration. Significant progress has been made since the Republic of North Macedonia gained independence in 1991, but the country still lags in some areas of reform, such as decentralisation, rule of law, economic development and public services.

Map of Macedonia
Map of North Macedonia © FDFA

According to the most recent census (2002), the population comprises several ethnic groups: Macedonians (65%), Albanians (25%) and other minorities such as Turks and Roma. Despite a solid democratic framework, the system has been undermined by the sluggish pace of reform, a non-inclusive approach to state-building and a decline in freedom of the press. This is manifested in a weakening of parliamentary and judicial control and in institutional corruption and political interference. Economic growth remains stymied by the recent downturn and high unemployment, particularly among women and young people. The Republic of North Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership since 2005 but is slow to implement the reforms necessary for accession.

Democratic governance

The programme seeks to strengthen democratic governance through measures to increase social inclusion, public accountability and parliamentary control over the executive. Swiss cooperation also fosters citizen participation in local and regional decision-making as well as civil society involvement in representing the population’s needs and concerns.

State and Economic Reforms

Economic development

Switzerland’s support in the economic sector is aimed at improving employment prospects and achieving sustainable economic growth. It helps job seekers to access the labour market through vocational education and training programmes that are geared to the needs of the market. At the same time, it promotes private sector development, particularly start-ups, by encouraging employers to offer decent work opportunities. Switzerland is also actively involved in efforts to improve employment conditions, promote trade and institute better business practices.

Private Sector Development and Financial Services

Infrastructure and the environment

The country’s water resources and wealth of biodiversity are considered a major factor in its development. With Switzerland’s support, the institutions and organisations in selected municipalities can better protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change. By investing in infrastructure and capacity building in public services, Switzerland is helping to raise the quality of service in water supply and in waste and wastewater management.

Water – A Vital Resource Under Threat

Organisation and partners

The 2017-2020 cooperation strategy is implemented jointly by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Switzerland’s work is grounded in formal agreements with the government in question and requires co-funding by the recipient country wherever possible and appropriate. Particular effort is placed on building partnerships with new actors of change, such as youth associations. Partnerships with the private sector are also sought as vectors for development, especially in regard to jobs and economic growth.

Switzerland’s main partners in North Macedonia:

 

  • Ministries and local governments
  • National and local parliaments, parliamentary administration
  • Civil society organisations, e.g. the media
  • Private sector
  • Local and international NGOs

 

Bilateral and multilateral donors and organisations, e.g. UNDP and UN Women

Current projects

Object 13 – 19 of 19

North Macedonia: Nature Conservation Programme

01.01.2017 - 31.01.2021

Switzerland will assist North Macedonia in sustainable management of natural resources through practical application of conservation measures such as regional protected areas and integrated forest management in the Bregalnica region. Further framework conditions will be improved and support is provided in implementing national legislation and the Strategy on Nature. By promoting ecologically and sustainably produced products and services, economic benefit for the local population will be generated.


Vocational Skills Development in Macedonia

01.09.2016 - 28.02.2022

Macedonia has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (25%), especially among youth (48%). One of the key factors for youth unemployment is that the education and training system does not provide skills needed by the economy. The Vocational Skills Development project aims to address youth unemployment through supporting market relevant skills development by strengthening the engagement of the private sector (e.g. through systematised internships), thus increasing the employability of vocational training graduates.


Contribution to the Roma Education Fund (REF)

01.12.2015 - 31.12.2020

REF is the lead organization for Roma education. SDC is supporting REF from its inception, contributing in a relevant way to the Roma decade. REF recently defined a strategy (2015-20) and is strengthening its results orientation. By continuing the partnership with REF, with a focus on pro-inclusion policy dialogue, SDC ensures coherence and consistence of its position in the Roma inclusion agenda. REF's focus on children from early childhood is crucial for the social inclusion of the next generation of Roma.


Sustainable and Inclusive Regional Economic Development in Macedonia

01.11.2015 - 31.03.2021

The level of development of Macedonia‘s eight regions is highly unequal. A national structure for balanced regional development has been built up since 2007. SDC will contribute to the establishment of a national system for coordination and monitoring for balanced regional development. In the regions, good governance will be enhanced; project development and implementation capacities will be improved with focus on the less developed regions. These measures will ensure greater allocation of funds to the underdeveloped regions.


Restoration of the Strumica River Basin

01.07.2014 - 30.06.2021

As a continuation of the support to the Macedonian water and nature sector, Switzerland developed a group of projects that will assist the country to have cleaner water and a healthier environment, as well as to move forward in meeting its obligations towards the EU. Through this project, Citizens and farmers in the Strumica river basin will benefit from improved economic wellbeing as a result of a better ecological status of the river basin and reduced flooding hazards.


Multi-Country Investment Climate Program

01.01.2017 - 31.12.2024

The Multi-Country Investment Climate Program (MCICP) supports investment climate reform advisory in a total of 20 SECO partner countries. It is implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a globally recognized leader in this field.


Gostivar Water Supply System II

01.01.2016 - 01.01.2020

The Gostivar Water Supply Supply System II project SECO aims at further improving the water services of the municipality of Gostivar, in collaboration with the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW).

Object 13 – 19 of 19