Private Sector Development in South-West Serbia


The Private Sector Development (PSD) South-West Serbia Programme supports the development of more inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory market systems, through interventions in the sectors of traditional products (raspberry and honey) and tourism. This will provide rural population and specifically young people and women, access to employment and income opportunities, as well as improved access to finance, social benefits and know-how.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Employment & economic development
Tradepolicy & market system
SME development
Rural development
01.06.2017 - 31.05.2022
CHF 5'500'000
Background

Serbia is gradually progressing towards a functioning market economy, but the difficult economic and fiscal situation persists. Unemployment remains high, up to 25% in rural areas and up to 40% for youth. Unemployment of women is 35% (46% in disadvantaged regions). The poor economic situation particularly affects the least educated population, women and youth in rural areas. 12.2% of rural inhabitants suffer from absolute poverty compared to 6.7% in urban areas. These significant regional disparities result in migration, which leads to a depopulation of the countryside and jeopardizes social stability in rural areas. In an effort to address these structural problems, the relevant national strategies state that creation of an efficient and sustainable agriculture sector is crucial for growth and jobs in rural areas and that tourism development will create sustainable employment, contributing to local economic development (LED).

Objectives

The overall goal of the program is that “Local economic development is strengthened and rural migration is reduced by increasing employment and income opportunities, particularly for women and youth“.

The following results are anticipated:

A) > 88 Mio CHF of additional income;

B) > 4‘400 additional jobs created;

C) > 4‘400 persons (45% women) benefit from an improved return on labor;

D) > 2‘OOO gain access to financial services for starting a business.

Target groups

PSD will target young people and women (job seekers in the tourism and traditional products sector, SME‘s and small farmers and producers) in 100 municipalities in rural areas of all Serbia except of Vojvodina. The project will particularly focus on the youth with little or no previous work experience and on women with limited access to the employment market in order to include them in value chains and allow them access to trainings, social benefits and financial services.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1 — Young people, women and SMEs get new jobs and income in the tourism sector.

Outcome 2 — Value chains of traditional products become competitive on domestic and foreign markets.

Outcome 3 — Local Economic Development benefits from improved framework conditions.

Outcome 4 — Rural women contribute to the household income and improve their decision power within families.

Results

Expected results:  

Jobs and income in the tourism sector will be increased by: development of private sector responsive curricula; and development and promotion of new tourism products. Value chains of traditional products will support increased sales due to: improved access to sales channels; improved quality requirements and improved access to finance. Framework conditions for local economic development will be improved by: establishment of Public Private Development Partnerships (PPDP); and improvement of the tourism business enabling environment in order to support SME development and increase investment. Rural women will increasingly contribute to household income and improve their decision power within families through: increased access to the labour market, social security system, trainings and financing for rural women.


Results from previous phases:  

The project had positive results in the most remote and vulnerable regions through:

A) Additional income of over CHF 12.7 Mio created, of which 46% for women;

B) 2‘300 new jobs created, of which 46% for women.

This was achieved by facilitating systemic changes such as the change in the legislation to extend the winter season. Also, women and youth were provided access to the raspberry and honey production, through new business models which provide financial and advisory support for small scale producers and a secured market access. On social level, this has contributed to poverty reduction and creation of better living conditions, since full time employment brought a package of social benefits for beneficiaries and their families (health, unemployment and pension insurance).


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Foreign private sector South/East


Other partners

Ministries of Agriculture and of Trade have a decision making role in enacting relevant legislation and developing new products. The Private sector is key for bringing change into the sector functioning. Municipalities are important for building PPDP‘s.

Coordination with other projects and actors

The project cooperates with Swiss projects: PSD South Serbia supporting improvement of value chains; Education to Employment (E2E) addressing policy changes for improving employment; SIPPO and Trade Cooperation Program IV of SECO; and other donor projects, active in similar regions and topics.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   5'500'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   3'416'353 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF  10'500'000
Project phases Phase 4 01.06.2017 - 31.05.2022   (Current phase) Phase 3 01.06.2013 - 31.05.2017   (Completed) Phase 2 01.04.2009 - 30.04.2013   (Completed)