Let’s Work: Coalition for Job Creation in Macedonia
Macedonia has an unemployment rate of nearly 30 percent. But IFC and the World Bank are teaming up with its Government to address the issue.
Unemployment is a global crisis, with over 200 million people jobless around the world. The World Bank estimates that 600 million jobs must be created by 2020, mainly in developing countries, just to keep up with population growth. It's no secret that the private sector, which provides nine out of every 10 jobs, is key to addressing this issue.
Last month in the capital of Skopje, IFC and the World Bank organized a roundtable at which industry representatives, government officials and international development executives (EBRD, EU, and USAID) discussed how the agribusiness and automotive industries could help Macedonia increase the number of available jobs.
“Unemployment, especially among our youth, is one of the most pressing challenges for Macedonia,” said Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski.
The roundtable participants identified concrete steps to be taken to increase innovation and competitiveness in these two sectors and help create new and better jobs. In the automotive sector, plans were made to devise a strategy for the next phase of industry development, strengthen links with schools to better prepare students for industry jobs, and review the effectiveness of existing SME credit lines.
Strategy for the next phase of industry development includes strengthening links with schools to better prepare students for industry jobs, and reviewing the effectiveness of existing SME credit lines.
For agribusiness, improve infrastructure (especially micro-irrigation, railways, and storage facilities), provide incentives to support land consolidation and implement government support plans focused on quality agricultural products, rather than quantity.
“The meeting in Skopje exhibited the kind of partnership and collaboration needed to advance this important jobs agenda,” said Roland Michelitsch, Global Head of IFC's Let’s Work initiative. “Progress will only be possible when we jointly leverage and harness our experiences and areas of expertise.”
Michelitsch said FYR Macedonia needs to create 39,000 new jobs every year until 2020 to reach EU employment levels. This number represents triple the country’s average in recent years.
The World Bank Country Manager, Tatiana Proskuryakova, noted that while many people are looking for a job, enterprise surveys show that many companies are finding it difficult to hire qualified staff.
"The World Bank is addressing these issues through its new Skills and Innovation Project together with the Government of Macedonia,” said Proskuryakova. “The program focuses on improving the quality of tertiary vocational and higher education to better align the skills offered by the education system with labor market requirements.”