Over the past several years Macedonia has instituted a number of economic reforms that have substantially improved the country’s standing in global rankings such as the World Bank Doing Business reports. Unfortunately the changes are not having the desired positive impact on key economic indicators such as growth, jobs and income. Even before the Eurozone financial crisis, GDP growth in Macedonia was only about half that of its other Balkans neighbors. Economic growth slowed to zero in 2012 as demand for exports decreased. Domestic consumption remains weak as incomes stagnate and the unemployment rate remains at over 30 percent, and approaches 55 percent for youth. Entrepreneurship and workforce skills are inadequate, further inhibiting growth. Macedonia has managed to attract a few foreign investments, however the overall investment level is low and the financial sector has reduced its lending to the private sector.
Microenterprise and Private Sector
In Macedonia, USAID focuses on improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in strategic sectors that have the potential for growth and job creation. Activities in this area include:
Strengthening private sector capacity to drive regional economic development and job creation within selected regions of Macedonia. We engage business leaders, local government and other institutions to identify market opportunities, financing and technology to meet the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises as a means of supporting economic growth at the local level.
Providing tailored solutions to up to 180 small enterprises that best address their specific needs and enhance their probability of success.
Development Credit and Access to Finance
Three Development Credit Authority (DCA) facilities provide access to working and investment capital to companies that want to expand their operations or market opportunities. These are loan portfolio guarantee programs through which USAID provides a 50 percent guarantee of the loan amount, thus sharing the risk with partner banks. One of these loan guarantee facilities supports microenterprises, another focuses on small and medium enterprises, and the third supports energy efficiency improvements in municipalities and private businesses.
- Substantially expanded microenterprise and local economic development support in regions outside the capital city
- Created three lending institutions: FULM, Moznosti, and the Crimson Capital SME Fund
- Established the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development (CEED)
- Introduced a number of e-government solutions that improved the Government of Macedonia’s provision of services to the private sector, such as e-procurement and a single window for import/export licensing
- Assisted in creating the Public Procurement Training Center
- Established the MyCareer Internship and Job Placement program
- Increased exports of agricultural products such as bottled wine
- Supported the growth and skills development of the digital media/special effects industry
Last updated: November 04, 2016