Regional Development Programme - Albania (RDP 4)
The Regional Development Programme - Albania (RDPA) aims to reduce disparities in Albania by supporting the development of strong regions to advance their potentials and provide better social and economic conditions for their citizens. The Regional Development (RD) reform in Albania has kick started its implementation at central and regional level. Capacities for successfully implementing the reform are to be further strengthened and the appointed institution needs comprehensive support to take over the implementation of the reform at central and regional level and, significantly contribute to the developing of the four regions.
The new institutional and legal framework on RD will increase effectiveness of public investment for economic and social development. The implementation of this programme will support the central government of Albania in coordinating, planning, monitoring and evaluating the application of the RD policy. The programme establishes partnerships with local and regional stakeholders and intends to align the RD policy of Albania to the EU regional policy (EU Cohesion Policy). This will also prepare Albania for more EU funds. The socio-economic conditions for citizens living in Albania will be improved through the implementation of RD projects which reflect regional needs and priorities, while including cross-cutting issues like good governance and gender equality.
Direct beneficiaries of the intervention are the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office of Albania, and the newly established structures for regional development including the Albanian Development Fund (ADF), the ADF Regional Units and Regional Development Councils.
61 municipalities will be primarily targeted from the perspective of inter-municipal cooperation. Non-governmental and business representing organizations will be intensively engaged in RD programming, projects development and implementation.
Through the implementation of a grant scheme, around 35,000 inhabitants from 30 municipalities will profit from development projects worth approx. 3,4 Mio. Euro, which directly aim at improving the socio-economic situation of the population.
Indirect (ultimate) beneficiaries are 2,8 million citizens of Albania who will benefit from better coordinated policies and investments of the government taking into account regional disparities.
The programme will support the coordination of institutions, regional and local stakeholders involved in RD. Technical assistance and capacity building measures will
- support the development and implementation of the national RD policy and law (macro level),
- support the RD institutions in implementing the National Framework for RD and Operational Programme type implementation mechanism through a partnership approach (meso level), and
- finance RD projects involving municipalities and local stakeholders through a grant mechanism (micro level).
Albania is a middle-income country in transition and is currently undergoing a state-building process. Despite the steady economic growth in recent years, the country continues to have one of the highest poverty rates in Europe. Disparities are especially high between the capital Tirana and the rest of the country. While services, construction, population and administration are concentrated mainly in Tirana, the real untapped economic potentials and lacking service provision are located in neglected and peripheral areas. Internal migration toward Tirana as well as migration abroad affects the country negatively. Investments and use of public funds are scattered and fragmented across the country, without a clear strategy guiding them. Therefore, a major reform the government is currently focusing on is RD to target disparities between and within regions.
The longstanding joint support of the Austrian Development Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to this reform is continued based on the backdrop and change of institutional context during the previous phase of the Programme.