Regional Development Programme in Albania (RDP 3)
The project 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. This shall be achieved through the development of a multi-sectoral Regional Development (RD) agenda to target disparities between and within regions.
The implementation of this project will support the central government of Albania in defining, coordinating and implementing the institutional and legal framework and its management capacities for RD. The new institutional and legal framework on RD will increase effectiveness of public investment for economic and social development. The project 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 beneficiary of the intervention is the Prime Minister’s Office of Albania (8 staff), and the newly established structures for regional development including the 4 Regional Development Agencies (RDAs, 80 staff) and the National Agency for Regional Development (15 staff). 61 Municipalities will be primarily targeted from the perspective of inter-municipal cooperation. At least 15 Non-governmental and business representing organizations will be intensively engaged in RD programming, projects development and implementation. 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. Citizens will also profit from at least 4 development projects worth ca. 3 Mio. Euro, which directly aim at improving the socio-economic situation of the population.
The project will develop a regional development agenda, a legal framework and a new financial framework for the Regional Development Fund. Furthermore, it will support the coordination of institutions, regional and local stakeholders involved in RD. Technical assistance and capacity building measures will strengthen the institutional system of RD agencies, elaborate Regional Development Operational Programmes (RDOP) and integrate local government, civil society and the private sector into RD programming, monitoring and development projects. Furthermore, a special grant scheme will define the functioning and disbursement criteria for inter-municipal and inter-regional development projects.
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 Austrian Development Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation are jointly supporting this reform.