SECO’s interventions in North Macedonia are complementary to those of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). North Macedonia is an upper middle-income country. Yet wages are the lowest in the region, unemployment is declining but remains high and one-third of young people have a strong desire to leave the country in search of better prospects. To tackle some of the most urgent challenges, Swiss cooperation supports North Macedonia to build a socially inclusive democracy and market economy, while ensuring sound natural resources governance and resilience to climate change.
Early market-oriented reforms and prudent macro-economic management created an environment favourable to economic growth and stability in North Macedonia. In recent years, exports have grown and diversified, largely thanks to foreign direct investment. Successive governments have promoted economic growth and employment. Economic growth reached around 4 percent in 2019. Despite these positive developments, many challenges persist.
Insufficient economic growth to close the gap to advanced economies
Economic growth remains insufficient to close the gap in living standards with other Central European countries. This is also due to structural problems, such as a large share of unproductive firms, a sizable grey economy and legal uncertainties. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects will result in a severe slowdown of the country’s economic development. At the same time, North Macedonia faces large environmental challenges exacerbated by climate change.
What are SECO’s objectives?
Switzerland supports North Macedonia to build a socially inclusive democracy and market economy, while ensuring sound natural resources governance and resilience to climate change. SECO focuses on:
- Environment and sustainable public utility services
SECO is committed to foster inclusive public utility services, enhanced resilience to natural hazards and sustainable management of natural resources by strengthening capacities of municipalities and their public utilities.
- Sustainable economic development
SECO strengthens the dialogue among government and private sector actors and contributes to improved framework conditions and an enabling environment for business development, which will lead to private sector growth and job creation.
SECO and SDC, for which North Macedonia is a priority country, jointly define and implement the Swiss Cooperation Strategy in North Macedonia. From 2021 to 2024, a total of some CHF 68 million is foreseen for Swiss transition cooperation with North Macedonia, of which around CHF 15 million is from SECO.