Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) has been identified as one of the priority areas with innovative potential during the mapping phase developed within the framework of the Strategy for Smart Specialization (S3). The development of S3 is part of Albania's obligations in the context of the EU accession negotiation process, specifically Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research," as well as part of the 2021-2024 Western Balkans Action Plan within the Berlin Process. Additionally, it is part of the EU agenda for innovation in the Western Balkans for 2021-2027.
In this context, the National S3 Team, under the special care of Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Belinda Balluku, and with the support of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers, the Municipality of Tirana, and ABSL Albania, organized a roundtable discussion on the BPO sector on April 3, 2023, following the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), at the TUMO Center.
Approximately 30 representatives from the quadruple helix (government, academia, business, civil society) participated in this event. Participants made valuable contributions by presenting the sector's needs and possible solutions for intelligent development in BPO.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from two panel members: Ms. Linda Pustina, Chair of the National S3 Team and Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, and Mr. Geron Kamberi, Moderator and Expert of the National S3 Team, who presented the project framework, its importance, and the role of the EDP process in the Republic of Albania. Ms. Arjodita Mustali, BPO expert, President of the ABSL Albania association, and a panel member, emphasized the role of the sector in the Albanian economy and the need to adapt to global challenges. She also highlighted the importance of involving all quadruple helix actors, especially businesses, in a consultative approach that is happening for the first time in Albania, engaging these actors from the early stages of strategy development.
The first part of the meeting focused on the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for the development of the BPO sector, while the second part analyzed the path toward intelligent specialization in the BPO sector.
Representatives from the quadruple helix primarily discussed topics such as:
- The position of the BPO sector in Albania in the global value chain;
- The challenges, opportunities, and trends in this priority field;
- The potential for the sector to be included in the Digital Transformation Agenda;
- The role that BPO will play in the future development of the Albanian economy;
- Key challenges in developing human skills and capacities for the sector, the role of education and research, improving training offerings in line with labor market needs, and continuous training, as well as addressing brain drain;
- The significant competitive advantages that Albania has for specializing in this priority development field;
- The policies and strategies necessary to promote changes in this sector.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as the basis for a national workshop in the BPO field.