The Manufacturing sector has been identified as a priority sector with innovative potential during the mapping analysis of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3). The Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) has been in progress for several years and is part of Albania's obligations within the framework of the EU accession negotiation process, especially in Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research." It is also part of the EU's agenda for the Western Balkans in the fields of research, innovation, education, culture, youth, and sports for 2021-27, as well as the Western Balkans 2021-24 Action Plan within the Berlin Process. This strategy is unique and involves a different methodological approach compared to other strategies, including the involvement of stakeholders from the early stages of its drafting.
In this context, the National S3 Team, under the special guidance of Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Belinda Balluku and with the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and the Union of Albanian Producers, organized a roundtable discussion on "Manufacturing of Raw Materials" on May 2, 2023, at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. The aim was to further assess the full potential of this sector in discussion with stakeholders from the four-fold helix.
Around 25 representatives from the business sector, civil society, academia, as well as central and local government participated in this event.
The meeting began with opening remarks from Ms. Linda Pustina, Chair of the National S3 Team and Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, who emphasized the importance of the process and the attention that the Albanian government is paying to it. The meeting was also welcomed by Mr. Ilir Bejtja, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, who emphasized the importance of the sector and the potential that our country has in this sector. Members of the panel and facilitators of the discussions included Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Producers and Expert of the National S3 Team, Mr. Sokol Mati, lecturer at the Faculty of Geology and Mining, Polytechnic University of Tirana, and Ms. Ledi Moisiu, lecturer at the Faculty of Geology and Mining, Polytechnic University of Tirana.
In a form of group discussion, this meeting focused on issues such as:
1. The strategic measures needed to fully exploit the potential of the sector and the role of policymaking in sector development.
2. The integration of innovative technologies in the business sector to bring added value to the economy.
3. The role of human capital in the sector, professional, university, and lifelong education.
4. Emigration, brain drain, as well as the need for diaspora involvement.
5. Strengthening cooperation between business and academia.
6. The development of scientific research and innovation.
7. The opening of the EIT Raw Materials regional hub in Albania.
8. Industrial policies.
9. The development of the recycling process, and more.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as a basis for a national workshop in the field of Manufacturing.