The Manufacturing sector has been identified as a priority sector during the mapping analysis of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3). The Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) has been part of Albania's obligations in the context of the EU accession negotiation process, specifically in Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research." It is also a component 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 engagement of stakeholders from the early stages of its development.
As part of the events organized for the Manufacturing Industry, the National S3 Team, under the guidance of Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Belinda Balluku and with the support of the Union of Albanian Producers, invited representatives from the government, academia, business, and civil society to a roundtable discussion on "Manufacturing of Building Materials" on May 5, 2023, at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. This event was organized according to the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Approximately 25 representatives from the four-fold helix (government, academia, business, civil society) 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, followed by a presentation of the project framework by Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Producers and Expert of the National S3 Team. Members of the panel and facilitators of the meeting included Ms. Eralda Shtylla, Sector Responsible at the Competitiveness Sector, Directorate of Business Promotion Policies, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ms. Ilda Baraj, Entrepreneur at KidAlb Company, Maminas Roof Tiles Factory, and Mr. Arian Lako, Director of the Department of Construction and Transport Infrastructure, Polytechnic University of Tirana.
In the form of a group discussion, this meeting discussed challenges, opportunities, perspectives, and recommendations for fully utilizing the potential of the Manufacturing Industry of Building Materials. Participants shared their views on how this sector can specialize intelligently in the future. This meeting focused on issues such as:
1. The strategic measures required and the role of policymaking in sector development.
2. The use of innovative technologies in businesses.
3. Digital transition and green transition.
4. The role of human capital in the sector, emigration, brain drain, and the need for diaspora involvement.
5. Necessary changes and improvements in university academic offerings, vocational education and training (VET), lifelong learning, and professional education.
6. Student orientation towards professions in demand from the labor market and the functioning of a research system.
7. Strengthening cooperation between businesses and academia.
8. Further development of scientific research and innovation.
9. Construction in Industrial Zones.
10. The creation of a common informative and interactive platform among stakeholders of the four-fold helix, and more.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as a basis for a national workshop in the field of Manufacturing.