The Manufacturing Industry has been identified as one of the priority sectors with innovative potential during the mapping phase, as part of the development of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3).
The Strategy of Smart Specialization is a priority for the Albanian Government and is part of Albania's obligations within the framework of the EU accession negotiations process, specifically as part of Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research." It is also part of the EU agenda for Research, Innovation, Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports for the Western Balkans 2021-2027 and the Western Balkans Action Plan 2021-2024 within the Berlin Process. This strategy is expected to be completed by June 2024.
In this context, the National S3 Team, under the special care of Deputy Prime Minister Ms. Belinda Balluku, with the support of the Union of Albanian Producers, organized a national workshop for the Manufacturing sector on May 29, 2023, following the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Approximately 60 representatives from all four sectors (government, academia, business, civil society) participated in this event, sharing their experiences in the Manufacturing sector and perspectives on its intelligent development.
The meeting was opened by Ms. Linda Pustina, Chair of the National S3 Team, 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 welcomed by Mr. Endrit Yzeiraj, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy. Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Producers and a member of the National S3 Team, presented the EDP process and its importance as a guarantor of the inclusiveness of all four-sector actors in shaping the S3. Also, part of the panel were Ms. Florensa Haxhi, a member of the National S3 Team, who explained the methodology of work to the participants, and Mr. Osvaldo La Rosa, a public policy expert at the National Agency for Cohesion and Territorial Development, Rome, Italy, engaged in the EDP process in Albania as an expert from the JRC of the European Commission.
Participants were divided into working groups, with each group comprising members from all four sectors. Discussions were conducted in three separate sessions. The first session began with a SWOT analysis, focusing on identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the Manufacturing sector. The group work continued with exchanges of views on the vision for the future of the sector, objectives and goals to be achieved, as well as the necessary resources. In the final session, each working group identified the policies needed to implement the suggestions and objectives set, as well as the necessary interventions, measures, and financing, among other things. Each working group was facilitated by an expert who helped guide the discussions according to the defined methodology.
This workshop followed the continuation of the 5 roundtable discussions previously held as part of the EDP meetings. The conclusions from this workshop will be analyzed, assessed, and incorporated into the final EDP report, which will serve as the basis for the formulation of the S3 strategy.