In Kosovo about 36,000 young people enter the labour market each year. And the youth unemployment rate is as high as 55.3%. Switzerland helps Kosovo to produce competitive products for the local and global markets. Better access to markets and greater international competitiveness means that new jobs can be created and poverty is reduced.
Supporting selected industries
Thanks to financial support from the SDC, the Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project helps struggling small businesses and business sectors to organise better and increase their competitiveness. The project also works to empower women. For example, the food processing sector in Kosovo is very poorly organised; companies do not conclude supply agreements for raw materials. Farmers tend therefore to produce primarily for the fresh produce market.
The project focuses on the following goals:
Small businesses in selected branches increase their productivity, generate additional income and create jobs. They can then influence the legal and economic aspects of their sector.
Stronger, better organised small businesses can have a more active influence on the legal and economic elements in their sector.
Fewer barriers for women on the job market and a greater say in decision-making in the sectors in which PPSE is active.
Food processing and tourism are promising economic sectors
Industry studies have shown that food processing and tourism are branches with the potential to create jobs. In both sectors, the capacities of small businesses are not fully exploited and companies are not yet able to develop or offer new products or to remain competitive with their services.
According to estimates, the food processing industry generates about CHF 470 million a year, and employs 85,000 people. It has the potential to create a further 55,000 jobs in the coming five years. The most promising sector is fruit and vegetable processing. Seventy percent of all fruit and vegetables is currently imported. There are three reasons for this:
Problems in production and supply of raw materials
Poor access to markets
Poor use of services such as marketing, management and certification. And yet there is a large demand for processed domestically grown food products in Kosovo.
Kosovo is a small country with many potential tourist attractions. In the western part of the country there are magnificent mountain regions, such as the Prokletije, the ‘Cursed Mountains', which are ideal for both summer and winter tourism. According to Swiss mountaineer Thomas Ulrich, at least 25–35 top-class ski and snowboard tours could be organised in the Prokletije region. The PPSE project also promotes Destination Management. This includes tourism packages for national and international guests.
Those running the project estimate that about 750 small businesses will increase their productivity, generate additional income and create new jobs. Their collective net income is set to rise by CHF 1.9 million, and 800 new jobs will be created.