Modern Approach to Sustainable Economic Development through Formulating the Smart Specialization Strategy

Connecting knowledge, innovation, businesses, and institutions for greater competitiveness

Achieving economic growth through the utilization of the innovative, scientific, and economic potential of the governmental, private sector and academia is the basis for developing the Smart Specialization Strategy. The process for creating the Smart Specialization Strategy started in March 2018, being important for the country as it singles out the sectors with the greatest development potential i.e. drivers of all other sectors in the economy.

The four segments detected according to the methodology of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission are smart agriculture and food processing industry with higher added value, information and communication industry, industry 4.0 which includes electrical, metal processing, and automotive industries, and the last area, smart facilities, and materials. It is noted that investments should be made in both tourism and energy as segments that connect the four areas.

Within the strategy creation, during December last year the fundamental Entrepreneurial Discovery Process – EDP officially started, which implies forming of separate working groups leading internal debates and thematic workshops, which will last until the end of May. The participants in the workshops develop mutual trust, setting common goals and paving the way for achieving those goals, as a modern approach to economic development that connects knowledge, innovation, business, and institutions.

The expertise of the Swiss Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME in the sectors – sustainable agribusiness, active tourism, and information and communication technology – ICT assists the process of moderating the thematic workshops with all relevant sectoral stakeholders. Through direct involvement and input from the private sector, the workshops continuously define the research and innovation priorities, with the purpose of utilizing the full growth potential of the sectors.

During the first workshops on smart agriculture and food processing industry with higher added value, as well as the information-communication industry, a detailed SWOT analysis was made for the areas, representing a basis for defining further priorities related to specific measures and development policies. The second series of workshops from the EDP process involved preparing a common vision for every area and defining strategic goals and directions, as a foundation for creating supportive state policies and measures. The policies and measures will be thoroughly discussed and defined during the third series of workshops, which will take place on May 3rd (information and communication industry) and May 5th (smart agriculture and food processing industry with higher added value).

Besides the Increasing Market Employability Programme – IME, support for creating the Smart Specialization Strategy is provided by the World Bank in North Macedonia and GiZ – German Agency for International Cooperation.

The process of creating the Smart Specialization Strategy is coordinated by the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of the Ministry of Economy, under the auspices of the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Economic Affairs, Coordination of Economic Departments and Investments at the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.