TIRANA, August 10
Over 1,200 businesses offering employment and training for youth in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo will benefit from Euro 85 million in loans the European Commission (EC) confirmed last week This will be possible thanks to a €10 million guarantee package financed from the European Union (EU) through the European Investment Fund. It is expected that those businesses will create about 1,300 internships, vocational training courses, and employment opportunities.
According to EC, SMEs account for over 99 percent of businesses in the Western Balkans. Moreover, they employ over 70 percent of the workforce. In the meantime, the youth unemployment rate in the Western Balkan region is among the highest in the world.
In Albania, small and medium-sized enterprises in 2018 accounted for 99.8 percent of the active enterprises and 79.8 percent of the total number of employees.
Based on official data from the Albanian Institute of Statistics, youth unemployment in 2019 was 27.2 percent. Meanwhile, 26.6 percent of people between the ages of 15 and 29 were not in education, employment, or Training (NEET).
Globally, one in five young people are NEET while three out of four young NEET are women.
According to the EC, many young workers are engaged in temporary jobs, in the informal economy, and with a high incidence of skill mismatches.
“Supporting businesses that employ young people is a particular priority. Investing in youth gives momentum for a stronger, more innovative, and dynamic economy in the region,” European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said.
The EU is providing support as part of the initiative ‘EU for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship’ implemented under the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF).