Promoting local economic development and the creation of employment opportunities for young people and adults

GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES ALBANIA in collaboration with Hanns Seidel fondation has organized in 21 april 2016 round tables for public employees of local governments of cities Mallakaster ,Vore , Kamza , Klos , Lezha and Shkodra ; Students from the  public and private universities;Students of vocational schools ; Emrigrants newly returned ; Expert employees of municipalities, representatives of civil society working with local authorities.

With the new territorial reform implementation in January 2016 it has changed the municipal administration. The main purpose of this conference is to encourage local governments in making new policies for economic recovery and opening of new jobs in the context of territorial expansion and growth.
 The territorial administrative reform was accompanied by a reduction in the number of local government units from 373 units that were previous in 61 major municipalities. This process is accompanied  not by small challenges of local elected officials, as it was needed a new philosophy of management in the territory ( after the surface is greater ) , the human resources , funds , and in terms of providing public services for citizens .
The conference "Good local governance for economic growth and employment" follows several important roundtable discussions in the main municipalities of the country, which have shown the problems. To keep the conference heated with interactivity we decide to be moderated by Ms . Aurora Sulce , leading the tv program "EcoPolitics", at Ora News TV , which is has a good knowledge of the theme we treated.

In the first session of the conference gave their presentations representatives of differnet miistries, which have direct links with local governance in providing services to citizens. This government is important . This although despite the fact that the majority of funds for municipalities are  provided by the state budget ( central government ) .
Ermal Nazifi , director of the Center of Integrated Service Delivery ( ADISA ) , a structure under the Ministry of Innovation stressed the importance of cooperation between the two governments and the initiatives being undertaken by the government to enhance this partnership to the benefit of citizens. He listed as important elements of simplification of procedures through spoteleve " One Stop Shop ", standardization of procedures, and the initiative more recently , the drafting of the Citizen Card , which will be considered as a constitution for the provision of services to the community.
Focusing on cooperation with local government with the focus on citizen, Klotilda Neziri , director of the Internal Market in the Ministry of Economic Development , Tourism , Trade and Entrepreneurship stressed the importance of citizens in the economy, given their role as consumers. She explained that the awareness of consumers of their rights in relation to administration , public and private companies can not be done by the ministry offices, but only through the mediation of the locals, as the building blocks that are closer to the citizens .
In order for this to be realized, it is needed that the citizens to be informed regarding their rights and duties, also to be active participants in the decisions that the municipalitites take on the cases that have to do directly with them.  Program manager in the Albanian Institute for Public Affairs, Lavdie Ruci emphasized that the obligation of local authorities to inform the community, through hearing the sessions, meetings open to Councils etc. An issue where deficiencies are numerous, although the law "On public information" has determined unequivocally that the locals have to inform the citizens, so that transparency to be high, along with accountability and enable a public engagement of citizens.In the second session it was discussed the financial possibilities of local governments to develop the regions and to generate jobs.
Kastriot Sulka, director of the Institute of Social and Economic Studies emphasized the possibility of local businesses to develop social as good alternatives to generate employment and economic growth. This is because the income that local governments can provide are scarce and this leads depending on the government, which also provides the majority of funding. In these conditions, the local government must show open-minded, as there are numerous opportunities for sustainable economic development.
But the development of economic projects that absorb funds require a database that locals should have for the areas that have under thier governance. Elma Tërshana , executive director of the Office " Obsernatori " states that 85 % of elected mayors are new and one of the main deficiencies observed is that they start everything from the beginning , from zero . According to her , the level of data is very weak and they are collected only when requested by the higher authorities . Another problem is that the data recorded are not seen as useful and arguing that no funds, no address problems arising from the data analysis .
Lack of funds was highlighted by Donald Shkreli , expert Economic Policy . In his discourse , Shkreli said that municipalities need to find innovative ideas that can be developed despite the lack of funds.
The relationship of local and central government , but also with citizens referred Alida Karakushi , public policy expert . It highlighted problems in the lack of information to citizens by locals , and the lack of activities on the municipal line , which reflects their activity and other useful information , which is defined in the Law "On Public Information " .
For the difficulties , initiatives and challenges spoke Qemal Çejku , Secretary General of Kamza and Petrit Marku , Director of Development at Lezha . They stressed that more cooperation is needed with the central government and more funding to carry out projects in the service of citizens .

Some conclusions provided from the conference : 

1. It should be more cooperation between central and local government, as the only way to be successful governance models.
2. Local government has a heavy dependence on financial support from central government, which become an obstacle in the implementation of projects or the normal functioning of the administration (when not allocated sufficient funds).
3. Municipalities should show enlightened and visionary, to create projects that do not need more funds for the development of their areas and reduce unemployment, for exaple like - social businesses.
4. Local authorities should inform citizens about issues that have a direct link with them. It serves transparency and accountability, and enables public engagement and good governance.
5. Local authorities should develop the database, to be made available to investors, used to create longterm development policies, as well as to analyze the problems arising from the data and provide solutions.
6. There is a problem between the cases of problems identified by the locals and their institutionalization. So, solving the problem as a whole and not just a single case (for exapmle:  in cases of poverty).

Participants were introduced to the concrete possibilities and new policies that can deliver local governments to promote local economic development and creation of new jobs in areas where the round tables  were developed by GO Albania in collaboration with HSS.

The activity was reflected in several national newspapers and online articles thus increasing the visibility and sensitivity of this issue .