Regional Development Programme Albania: Reflecting and Preparing for Phase IV

Regional Development Programme Albania: Reflecting and Preparing for Phase IV

Regional Development Programme in Albania is finalising its third phase by March 2019 after a long and challenging implementation period started in April 2017. Along phase 3 of the programme many changes have been introduced to the shaping of the Regional Development Reform, starting with the institutional set up, the institutional official counterpart and the context in which the projects funded under the Regional Development Pilot Grant Scheme are being implemented.

At first, RDPA started as a direct assistance to the four Regional Development Agencies and its National Coordination body (NARD), with the aim to strengthen their institutional capacities to better implement the Regional Policy and absorb other donors’ funds to the benefit of Regions. However, in 2017 this institutional backdrop changed through a Governmental decision including RDAs and NARD competences and functions under the Albanian Development Fund structure.

Albanian Development Fund is a highly efficient organisation with an extensive history in local development, it has contributed to the development of many rural and marginalized areas as well as has revitalized many multi functions- centers, all over the country, thus, directly contributing to the advancement of Regional Development in Albania. On the other hand, ADF has developed a comprehensive development vision which is akin and complementary to the vision highly promoted by RDPA: Sustainable development through decrease of regional disparities and use of local resources and potentials.

To this end, the Albanian Government has once again reaffirmed its commitment to the Regional Development reform by assigning to the Regional Development Programme two relevant institutional counterparts, The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania and the Albanian Development Fund. In this context, the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for the overall advancement and monitoring of the Regional Policy implementation at all levels and the ADF represents its executive arm which will directly implement the Regional Policy according to EU standards and criteria, therefore ensuring policy sustainability, transparency and consistency.

RDPA Team is enthusiastic to finalise phase 3 and continue its support within phase 4 of the Programme toward the official counterparts, ensuring all support and expertise needed to advance the regional policy reform and set up all needed structures for a successful future implementation. The lessons learnt and experience gained under phase 3 give us a clear and long-sighted message: Regional Development is the right path towards Albania’s far-reaching growth, enhanced standard and quality of living and a competitive country within the EU market.