5 most successful projects from Albania being proposed for finance in the second call of Regional Challenge Fund, allocating approximately 2.6 million Euros for the investments in equipment, infrastructure and training at the vocational training institutes implementing cooperative training.
April 6th, 2023, Tirana – The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) organised the Second National Grant Award Ceremony in Albania in order to share the results of the second call and to award the grants to winning consortia. The second round of applications attracted a total of 123 Expressions of Interest from Western Balkan 6. Out of this number 26 EoIs were received from Albania. The Selection Committee’s decision about the funds available for the second call resulted in 5 most successful projects from Albania being proposed for financing, allocating approximately 2.6 million Euros for the investments in equipment, infrastructure and training at the vocational training institutes implementing cooperative training.
The Award Ceremony took place at Rogner Hotel and gathered the officials from the WB6 CIF, German Embassy, KfW, SDC, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Regional Challenge Fund and the awarded consortia from Albania, to mark the success.
Mr. Renato Vasili, Regional Coordinator in Regional Challenge Fund, welcomed the participants to the closing ceremony of the RCF second call in Albania. He underlined that despite the economic, political and social challenges which are present not only in Albania but in all countries of the region, the achieved results are not only a positive indicator of growing interest by VET institutions and the private sector, but show as well dedication, passion, innovation and cooperation efforts, as the foundation to modernize the society and to make it economically competitive, stronger, solidary and inclusive. “These indicators are also a guarantee for the further progress of the activities of RCF in Albania, which will follow with the increase of funds and the announcement of the third call for applications in May,” he further added. Mr. Vasili concluded his word by expressing his gratitude on behalf of RCF and KfW to all the winning consortia who committed themselves with dedication and passion to prepare competitive and innovative cooperative training projects.
Ms. Ines Muçostepa, President of Albania Union of Chambers expressed her gratitude to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and KFW for the continuous support offered to all Western Balkans countires and in particular to Albania. We believe, she said, that the long-term cooperation between companies and vocational training institutions is a solid basis for a stable and stronger economy and therefore we consider it very important to improve dual education in Albania. Even this year I am very satisfied with the great interest that the companies showed for this project, she added, and I am even more satisfied with the fact that 5 consortia were selected for financing in Albania, being allocated 2.6 million Euros for investments. The Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Albania, as an important player in this process, will continue to work hard to have as much involvement of Albanian entrepreneurship in future projects as possible.
It is a pleasure to be here with you again for the second year in a row and I take advantage of this already tradition of the grant award ceremony to express my gratitude to the German Government, the KfW and the Swiss Government for their support to the Regional Challenges Fund but also for their continuous support for employment and VET education in Albania, stated Ms. Olta Manjani, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy. She said that it is worth mentioning that for the Albanian Government it is important that this financial support in raising the capacities of VET providers to be long-term and enable all VET providers to apply in future calls. “I wish success to the winning schools and encourage other schools to apply in future calls. Through the support of the dedicated structures in the Ministry, all providers will have the opportunity to increase their capacities to apply not only for RCF funding but also for other projects that aim to increase capacities and strengthen the VET sector, concluded Ms. Manjani.
Ms. Judith Hoffmann, Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy in Albania, congratulated the winning consortia on behalf of the German Embassy and the German Ambassador. She added that RCF as a financing instrument of German financial cooperation was created with the objective to promote employment in the Western Balkans and to address the problem of skills mismatch in the labour market. “I want to emphasize that I am very pleased that we also have the Swiss Government in this effort. The reason why we specifically support this sector is because we want to contribute to the improvement of the standard of living and create new jobs. BMZ has decided to add for Albania an amount of 10.8 million Euros to RCF as a national window to further support VET as well as to create more opportunities to benefit from grants for the consortia that will apply in the next calls” she further added. Ms. Hoffman concluded by saying that: “We are proud of the results achieved in Albania in the second call and I am happy that we have here with us today 5 winning consortia. This is an indicator of the growing interest in cooperative trainings and I wish the winners further success in the implementation of these trainings”.
Mr. Lulzim Rafuna, President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce and WB6 CIF, emphasized that the results of the RCF second call showed a growing interest for applications and that this financing has a positive impact on the VET sector to improve its current conditions, which are crucial for the creation of new jobs and an important prerequisite for the economic development of the country. He added that from February, WB6 CIF is led by the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo and that he is happy to share with the participants the strategic objectives for the following years such as digitalization, green economy, regional development and education and professional training. This project has a unique approach to create opportunities for young people to build a better future in their country and for this reason all the business chambers of the region remain committed to give their support. I express my gratitude to the German Government for their support to Western Balkans and also to the Swiss Government for their contribution. I wish the winning consortia further success,” he concluded.
Ms. Viktoria Veidt, Senior Portfolio Manager at KfW Headquarters congratulated the 5 winning consortia from Albania in the second call of the Regional Challenge Fund, underlining the importance of a quality acquisition of skills and qualifications for young people who contribute best to their preparation for the labour market. She further added that in the second call, 26 consortia of training institutions and 118 enterprises applied, an indicator that, compared to the size of the economy, and population, is an extraordinary result for Albania. This shows not only the great need for funding, but also the great interest of companies and VET providers to work together and advance vocational education. She concluded by saying that “In recognition of the high quality of project proposals for funding from RCF in Albania, which cannot be financed with the current volume of funding, the German Government has allocated an additional 10.8 million Euros for a Financing Window for Albania in the Regional Challenge Fund”.
The Regional Challenge Fund (RCF) is a financing facility designed to increase youth employability and boost the competitiveness of enterprises in Western Balkan 6 by funding investments in selected cooperative training projects that are implemented through partnerships between vocational training institutes and enterprises. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development commissioned 64.43 million EUR for the RCF, and the Swiss Government, represented by the SDC Swiss Development Cooperation, co-financed an additional 9.7 million CHF. The funds were commissioned to the KfW Development Bank and executed by the Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum (WB6-CIF), a joint initiative of chambers of commerce from the region. The grants are allocated through a competitive regional challenge. For any further inquiries, feel free to contact the RCF representative, Renato Vasili, at email@example.com