The Western Balkans are booming. Despite the economic growth, however, youth unemployment remains a widespread problem, running as high as 50% in large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dim future prospects induce many young people to seek work abroad, which only exacerbates the situation they leave behind because companies can’t find skilled workers.
This is why Helvetas supports cross-border labor market development in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia) to create jobs for young people in particular. We focus our efforts not only on stimulating the private sector, but also on boosting job-hunting services such as online employment portals. Furthermore, we support various vocational training programs for young people, e.g. involving companies and trade associations in the curriculum at state vocational schools so they can provide targeted market-oriented training.
Helvetas has been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years: from the late 1990s to 2005, we carried out projects to support local authorities in organizing and improving public services; since then we have continued to provide this support through a newly-formed independent local organization.
Our main present-day objective is to develop new markets with a view to creating jobs for young women and men. We concentrate on three sectors: information and communication, the food industry, and tourism. Specifically, the object is to remove obstacles to investment that prevent companies from growing, tapping new markets and creating new jobs.
Bosnia is suffering from bad economic policy and bureaucratic hurdles as a result of complex postwar structures; the country ranks amongst the world’s least favorable investment climates. Together with our partners in the business community, politics and civil society, we seek to break down these barriers and facilitate access to the job market, especially for disadvantaged groups. Now that they have changed their perception of gender roles and recruitment practices, IT companies are increasingly recruiting women as skilled workers.
Visit the website of Helvetas Bosnia-Herzegovina.
If you would like to know more about our work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, click on each project for details.
Helvetas Eastern Europe Unit
Phone: +41 31 385 10 10