© Helvetas / Arben Llapashtica
Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, Montenegro

Building Economies Where All Can Prosper

© Helvetas / Arben Llapashtica

The economic performance of most countries in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and the Western Balkans has been improving in recent years. However, this positive trend has not translated into a better life for everyone, particularly in terms of income and jobs.

  • Project Name
  • Project Phase
    2023 to 2026
  • Funding
    This project is a mandate of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills
    Gender & Social Equity
    Partnership & Capacity Development

To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic especially impacts excluded and disadvantaged groups — women, young people, those who live in rural areas and people with disabilities. The worsened economic situation will most likely make them poorer or even more excluded.

Helvetas has partnered with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to facilitate a regional inclusive and green economic development program in Eastern Europe, South Caucasus and the Western Balkans.

The program, RECONOMY, stands for "starting afresh," which references its role in revitalizing the transitioning economies in the region. The main objective of RECONOMY is to enable women, youth and other vulnerable groups to increase their income and secure decent jobs.

Watch: About RECONOMY in 3 minutes

The RECONOMY program encompasses three workstreams:

  • First, it improves the supply side by reducing the skill gap and increasing employment opportunities.
  • Next it improves the demand side by strengthening financial and business services.
  • Finally, it advocates for policies and regulations that promote inclusive economic development.

We pay special attention to the importance of environmental constraints and opportunities. Economic development in the region will not be sustainable without considering the green side of economy.

At RECONOMY, we map out individual country challenges while maintaining a regional perspective. Rather than doing a one-size-fits-all approach, we identify and test innovative ideas that bring benefits to more countries in the region. This means identifying relevant economic sectors that offer opportunities and addressing key constraints in cross-cutting systems such as finance, skills and intermediation, regulatory systems, green economic development, trade and migration, as well as technology and digitalization.

The program leverages existing knowledge and practices and stimulates learning and sharing across countries through different stakeholders such as governments, nonprofits and businesses. While doing so, we focus on common problems countries face and common actors that can facilitate improvements in the different systems. RECONOMY also recognizes that people do not live in regions, but in countries, and therefore the program looks into the local-regional dynamics and nexus. Development efforts without a place-sensitive perspective often fail because places differ from each other and territorial context matters.

Our work relies on implementing partnerships and technical expertise provided by others to bring about large-scale and sustainable change. Partnerships are at the core of our implementing model.

RECONOMY Program Website

Contact us

Programme Manager, East Europe, South Caucuses & Western Balkans; Senior Advisor, Sustainable & Inclusive Economies
Communication Manager of the RECONOMY Program
© Maurice K. Grünig
RECONOMY Environment & Climate Change Analyst with Program Support






Follow Helvetas Eastern Europe


Helvetas Mosaic. Subscribe to our quarterly to get insights into effective development cooperation directly from leading experts and tailored to your region.

Let's Develop a Joint Vision for Southeast Europe

Visit Helvetas Mosaic - a quarterly publication that explores new trends and fresh ideas of international development work in Southeast Europe.