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Signed Agreement between CIF WB6 and KfW Bank

10/12/2019

On 10th December 2019, the agreement worth EUR 25.5 million between the German Development Bank KfW and the Chamber Investment Forum of the Western Balkan Six was signed in the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro. The aim is to finance the projects in the field of secondary vocational education. The funds were approved by the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany.

On behalf of the Chamber Investment Forum (CIF WB6), the project will be coordinated by the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro.

In addition to the representatives of KfW bank and the Managing Board of the Chamber Investment Forum including the president of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, Mr. Golubović, the signing was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Montenegro Milutin Simović, representatives of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, and diplomatic corps.

The Secretary General of the CIF WB6, Mr. Safet Gerxhaliu stressed that it is an agreement of great importance for the whole region, which contributes to building the future of the area in cooperation with Germany.

- By investing in education we invest in the future. This is just the beginning of cooperation, and many more will come from this project for the benefit of the whole region - said Mr. Gerxhaliu.

He said that our region has five strategic goals, the so-called 5E, which are: Europe, Economy, Education, Environment and Experience, which can best be achieved in cooperation with Germany.

Christoph Tiskens, the director of KfW for the Southeast Europe and Turkey, said that with EUR 25.5 million, Germany wants to contribute to vocational education in the Western Balkans.

Through the project we will connect the institutions of the vocational education with the needs of the labour market –said Tiskens.

 For already 30 years, the German Development Bank has been very active in the region, he added.

- KfW is an actor that reaffirms the German Government's commitment to support this regional process - Tiskens said.

He outlined four main principles of the Regional Challenge Fund: enhancing competitiveness, technical project selection, independent governance and cooperation with major stakeholders at regional level. According to him, the intention is for the Regional Fund to grow into the institution of an open door for learning, which will cooperate with other donors over time. He emphasized the importance of dedicated work on this project and cooperation with the Chamber Investment Forum in this area.

The Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Milutin Simović said that it was a great honor to once again witness the significant activities of the Chamber Investment Forum, that is, concretization of valuable cooperation with the German Development Bank.

- The Deputy Prime Minister reminded that in February this year the Office of the Secretary General of the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum was opened at the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro and stressed that the concrete results of work of the Office and the Chamber Investment Forum are clearly shown by signing the aforementioned agreement

According to him, the agreement will represent a strong support to the efforts to implement policies aimed at reduction of unemployment, especially for young people in the Western Balkans.

When it comes to the necessity of regional cooperation, political, economic and security level is always emphasized, but cooperation at these levels is by no means possible without the advancement of education and training of young people and professional staff, the Deputy Prime Minister noted. Changes caused by digitalization put education ahead of politics - Simović emphasized.

He said that according to the researches, young people seeking a career prospects outside the Western Balkans often point out that the reason for their departure is the need for better education and training.

- For this reason, the agreement between CIF WB6 and KfW Bank is very significant. The Western Balkans must use the huge potential of human resources and be significantly more competitive, at the same time, in the fields of attracting foreign investment and the labor market - said the Deputy Prime Minister.

The primary goal of the Government of Montenegro's policy is to achieve a European quality of life for citizens through dynamic economic growth, new jobs and improving the quality and sustainability of existing jobs, Simović said and added that improving the education system is at the top of our national priorities.

- We in Montenegro have made significant steps forward in the past in the area of labor market reform and creation of a business environment that attracts investors and creates opportunities for opening high-quality jobs and increasing employment - said Simović, adding that improving the education system is at the top of national priorities.

In the school year 2018/2019, the number of students in the third level of the secondary vocational education increased by over 200%, a dual system is introduced involving over 800 students, 250 employers, 20 municipalities and 30 schools.

- At the level of higher education we want to get a workforce that meets the needs of the labor market. In the coming period, we will introduce mandatory practice in all faculties to the extent of 25 % - the Deputy Prime Minister announced.

The moderator was Balša Ćulafić, the Coordinator for cooperation with international chamber associations.