Speech delivered by Mr. Nuno Queiros, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Albania during the event marking the finalization of the training process for the the Supplier Development Programme consultants and the launching of the implementation phase.
It is a pleasure for me to be here today with all of you. I want to welcome you here on behalf of UNDP and thank you for your presence at this event marking the conclusion of the training of consultants of the Suppliers Development Programme.
Let me also take a moment to thank the donors that placed their trust on us. Without the Governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, we would not have been where we are today.
I hope you will be able to see the important work that I believe we are doing within our Economic Recovery and Resilience intervention, and within it, with our Suppliers Development and In Motion Programme. In the context of our Economic Recovery and Resilience intervention, we aim to integrate SMEs in global value chains, stimulate the Albanian Economy, and increase resilience to natural and human-induced risks and disasters. These are two of the many instruments that we are bringing to Albania with the help of our Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and its experts. One of the strengths of UNDP lies in the fact that it connects countries to knowledge and expertise from around the world and we are very happy to benefit from the expertise of our colleagues from Latin America.
Against the backdrop of our post-earthquake recovery work, the disruption in value chains caused by the pandemic and the focus on climate threats, UNDP Albania has sought ways to strengthen local value chains, improve quality, and provide effective solutions for policy and programming to accelerate progress toward EU accession and achieve SDGs. It is our aspiration that both Programmes be considered as part of public policy strategies that will contribute to improving the competitiveness of MSMEs in the country.The Supplier Development Programme, is an international tried and tested approach by UNDP, having been successfully implemented in several countries, over the last 15 years. Let’s remember that both the November 2019 earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the fundamental importance of strengthening the resilience of SMEs, MICRO-SMEs, and the private sector to crises.If we act to address some of the structural barriers faced by SMEs, such as access to finance, investments in digitalization and innovation, regulatory burdens, or broader challenges in the enabling environment, SME growth could become a strong driver of sustained economic recovery.It is with this in mind that, through our Suppliers Development Programme, we are making available to companies and governments concrete solutions, with results based on fifteen years of evidence, to work in inclusive markets that allow us to continue to pursue sustained economic development, a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals.
But it’s not just about people being reintegrated back after a crisis, like the one Albania experienced with the earthquake and with COVID, but that they do it better. With better technical and strategic capabilities and a focus on sustainability to ensure to leave no one behind.Allow me to highlight that this Programme is offering solutions for two types of contexts that we currently find:
On the one hand, in the context of recovery from a shock (earthquake and COVID) so that the economy can adapt to the new contexts and the characteristics of demand in better conditions.
On the other hand, in the context of ongoing transitioning development through which Albania is going through.
Our Programme is not only an opportunity to improve value chain productivity, but also to build capacities to adopt better business practices. The Programme strengthens value chains in strategic sectors of the economy, and boosts productivity among small and medium enterprises that are integratedin them. It further contributes to the creation of quality employment, increased export capacities, and a more resilient private sector. It offers large and medium-sized companies, among other advantages, the possibility of provisioning themselves with micro and small national companies, so that they reduce risks derived from the lack of supply, guarantees of on-time deliveries, cost reductions for maintaining their stock and quality of the products purchased from the supplier companies.For UNDP, this Programme is part of the logic of Inclusive Markets because it is conceived that working on value chains is a way of integrating and including the excluded population in market activities that generate value. The examples of linkages served by it in different sectors of productive activity show that medium and small companies are improving the access of their products and services to more competitive markets.Our proposed model shares that the integration of MSMEs into production chains is fundamental not only for economic dynamism, but for the promotion of human development and poverty reduction, the cornerstones of the Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, there is a widespread recognition that economic growth is linked to the development of MSMEs. In the Albanian economy, with the existing rates of unemployment and underemployment, the integration and formalization of small and medium-sized producers into production chains is a great opportunity to enhance development and sources of decent work.The Programme promotes the search for mechanisms and strategies that promote greater participation of the private sector in the country’s human development process, generating quality employment opportunities and decent work with gender equity.
As UNDP we have seen how this initiative in different countries has made it possible to guarantee a greater and better national offer from a local perspective and has also managed to improve employment conditions and increase it. It has also managed to decrease dependence on foreign production and generate local and inclusive trade circles.As UNDP we are convinced that the Suppliers Development Programme will have a positive impact in strengthening the recovery capacities of the Albanian economy post-earthquake, during COVID and in its path towards EU accession.I truly believe that the Suppliers Development Programme is an asset for Albania and, let me confide with you, for the region.That is why we want to make this initiative available to companies, national and local governments, and cooperation agencies so that we can continue to support SMEs and MICRO-SMEs, and the private sector, to improve their resilience and productivity, and so that this inclusive growth allows economic prosperity for people, especially for those who are in a condition of vulnerability. We are convinced that together we can achive this.