More than 60,000 Montenegrin citizens have improved living conditions through the improvement of local infrastructure, 160 small businesses are more competitive in business, while 80 unemployed women and men have been employed, thanks to the support of the Kingdom of Norway. These are the key results of the project "Norway for you - Montenegro" in the period from 2018 to 2021, which were presented today in Podgorica.
This project, funded by the Kingdom of Norway with 1.4 million euros, is being implemented in 16 lesser developed municipalities, and aims to contribute to the balanced socio-economic development of Montenegro. The project "Norway for you - Montenegro" for the last two and a half years has focused on increasing employment opportunities, supporting social cohesion and improving local infrastructure in lesser developed municipalities of Montenegro.
"The success of the project was that it targeted micro, small and medium enterprises, in lesser developed municipalities, especially in the situation with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also at the local level. The emphasis was also on employment and infrastructure development, which is very important. We are grateful to the Kingdom of Norway for its support, and to UNOPS for close cooperation during implementation, and we hope that these projects will confirm their sustainability," State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development Milena Lipovina-Božović stated.
Over the last two and a half years, the project has implemented four public calls for support to small businesses and business development, vocational training and local infrastructure development, and more than 40 grant projects have been selected. In that way, 160 small businesses and enterprises received the necessary equipment and services, which they used to improve their business and create 39 new jobs, and more than 70% of them increased their revenues. Sixty-eight unemployed persons successfully completed vocational training, of which 41 were employed, while the rest improved their skills needed to find a job.
"All our activities are planned, developed and implemented in close cooperation with the Government of Montenegro, to ensure that our efforts and priorities are aligned with local needs. I am very glad that the support of the Kingdom of Norway has contributed to the development of lesser developed municipalities in Montenegro and has positively impacted the lives of citizens," the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway Jørn Eugene Gjelstad.
The project "Norway for you - Montenegro" is in line with the relevant national strategies of Montenegro in the area of employment and balanced regional development, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are continuously supported by United Nations agencies.
"Apart from support provided to developing capacities of the institutions at the national level, we in the UN team consider it equally important to provide support at the local level and to regional stakeholders. Furthermore, this project showcased that direct support can create immediate visible results and rippling effect, aligned with strategic objectives of the country," UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro Peter Lundberg said.
The project also contributed to the development of inter-municipal cooperation, as well as to the creation of a synergy of various stakeholders of business development in Montenegro.
"The success of this project is especially reflected in the partnership and togetherness achieved with the Government of Montenegro and the Kingdom of Norway, who had confidence in UNOPS. All activities were developed in close consultations with national partners, so that priority needs are identified, so today we have very tangible results of joint cooperation," the UNOPS RSMCO Head of Programme Marko Vujačić said.