Private Sector Development in South Serbia (Main Credit)

Project completed

The innovative market development approach (M4P) will contribute to equitable economic development in South Serbia. It will stimulate employment and income generation opportunities, thus preventing negative migration trends. The project objectives are fully in line with the government priorities and policies to promote key industries with the aim of raising income and employment opportunities. Thereby the programme contributes to decreasing current poverty levels and to European integration. The project fully supports the goals of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2010-2013.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Employment & economic development
SME development
01.04.2010 - 31.10.2014
CHF  4’020’000

The Private sector in South Serbia is burdened by numerous challenges, i.e. high unemployment, high poverty rates, especially in rural areas, low productivity and negative migration trends. The reasons for such a situation lie in the Yugoslav socialist legacy / bumpy transition to market economy, ineffective regional development, and complex ethnic composition, which is especially affecting remote areas such as South Serbia. The generally negative demographic trends indicate a particularly difficult position of youth and women.


Increased income opportunities and quality jobs, particularly for young people and women in South Serbia. This will be supported by promoting inclu¬sive growth, access to relevant services, fostering trustful relations between market actors and facilitating more efficient and effective interactions and transactions among market players. The PSD program will stress the importance of stimulating large-scale and sustainable impact through a focus on systemic change that brings about sustainable benefits for the target groups.

Target groups

65,000 job seekers living in the targeted districts, in particular young people and women living on an income around the national poverty line. Also, 4,500 SMEs located in both target districts.

Medium-term outcomes

The PSD pro¬gram will promote changes by supporting market leaders in key industries with the aim of having raised income and employment opportunities at the end of the phase. The outcomes per sec¬tor will be: improved cooperation, quality and standards driving better performance in the wood industry; strengthened quality of relationships among market players, leading to improved performance and a com-petitive regional offer in the forest plants sector; and an expanded tourism industry and access to related services.


Results from previous phases:  

The inception phase of the program was dedicated to analysis and design of interventions in 3 selected sectors. In the wood, forest fruit and tourism sectors drivers of change have been identified under particular gender considerations. The project has identified systemic constraints such as: accessing the right type of skills, utilisation of critical market information and services, weak cooperation and communication between value chain players, poor access to knowledge of more appropriate and new technologies or absence of a coherent regional approach for promoting local products.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Regional Development Agency “VEEDA”

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’020’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’909’585
Project phases Phase 3 01.08.2018 - 31.01.2020   (Completed) Phase 2 01.10.2014 - 31.12.2024   (Current phase)

Phase 1 01.04.2010 - 31.10.2014   (Completed)