The identification of Smart Specialisation priority domains in Albania. A mapping exercise
Smart Specialisation is one of the flagship initiatives of the Western Balkan Agenda on Research, Innovation, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. It is also included in other EU policy documents regarding the region, such as the 2021 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy and the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. The commitment of Albania to the Smart Specialisation process started in 2016, under the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, and is currently strongly supported by the Prime Minister’s Office. In November 2017, Albania registered on the JRC Smart Specialisation Platform and since then the country has been implementing a roadmap for the definition of a National Strategy for Smart Specialisation, with the assistance of the EC and according to the JRC methodological framework for Smart Specialisation in the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood countries. This study supports a first identification of the economic and productive domains that might be considered in the selection of the priority areas for a Smart Specialisation Strategy in Albania, and it includes both quantitative and a qualitative analyses.
The mapping exercise described in this technical report contributes to gather evidence based information as a basis to select and define the priority areas of the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Albania. The commitment of Albania in the Smart Specialisation process started in 2016, under the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth, and currently strongly supported by the Prime Minister Office. The quantitative analysis was started end-2020 and finalized in 2021, and was followed by the qualitative analysis that was closed end-2022. The qualitative analysis refined the results of the quantitative mapping leading to the identification of five preliminary priority domains for the Smart Specialisation Strategy. Both quantitative and qualitative diagnostic stages dealt with relevant challenges related to data availability in the first case, and difficulties in reaching out with the stakeholders of the priority areas selected, for a number of reasons including mistrust, post-Covid effects and related constraints, as well as lack of information on Smart Specialisation. Further exploration will be the goal of the next Entrepreneurial Discovery Process that is expected to be launched by the end of 2022.