RCI/USAID Regional Annual Conference: Competitiveness in the Next Decade

The USAID Europe and Eurasia Bureau’s Economic Growth Office (EE/EG) and the Regional Competitiveness initiative (RCI) implemented by SEGURA/IP3 and Serdon, held the “4th Regional Competitiveness Conference in Southeast Europe – Financial Crisis and the Effects on the Competitiveness of the Region” on June 16-17, 2009 in Kyiv, Ukraine.  The event attracted more than 200 stakeholders working in 17 different countries in the regions of South East and Central Eastern Europe, North America and the Caucasus.  Representatives of private businesses, government and non-government sector, USAID Missions, Implementers and other International Donors shared best practices and lessons learned that enhance the competitiveness of each country and region.

The conference topics focused on the upcoming post-crisis state when the countries from South-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus will experience more direct competition with the countries in the Far East and Latin America. Conference discussants recognized that, so far, the efforts of the USAID Competitiveness Projects have been focused on micro-level – clusters and firms, supporting the businesses with financial, technical, and consulting help – leading to smoother transitions to economy market systems. Currently, the rapidly globalizing world with common problems needs a broader response and viewpoint from practitioners working towards enhancing private businesses competitiveness. The second generation of competitiveness projects needs to address national and regional levels, working on multiple issues on industry and policy formation, striving to achieve a larger impact on competitiveness in the countries and regions.

The event concentrated on practical examples and solutions that proved to be particularly valuable for USAID personnel and projects working in economic growth and business development. Local and regional businesses and partner organizations not only learned and shared common problems, but also had important networking opportunities for establishing strategic cross-regional partnerships. All stakeholders expressed the opinion that such knowledge-sharing meetings are extremely useful.

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