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Supporting Local Economic Development in Serbia

Through the Sustainable Local Development Project in Serbia, Chemonics promoted lasting economic growth by building the capacity of Serbian municipalities, business advocacy groups, and civil society organizations.

As Serbia progresses down the path to European Union (EU) integration, inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) serves as an important institutional model to promote smart, sustainable, and inclusive local development. 

To foster economic growth in Serbia, the Sustainable Local Development Project (SLDP) embraced IMC as a vehicle to strengthen relevant economic‐oriented local administrative processes and encourage public and youth participation in deciding local economic issues.


Funded by USAID and implemented by Chemonics, SLDP focused on three main components: IMC Programming, public administration reform, and youth development and participatory mechanisms. The project was designed to respond to the local context and build on the existing legal framework, with particular attention paid to inclusive and participatory planning.

In its first year, SLDP established eight IMC areas comprised of 32 total municipalities mobilized through a sustainable IMC mechanism. The project also identified 47 IMC initiatives to improve local governments’ financial and asset management, involve the public more directly in municipal affairs, support youth entrepreneurship and ​employment, and foster a more business-friendly environment.

SLDP worked with 69 individual companies and nine sector clusters and associations of producers. The project supported them in improving their production, expanding their product offerings, modernizing promotional activities and materials, and establishing contact with potential buyers abroad.

Through strong relationships with local partners, SLDP identified 15 IMC champions from within its IMC areas to drive a continued committment to economic develpment.

Chemonics partnered with Regional Development Agencies (RDA), the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, the National Agency for Regional Development, and Local (Municipal) Economic Development Offices to further institutionalize the IMC mechanism and the implementation of IMC programming.

Project Results

  • Created 6,958 new jobs in partner inter‐municipal Cooperation (IMC) areas
  • Organized 70 events and initiatives that promoted dialogue between the private, public and civil sectors
  • Increased the business revenues of SLDP partner companies by $25 million, adding 529 new jobs between 2013 and 2015
  • Helped 657 youths find new employment through SLDP-sponsored activities

Final Report

Project Duration: 2010 - 2016



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