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Many non-standard forms of employment are not easily identified in labour force surveys or labour market registries. Disguised employment relationships and dependent self-employment; temporary agency work or other multiparty employment arrangements; platform work; and on call work may all be difficult to discern, or have characteristics that are difficult to discern, through standard labour force surveys or labour market registries. One way of dealing with this dearth of information is through primary data collection. In this regard, the ILO has commissioned Maceodnia2025 to undertake a field study and to prepare a report on the non-standard forms of employment in Macedonia. The filed study will be implemented through focus groups and semi-structured interviews both with workers engaged in non-standard forms of employment and employers who use such employment contract/arrangements. Moreover, interviews and focus group discussions will be held also with employers’ organizations and with workers’ organizations (trade unions). Some of the research questions include: What is the profile of people in the different contractual forms mentioned above?; Why are workers in this situation? Is it voluntary, because of greater flexibility, for example, or is it because no other options are available?; Why do firms avail themselves of the non-standard forms of employment above? Flexibility, to avoid taxes, nonwage costs?; Are workers happy with the situation?; What policies could lead to a reduction in non-standard forms of employment?; Do employers negotiate with worker organizations the scope of nonstandard forms of employment in the firm?

There are two main written outputs of the project: 1) Qualitative primary study (narrative report) with the main findings of the filed research and 2) Integrative report which will combine the findings from the economic analysis (analysis of the Labour Force Survey on non-standard forms of employment), a legal study and the qualitative primary study. The latter will also include policy recommendation. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will be the primary user of the reports and recommendations, which should feed into the new Labour Law that is currently under preparation.

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Financial intermediation in the Republic of Macedonia is at a relatively lower level than the average in the European Monetary Union. In this text, we analyze the reasons for this situation based on data on access to certain financial services for citizens as well as access to technology published by the World Bank. The low level of economic development is the main reason for the lower level of financial intermediation. However, the financial institutions encouraged by the development of new technologies can contribute to the further development of financial intermediation.

The banking system, mandatory private pension funds and insurance companies have the highest share in the financial assets/money of the financial system and, almost constantly, contribute the most to its absolute growth. The other segments of the financial system almost constantly record a relatively dynamic growth, but still individually and together, occupy a very small part of the total assets of the financial sector.

According to the latest available data published by the National Bank, the financial assets/broad money of the financial sector in the Republic of Macedonia amount to 111.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At the same time, the financial assets/broad money of the financial sector in the European Monetary Union, as it can be seen in graph 1, amount to 219% of GDP at the end of 2021.

Graph No.1: Financial assets/Broad money % of GDP, 2021

Source: European Central Bank and National Bank

According to the presented data, in the Republic of Macedonia there is still a large space for the deepening of financial intermediation.

Since 2011, the World Bank has regularly published the Global Findex Data Base report, which is a source of data on global access to financial services. The 2021 edition is based on representative surveys of a sample of 128,000 adults in 123 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The database contains indicators of access and use of formal and informal financial services and digital payments, and also identifies the reasons for the low level of access and use of financial services by women and poor adults.

The main reason for the low level of financial intermediation in Macedonia is certainly the lower standard of living. As an indicator of the level of standard of living, we analyze the data on realized savings.

Graph No. 2: Percentage of citizens who managed to save money, 2021

Source: World Bank

(Macedonia, EMU)

The data in graph 2 show that only a modest 38% of the population in the Republic of Macedonia managed to save some money, in contrast to the European Monetary Union where this percentage is 77%. Money saved is the main basis for the financial intermediation development.

Availability of financial services

The availability of financial services is certainly an important factor for deepening the financial sector. The data in the World Bank database indicate a relatively lower availability of financial intermediation services in the Republic of Macedonia.

Graph No.3: Transaction account (%, over 15 years), 2021

Source: World Bank

(Macedonia, Euro area)

As it can be noted in graph 3, 15% of the population in the Republic of Macedonia does not own a transaction account, that is, it is not part of the financial sector in the country at all, whereas more than 95% of the population of the European Monetary Union owns a transaction account. However, this is a better performance than the figure for the entire world, according to which 26% of the world’s population does not own a transaction account.

The biggest reason for a lack of a transaction account ownership is a bank account ownership of a family member (49%). Other reasons for lack of transaction account ownership include: lack of money, expensive financial services, lack of personal documents, lack of trust in the financial sector, as well as religious reasons.

Graph No.4: Percentage of the population that owns/uses debit card, 2021

Source: World Bank

(owns a debit card, Uses a debit card, Macedonia, Euro area)

Graph 4 shows what part of the population owns a debit card and what part uses it. The data indicate that in 2021 only 53% of the population in the Republic of Macedonia owns a debit card, whereas a modest 37% use it. At the same time, in the European Monetary Union, as much as 88% of the population owns a debit card, whereas 81% actively use it.

A debit or credit card ownership is actually an indirect indicator of the level of the shadow economy in a country. Namely, the higher percentage of the population uses debit and credit cards or other modern electronic payment methods, the lower the gray economy will be. Credit card ownership data show a similar situation.

Credit card ownership data shows a similar situation.

Graph No. 5: Percentage of the population that owns/uses credit card, 2021

Source: World Bank

(Owns a credit card, Uses a credit card, Macedonia, Euro area)

The graph 5 indicates that in Macedonia less than 20% of citizens over 15 years of age use credit cards, whereas in the European Monetary Union more than 40% of citizens use this service. The website of the National Bank has numerous data on the type of credit cards that banks issue. According to the data, almost all bank cards issued in the Republic of Macedonia are digitized, but less than 1% of the cards support payments through smart devices for making contactless payments.

Technology contribution to financial intermediation development

However, in addition to the level of the standard of living and the availability of financial services, the development of financial intermediation is influenced by numerous other factors, especially technological development. First, we analyze the indicators of access to technology that show the conditions and opportunities for the financial sector development.

Graph No. 6: Access to technology, 2021

Source: World Bank

(has access to the Internet, Owns a mobile phone, Macedonia, Euro area)

According to graph 6, 88% of the population in Macedonia has access to the Internet, which is only three percentage points lower than the average in the European Monetary Union. At the same time, the percentage of the population that owns a mobile phone is higher in the Republic of Macedonia. Such data indicate that the technological conditions represented by these two indicators are at a high level and enable the development of financial intermediation similar to that in the European Monetary Union.

For the financial sector development and deepening, it is certainly necessary to use this technology.

Graph No.7: Uses the Internet to check the transaction account, 2021

Source: World Bank

(Macedonia, EMU)

Graph 7 shows that a modest 43% of citizens older than 15 years use the Internet to check their transaction account, in contrast to citizens of the European Union where more than 70% use modern technology to check their money balance. Despite the high percentage of citizens who use the Internet (almost the same as in the European Monetary Union), a small proportion use the Internet to check their transaction account.

Graph No. 8: Made digital payment, 2021

Source: World Bank

(Macedonia, EMU)

In addition to using the Internet to check the financial account balance, citizens also use it for digital payments. The data show that 66% of citizens who use the Internet to check their transaction accounts also made a digital payment via the Internet. In the countries of the European Monetary Union, this percentage is really high, i.e. 96%.

In the World Bank database, there are additional numerous data that represent indicators of the use of technology in financial intermediation, such as online sales, saving with a mobile wallet, and the like.

Brief conclusion

This analysis of the World Bank data points out that our financial sector, mostly the banking sector (86% of the total financial sector), needs to further invest both in access to new technologies in financial intermediation and in technological and financial education of citizens. Certainly, the Fin-Tech industry is expected in the upcoming years to take its place and significantly contribute to the financial sector development and deepening in the Republic of Macedonia.

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My name is Stanisha Stankovikj. I come from a small town called Kavadarci in North Macedonia, raised only by my mother, while the word, “father” for me is quite a “cold” and unknown noun. Even in the early high school days with activism in civic organizations and unions, with the aim of calling for actions to respect human rights and freedoms, fight against violence and discrimination, but also public focus on climate change. Today I am studying and living in Belgrade, Serbia, part of the first young organisation for children and youth from single-parent families in our country, activist for human rights and Young European Ambassador of Western Balkans.

Success Story 

My first official winning award was started by Open Society Foundation Macedonia as a competition of high school students, on the topic “My Education” in Skopje, North Macedonia in 2019. It was my first public speech in front of the Minister of Education, representatives from various state institutions, directors, educators and my peers. That was my motive for future maturation as a young person in participation in a lot of projects supported and funded by the Embassy of the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and  Netherlands during 2020 and 2021. A large number of projects, debates, campaigns dedicated to human rights and relations. My personal involvement in this kind of education helps me to learn something more about the European Union, Council of Europe and European Court of Human Rights. Two of my favorite official visits were to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France and Brussels, Belgium! All of these gave me “power” to bring something positive to our society. In the organization of UNICEF MK, as a youth speaker on the World Children’s Day for 2021, I highlighted my commitments and activities. Addressing the problems faced by young people from single-parent families, their requests, needs and creation of essential initiatives and youth policies to the competent institutions and authorities. At the last event of the Youth Council of the US Embassy in North Macedonia, I was promoted as a strong individual with a successful story as part of a marginalized group of people.  But that was not all, with exploits in organizing the first march of single families in the history of Macedonia, up to one of the winners of the award for youth participation on the occasion of the International Youth Day for 2022, in an informal group-category, supported by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, the Agency of Youth and sports and NYCM.

Future Plans

Sometimes I wonder why exactly me, why I have to be the one who has to go through a whole hectic journey to reach a certain desired point. Over the years, I realized that each of us has a chance, that each of us is going through his own “fight“ within himself, the environment or part with the state. But I learned that we, all of us can overcome those life challenges! In the future, I see myself as a consistent fighter and activist for human rights as Promoting non-discrimination, equality, tolerance, peace and love. Whether through state, private or civic organizations, I will let time decide. I believe, I know, I must and I can succeed first for myself, for my loved ones, and then for all those who have been a huge support to me so far. Improving our local, national and regional macedonian community in every sense of the word is my valued priority. Be greeted till next time!

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Macedonia2025 supports Macedonian business leaders to grow, enhance their competencies and performance, and to contribute to the further development of the Macedonian economy and workforce. Congratulations to Aleksandar Manev, Klime Buloski, Dimitar Popovski, Vladimir Nikolikj, and Marko Kutrevski, our Zafirovski Executive Education Program scholarship recipients, for successfully completing the Executive Development Program (EDP) at Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University. Welcome to the Kellogg Global Alumni family! During their three-week immersive experience in Chicago, the Macedonian scholars had the opportunity to meet the patron of the program, Mike Zafirovski and his wife Robin, as well as Mitre Kutanovski, a Macedonia2025 Board Member, and his wife Sophie.   Macedonia2025 is grateful to the Zafirovski family for elevating leadership in Macedonia!

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Trying to become a better version of yourself and seeking continuous growth, both as a manager and a leader, were always high on my personal goals. So, when the opportunity to participate in the Executive Development Program (EDP) from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University arose, I grabbed it immediately. I chose the three weeks of in-person immersive options of the program in Evanston, USA.

44. 100. 140.

That is 44 classes, 100 readings and 140 learning hours from Sunday through Friday in immersive three weeks of interactive learning from inspiring, world-class, interdisciplinary professors, and even more importantly from bonding, sharing and exchanging experiences and ideas with a diverse group of managers and executives from 12 countries from all over the world.

The whole program was structured in a form of a story that unravels itself as the classes and sessions are progressing. It did not matter if we were discussing finance, marketing, and accounting; talking about VUCA environments, macroeconomics or decoding global crisis; or doing break-out sessions and realistic computer simulations; jumping deep into the world of digitalization, AI, and Omni channels; or even talk about cultural differences and psychosocial profiles. This was one big interconnected educational puzzle that formed into one big clear picture at the end.

I am utterly grateful to Macedonia2025 and Mike Zafirovski for making it possible. Kellogg’s EDP is a life-changing experience that I would recommend to any manager and leader, especially if you are committed to personal and business growth.

Leadership is a lifetime journey. Never stop growing.

Participant: Dimitar Popovski, General Manager
Company: TZG Europe DOOEL

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Macedonia2025, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth and development in Macedonia, is proud to announce its upcoming Gala event, which will take place in Chicago in September 2023. Hosted by the Macedonia2025 Board of Directors, the Gala will be a fundraising event to support the organization’s programs and activities.

The event promises to be a glamorous and unforgettable evening, with the participation of distinguished guests and high-ranking officials from both Macedonia and the USA. Attendees will enjoy a sumptuous dinner, live entertainment, and the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who share the same passion for promoting economic growth and development in Macedonia.

“We are excited to host this prestigious event and bring together individuals who are committed to making a positive impact on Macedonia’s economy,” said Michael Cklamovski, Chair of the Board. “This event is an important fundraiser for our organization, and we are grateful for the support we receive from our community.”

In addition to the entertainment and networking opportunities, the Gala will also feature a silent auction with unique and luxurious items. All funds raised from the auction and the event will go towards supporting Macedonia2025’s programs and activities.

“Macedonia2025 has a proven track record of success in promoting entrepreneurship, developing leaders, and fostering economic growth in Macedonia,” said Nikica Mojsoska Blazhevski, CEO of Macedonia2025. “We are committed to continuing our work and helping to make Macedonia a more prosperous and dynamic country. The funds raised from this Gala will help us achieve our goals.”

The Macedonia2025 Gala promises to be a highlight of the social calendar in 2023, bringing together individuals from around the world to celebrate and support the organization’s mission. For more information about the event and how to purchase tickets or sponsor the event, please email Galena Cunningham at

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What a journey it has been to be part of the Executive Development Program 2022 at Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University. Being a scholarship recipient of the prestigious “Zafirovski Executive Development Program” within Macedonia 2025, the privilege is even bigger, because Kellogg is ranked in the top three Schools of Management in the United States of America for 2022!

The EDP surpassed all my expectations. As a many years’ corporate professional in various managerial positions, I was looking for a program that would help me further enhance my leadership and managerial skills and prepare me for the next level of my career.

The curriculum was challenging, but the top-class faculty members were engaging and provided a variety of knowledge and insights. I was able to learn from their practical and industry experiences and apply the lessons learned to my own professional development.

What I appreciated most about the program was the accent on practical application. The program provided numerous opportunities to practice new business skills and apply what we learned to real-world scenarios. This approach helped me to build confidence in my abilities and become a more effective leader. But what is more important is that the Kellogg faculties taught us value-based leadership and the ability for self-reflection because leadership is a journey requiring constant improvement as a key takeaway. With this, we learned how to unlock a new customer’s values more easily in the demanding digital environment.

As a supplement to the academic curriculum, the program offered various opportunities for networking and collaboration with other executives coming from large international companies and various countries worldwide. I am more than confident that this cohort will make a positive contribution as well to my continued growth and development as a leader in general.

Overall, I highly recommend the Executive Development Program to anyone who is looking to enhance their leadership skills and advance their career. The program provided me with the means and knowledge I needed to be a more effective and successful leader.

Finally, I am extremely grateful to Macedonia 2025, its executive team, and especially to Mr. Mike Zafirovski for the opportunity to acquire this priceless experience.

Participant: Vladimir Nikolikj, Ph.D., MBA, General Manager, University Professor
Company: Lycamobile, EU, UKIM

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167 children from the Ohrid region will be able to receive a 3-month training in coding and develop digital skills required for 21st-century professions, thanks to the newly established partnerships by Macedonia2025 and Kasarna Hub Ohrid. As a result, these children will be empowered to become the next generation of leaders in their respective fields.

Kasarna Hub Ohrid is a technology hub aimed at advancing technological progress in Ohrid and North Macedonia as a whole. Previously, there were no opportunities for the youth in the Ohrid area to learn or enhance their digital skills. However, Kasarna Hub decided to offer programming courses for children free of charge. Initially, they planned to train only 30 children with the budget they had secured. To their pleasant surprise, 167 children signed up on the first day of the open call, and another 70 signed up in the following days and are currently on the reserve list. These children come from all elementary schools in Ohrid, as well as elementary schools in Debrca and the lakeside villages.

Macedonia2025 believes that this project proposal is highly in line with our cause and campaign’s goal to support the next digitally skilled nation. With over 160 children to be trained through this project, we believe that they will make a significant impact in the area.

Information about the courses 

The overall goal of the course is to contribute to building a new generation of IT professionals at a young age while teaching them to properly use the digital tools at their fingertips. On the one hand, they will be prepared for a well-paid job, on the other, through programming, they will learn to solve problems, be creative, research, and collaborate.

Target group: 9-15 years

Programming courses (Scratch, Python, C++, MS Office – basic and advanced level, WordPress and Google Apps) The courses last 3 months, twice a week for 90 minutes.

The initiative is made possible through the project Roads Not Taken: Municipality of Ohrid Going Green, Smart, Innovative (OHRID GO), funded by the European Union. The project is implemented by the Municipality of Ohrid and Stellar Solutions Skopje.

More information about Kasarna Hub

Located in the beautiful, but neglected area of the old military barracks in Ohrid, they want to re-invent this part of the city by supporting and working with startups, scale-ups, corporations, the local government and the wider ecosystem to drive emerging tech innovation for positive impact. Kasarna Hub is established and operated as part of the project Ohrid Go, co-financed by the European Union, and implemented by the Municipality of Ohrid and Stellar Solutions. Learn more

We are wishing all young participants success in mastering the courses.