The „Better Way“ initiative is expanding to the Western Balkans

The good results of the "Better Way" initiative for fostering the cashless payments, which is implemented in Serbia, encouraged expanding the project to the region. Empowering fair competition, suppressing the shadow economy, and the further development of electronic and transparent public administration services represent the common goal of all the countries of the Western Balkans, it was conveyed at the regional conference in Tirana, which brought together the leaders of the relevant ministries of the surrounding countries, representatives of international institutions, central banks, initiative and the private sector.

Regional events like this are of great importance for around 20 million citizens and more than 1,150,000 businesses in the Western Balkans, pointed out Violeta Jovanović, executive director of NALED. She explained that a few years ago, with the aim of exchanging experiences, together with partners from seven economies of the region, and with the support of German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the CORE partnership was established, which represents a platform for dialogue and the best reform solutions for a sustainable Western Balkans.

- The shadow economy is a „disease“ that affects the entire region, and that is why in the coming period we will offer our colleagues two „remedies“ that have proven themselves well in Serbia, and thay are the "Better Way" Initiative and fiscal lottery "Take a Receipt and Win“. Transparent and cashless payments are key for better monitoring of cash flows and reduction of unfair competition - Jovanović pointed out, and explained that the backbone of the "Better Way" project is the POS program, which, with the support of the private sector, provided subsidies to up to 25,000 small businesses for the free introduction of cashless payments.

 The Vice Minister of Economy, Culture and Innovation of Albania, Endrit Yzeiraj said that this country is very interested in the fiscal lottery system that Serbia has. A very interesting and innovative solution, we will try to do something similar in Albania, pointed out Yzeiraj.

- Our Government has taken many steps in the last few years. We are probably the leader in the region in the digitization of public services, because we managed to transfer 95% of them online – added Yzeiraj.

Holti Banka from the World Bank explained that there are two important foundations in the process of modernization of payment systems in the Western Balkans - SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) and the introduction of instant payments

- The development of new methods and payments can unlock the full potential of the region - stated Mr. Banka.

The Deputy Head of Mission in the  Germany Embassy to Albania, Thilo Schroeter, also addressed audience at the conference and said that his country will always support such initiatives and the development of cashless payments.

Representatives of the Ministries of Finance from Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and Bank of Albania presented the previous results and plans for encouraging cashless payments, digitization and financial inclusion in their countries. "Better Way to accelerate economies: Empower digitization and cashless payments" conference was organized by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), with its partners in the project – NALED, Visa and Mastercard.


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