Since the 1990s, the Republic of North Macedonia has made considerable progress in terms of economic development and integration into global economic markets. Despite these achievements the country is experiencing one of the slowest income convergence with European Union countries compared to peers in the region. Poverty remains an important challenge, with approximately 41 per cent of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion, nearly twice the average rate recorded at EU level. High unemployment, especially among youth, low labour market participation, especially among women, and low job creation are the main challenges in the North Macedonian labour market.
With permanent presence in the country since 2009 and assistance through the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP), the ILO supports the country in overcoming the challenges. The current DWCP 2015-2018 focuses on three priorities: 1) Job-rich inclusive growth and sustainable enterprises; 2) effective social dialogue, and 3) formalization of the informal economy.
In the period 2017- 2018, the ILO provided technical assistance in the following areas:
• Drafting the first strategy ever for the formalization of informal economy;
• Drafting the strategy and action plan on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs);
• Revising the Action Plan on Youth Employment 2020 and developing the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan 2018-2019; and
• Preparing and piloting the North Macedonian Occupational Outlook.
North Macedonia ratified 79 ILO Conventions (75 in force), including the eight fundamental Conventions.