CROATIA: PLAYING TO LOCAL STRENGTHS

While countries struggle to come to terms with globalization, there’s a need for development strategies to help boost the economy and create jobs. As ILO TV now reports from Croatia, there’s a growing consensus that traditional, top-down development policies have failed to deliver, and there’s increasing interest in local economic development.

Date issued: 03 February 2004 | Size/duration: 00:02:46 (6.77 MB)

While countries struggle to come to terms with globalization, there’s a need for development strategies to help boost the economy and create jobs. As ILO TV now reports from Croatia, there’s a growing consensus that traditional, top-down development policies have failed to deliver, and there’s increasing interest in local economic development.

The longest necktie in the world being tied around a Roman amphitheatre in Croatia. It’s an example of Local Economic Development - a way for local people to rise to the challenge of globalization.

The tie is the badge of businessmen the world over. But in Croatia, it’s more than that. The necktie, or cravat, originated here and takes its name from this Balkan country. The ties in this upmarket Zagreb tie-shop were produced locally, playing to local strengths.   The company chose to locate their factory in Davor, a small town on the Bosnian border, where the workforce is skilled and labour is plentiful.

Zlatko Penavic, Co-founder of Croata

The reason why was because Davor is a place with the biggest birth rate in Croatia. It is also a very interesting place because in this place they have already a very rich tradition of working by hand.

Most of the workers learned their skills at home. Marija is one of many who did not have a job until the Croatia workshop opened.

With help from the International Labour Organization, or ILO, the company is building a new factory. The investment was made possible with a loan facilitated by the Local Economic Development Agency of Western Slavonia. It’s one of four such agencies set up in Croatia by the ILO and other UN agencies.

Geert Van Boekel, ILO expert, Local Economic Development

Well the concept of Local Economic Development in Central America or Southern Africa or Central and Eastern Europe – the concept is more or less the same – you’re trying to work with local people on the basis of local investment opportunities, highlighting, bringing investment opportunities, and trying to do something to develop the local economy.

At the London School of Economics there is now a Master’s programme in Local Economic Development.

Andres Rodriguez Pose, Reader in Local Economic Development, London School of Economics

The main advantage of Local Economic Development policies with respect to traditional policies, is precisely the involvement… that you get local populations, local forces involved in the process in order that you try to root economic activity into that territory Which is something completely different from the traditional approach, of deciding elsewhere, and bringing firms and infrastructure into the territory.

While multinationals come and go, the jobs local people create are more likely to last.