October 2018 – The green energy sector presents considerable opportunities for economic growth and job creation in Kosovo. To support this promising sector, USAID EMPOWER Private Sector has initiated and organized the Green Festival for three years running. Held on September 19th to the 21st, the third edition of the Green Festival was attended by more than an estimated 1,500 people. The festival promoted Kosovo green businesses and raised awareness and interest in recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It served as a networking platform for green businesses, government agencies, donors and green energy stakeholders to share environmentally sustainable practices and unite in the global movement towards a more ecological environment. Forums held during the event were attended by around 200 individuals and featured presentations by 12 representatives from some of the most reputable organizations in Europe. There was also strong interest in the various activities held to encourage public awareness and engagement in environmental sustainability and the circular economy.
Interest in the three-day event has grown significantly in the past three years, and the festival has become the biggest green energy event in the country. It has provided a substantial avenue to showcase local export-quality products and services to buyers and the public. This year, the number of exhibiting local companies doubled from the previous edition to 38. More importantly, sales made by exhibiting companies during the event have grown exponentially in the past three years. Last year, participating companies made €1.3 million in potential sales, of which €735,000 have been realized until now. This year, potential sales increased significantly to €2.57 million, with €62,700 in actual sales made during the event. Assuming the same trend of realized sales as per the previous year continues, it is expected that at least €1.2 million of potential sales will be realized, making the third edition of the Green Festival the most successful yet.
The amplified significance of the event is also highlighted by the increased number of sponsors of this year’s festival. Four additional sponsors provided support, bringing the number to five, namely GIZ, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, ProCredit Bank, TEB, and the EBRD Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF). Furthermore, the Kosovo Manufacturing Club (KMC) as a local partner joined USAID EMPOWER Private Sector in partnership with Sida to co-organize the event. Next year, KMC will take over and organize the fourth edition of the Green Festival, thus ensuring sustainability and continued support to the green energy sector and job creation in Kosovo.
The event was attended by many high-level dignitaries including the Ambassador of Sweden, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Ambassador of Finland, the Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Kosovo, and the Country Director at GIZ for Kosovo and Macedonia. All hailed the event’s significance in supporting local green energy businesses and environmental sustainability.
The five-year USAID EMPOWER Private Sector project, which is also funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), has been working since July 2014 to stimulate large-scale job creation by elevating the competitiveness of Kosovo firms in the growth-ready sectors of apparel, wood processing, ICT, renewable energy, tourism and metal processing. To date, the project has created over 3,600 new jobs across Kosovo, with plans to create a total of 5,000 new jobs by July 2019.