Virtual Opening Ceremony

Today on the 26 November 2020, the Third Western Balkans Digital Summit (WBDS) has been opened in Tirana.

The WBDS in Tirana aims to drive regional cooperation on 5G network and interoperability of data and services, attesting region’s resilience and forward looking orientation amidst the most challenging of contexts induced by Covid-19.

The virtual opening ceremony officially marked the beginning of the Western Balkans Digital Summit 2020. The ceremony began with high level opening statements from the host, co-organizers, partners and high level representatives of international organizations and industry. Ms. Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of RCC (moderator), Mr. Roberto Viola, European Commission, General Director of DG Connect, Mr. Wolfgang Kopf, Member of the Executive Committee of German Eastern Business Association, Mr. Robert Opp, UNDP’s Chief Digital Officer, Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, Ms. Claudia Dörr-Voß, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany and Ms. Belinda Balluku, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, (host). (read more)

Virtual Sessions WBDS 2020


Network and Services Connectivity – Online Sessions

After the virtual opening ceremony,  the first platform of Digital Summit 2020  “Network and Services Connectivity” – Online Sessions proceeded as bellow:

Session 1: Digital Connectivity for Digital Transformation in WB6 the impact of Covid-19

This session, was moderated by Mr. David Ringrose, from DG Connect, and was focused on digital connectivity that is crucial for all other digital integration developments and it impacts all sectors of the economy. This panel discussed the current technological developments and the future plans, changes and challenges from different perspectives. This panel also discussed the importance of resilient digital infrastructures, for fighting the digital divide and shared companies experience during Covid-19.

During this session we had excellent set of presentation from different stakeholders Ms. Nives Sandri from Nokia Affiliates in Croatia and North Macedonia, Mr. Achilleas Kanaris, CEO Vodafone Albania, Mr. Nikola Ljushev, CEO of Makedonski Telekom, Dr. Ulrich Nitchke from Atene KOM, Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau of ITU and Mr. Etjen Xhafaj, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania.

Session 2: Digital Connectivity-Key measures for the countries to attract investment

This session, was moderated by Mr. Mark Vasic, from Deutsche Telekom, and the speakers of this sessions coming from different stakeholders as international financial institutions, EC, governments and industry discussed the essential measures to attract investment for WB6, in building the digital infrastructure for the future. As demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, digital connectivity was a vital necessity for citizens and businesses.

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Digital Skills – Online Sessions

In the afternoon of the same day, online sessions were organized in the frame of Digital Skills platform, as below:

Session 1: Policies for Digital Skills in the 21-st century 

The panel was focused on: The need to possess digital skills, from basic to advanced, has proliferated further, due to rapid digitalization and spread of new technologies. A holistic approach in addressing up skilling through multi-faceted regional interventions, including policy formulation and preparation of long-term strategic framework(s), formalisation of long-term strategic alliances among policy makers, private sector, academia and international partners, introduction of tailor made actions and interventions based on market needs, regional initiatives to enable digital skill up-scaling at large, should be formalized.

Adoption of digital skill strategies in line with EU model is necessity for our entire region. It is important to bring out the need to review and increase the investment in the digital skills of WB6 citizens, and most importantly youth, with focus on increasing their opportunities, and transform their ideas into innovative business projects.

This panel, was moderated by Ms. Dajna Sorensen, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Albania, who was also the key note speaker. The panelists of this session were: Mrs. Mila Carovska, Minister, Ministry of Science and Education North Macedonia; Ms. Tatjana Matic, State Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, Serbia, Mrs. Arijana Vučinić, Director General of the Directorate for Preschool, Primary and Inclusive Education, Montenegro, Mr. Emir Žunić,  Representative of Private Sector, IT company: Info Studio, BiH, Ms. Alborita Mehana, Project Coordinator at MASTER WiZR, Mr. Jason Ivory, Deputy Head of Mission, MBE, Mr. Rok Kvaternik,  CEO Ernst Klett Publishers, Region Eastern Europe & Baltics and Ms. Albana Shkurta, Managing Director for the branch of Lufthansa Industry Solutions, Albania.

Session 2: Woman STEM shifters in Western Balkans

This panel puts prominent scientist, business leaders and public figures in the spotlight to showcase that the challenges women face could be solved when the full potential of human capital is harnessed. By increasing the number of visible role models in the public sphere, we advocate and promote wider social recognition for women in STEM, thus inspire more women to get into STEM careers and take leadership roles.

The panel of Women in STEM, was moderated by Ms. Maja Handjiska-Trendafilova, from RCC, and Ms. Daniela Gasparikova, from UNDP, with the presence of key note speaker Ms. Nina Angelovska and panelists Ms. Arta Shehu Zaimi, co-Founder of jCoders Academy and Labbox, Kosovo*,  Ms. Vesna Crnojevic Bengin, cofounder BioSense Institute, Serbia,  Ms. Maja Hadziselimovic, Robotics & Research engineer, supports the UN IT Girls Initiative and leads the Robotics Week in Bosnia and Herzegovina”,  and  Prof. Dr.Ms. Anila Paparisto. Biologist and Professor of Invertebrate Zoology, University of Tirana.

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Today was the second day of Western Balkans Digital Summit Tirana 2020.

Trust and Security – Online Session

Session 1: Role of Governments in Digital Transformation

Governments are massively challenged by digitization. Not only do they have to modernize their work mode and the way of interacting with citizens, they are also challenged by “Big Tech” influencing the economic environment, business activities and the way of life. In a sustainable networked economy, resilience is the key in order to maintain governments’ capabilities, which means that cyber security has a central role to secure our networked society. The panelists discussed their strategic approaches to cyber security, in their role as governments, administrative bodies and as a partner for industry and societal stakeholders.

This session, was moderated by Mr. Fabian Bahr, started with an impulse speech by Dr. Kai Martius, and the panelists were: Mr. Jeton Shaqiri, Minister for Information Society and Administration North Macedonia, Mr. Dušan Polović, Director General, Directorate for Electronic Government and Information Security at the Ministry of Public Administration, Montenegro, Mrs. Mirlinda Karcanaj, General Director, National Agency on Information Society, Albania, Mr. Mihailo Jovanovic, Director Office for IT and eGovernment, Prime Minister office, Serbia and Ms. Ivana Šarić, Head of department General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Session 2: How to secure security in an insecure environment Panel Discussion

This session was focused on the most important critical infrastructure information sector- Energy and cybersecurity Industry, challenges to be faced, how it support public sector to protect information etc.

This session, was moderated by Mrs. Vilma Tomço, General Director of National Authority on Electronic Certification and Cyber Security, Albania, the panelists were: Mr. Simon Uzunov, Deputy Head of Unit-Energy Community,  Mr. Dritan Gucaj, Security Department Manager, OTP Bank, Mr. Timo, Bakker, Director Public Safety & Defense segment Solution Management – Europe, NOKIA, Mr. Ivan Stankovic, Head of IT Infrastructure and IT/NT Security, CRNOGORSKI TELEKOM A.D., and Mr. Elvin Guri, main shareholder of One Telecommunication sh.a.

(read more)

The afternoon online sessions of the same date were organized in the frame of Digital Economy platform, and follow as below:

Digital Economy

Session 1: Digital Economy/ Data Economy and Platforms/Panel Discussion: Building a Regional Digital Economy at the interplay of governments & businesses

This panel discussed the challenges of building a regional Digital Economy and successfully adopting data-driven business models and use cases to drive the region’s path towards the digital era. In addition the panel addressed the role of governments and businesses to ensure a Digital Economy that benefits consumers and creates economic prosperity in the region. Finally the panel presented best practice policies and regulations from Serbia and North Macedonia. The importance of the private sector for the development and progress of the digital economy in the region and new digital business models were closely examined. Inputs will be also provided by the Chambers Investment Forum, the voice of the Western Balkan`s business community with strategies to influence policy-making.

This session, was moderated by Mr. Dragan Jovanović, Deutsche Telekom, and the panelists were: Ms. Odeta Barbullushi, National Coordinator MAP-REA, Albania, Ms. Natalia Panina, PS&HC General Manager, Middle & Eastern Europe, SAP,  Mr. Mihailo Jovanovic, Director – Office for IT and eGovernment, Prime Minister office, Serbia,  Mr. Vasko Kronevski, CEO Nextsense, North Macedonia, Mr. Safet Gërxhaliu, Chamber investment forum WB6, Kosovo* and Ms. Dina Tsybulskaya, CEO Crnogorski Telekom, Montenegro.

Session 2: Digital Transformation for the Public Sector and Innovative Practice (RESPA)

This panel discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened digital transformation in public service delivery at a global scale. It has become clear that the world needs to use technology and digital tools to solve the large number of challenges we’re facing. ReSPA, UNDP and NALAS have taken an active role in identifying the needs of their stakeholders in this situation of pandemic, produced different reports, organized several important online events and provided valuable and practical recommendations for the follow up.

This session, was moderated by Mr. Goran Pastrovic, Programme Manager,  ReSPA and Ms. Lejla Sadiku, Programme Specialist, Innovation, UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia, iand the panelists were: Mr. Vladimir Vulic, Multisectoral analysis of the WB administrations in the situation of COVID-19, ReSPA Senior eGovernment expert and Co-founder of Digitalizuj, Montenegro, Ms. Nadica Dujovic,  Senior Expert in Communications, Role of Crisis Communications in the pandemic situation, ReSPA, Mrs. Mirlinda Karcanaj, General Director, National Agency on Information Society, Albania, Mr. Denis Turkanovic, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the entity of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Slobodan Markovic, Digital Transformation Expert, UNDP Accelerator Lab in Serbia. UNDP, Mr. Kemal Bajramovic, Head of Experimentation at UNDP Accelerator Lab, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mr. Darko Mrvaljevic, Regional EU expert NALAS, SEE Local Governments in Post COVID-19 Socio-Economic Recovery.

Session 3: Digital Economy: “E-commerce in COVID-19 times: How can a regional e-commerce market help?” Session 3: Digital Economy: “E-commerce in COVID-19 times: How can a regional e-commerce market help?”

This session was focused on e-Commerce as the potential to boost regional trade and significantly contribute to growth, job creation and strengthening of economic competitiveness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a boost of e-commerce activities worldwide and also in the Western Balkan region, was observed The panelists presented and confronted the views of the business sector, development institutions and policy makers. In particular, they discussed the need for action and on-going initiatives from the private and the public sector in the region with regards to regulation and self-regulation.

This session, moderated by Mr. Zdravko Ilić, CEFTA Secretariat and has  as a key note speaker Mr. Dritani Mezini, CEO &founder, in this session the panelist were:  Mr. Christoph Ungerer, World Bank, Washington, Ms. Zorana Milidrag, president of the e-commerce association Serbia, Mr. Milan Dobrijević, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications,  Serbia,  Ms. Pranvera Kastrati, RCC, Ms. Tanja Ilijevska, Head of Policies and Financial Instruments Development, Fund for Innovation and Technology Development North Macedonia and Ms. Linda Shomo, CEO Easypay, Albania.

(read more)


The third day of Western Balkans Digital Summit, Tirana 2020 started with the online session The 21st Century Schools programme, financed by the UK and implemented by the British Council across Western Balkans. In this session was discussed the project goals and results which were presented and discussed by children, teachers, and trainers of the programme. This session was moderated by the British Council.

This day was concluded with the “Closing of Virtual Sessions/Conclusions and Follow Up”, moderated by the RCC and the Host.



On November 2, in Tirana was held the regional Digital Ministerial, the closing event of the third Western Balkans Digital Summit, which this year was organized by Albania, in the framework of the Berlin Process and the Multiannual Action Plan of the Regional Economic Area (MAP REA) for the Western Balkans. Present at this high-level meeting were the Prime Minister of Albania, H.E. Mr. Edi Rama, the deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Etjen Xhafaj, the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Ms. Majlinda Bregu, European Union Commissioners, Mr. Thierry Breton and Ms. Mariya Gabriel, who greeted the Ministerial through the online platform, the respective ministers from Western Balkans (read more)