There will be more and more retirees, less and less workers

30 years of the World Bank in Macedonia / Photo "Sloboden pechat" - Dragan Mitreski

Emigration drastically accelerates aging and in 2050 more than 25 percent of the population will be over 65 years old, according to World Bank projections for our country. We need to invest in people to reduce the effects of an aging population, said Antonella Bassani, Vice President for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank

The population is aging and at the same time there is a large migration. Human capital is becoming an increasingly limiting factor for economic growth and therefore serious investment in people should be made. At the same time, educational, health and social restructuring should be done, both in relation to the needs of the labor market and in relation to demographic statistics.

These are the conclusions from the Conference "Investing in people: How to adapt the society in North Macedonia to the aging population", which was organized on the occasion of 30 years of partnership between Macedonia and the World Bank.

Important projections about population aging were shared at the Conference. According to the World Bank, over 25 percent of the Macedonian population will be over 2050 by 65, and according to the aforementioned projections from the United Nations, every third of our fellow citizens will be over that age.

- On the one hand, the population is aging, and on the other hand, there is a migration of the working population. We will have more and more retirees and less and less workers. The aging of the population requires a change in the health care system, because there are different requirements from the elderly, and other adaptations of society are also needed - Professor Nikica Mojsoska Blažeski pointed out.

Antonella Bassani, Vice President for Europe and Central Asia at the World Bank, emphasized that the fact that this event is being held at the "Saint Cyril and Methodius" University is an ideal opportunity to remember the importance of education, as an investment in human capital. She emphasized that the World Bank had several projects in Macedonia to strengthen the capacities of young people.

- Children born today will be 45 percent less productive if they do not get full access to health and education. Emigration drastically accelerates aging and in 2050 over 25 percent of the population will be over 65 years old. We need to invest in people to reduce the effects of the aging population - said Basani.

Finance Minister Fatmir Besimi said that between the two censuses, in 2001 and in 2021, there was a population decrease of as much as 10 percent. He also recalled the United Nations study, according to which in 2019, 650.000 of our fellow citizens live in emigration.

- If in 2000 there were 14 newborns per 1.000 inhabitants, in 2021 we have 9 per 1.000 inhabitants. The human factor is becoming more and more a limiting factor in economic development. More developed countries open their doors for our workers, not only for highly qualified personnel, but also for low qualified ones - says Besimi.

As ways to prevent the outflow of workers, Besimi detected good education, better opportunities for investment and job creation in our country, as well as bridging the gaps between the supply and demand of labor force.

The Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Jovanka Trenchevska, says that aging and migration, on the one hand, affects productivity, and on the other hand, it puts pressure on social life. She said investments in early childhood education mean investments in the future skills of the workforce. The minister mentioned that it is very important to have kindergartens, because where there are none, there is less employment for women. Regarding the elderly population, the minister mentioned that they are focused on help and care in homes, which is available in 34 municipalities in the country, both smaller and larger.

The global picture of population aging was presented by Nina Fiti Nedelkovska, advisor to the executive director of the World Bank. She said that while high-income countries are facing aging populations, low-income ones are experiencing population growth.

- In Italy, for example, there are 56 million inhabitants, and according to the projections of the World Bank in the year 2100, there will be 32 million inhabitants. In Nigeria, however, there are now 213 million inhabitants, and the forecasts for the year 2100 are that there will be 790 million - said Fiti Nedelkovska.

She also explains that "brain drain" is a problem in all countries, while in high-income countries this drain is 4 percent, in middle-income countries it is 10 percent, and in low-income countries it is 20 percent.

Kovachevski: The World Bank has supported us for 3 years with 30 billion euros

For thirty years, the World Bank has been a strategic partner of North Macedonia and supports the development and progress of our country through realized investment projects worth close to three billion dollars in various areas, which of course directly affect the improvement of the quality of life of our citizens and the economy. Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski said.
- The current portfolio that the World Bank has in North Macedonia is worth more than 400 million euros, projects of which some are already in the implementation phase, and which are in the area of ​​infrastructure, strengthening of competition, energy and other areas. I am pleased by the fact that with the new Partnership Framework of the Republic of North Macedonia with the World Bank for the period 2024-2028, the financial support for our country will significantly increase and will be almost twice as high as before - said the Prime Minister.

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