• State Department senior official James Merz, in charge of coordinating US aid to Serbia, visited Serbia from September 23-25. At his own request, during this brief visit, a senior official visited Niš to learn more about USAID projects in our city. Specifically, these are two projects implemented by PUC Gradska Toplana Nis in cooperation with USAID, related to energy efficiency. Merz has shown interest in projects implemented so far in our city over nearly two decades of cooperation with USAID, the most notable being the opening of the Office for Local Economic Development, the Sustainable Local Development Project, the Local Government Reform Program in Serbia (SLGRP) , establishment of Business Improvement Zone Niška Varoš and others.


  • USAID and the Cities of Nis, Pancevo, and Cacak signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) to help their district heating plants become more energy efficient. The project for energy efficiency in Serbia will last two years and its value is 2.1 million dollars. The aim is to reduce energy consumption through improved heating efficiency at the local level. USAID will provide technical equipment and advisory services to Nis, Pancevo, and Cacak to increase heating energy efficiency, which will reduce the amount of fuel needed to meet consumer demand.


  • The American delegation led by the military attaché of the US Embassy in Serbia Robert Hamilton and the representatives of the American Humanitarian Organization (Spirit of America) visited Nis. On this occasion they visited the day care center for children, youth and adults with disabilities in the development Mara and donated computer equipment.


  • Nis City Mayor Darko Darko Bulatovic and his associates met with RS Minister of Environmental Protection Mr. Goran Trivan and Maryland State Economic and Political Delegation. On this occasion City of Nis team presented several projects in the field of environmental protection – Regional Waste Treatment Plant Keles and Waste Water Treatment Plant.


  • The continuation of the five-year Local Economic Development Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the participation of the City of Nis, together with the City of Leskovac, the municipalities of Gadzin Han, Doljevac and Merosina. The following activities and programs were implemented within the Project during 2014:
  • Partnership – level investment attraction program is designed as a training program for joint promotion of investments in order to provide technical assistance to municipalities, groups of municipalities and other relevant entities involved in attracting investments. Program participants are representatives of the Local Economic Development Offices, tasked with promoting investments within the local governments that are partners of the Project.
  • Support in defining obstacles and recommendations for improving the conditions of inventory and property register, including expert and advisory support in preparation for the promotion of brownfield sites.
  • Brownfield Sites – Expert Advisory Support to the Working Group and the Working Team in Defining Prerequisites (Legal, Institutional, Economic and Technical) for the Recovery of Priority Brownfield Sites – A.D. Pivara Niš and the Pomoravlje paint and varnish industry. Development of a marketing package for the promotion of brownfield sites at the territory of the City of Niš and other local governments, members of inter-municipal partnerships.
  • Trainings of young people in private companies – trainings are an integral part of the workforce development program, aimed at companies from the territory of Nis, Gadzin Han, Merosina, Doljevac and Leskovac. The program was presented to companies and partners/members of the inter-municipal partnership in October 2013.
  • Innovation in business – preparing measures to strengthen cooperation between science and business. The proposed measures should clearly indicate what needs to be done at the partnership level and at the central level. The measures are implemented for the needs of inter-municipal partnerships led by the cities of Nis and Novi Sad, and implemented by the Ni CAT cluster from Niš, the Vojvodina ICT cluster and the Faculty of Electronics from both cities.
  • Academy for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) – project proposal of Vojvodina and Nis ICT cluster based on harmonization of ICT market needs for qualified workforce. The activities of the project involve the professional training of young people through multi-modular training and three-month internships in member firms of both clusters.
  • Local Economic Development – Educational Response – a project implemented by the Standing Conference of Cities and Municipalities through the Training Center. Project activities include regional trainings on local economic development introduction and local economic development techniques and tools for local government officials, including employees of the Office for Local Economic Development. The second phase of the project was initiated, which includes training of employees in local self-governments using information technologies, i.e., by applying a distance learning system (e-training). Trainees who complete this type of training are awarded certificates of completed training for local economic development.


  • The Gerontology Center in Niš opened the lounge area for older demented persons. The lounge area will be able to accommodate 20 seniors who suffer from dementia who will have complete care and supervision within their 12-hour stay, and will not be permanently housed in this facility. The US Embassy in Serbiahelped with the construction by the donation of $ 300,000. The City of Niš, as a co-sponsor of the project, participated in the payment of a fee for the urban construction land in the amount of about 780,000 dinars.



  • The continuation of the five-year Local Economic Development Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the participation of the City of Nis, together with the City of Leskovac, the municipalities of Gadzin Han, Doljevac and Merosina. The following activities and programs were implemented within the Project during 2013:
  • The project and the partner Czech Economic Development Agency “Berman Group” held an Economic Forum with members of the partnership and the representatives of the private and civil sector, at which an inter-municipal program called “Growth of the South” was defined. The Program was approved in April 2013. The goal program is to increase the value of sales of processed food products in the area of Nis-led inter-municipal cooperation by at least 15% by July 2015.
  • Within the Growth of the South Program, a second component of the project has been defined, which aims to improve the capacity of the area of inter-municipal cooperation to attract investment. This component of the project is being implemented by the Office for Local Economic Development. Within this component, a consulting firm Berman Group from the Czech Republic has done the analysis of investment potential of the inter-municipal area of cooperation with the prioritization of industrial sectors and the development of the concept of promotion of investment potential of the same area.
  • Supporting the establishment and strengthening of collaboration between research institutions and the business community. The project should examine the existing capacities and availability of research institutions, the existing capacities and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises for new technological solutions and the involvement of scientists and researchers in the process of production improvement, the legal obstacles or facilitations for establishing cooperation between scientific institutions and business, as well as possible models of cooperation between scientific research institutions and the business community.
  • Brownfield Sites – A Brownfield Sites Identification and Promotion Team has been formed and a Task Force to collect the data. Two potentially interesting companies were identified with which it would be possible to enter the process of seeking a strategic partner, in order to preserve production and to preserve the jobs of workers currently employed in those companies. These are A.D. Pivara Niš and Pomoravlje paint and varnish industry.
  • Business Opportunities for the Young in Serbia – six young entrepreneurs (with the best business ideas) were selected to be supported by being recommended for obtaining favorable Start-up loans from Erste Bank (which is a partner in the program), with a lower interest rate and without the necessary guarantee. The Nis City Office for Youth was included in this component of the Project.





  • The continuation of the five-year Local Economic Development Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with the participation of the City of Nis, together with the City of Leskovac, the municipalities of Gadzin Han, Doljevac and Merosina. The following activities and programs were implemented within the Project during 2013:
  • Providing support to cities and municipalities in establishing a mechanism for effective monitoring of public utility companies. Expert advisory assistance was provided in establishing regular quarterly reporting of PUC’s operations. Two public utility companies have set up standardized coverage reporting in order to improve their efficiency.
  • Handbooks on establishing public-private partnerships in the areas of infrastructure development, energy efficiency and parking service operations have been prepared and presented to local and regional partners. For the partners from the City of Niš and the Nis Inter-Municipal Partnership, the conference in Niš was organized to discuss models and examples of good PPP practice, including the basics and legal framework of the thematic manuals developed.
  • In cooperation with NALED, regulatory and administrative barriers to business growth and development were identified and analyzed, and 21 recommendations were made to overcome them (Gray Book). The City of Nis served as an example of good practice in the guillotine of regulations that was carried out before the implementation of the project with NALED.
  • Business Opportunities for the Young in Serbia – a program to support young people in acquiring business skills, aimed at young entrepreneurs from inter-municipal partnerships. Through this program, 18 young entrepreneurs have received mentoring support. Within the program, competitions were organized for companies from the territory of Niš-led inter-municipal partnership, and in the first call two companies from Nis and Gadzin Han received 15 interns for professional practice, while in the second call four companies received 8 interns.


  • The US Embassy donated $ 300,000 donation contract to Gerontology Center for the construction of lounge facility for demented elderly people. Funding for this donation was provided by the US Army Command in Europe and this country’s Embassy in Serbia.



  • City Administration for Agriculture and Rural Development and USAID Agrobusiness Project signed the Memorandum of Understanding, which defined common goals for the development of women’s entrepreneurship in rural areas. The Agrobusiness Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a program to support the development of women’s entrepreneurship in 2010. The aim of this program is to educate and empower women in rural areas of Serbia to start their own business in the field of agricultural production and processing.




  • Under the five-year $ 22 million Sustainable Local Development Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the City of Nis, together with the City of Leskovac, the municipalities of Gadzin Han, Doljevac and Merosina, as well as the representatives of the business and civil sectors, signed the Agreement on inter-municipal cooperation and the Memorandum of Understanding. By signing these two documents the partnership has been established between local governments, businesses and civil society organizations, to bring together the knowledge and resources of municipalities and create a favorable environment for investments and development.


  • The new regional office of the USAID Agrobusiness Project USAID was opened in Niš. The project will last for 2 years and covers the region of southern and eastern Serbia. Farmers will receive grants to improve production and USAID experts will assist them in applying modern standards.


  • The US Embassy donated $ 4,500 worth of IT equipment to the Stevan Sremac National Library in Nis.


  • A new generator, a USAID grant, has been installed at the ER Department in Niš to provide an alternative supply of electricity in emergency situations. The new generator has almost three times more power than the current generator used in this healthcare facility. An alternative power supply will first ensure the smooth operation of the call center in an emergency.


  • With the support of the Serbian Ministry of Youth and Sports, the representatives of 38 local governments, including the Pantelej and Palilula Nis City Municipalities, and USAID Economic Security Program Director Michael Pillsbury signed Memoranda of Understanding. This document will create conditions for strengthening local youth offices in the field of youth entrepreneurship and enable the implementation of entrepreneurship development programs at the local level. The project “Creating a Youth Entrepreneurship Action Plan” proposed by the Office of Youth of the Municipalities of Palilula and Pantelej of the City of Nis also received a USAID grant. The aim of the memorandum is to implement the Entrepreneurship Development Program at the local level, and its signing creates institutional preconditions for local offices to inform young people on their own about entrepreneurship opportunities. USAID’s youth activities are aimed at increasing the competitiveness of youth in the labor market and providing them with access to additional education in order to acquire the skills necessary for success in the entrepreneurial world. USAID currently supports 60 of 103 local youth offices across the country and has trained over 620 young people in the basics of business and entrepreneurial skills so far.



  • Following the official opening of the 2nd Niš Agricultural Fair USAID Agrobusiness Project signed a nearly $ 60,000 Cooperation Agreement with representatives of the City of Niš. The financial support provided by this USAID project to the City of Niš to improve the quality of the fair has almost doubled the number of exhibitors and visitors and facilitated the involvement of business and financial entities such as banks and advisory institutions. Among the exhibitors that year were manufacturers and experts in agricultural equipment, which led to the exchange of ideas and successful practices, as well as to new insights in the field of techniques and technology in the agricultural sector. The largest support for the Agricultural Fair by the Agrobusiness Project was the creation of mobility, which enabled the livestock fair to be held separately, which also contributed to more exhibitors and greater diversity of those who participated this year. Seminars on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point and farm management were held during the fair, which helped farmers and cooperatives understand the need for food security, good farm management and international standards.


  • The presidents of Pantelej and Palilula city municipalities have signed the Annex to the Agreement on Cooperation for Youth Empowerment and Youth Entrepreneurship Strengthening with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The annex of the contract stipulates that municipalities and DAI will cooperate to develop the capacity of coordinators of local Youth Offices in the field of entrepreneurship and to implement various programs for the development of entrepreneurship for young people at the local level. The main objective is to improve the entrepreneurial and market skills and knowledge of young people and to promote and implement programs for the promotion of entrepreneurship among young people.


  • Crisis Planning and Response Program and Strengthening Economic Security Cooperation between the City of Nis and USAID – The Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Nis and DAI (Development Alternatives Inc.), the implementing partner of the Crisis Planning and Response Program and Strengthening Economic Security – Crisis Management (2008) was signed. The program aims to support the development of a sustainable and systematic approach to local emergency management and helps municipalities meet international planning and response standards. The annex to the Cooperation Agreement, signed in April 2009, refers to the development of a Security Strategy aimed at enhancing the city’s emergency management capacity and improving the safety of the citizens.



  • MEGA Municipal Economic Development Assistance Program by the US Agency for International Development:


  • Establishment of the Office for Local Economic Development
  • Economic Development Council
  • Strategic planning for local economic development
  • Training of employees in the Office for Local Economic Development


  • Provision of professional assistance related to the borrowing of the city administration in order to finance capital investment projects.
  • The MEGA program provided training on topics such as borrowing at credit markets, managing debt, and presenting the creditworthiness of cities to private financial institutions and international donors. Also, software and expert assistance were provided to update the database – the Urban Credit Analysis Tool (CAT II), which is used to analyze and represent the creditworthiness of cities, training in the use of CAT II software.
  • One Stop Shop and Center for Permit Issuance
  • Preparation of the Multi-annual Capital Investment Plan (2009) within the Strategic Economic Development Plan : The Capital Investment Plan is a multi-annual plan that covers capital projects for a period of 5 years and represents a systematic approach to investment planning. Such an approach will enable the City of Nis to make better use of the city budget and provide better access to external sources of financing. The development of a comprehensive investment plan will enable the development of new and improvement of existing services for citizens and will enable the implementation of the main development strategies of the City. The multi-annual capital investment plan should include all public investments that are planned or are within the jurisdiction of the City of Nis.
  • Establishment and improvement of cooperation between the Institute for Urban Planning and the Office for Local Economic Development.
  • Creating mechanisms that will enable the involvement of the city government in the privatization process.
  • Asset Management: Project on Modernization of Management and Administration of Building Land in Niš. The aim of this project is to create a database of land owned by the City of Niš, which will serve the City for the systematic and planned management of construction land, in order to stimulate local economic development and achieve other strategic goals of the City, while respecting the basic needs of citizens today. Through this project, the City of Niš received a donation in IT equipment from the MEGA program. Also, the MEGA program funded the development of a Feasibility Study for Donje Medjurovo site.
  • Capacity building needed to establish public-private partnerships
  • The City of Nis has prepared the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan with the technical and financial assistance of the USAID – MEGA Program.
  • The Project of Sewerage System in the Industrial Zone North was made.


  • The Cooperation Agreement between the City of Nis and CHF International/Serbia on the implementation of the Community Revitalization through Democratic Action Development Program has been signed. This program encourages the proactive role of local communities in planning and achieving selected goals through autonomous and responsible decisions. The selected communities for the implementation of the program are: Gornji Komren, Gornji Matejevac, Mezgraja and Mramor


2002 – 2003

  • The Cooperation Agreement between the City of Nis and USAID has been signed, which defines the modalities of cooperation on the implementation of the Local Government Reform Program in Serbia. Within this program, One Stop Shop was opened, with an investment value of 7.5 million RSD, of which 4.3 million was invested by the city and 3.2 million by USAID (2003); Project “Business Improvement Zone – BID Zone Nis” – USAID (CHF) grant (2003) was launched; The American Cultural Center (2003) was opened in cooperation with the US Embassy’s Department of Press and Culture in Belgrade.


  • The US Embassy helped rebuild the Orthodox Cathedaral Church in Nis with 20,000 German marks.


  • The US State Department has approved a grant of $ 168,000.00 for assistance in the fields of health, ecology, utilities and education under the Serbian Material Assistance Program (SMAP). The grant was implemented through partnerships with the cities of Sofia (Bulgaria), Columbus (Ohio) and Nis (Serbia) within the International Resource Cities program, with financial support from USAID. The SMAP program was implemented in collaboration with ICMA (Innerational City/County Management Association) and the Szeged Stability Chance Foundation. As part of this program, PUC Mediana received as a gift a compactor for the collection of garbage worth 90 000 German marks, as well as a fence around a landfill in the length of 1600 meters, worth 60 000 German marks. Also, a donation in equipment was received for PUC Naisus and Institute for Preschool Education Pcelica as part of both programs.


  • The donation from USAID to the Clinical Center and Institute for Preschool Education Pcelica worth $ 85,000. The Clinical Center received $ 50,000 for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Gynecological and Obstetric Clinic building, and $ 35,000 went to furnish the kindergerten in Calija.