6. The local dimension of SME and entrepreneurship policy in the Slovak Republic

There is a strong west-east divide in the amount and quality of SME and entrepreneurship activity, as shown in chapter 2 of this report, with better SME and entrepreneurship performance in the more prosperous and urbanised parts of the country. This section reviews the regional variations in the business environment for SME and entrepreneurship development in the Slovak Republic that underpin these differences, providing insights into how policy can strengthen SME and entrepreneurship performance across the country. Important regional differences are identified in business environment conditions for SMEs and entrepreneurship in terms of regional inequalities, regional competitiveness, regional regulations, regional FDI levels, the presence and strength of business clusters, and the role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in supporting regional development.

The Slovak Republic has some of the most significant regional economic disparities among the OECD countries, as indicated by Figure 6.1. These disparities have deepened in the last 20 years. There are sharp differences between high levels of per capita GDP in Bratislava and neighbouring Trnava region, the intermediate performance of the rest of the western part of the country, and the lagging central and eastern regions (Figure 6.2). Labour market performance also exhibits sharp regional imbalances in the Slovak Republic (OECD, 2017). To address skill shortages, regions in the Western Slovak Republic have sought to recruit workers from abroad in significant numbers in order to maintain and further expand production. Unemployment has also decreased significantly in the regions of Central and Eastern Slovak Republic but the Banská Bystrica, Košice and Prešov regions still have three times the registered unemployment rate of the Bratislava region. The favourable macroeconomic development of the last two decades has brought high growth in economic activity and household income to all regions of the Slovak Republic, but this has not reversed the regional disparities.

There are also important underlying differences in the competitiveness of each region which affect SME and entrepreneurship performance and regional inequalities more broadly. Figure 6.3 shows the relative competitiveness of each NUTS 2 region based on the EU Regional Competitiveness Index, which includes more than 70 indicators at the NUTS-2 level across the EU covering the following competitiveness pillars: macroeconomic stability; infrastructure; basic education; higher education; labour market efficiency; business sophistication; and innovation (Annoni and Dijkstra, 2019). The Bratislava region is significantly more competitive than the other three regions, with Western Slovak Republic (the region surrounding and adjacent to Bratislava) being the next most competitive followed by Central Slovak Republic, with Eastern Slovak Republic by far the least competitive.

The weak competitiveness of the regions in the east of the country is rooted in three key constraints.

First, changes in regional production. These involve:

  • A large decline in production and employment in heavy industry (coal mining, metallurgy, mechanical engineering and chemicals), which was the dominant industry, and remains a major part of the economic structure in specific regions (Košice, Žilina and Trenčín Regions).

  • The slowdown of production in the textile and electronics industries, seriously impacting upon the economy and employment (Prešov, Košice and Trenčín Regions).

  • The decrease in the number of people working in agriculture, which had a relatively high share of economic output in rural regions (Nitra, Banská Bystrica and Košice Regions).

  • The concentration of tertiary sector economic activity in large cities, especially Bratislava (Rievajova and Klimko, 2018).

These challenges suggest a requirement for regional strategies and systems that can activate entrepreneurship and new forms of economic activity. These regional strategies and systems could formally integrate current and new cluster initiatives to ensure they have clear support platforms that will allow them to the opportunity to grow further. Weaknesses will need to be addressed in capacities for strategic planning at regional level.

Second, weakness in human capital and labour market operation. These involve:

  • Poor labour force mobility between regions, which is connected with limitations on finding housing near work and poor access to public transport, leading to negative effects in areas with low population density.

  • Lack of development of suitable skills for new economic conditions in the east, due to educational and cultural traditions.

  • Weak SME workforce and management skills in economically weak regions.

One important policy response to these issues should be the increased availability of education attuned to entrepreneurship, especially at the school level.

Third, infrastructure deficiencies and derelict environment: These involve:

  • Competitiveness in the east is held back by distance from important EU trading partners and European transport corridors.

  • This is exacerbated by an incomplete network of motorways and dual carriageways slowing transport and forming barriers to access to central and eastern regions (SBA, 2018). The investment focus since the early 1990s on expanding the motorway network and upgrading the rail network around the capital and northwest of the country have increased these disparities (OECD, 2019).

  • Poor local transport infrastructure and the absence of a comprehensive approach to the revitalisation of peripheral settlements in terms of suitable buildings and business facilities.

  • The poor state of the environment due to the historical legacy of old and now defunct industries, some of which is the result of the extraction of mineral resources, and the fragmentation of the landscape itself, resulting in transport problems in terms of accessibility and the economic efficiency regions (Rievajova and Klimko, 2018).

Specific conditions for entrepreneurship can be picked up by an assessment of the quality of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Regional Entrepreneurship and Development Index (REDI) seeks to provide a measure of entrepreneurial ecosystems at the regional level. It focuses on entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities, and aspirations, and combines measures of individual perceptions and data on regional institutional conditions (Szerb et al., 2017). Figure 6.4 summarises the disparities in entrepreneurship development conditions across Slovak regions on this measure. It clearly shows the relatively advanced level of development in the Bratislava Region compared to other parts of the nation, as well as indicating a broad west-east divide.

There are some important similarities across the regions in terms of the quality and nature of institutions, competition and regulation. However, accessibility and finance are much more developed in Bratislava (Figure 6.5). Bratislava also tends to be significantly stronger than other regions on measures of business and technological environment (Figure 6.6). From an international perspective, with the exception of Bratislava, the Slovak regions lag behind regions in other EU countries, with REDI scores toward the bottom of regional rankings. Another notable constraint for the three lagging regions is start-up skills (Szerb et al., 2017), which should represent a high-level regional policy priority.

An important measure of regional conditions for SME and entrepreneurship development concerns the ease with which firms are able to ‘do business’ in terms of both starting a new business and efficiently operating an existing business. The World Bank’s (2018) report on Doing Business in the European Union 2018: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and the Slovak Republic has found significant differences in regulatory hurdles across the cities of the Slovak Republic. Interestingly, it is found that due to demand issues, entrepreneurs located in Bratislava are often at a disadvantage compared with their counterparts in other regions, due to the far higher level of demand for public business administration services rather than the underlying quality of services. Notable findings from the survey are:

  • Bratislava receives more new business licensing applications than the other assessed Slovak cities combined. Starting a business is easier in Presov or Zilina, where dealings with the tax authority to obtain a tax arrears form and register for VAT take eight days - one week less than in Bratislava.

  • Trnava stands out for its performance in registering property, a process completed there in less than a week - three times as fast as in Bratislava or Presov, and the district court in Košice outperforms its peers through faster trial and judgment times.

  • The largest variations in regulatory performance among Slovak cities are in the areas of accessing electricity and dealing with construction permits. This is no surprise given that different utility companies are operating in different parts of the country and many construction permit requirements are under municipal control.

  • Construction permits are dealt with more efficiently in Presov, which is mainly due to a more streamlined process for obtaining location and building permits and a shorter wait for water and sewerage connection.

  • Zilina leads for accessing electricity, with a faster and less costly connection process. In Košice, Presov and Zilina, a warehouse is likely to connect to the low-voltage network, and wait times are shorter and the process is less costly. In Bratislava and Trnava, by contrast, the warehouse is likely to get a medium-voltage connection, which requires the installation of a private substation at a cost of around EUR 28,000. So while getting electricity takes 56 days and costs 55% of income per capita in Zilina, it takes a month longer and costs more than four times as much in Bratislava and Trnava (World Bank, 2018).

One of the strong drivers of recent economic growth in the Slovak Republic has been the attraction of a large wave of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), especially investment related to the automotive sector. This FDI has concentrated in the already relatively strong regions and localities, therefore contributing to regional economic disparities and differences in regional opportunities for SME and entrepreneurship development, including for FDI supply chain participation and spillover effects (Rievajova and Klimko, 2018).

Differences in FDI inflows across the regions are quite pronounced, with western regions receiving approximately three-quarters of the total FDI. Such investment is dominated by the Bratislava region, which accounted for 65% of total FDI over the period 2009-2015. This is comparable to the period 1993-2007 when Bratislava region attracted 68% of total FDI. The western regions of the Slovak Republic now benefit from self-reinforcing agglomeration effects of development in the automotive sector in Trnava (PSA) and Žilina (Kia) and supplier networks and electronics in Trnava (Sony) and Galanta and Nitra (Samsung) (Fabuš and Csabay, 2018).

Since 2017, there has been some growth in FDI in the more eastern and central regions, and investment incentives are structured so that they should mainly support weaker regions. Historically aid was directed to more developed regions, largely due to the location decisions of investors themselves rather than national policies (Fabuš and Csabay, 2018). Historically, most incentives have gone to the Trenčín region, followed by Žilina, which along with Trnava has received the most significant investment from the automotive industry. Regions such as Banska Bystrica have received significantly less FDI. Despite amendments to the Investment Assistance Act, regions such as Prešov have failed to secure any significant investment.

At sector level, FDI has been focused on automotive and mechanical engineering industries; consumer electronics and electrical equipment; ICT and services; and the production and processing of iron and steel. Alongside these, areas are emerging that may become more specialised, in particular: automation, robotics and digital technology; processing and increasing the value of light metals and their alloys; the production and processing of plastics; creative industries; and higher value domestic raw material (Dvouletý et al., 2019). There are opportunities for SME development in these industries as they develop in the Slovak Republic, particularly where there are regional concentrations.

There has been a growing clustering of industries at regional and local level in the Slovak Republic, catalysed by both FDI and SME development. Key business sectors such as engineering and the automotive industry are concentrated mainly in Bratislava, Trnava, Nitra, Žilina and Košice. In many cases these industry clusters are supported by formal regional cluster organisations, which may have emerged with or without public support. The cluster management organisations include for example:

  • Košice IT Valley – Košice, Eastern Slovak Republic (see Pástor et al., 2013 for information on innovation patterns in the cluster).

  • Slovak Automotive Cluster – Trnava, Western Slovak Republic.

  • Electrotechnical Cluster – Galanta, Western Slovak Republic.

  • Slovak Plastic Cluster – Nitra, Western Slovak Republic.

As another example, an aluminium processing cluster is developing in the Banská Bystrica region in central Slovak Republic, although a formalised cluster organisation has not yet been established. The cluster was triggered by an aluminium producer and the Slovak Academy of Sciences founding a research and development (R&D) centre. This has enabled R&D cooperation with local firms and the commercial application of innovative solutions. As a result, the cluster now involves a number of innovative, export-oriented companies.

Furthermore, the Bratislava region is one of the most prominent regions in the EU from the point of view of the concentration of employment in the creative sector. Approximately 5% of the labour force works in these sectors in the region, indicating a significant specialisation. Also, 46 % of Slovak firms in the creative sectors in the nation are located in the Bratislava region.

In general, there has been a lack of systemic public support for the development of the clusters, which have often appeared through a “bottom-up” approach. However, more recently the public sector has begun to help establish and nurture local and regional clusters, particularly for technological cluster organisations. Six cluster initiatives received a Bronze Label from the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) in 2013, issued by the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis. The label was assigned to the following cluster organisations: (1) The Automobile Cluster – Western Slovak Republic, (2) Slovak Plastics Cluster, (3) The First Slovak Machinery Cluster, (4) Košice IT Valley z.p.o., (5) Cluster AT+R, and (6) NEK. A European Bronze Label was also assigned to two tourism clusters – Klaster LIPTOV and Klaster ORAVA. Also, the Electrotechnic Cluster in Western Slovak Republic, which involves the foreign investor Samsung, has increased its activity (Dvouletý et al., 2019).

There appears to be significant potential for policy to enhance and harness these cluster initiatives in the future in support of SME and entrepreneurship development. The case study summarised in Box 6.1 provides some useful pointers in how to develop such a policy, especially the establishment of centres of expertise, encouraging collaboration between centres of expertise and local businesses and local/regional government, and brand building for clusters. In particular, in the Slovak Republic there is a need to forge new public-private sector relationships at the local level. This could be achieve for example by the establishment of local enterprise partnerships, which provide a means for the public and private sectors to collaboratively formulate and deliver local entrepreneurship strategies.

Universities often play key roles in the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems in the regions in which they are located. Since 1989 the number of universities across the Slovak Republic has increased threefold and they are present across the country. As in other countries, universities therefore offer potential for playing a role in entrepreneurship promotion in the Slovak Republic. Universities in the regions can help support entrepreneurship and SME development locally by introducing more entrepreneurship education, outreach activities that engage with their local communities, and entrepreneurship support infrastructure, notably business incubators. There are, however, a number of ongoing challenges, especially in areas outside of the capital region.

Firstly, university activities are not evenly distributed across the regions. Approximately 38% of students are studying in Bratislava Region, 13% in Košice (13%) and 11% in Nitra, with lower shares in other regions, while Bratislava Region hosts more than one-third of all R&D employees within universities in the Slovak Republic (5 404 employees), with Košice in second place (2 394 employees) and Žilina in third (2 182 employees) (Moravčíková et al., 2017). More broadly, the number and the quality of incubation centres, counselling centres, enterprises with venture capital, and technological centres and parks is relatively limited particularly outside of the Bratislava Region (Rehák and Sokol, 2007).

A second issue concerns funding for entrepreneurship promotion activities in universities. For example, in the area of business incubation:

  • Many university-based business incubators struggle with attracting the necessary funding and qualified staff and can offer only a limited set of incubation services. Also, a lack of sufficient success- or revenue-/profit-based earning models means that these operations rely on government funding or local public sector sponsorship.

  • Links to investor, entrepreneur and company networks are often limited, and whilst the incubators are university based or affiliated, the support they receive from their institution is often limited.

  • Furthermore, other public incubators established and supported by regional governments and municipalities face similar challenges (Andrez et al., 2017).

Third, knowledge spillovers between universities and SMEs are underdeveloped. There is a broad requirement to further develop networks combining universities with entrepreneurs and SME owner-managers. Box 6.2 provides an example of how this institutional thickness can be fostered within regions by closely integrating universities into emerging ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship.

More positively, several new initiatives are emerging especially with regard to the development of co-working spaces, such as those attached to universities. Recent evidence also finds that privately-operated incubators are gaining momentum. As their track record develops a number are developing good local entrepreneur, investor and company networks, coupled with relevant international connections (Andrez et al., 2017).

This section seeks to assess the extent to which SME and entrepreneurship policy interventions are designed and delivered at regional level. To begin with, it is useful to summarise some of the relevant and historic policy background and changes that have occurred over time:

  • In 1993, the former Ministry for Economic Strategy Planning pioneered the establishment of Regional Advisory and Information Centres (RPICs) in all 38 districts of the Slovak Republic, focusing on SMEs. Many of these centres were subsequently transformed into private businesses or incorporated into a network co-ordinated by the National Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (NADSME).

  • In 1996, the existence of eight counties as territorial and administrative divisions of the Slovak Republic was adopted by the National Council of the Slovak Republic. These replaced the former territorial division from 1960 recognising only 3 regions (Western, Central, and Eastern Slovak Republic). In 2001, Parliament passed the law of self-government of higher territorial units, which laid the foundations for the creation of the present eight self-governing regions.

  • In the past, the involvement of regional authorities in active innovation policy was generally weak, but between 2002 and 2008 regional innovation strategies were launched. These were usually co-ordinated by regional self governments or leading regional universities. However, due to insufficient strategic direction and the scarcity of financial resources for implementation, regions struggled to increase rates of innovation.

  • The Slovak Innovation policy was based on the programme declaration of the Slovak Government, on the National Reform Program for the years 2006-08 and the National Strategic Reference Framework 2007-2013, coupled with EU operating programmes. These programmes declared the necessity for innovation support, and presented the support initiatives, projects and schemes and plans for creation of a network of regional innovation centres (RICs).

  • Prior to the RICs concept, the Slovak self-governing regions had no institutional structures for the management of state and regional innovation policy, nor the institutional framework for linking the development of industry with the results of research and innovations. However, due to a lack of evidence supporting the sustainability of the concept, the Slovak Government stopped the creation of RICs in 2011.

  • The first regional innovation policies began to emerge after 2007, but mostly they were largely plans rather concrete actions to engage regions into EU operating programmes in the period 2007-13 (Rehák and Sokol, 2007; Jasińska–Biliczak and Buleca, 2014; Klement, 2017).

In recent years, the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of the Slovak Republic for 2014-20 (RIS 3) was declared by the Slovak Government in 2013 as a key policy for supporting research and innovation. The main objective concerns the sustainable growth of the economy and employment in the Slovak Republic through targeted support for research and innovation by respecting regional specialisations (Klement, 2017).

A key actor in implementing this strategy is the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO), which is an agency receiving contribution from the state budget and is under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic. SARIO is focused on supporting the inflow of investments and supporting the export activities of Slovak companies, and provides services to SMEs from the Slovak Republic and abroad interested in investments or internationalisation. As well as the state budget funds, SARIO has access to EU resources for the National Project “Support for the Internationalization of SMEs”, with the national SARIO project exclusively supporting Slovak SMEs based outside of the Bratislava region (SBA, 2018). Part of this strategic approach involves the development of clusters, with the aim being to enhance the competitiveness of members of industrial clusters. It aims to increase the efficiency of their cooperation and to strengthen industrial clusters internationally. In 2018, the national government announced a call for applications for subsidies to support industrial cluster organisations, and approved five applications with a total subsidy volume of some EUR 155 580 (SBA, 2018).

With respect to SMEs and entrepreneurship more specifically, between 2017 and 2018 the Slovak Business Authority (SBA), created a National Business Centre (NBC) in each Slovak region. The aim of the NBCs is to provide comprehensive and systemic support and professional advisory services to SMEs, as well as to persons interested in starting their own business (including disadvantaged social groups such as women, the elderly/generation 50+, socially and the physically disabled, etc.). They offer regional one-stop-shops that allow entrepreneurially oriented individuals to acquire information and services.

Furthermore, local and regional authorities prepare medium-term strategic documents, which are municipal and urban development programmes in accordance with relevant laws. The most relevant policies for the promotion of SMEs are those that aim to create partnerships between the public, private and non-governmental sectors in the field of business development. The aim is to establish a favourable environment for the development of SMEs in cities and municipalities. As part of this policy process, local and regional authorities can potentially invoke variable rates with regard to local taxes and fees, land and space prices, information and counselling.

Through these local financial instruments covering tax incentives, tax relief, the deferral of local taxes and fees, subsidies and loans, municipalities have the possibility to support specific groups of enterprises that are strategically important for a city. In particular, the authorities are able to look favourably upon start-up entrepreneurs, as well as those businesses operating in key sectors with high job creation potential and businesses seeking to innovate. Local government can also lease premises to businesses for reduced rents within the framework of its assets, and provide advisory and information services provided by the RPICs. Complementing these levers, serious policy consideration should be given to the provision of further financial support through grants, interest free loans and tax incentives to encourage entrepreneurship in the weakest regions. Box 6.4 provides information about the approach adopted in Turkey, which may be a potential model for the Slovak Republic to follow.

In some districts, support for SMEs has also come in the form of the construction of industrial parks and villages and business incubators. Adequate resources should made available to ensure the further provision of entrepreneurial spaces for co-working, incubation and scale-up activities.

In terms of regional access to finance, the EU National Project on Support of the Internationalisation of SMEs seeks to address regional disparities by providing support for enterprises headquartered outside of the Bratislava region. As part of this approach, the Slovak Business Agency supports Regional Start-up Facilities, which act as a form of public sector venture capital investment, with investments approved to date amounting to approximately EUR 3.7 million and actual investments amounting to EUR 2.6 million.

In order to accelerate the development of lagging regions, the Slovak Government has passed the Law on Support of Lagging Regions (Act No. 336/2015 Coll.), which is partly focused on non-governmental organisations (NGOs), municipalities and SMEs. It operates through a programme of support for the least developed districts with the primary objective being to reduce unemployment in districts with the weakest local economies. The support is currently provided to 18 districts of the Slovak Republic where the unemployment rate is 1.4 times above the national average. The main type of support provided concerns investment in regional infrastructure and in 2018 the amount of expenditure was EUR 15.37 million, which funded 142 projects. Approximately 10% of the beneficiaries were SMEs (alongside enterprises founded by the local government; NGOs; cities and villages; and educational institutions).

Finally, the EU LEADER initiative has provided locally tailored support for the development of SMEs in rural areas in the Slovak Republic in the programming periods 2007–2013 and 2014–2020 (Bumbalová, 2017).

There are important regional variations in conditions for SME and entrepreneurship development in the Slovak Republic, including attitudes toward entrepreneurship, the quality of regulations, FDI presence, the emergence of clusters, and university and innovation infrastructures, which impact on start-up rates and business growth rates. Generally, there is a west-east divide, which is compounded by the movement of people across regions from the poorer to richer regions. Also, the more recent evolution of the national economy has led to there being an over dependence in some regions on the automotive sector as the primary source of employment and economic activity.

At the same time, it is necessary to support SME and entrepreneurship development in the core region of Bratislava as well as in the less developed regions of the country. To date, Bratislava has developed into a secondary European hub for the technology sector, but whilst some advances have been made, as a whole the ecosystem across the region is not as advanced as leading European counterparts – which is not unexpected given the historic context. Access to talent remains a problem for Bratislava, which is coupled with an on-going brain drain from the nation as whole and is an indication of a perceived lack of opportunity. Košice is also developing as a second national entrepreneurial hub alongside Bratislava, with new co-working spaces opening up and new market developments, suggesting that the roots of an ecosystem are beginning to flourish.

More generally, there is a lack of innovation-driven SMEs and entrepreneurship, which is accentuated in economically weaker regions. A key barrier in these weaker regions is relatively under-developed entrepreneurial ecosystems, including anchor organisations, networks, finance, skills and so on. A further issue with regards to innovation is that there is a lack of absorptive capacity within many SMEs across the regions. Regulations can also be more of a burden for individuals and businesses in weaker regions.

From the policy perspective, the national-regional policy interface is often problematic. This is partly due to the unevenness of power and the fact that there has been a lack of policy patience, with policy changes made before existing initiatives have had the opportunity to bear fruit. In particular, high levels of bureaucracy and policy complexity makes it difficult to foster regional policy approaches. There is also fragmented policymaking across ministries and this has had a negative impact on policies such as Smart Specialisation efforts, as well as making the formulation and implementation of regional and local level policies complex and difficult. In practical terms, there is a lack of funding at the local level, which constrains the effectiveness of implementing local and regional strategies. There is relatively strong and effective political leadership in Bratislava, but in weaker regions there are more issues and challenges.

Some policy initiatives have been introduced to address regional inequalities, such as the programme of action plans for least developed districts. However, the focus of these plans is more on welfare and educational issues rather than directly on entrepreneurship and SME development. Also, the SBA has introduced satellite national centres across the regions providing access to business development support. However, this does not represent regionally-tailored strategies to strengthen regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, which is what is really required to kick start the regional small business economies.

Within the weakest regions there is often a lack of joint commitment across the public and private sectors for the development of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. In other words, the public and private sectors are not working together effectively. This coupled with a lack of political engagement with the micro and small firm sectors, with policy tending to prioritise larger businesses. However, there are some green shoots, and local authorities are increasingly seeking to become more empowered and embedded in policy formulation frameworks. This may address some of the current challenges.

Perhaps the most promising area for regional entrepreneurship and SME development is the role that industry cluster initiatives are playing in promoting new forms of economic and industrial growth. There are currently 16 certified cluster initiatives that could become a platform for regional entrepreneurial ecosystems, and examples such as IT Valley in Košice give an indication of their potential. Similarly, there is the interesting example of the Trencin region within which there has been an evolution of the regional ecosystem away from textiles to the automotive sector, as well as more service-based sectors such as the creative industries. If these emergent cluster initiatives are to grow and flourish they need to be better organised, and more local autonomy is required, and the capacity and capability of local authorities needs to advance significantly. Furthermore, these authorities themselves need to become entrepreneurially minded with regard to their own policy formulation.

There is also the potential for local universities to play a stronger role in promoting entrepreneurship and SME development through entrepreneurship education and knowledge exchange with regional industry. Again, there are regional and spatial dimensions to such an approach; for example, within the university sector, there is a perception that students studying in Bratislava-based universities are more willing to consider entrepreneurship as a career choice. This suggests that there is a requirement to provide more entrepreneurial education across the nation, but this need is heightened in weaker regions. Also, universities and other educational institutions could increasingly foster entrepreneurship by improving the provision of facilities and infrastructure such as incubators and co-working spaces.

Policy recommendations based on this assessment are set out below.


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