It is hard to project the future of a country in detail. This becomes an even more challenging task if the country is as young and new as the Republic of Moldova. Unlike its Central and East European neighbors whose formal state structures developed in historical continuity and remained essentially intact by the time of reforms, Moldova finds itself in an unprecedented situation of having to create a new state from the very foundation simultaneously with carrying out the transition to a market economy and a democratic political system.

Recognition of Moldova on the international arena, establishment of a new legal framework, including the new Constitution (1994), achievement of a macroeconomic stability and accomplishment of the first and most difficult stage of reforms implementation – all indicate that Moldova has successfully completed the initial phase of state formation and economic stabilization. It is has become essential therefore that the objectives and priorities of the country's further socio-economic development be identified for at least 5-7 years to come.

Now, on the eve of the XXIst century, the time has come to determine for ourselves what are the purposes and priorities for the country's development, the consolidation (national) idea which can provide all the citizens with a sense of unity, the main directions and consequences of reforms and, finally, the main lines of a foreign policy that will guarantee the security of the country and the maintenance of an equilibrium of interests in this region of Europe.

It is obvious that these and other key issues need to be defined together, as an integrated whole. The basic task, in the meantime, is to overcome the crisis and to bring about economic recovery. In the year 1997 certain positive tendencies have manifested themselves (GDP, industrial and agricultural production, services, structural reforms). However, the experience of the 90s shows that these necessary changes, and certain negative social consequences that occur in line with them, exert constant pressure upon the political system, which is still weakly developed. Although both kinds of processes occur simultaneously – political and institutional changes, on the one hand, social-economic transformations, on the other they take place at different paces, with little or no coordination, and often neutralize each other. So far, neither the geopolitical situation of the country, nor the grounds for foreign policy have been solidly established. The economic security of the country still faces severe threats.

The Republic of Moldova is one of the youngest states in Europe. Officially classified as "developing" by OECD/DAC in 1997 and being a small and open state, Moldova is in search of its place in the international community.

The main strategic direction for Moldova has been determined: the way to Europe. The agreement on cooperation with the European Union signed in 1994, ongoing negotiations to acquire membership status in the World Trade Organization, active participation in regional structures, bilateral partnership agreements with other European nations – all these reflect the intention of the President, the Parliament and the Government to effectively accelerate the process of integration with Europe. In this regard, the synchronization of tactics and approaches by different branches of authority is crucial in ensuring the sustainability of reforms. A constructive consensus is needed in both the immediate actions and long-term strategies (how to shift from survival tactics to a development strategyt)

In order to develop a medium-term development program for the Republic of Moldova, it is necessary to carry out a series of actions in the legal, economic and institutional fields. The systemic character and complexity of these issues determine their top priority status at all state institutions, political, non-governmental and research organizations, and a number of externally-funded development projects.

The UNDP/WB Project "Strategy for Development" is carried out by the Center for Strategic Studies and Reforms (CISR) with the purpose of preparing the basic document for a perspective orientation. Initially, the project developed the "General analysis of the current macroeconomic situation" (CISR, March 1997), and "Key problems and strategic priorities for national economic development" (CISR, July 1997). Besides, research and a series of discussions and an opinion poll (November 1997) have been carried out regarding the results of the reforms and the expectations of the population.

The study "Republic of Moldova: Strategy for Development" was prepared by the experts of the Center: A. Cantemir, L. Carasciuc,A. Gudym, Al. Munteanu, V. Negruta, O. Petrusin, O. Scerbatchi, O. Sofransky, V. Bulan, An. Munteanu, with the participation of national consultants: R. Averbuch, J.Bolun, A. Capcelea, V. Ciumas, P. Cojuhari, T. Golenco, I. Leanca, V. Lebedev, E. Lemeseva, A. Mandacanu, M. Moraru, V. Moroz, A. Murzac, M. Patras, N. Siscan, A. Tomciac, E. Turcov. Administrative support on behalf of the CISR was provided by R. Marzencu, A. Samburschi.

Opponent-consultants – Gh. Efros, A. Muravschi, V. Nedelciuc.

Contributing international consultants were: on behalf of UNDP – B. Van Arcadie, J. Osiatynski, G. Muzio, J. Guimaraes, on behalf of FAO – S. Bojnec, and J. Mencinger – Macroeconomics Institute, Slovenia

The opinion poll – O. Badina (National Institute of Economic Studies, Romania).

Official documents and statistical data were used, including the proposals submitted in November 1997, following the order of the Government, by the Ministries and Departments to the Ministry of Economy and Reforms .

The Project "Strategy for Development", is a document of economic policy written with the purpose of providing an integrated framework which may serve as a basis for discussions, subsequent adjustments and additions, and finally for implementation by the state authorities.

This version of the Strategy has been approved by the Supervisory Board of CISR (22 December 1997 and Collegium of the Ministry of Economy and Reforms (5 Feb. 1998). It reflects the position of the authors of the Draft only and does not represent the viewpoint of the official state bodies, the World Bank or UNDP-Moldova.