3.3.6 North-West Region

Image 3.21:

Romania’s Development Nord-West – Regiunea Nord-Vest

Regiunea North-Vest - The Development Region North-West in Romania

Source: ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagine:NV_dr_ro.png

The Development Region North-West in Romania consists of six counties (Bihor, Bistrița-Năsăud, Cluj, Maramureș, Satu-Mare and Sălaj), which have a share of 14.3 % of the territory of Romania and host 2.73 million inhabitants (12.66 % of Romania’s population). The region contributed some 12 % to the total Romanian GDP (2005, INS 2008, own calculations) and was rewarded with a GDP per capita of 4,282 € in 2006.  CNP (2008 a: 12) projections estimate a GDP per capita of 7,608.8 € for 2010. The region features a high degree of urbanization and a relatively broad supply of financial services, usually only to be found in the Capital Bucharest. Services account for some 35.8 % of employment and 45 % of regional GDP. So does agriculture with an employment share of 35 % (13 % of regional GDP) while industry and construction reach only a share of 29.2 % (31 % of regional GDP).

Unemployment in the North West is low and ranged in 2007 from 2.4 % in Bihor to 4.5 % in Sălaj (INS 2008). However, these positive figures hide sharp regional disparities. Bihor, next to the Hungarian border, with its local Capital Oradea would better fit into the belt of the West Region as it rather resembles its neighbor counties like Arad and features a local GDP per capita being 15 % higher than the national average (INS 2008, own calculations).  Likewise the county Cluj with its traditional university-city Cluj-Napoca and its over 65,000 students (INS 2008) would better fit into the economical and cultural cluster of the better developed counties from the Center Region (cf. chapter 3.3.7) than into the North West. Now being assigned to the Nord-Vest Region Cluj’s local GDP per capita – about 37 % higher than the national average – just hides the substandard GDP per capita of the other counties in the farer north, which might better fit into the cluster of the North-East-Region (cf. chapter 3.3.1), even though, they are somewhat better developed. The county Maramureș in the North-West reached a GDP per capita of 82.37 % in 2005, followed by Sălaj (88.07 %), Bistrița-Năsăud (91.5 %) and Satu-Mare (92.37 %). Likewise, the NewsIn (2008: 108) ranking of the 30 region’s top firms reflect the domination of Cluj (10) and Bihor (5). The other counties contributed each 4 enterprises to the top 30, with the exception of Maramureș (3).

The relatively good infrastructure (highway building is in progress, railways and three airports) creates a business- and FDI-friendly environment. About 4.6 % (1.57 billion of Euros, 575 € per capita; cf. ADRC 2008) of total Romanian FDI-inflows were directed to the Romanian Development Region Nord-West, where they are spread over 13,200 enterprises. Traditional cross-border relations supported this trend. Seven European highways cross the region and grant an easy access to occidental markets. Especially the – yet unfinished – Autostradă Transilvania stimulated the business environment in the area of Cluj. After being finished, maybe in 2012, it will link the Romanian Capital to Hungary via the route București –Brașov – Târgu-Mureș – Cluj – Borș (cf. NewsIn 2008: 109).

Academic Research paper and Study of the Economy of Romania and Romanian Business

In 2006 some 11.09 % of total Romanian exports stemmed from the North-West region; but also imports contributed with 1.1 billion of Euros (9.8 % of regional GDP) a considerable part to Romania’s trade deficit. Over 133 millions of Euros on the population’s demand deposits in foreign currency might indicate the importance of migration for this region.

The public administration as monitored by NewsIn 2008 achieved the first place in the ranking with a general score of 18 points from 20 possible. Tracked were the local authorities of Oradea (Bihor – 18 points), Cluj-Napoca (Cluj – 17.5 points) and Baia Mare (Maramureș – 19 points).


Borș is an important check point at the Romanian-Hungarian border, near to the Capital of Bihor, Oradea.