Tirana, 22 May 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today endorsedthe 2015-19 Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Albania, which proposes a lending program of up to US$1.2 billion over a five-year period aimed at supporting Albania’s aspirations to achieve equitable growth and integration into the European Union. Executive Directors welcomed Albania’s recent progress in implementing macro-fiscal and structural reforms, and they noted the Government of Albania’s strong commitment to these long-overdue reforms.
The CPF presents a strategy aligned with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of reducing poverty and increasing shared prosperity. In Albania, the World Bank Group (WBG) includes the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private sector arm, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which provides investment risk insurance.
The World Bank Group will increase and deepen its support for Albania’s reforms aimed at restoring macro-fiscal sustainability, stimulating private sector growth, and creating an accountable government. Albania’s drive for reforms and the encouraging results provide the impetus for an increased level of WBG support for the country.
“Albania has a historic opportunity to break with the past and accelerate its path towards prosperity and integration into the EU. The new World Bank Group Country Partnership Framework for Albania responds to this opportunity, and supports country priorities developed in extensive consultation and engagement with main stakeholders in Albania,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe. “We look forward to continued reform momentum and effective implementation to accomplish results for the benefit of Albania’s citizens.”
The CPF supports three focus areas. Under the CPF’s first focus area of fiscal sustainability and financial stability, the WBG will support measures for improved fiscal consolidation, strengthened public investment management in the transport sector, and improved financial stability. In the second focus area of stimulating private sector growth, the WBG will provide support to increased competitiveness and job creation, and reduce bottlenecks in the business environment and infrastructure gaps, such as thoseprevalent in the energy sector. In the third focus area of strengthening of public sector management and service delivery, WBG support is aimed at building citizens’ trust in government, strengthening service provision, and improving service delivery and access to basic services. The themes of gender integration and the EU accession process as a long-term policy anchor cut across the entire strategy.
“IFC will support strategic sectors in Albania, such as infrastructure and energy, through Public Private Partnership (PPP) advisory services and investments, help strengthen the banking sector to support SMEs and export-oriented industries, as well as assist inimproving the investment climate to attract foreign direct investments,” said Tomasz Telma, IFC Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.
The CPF has been guided by analytic findings and priorities presented in the recently-concluded Systematic Country Diagnostic. It also benefited from extensive engagement with the government of Albania, parliamentarians, local government, private sector, development partners, and a broad range of civil society stakeholders.
“The extensive consultations undertaken with a broad spectrum of Albanian society strengthen the capacity to implement the program with active citizen engagement and feedback,” said TahseenSayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “We look forward to working with stakeholders and supporting the accomplishment of results for the people of Albania.”
The World Bank currently supports eight projects in Albania with a commitment of US$512 million, while IFC has a committed portfolio of US$136 million. /ibna/