WB Gives Albania $70 mln to Support Reforms
Albanian Daily News
Published February 2, 2017

The World Bank's Board of
Executive Directors has approved a $ 70 million Competitiveness Development
Policy Lending (DPL) operation to Albania, World Bank Group said in a press
release on Wednesday.

The policy operation supports reforms aimed
at enhancing the country's competitiveness by improving the investment regime,
making it easier to do business and facilitating trade.

WB Group notes in its release that
Albanian government is implementing a series of reforms to integrate
internationally and increase economic productivity. The new WB lending
operation supports the reform program in three key areas to improve Albania's

The first area aims to strengthen the
investment policy framework and includes measures for creating a comprehensive
investment law for domestic and foreign investors, establishing an investor
grievance mechanism, and increasing investment retention. The second area
focuses on enhancing Albania's business climate by making it easier to do
business by streamlining the process for construction permits, getting
electricity and business licensing, and filling the gaps in national quality
infrastructure.  The third area supports
trade facilitation and logistics and includes measures to simplify clearance
procedures at border crossing points, improve risk management for food
products, and reduce congestion at the port of Durres.

These measures complement Albania's
ongoing macro-fiscal and structural reforms and build on the current reform
momentum that seeks to rebalance the economy towards private sector investments
and exports. While Albania made significant progress in its global ranking in
the Doing Business 2017 report, further and faster progress is necessary to
enable the country to move towards its goal of establishing a world class
business climate.

"After stabilizing the economy, it is
now critical for Albania to establish the right legal framework for investors
and a business friendly environment for attracting and retaining investments
for faster growth and greater private-sector led job creation, especially for
youth and women," said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania.

The operation also leverages the ongoing
EU integration process and the opportunities arising from Albania's agreements
with the World Trade Organization.

The Competitiveness DPL is a fixed
spread IBRD loan with a 5-year grace period and repayment of 25 years.

Since Albania joined the World Bank in
1991, a total of 89 projects comprising around US$2.55 billion of IDA credits
and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country. The World Bank
portfolio has ten investment lending projects under implementation with a total
net commitment of $615 million.

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