Albania is a middle-income country. In recent years Albania has maintained positive growth rates, despite the ongoing economic crisis. The country is facing a challenge of maintaining growth in a difficult external environment while rebuilding fiscal buffers.
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IBRD Loan: US $150.0 million equivalentTerms: Maturity = 22.5 years, Grace = 7 yearsProject ID: P144029Project Description: The objective is to improve reliability of power supply and financial viabil... Show More +ity of the power sector.For more information, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/projects/P144029?lang=en Show Less -
WASHINGTON, September 29, 2014—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$150 million in IBRD financing for the Power Recovery Project in Albania. The project will support Albania... Show More +’s power sector reforms, particularly to improve the reliability of the electricity supply and the financial viability of the sectorThe power sector is facing serious financial and operational challenges in Albania, manifested by a large unfunded deficit of about US$550 million and a large level of technical and commercial losses of about 42 percent – the highest in the region – due to non-payment of electricity bills by consumers, as well as poor collection rates. Energy generation relies almost entirely on hydropower, which means that emergency power imports are often required during dry seasons.The Government's reform efforts for power sector recovery include diversifying generation sources, reducing distribution losses and improving collection, and improving the power market model in line with EU directives. A comprehensive Sector Recovery Plan will be implemented to address the pressing sector issues, especially its fiscal viability."The Power Recovery Project supports the implementation of government reforms, and will help to increase investment; improve management and performance, especially in distribution; and reduce inter-company arrears," said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. "The project will support the sector recovery plan to address longstanding technical and financial issues."The project consists of four components : i) providing short-term complementary power import support; ii) upgrading distribution infrastructure; iii) upgrading the transmission meter/data center; and iv) supporting power sector reforms and project implementation."The key project entities are the Distribution Company, OShEE, which will benefit from the reduction of losses and improved billing and collection rates; KESh, Albania’s main generation company, which will benefit from improved financial sustainability; and the Transmission System Operator, OST, which will benefit from the installation of an enhanced metering data center to facilitate the market restructuring,” said Salvador Rivera, World Bank Senior Specialist for Energy and Project Team Leader. “The project is a first, necessary step to support sector reforms, leading to improved quality of service and reliability.”Since Albania joined the World Bank in 1991, the Bank has financed a total of 83 projects with over US$1.95 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans to the country Show Less -
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23—Land ownership has a number of crucial benefits for women and their families, both economic and social. Increased security allows women to access credit to buy key agricultural in... Show More +puts, or make other investments to increase food production. Access to land can also lift a woman's status and enhance her bargaining power in families and communities, boosting well-being at the household level. Some research even shows that women who own land are less likely to suffer from domestic violence.Although women’s land rights are enshrined in national law and a growing number of international agreements, women's land ownership often involves a complex web of statutory, customary, and religious laws—along with social norms that prioritize men and boys.Thirty-seven of 143 countries surveyed in the World Bank Group's Women, Business, and the Law 2014, still have discriminatory land laws in place, while even in countries with gender-equal laws on the books, powerful norms and customs can dictate that men alone hold title to land and other assets.Data analyzed by the World Bank (WB) and UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under a new initiative funded by the World Bank Group’s Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE) and the FAO, suggests that men in many regions fail to register their wives on property deeds. This means widows can lose rights to the land they farm after a husband dies, and sons often take priority in inheriting the land.In the Western Balkans, country reform teams established by this initiative cited lack of awareness and interest among key stakeholders—such as government officials, notaries, and land agency staff—as major obstacles to reform. Lack of data broken down by gender poses an additional challenge. A 2013 initiative offered technical assistance to mine existing databases to measure women’s land ownership in the region and establish benchmarks. The initiative gathered existing relevant data from Albania, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia—at the national, provincial, and local levels.Data was analyzed by studying property titles. “When we presented the data, the government was surprised to find that female property ownership can be as low as 3 percent in the region, particularly in rural areas,” World Bank Senior Land Administration Specialist Kathrine Kelm said. This helped galvanize follow-up work with government partners to improve women’s property rights.WB and FAO teams worked with national partners to devise 11-month pilot work plans for their countries to boost female land ownership—alongside senior officials, land agency staff, and notaries.In Kosovo, with national levels of female ownership at around 15 percent, efforts have targeted associations of notaries, to request that they always inform clients who register land and property about the importance of co-registering wives or female heirs.In one town, Shtime, registering property in one name cost 20 Euros, while registering property jointly cost 40 Euros. In early 2014, the mayor temporarily waived the registration fee as an incentive for couples to register jointly, prompting a 20 percent jump in property registrations for women. The town now has a flat registration fee.The Kosovo team hopes to continue its work on the gender action plan, and deploy mobile gender units during their next round of property registration, and use a randomized control trial to demonstrate the cost benefits of such teams.In FYR Macedonia, where female land ownership was found to hover around 16 percent, one community, Aerodrom, launched outreach efforts highlighting the positive impact of property ownership and connecting residents with notaries.Ongoing negotiations on targets to succeed the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals after 2015 have identified as a priority the need for women and girls to have equal access to financial services, as well as equal rights to own land and other assets. Most people living in extreme poverty worldwide are female.About the UFGEThe UFGE is a multi-donor trust fund dedicated to strengthening awareness, knowledge, and capacity for policy-making that advance gender equality.It invests in priority areas critical to closing gaps between what we know and what we do to advance gender equality. The UFGE currently supports over 70 activities in 54 countries.Since its launch in 2012, the UFGE has received contributions from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Show Less -
Policy Dialogue on Education Reform in AlbaniaTIRANA, September 17, 2014 – A Policy Dialogue on Education Reforms was held yesterday in Tirana, organized by the Ministry of Education and Sports in coo... Show More +peration with the World Bank. This event offered an important opportunity to discuss the findings of several World Bank analytic reports, take stock of recent reforms undertaken by the government, and identify priorities for moving forward. Participants in the event included the Prime Minister Edi Rama, the World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe Ellen Goldstein, Minister of Education and Sports Lindita Nikolla, World Bank Country Manager for Albania Tahseen Sayed, representatives from public and private universities and other education institutions, representatives from the development partners, and education experts.The policy dialogue highlighted optimizing skills development through a lifecycle approach to learning, rising quality of education, and closing the gaps in student performance. World Bank education experts presented the findings from the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Report, the Albania Early Childhood Development-Systemic Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) Report, as well as the education chapter from the Public Finance Review.In the currently constrained fiscal environment Albania spends less than the regional average per capita on education, but there are still opportunities to improve the efficiency of education spending and explore additional resources. “We are working in very close cooperation with the World Bank, other international institutions, and EU, within the framework of the Western Balkans Initiative, to include education sector in their programs, so that we can ensure increased financing for education” said the Prime Minister Edi Rama.The World Bank experts expressed support for the preprimary education reforms undertaken by the Government, while noting examples of good practice based on global evidence. The Ministry of Education and Sports unveiled its plans to improve access to and enhance the quality of preprimary education over the next four years as well as presented progress on higher education reforms.“Investing in early childhood development is key for long-term and sustainable success, said Minister of Education and Sports, Lindita Nikolla. “This means that early foundational skills allow for long learning and adapting to the constantly evolving demands of the labor market.”Data show that Albania has made major progress in expanding access to education in the past decade, but still significant disparities persist in access by low income groups, particular for pre-primary and tertiary education. While PISA results improved between 2000 and 2012, overall performance remains low and significant disparities in learning outcomes remain a concern between low-income and higher-income students, between rural and urban schools, and between boys and girls. Recent reforms to improve quality assurance mechanisms in higher education are encouraging, and the next steps are to enhance the relevance while strengthening linkages with the private sector.“If Albania is to compete in sophisticated global product and service markets, it needs to improve the quality and productivity of human capital which are critical to both short-term and longer-term prospects for inclusive growth and increased employment in Albania”, said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for South East Europe. Show Less -