Lundrim Aliu, Communications Officer, World Bank Office in Kosovo offers this story.
By improving Kosovo's investment climate and maintaining macroeconomic stability, Kosovo's government has shielded the country from the sharp economic slowdown plaguing the rest of Europe. Yet, although Kosovo's economy has grown, its unemployment rate is over 40 percent and around a third of the people are poor.
To help boost job creation and build a solid long term economic foundation, the World Bank, together with ten other donors, injected 61 million Euros into Kosovo's budget, mostly grant money. The Sustainable Employment Development Policy Program (SEDPP) funds were disbursed from the end of 2011 to the middle of 2012 and had a widespread effect on many sectors, supporting reforms and improving transparency.
Positive effects are already visible, says Bedri Hamza, Kosovo's Finance Minister: "First of all, it is important for the macro-fiscal stability of Kosovo, as it involves significant amount of funds. They were distributed among several projects, which will have a long-term effect," he adds. "Thanks to the World Bank, Kosovo has prosperity and economic growth, which is estimated at around 5% for 2011," he says. However he says: "Kosovo needs still bigger economic growth".
Taking down business start-up barriers
One constraint to bigger economic growth and to creating jobs was Kosovo's unfavorable investment climate. To remove that barrier, the government has taken steps to speed up and ease business registration to encourage private investments, which can create jobs and in turn, incomes for families. Twenty-six one-stop-shops for registering businesses have been established in municipalities across Kosovo. In the past, there was only one, in the capital.
"Before, due to bureaucracy there was no will to register the business, today bureaucracy is reduced at a minimum," says Muhamet Doblibora, the Director of the Kamila chocolate production company, recently re-registered its business in Prizren, Kosovo's second largest city. "There is no time loss or long waiting, you can register the business in a short time," he adds.