The World Bank Group works with countries in Europe and Central Asia to help improve people's lives and achieve shared prosperity in a variety of ways, including through financial lending and analytical and advisory services. Our work aims to help countries achieve better competitiveness, more inclusive growth, and to adapt to climate change and improve energy efficiency.
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Kazakhstan is blessed by vast but fragile spaces. The country is ninth in terms of total size, and though it boasts the third largest forest area in Europe and Central Asia, trees make up less than fi... Show More +ve percent of the overall landscape.That’s why the saplings, seed laboratories and firefighters in Semey, Kazakhstan, are so important. Semey, in the eastern part of the country, sits next to the Irtysh Pine Forest, nearly 700,000 hectares of fragile, yet important, land.“The biggest part of this project is the money spent on new firefighting equipment, to cut down on illegal logging, and to detect lightning strikes,” says Murat Baimukhametov, who is working with the World Bank to help re-plant and restore the forest.Protecting the Forest with a Computer ScreenThe most revolutionary part of the project moves fire detection from the casual glance to a state-of-the-art computer system. Technicians now monitor the forest via computer, looking for lightning strikes, smoke, or any activity out of the ordinary. The system relies on a series of cameras mounted on watchtowers and sprinkled throughout the forest.What it means is that firefighters can respond to trouble with greater speed and accuracy than in the recent past, explains Vladimir Kurmangaliyev, who works at the forestry fire station. “The new equipment allows us to move more quickly, and once we get to the fire, we can deploy faster.” Show Less -
WASHINGTON, October 16, 2014 - The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for FYR Macedonia for 2015-2018. The new Partnership Strateg... Show More +y is based on the Government’s development priorities and the World Bank Group’s twin goals of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner.The new strategy builds on the strength of the partnership between FYR Macedonia and the World Bank Group, which has been a steadfast support to the country in its development and aspiration to join the European Union. The country has a solid track record of prudent macroeconomic management and has been able to maintain growth and increase employment in the face of the global crisis. The new CPS will support the country in achieving higher and more inclusive growth that translates into jobs and rising income for all segments of society.The new CPS will make available up to US$400 million from the World Bank for the country for the four years of strategy implementation. Depending on market conditions, this could be supplemented by financing of US$80-100 million for four years from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and guarantees from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).The Country Partnership Strategy is defined around two pillars:Growth and Competitiveness – improvements in the business climate and the trade regime are essential to attract private investment and improve export performance in order to achieve sustained private sector led growth and job creation.Skills and Inclusion – interventions that increase skills and improve inclusion are crucial to ensure that all segments of society benefit from economic growth through greater employability and more efficient public and municipal services.FYR Macedonia aspires to European Union (EU) membership, and the new World Bank Group Strategy will promote progress on the accession agenda as a cross-cutting theme. The strategy is consistent with the new EU Assistance Country Strategy Paper for 2014-2020, and World Bank resources will be used to complement and improve absorption of the EU’s Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA) funds. Overall, the World Bank Group will support the Government with a full range of financial, knowledge, and convening services, and provide assistance in several sectors, such as transport, energy efficiency, public financial management, and social protection.“Thanks to a strong track record of prudent management and structural reform the country has experienced solid growth, which is now increasing, and employment has begun to rise,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Country Manager for FYR Macedonia. “The challenge for the future is to build on this success and provide new opportunities to the poor and disadvantaged groups that have not as yet benefitted from economic growth as much as we would hope. The new World Bank Group strategy seeks to promote faster growth, but with better inclusion, so that all segments of society can benefit from job creation as the recovery accelerates.”IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will continue to partner with clients through investments and advisory services in strategic sectors crucial to the country’s long-term sustainable development.“Further integration of the Macedonian economy into global production networks will accelerate its industry and trade competitiveness,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for the Western Balkans. “To achieve that objective, IFC will seek to make investments and provide advisory services to further improve collaboration between global and local partners and improve FYR Macedonia’s supply chain effectiveness.” FYR Macedonia became a shareholder and member of IFC in 1993. Since then, IFC's total investment in FYR Macedonia has totaled US$397 million in 29 projects across a variety of sectors.FYR Macedonia became a member of the World Bank in 1994. Since then, the World Bank invested US$1.7 billion in loans and grants through more than 40 operations, including investments in energy, roads, agriculture, health, social policy, innovation, skills, and other areas. The current World Bank investment portfolio consists of seven loans totaling US$369 million. Show Less -
On-the-Job LearningThis is all part of an ambitious plan to modernize the Kazakh economy. Kazakhstan’s strong economic growth over the last decade exposed some skill gaps in the country’s workforce. S... Show More +o now the government, with support from the World Bank, is trying to train a new generation of skilled technical workers to help propel the economy in the future. Employers say there is a real need. “Staffing is the most important part of our industry, “says Marlen Sikhayev, who’s with the Association of Mining and Metallurgic Enterprises. “That’s why we are focused on this. Kazakhstan, within the last 20 years, moved from having no money in the budget, but we have it now. We’ve been able to invest in equipment, but everyone understands that workers are what matters.”He says his industry needs skilled welders, geologists, and electricians, jobs that have sometimes been filled by foreign workers with advanced training. Kazakhstan has moved away from a Soviet-era planned economy to a competitive, demand-driven one. And a well-trained work force is key to satisfying the needs of this new, diversifying economy. Show Less -