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Building for the Future: Serbia Country Partnership Framework 2016-2020


  • Serbia has a historic opportunity to speed up the deep reforms necessary to create a competitive economy and to accelerate its momentum on the path towards prosperity and integration into the EU.
  • The World Bank Group's new strategy for Serbia for the period 2016-2020 will support the country in creating a competitive and inclusive economy and, through this, to achieve integration into the EU.
  • Key areas of the World Bank Group support to Serbia include restoring fiscal and macroeconomic stability, creating conditions for accelerated private sector growth and job creation, and strengthening public sector management and service delivery.

The World Bank Group's new Country Partnership Framework for Serbia for the period 2016-2020 supports reforms in key areas that can help Serbia maintain macroeconomic stability, create better conditions for private sector growth and job creation, improve infrastructure, and provide better public services for its citizens.

With the overall goal to support Serbia in creating a competitive and inclusive economy and, through this, to promote integration into the European Union, the CPF has been developed under a new World Bank Group approach to country engagement and through extensive consultations with the government, private sector and business associations, development partners, civil society, and beneficiaries across the country.

This strategy is based on available evidence and expertise and focused on achieving the goals of reducing poverty and increasing prosperity across Serbian society in a sustainable manner.

Over the coming five-year period, the World Bank Group will focus its support to Serbia in the following two key areas.

  1. Economic governance and the role of the state. The World Bank Group program in this area will address constraints to the effectiveness of economic governance: the size and management of the budget, public administration capacity to implement reforms and deliver services, the footprint of the state in the economy, the efficiency and performance of public utilities and transport companies.
  2. Private sector growth and economic inclusion. The program will focus on addressing key constraints that hinder private sector development and economic inclusion, such as strengthening the banking system, improving land management, improving infrastructure networks, increasing renewable energy capacity, developing better skills and reducing barriers to labor market entry.


Serbia needs to accelerate reforms in order to achieve a more efficient and better performing public sector, along with creating conditions for stronger private sector growth and job creation.

These focus areas are based on six fundamental priorities identified as having the greatest potential impact on growth and poverty reduction in Serbia. These priorities emerged from the Serbia: Systematic Country Diagnostic, a comprehensive assessment carried out by the World Bank that looked at Serbia's key challenges constraining the country's growth and identified potential opportunities for restoring  economic growth and for achieving greater shared prosperity across the society. These six priorities are:

  • Restore fiscal sustainability, and maintain macroeconomic and financial stability;
  • Improve governance and institutional capacity to implement and monitor reforms;
  • Make the public sector more efficient by privatizing commercially oriented enterprises, restructuring large public utilities, and rightsizing the public sector;
  • Improve the business climate by creating an environment conductive to private sector-led investment, growth, and job creation;
  • Enhance the quality of public infrastructure to better support international, regional and domestic connectivity;
  • Strengthen the labor market institutions to facilitate formal employment and create earnings opportunities for the less well-off.

Special attention in the strategy is also given to responding to climate change and disaster risks, given the high risks that natural disasters pose to economic development and the impact of climate change on the poor, especially in rural areas.

The World Bank Group will provide advice on policies that will enable faster and more inclusive growth in Serbia, as well as the financial resources needed to address the country priorities in order to achieve results in these areas.

This involves completing the transition to a private-sector driven economy, and moving from a consumption-based to an export-led growth model, as well as ensuring broader participation in the formal labor market, all of which is critical for the country’s strategic EU integration objective.

Read the full document: Country Partnership Framework for Serbia for the period 2016-2020.