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FEATURE STORY December 10, 2019

The International Development Association's Role in Europe and Central Asia’s Path to Success

At the Yusupova rural health center, in the Yovon district of Tajikistan, Dr. Ashurbi Saidova sits with a young mother to discuss the importance of nutrition in the development of her children. As the session closes, Dr. Saidova schedules a series of follow-up appointments with the woman to help ensure her youngest child continues to be healthy throughout her childhood. 

A half a world away, in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Ljiljana Kozomara is having a similar discussion with an entire family, discussing matters of health and Lifestyle with the group in order to enhance the health outcomes of each individual.

Although separated by more than 3000 miles, a different language, and a culture, Dr. Kozomara and Dr. Saidova are linked by their respective professions, a passion for helping others, and their quest to enhance their effectiveness as physicians through knowledge and innovation. They also share another link: they are two of the millions of people across the Europe and Central Asia region who have directly benefitted from the International Development Association (IDA).


Over the last six decades, IDA has provided billions of dollars in assistance to build hospitals and schools, rebuild roads and dams, and boost the livelihoods of millions of people - from Kosovo to the Kyrgyz Republic, and everywhere in between.    

“The successful story of development in many countries across Europe and Central Asia is synonymous with IDA,” says Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “Whether it’s linking 100,000 people to clean water in the Kyrgyz Republic, helping 800,000 people in Bosnia and Herzegovina recover from a historic flood, or providing electricity to millions of people in Tajikistan, the impact of IDA over the last 57 years cannot be overstated.”

Starting with Turkey’s Third Industrial Development Bank Project in 1962, IDA has worked in 14 countries across Europe and Central Asia, helping millions of people escape poverty and improving the livelihoods of millions more. The impact of this engagement has been enormous - boosting growth and prosperity throughout the region and lifting many countries toward middle-income and high-income status.

In fact, of the 35 countries around the world that have graduated from IDA and have not re-entered, nine are from the Europe and Central Asia region – Turkey (’73), North Macedonia (’02), Albania (’08), Montenegro (’08), Serbia (’08), Azerbaijan (’11), Armenia (’14), Bosnia and Herzegovina (’14), and Georgia (’14).

Furthermore, of the 56 donors who contributed to the 18th replenishment of IDA in 2016, more than half were countries in Europe or Central Asia. Collectively, these countries contributed more than $5 billion. As more and more countries in the region grow and continue to lift their populations out of poverty, IDA remains a strong partner on the ground during this journey. Today, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan – the two remaining IDA countries in the region – have a combined lending portfolio of $1.08 billion across 34 projects.

This partnership includes additional financing of $43.2 million for the Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development project, which provides improved access to water and sanitation services to more than 300,000 people in the Kyrgyz Republic, and $45 million for the Second Phase of the Central Asia Road Links Program (CARs-2), boosting trade and transport connectivity between Tajikistan and its neighbors across Central Asia.

Kosovo, Moldova, and Uzbekistan also continue to receive financing from both IDA and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

But even as countries travel the path toward growth and prosperity, the impact of IDA assistance remains long after these partners have graduated. Just ask Narzigul Pirova, who continues to visit Dr. Ashurbi Saidova.

“Through the project we received [treatment] to help improve our children’s weight and support their development,” says Narzigul. “As a result, my child’s weight has been restored to normal and his height has also improved.  Compared to other children, he is very active!”