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World Bank steps up support to reforms towards Albania faster growth and European integration

July 3, 2011

TIRANA, July 3, 2011— Mr. Piero Cipollone, the new Executive Director who represents Albania at the World Bank Board and Mrs. Jane Armitage, Country Director and Regional Coordinator for South East Europe visited Albania last week. The purpose of the visits was to introduce the new Executive Director to the Government of Albania, discuss the Bank’s role in supporting the country’s reform agenda and to visit a number of World Bank financed projects and meet with beneficiaries.

During their visit, Mr. Cipollone and Mrs. Armitage met and discussed Albania -World Bank collaboration  with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and several members of his cabinet (Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy Nasip Naco, Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Genc Ruli, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration  Fatmir Mediu, Minister of Education and Science Myqerem Tafaj) Governor of Bank of Albania Ardian Fullani, Head of the Socialist Party Edi Rama, as well as representatives from the diplomatic community, civil society and media.  During the visit, they were accompanied by Mrs. Kseniya Lvovsky, Country Manager for Albania.

The meeting with Prime Minister focused on the new Programmatic Development Policy Loan for governance and competitiveness which is being prepared to support an ambitious program of reforms in several key areas, such as property rights, water management, business environment and higher education, over the next three years.  Improved security of property rights has been identified as a critical issue for growth, reducing informality, boosting foreign investment, and progress towards European integration.  Both sides expressed satisfaction with their collaboration and strong commitment to working together to advance Albania’s sustainable development.

In the meeting with the Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy, the importance of realizing Albania’s renewable energy potential, completing reforms in the electricity sector and enhancing the payment discipline among various actors was discussed.

During her stay Mrs. Jane Armitage visited the Vlora power plant to review the last stages of repair works at the site’s offshore installations, and the Water Supply Utilities in Durres, both co-financed by the World Bank. Mr. Piero Cipollone participated in the inauguration of the hazardous waste landfill of Porto Romano financed by the Dutch Government and administered by the World Bank, and visited the “Let’s stay together”, social center for disabled children in Kombinat, Tirana that was supported by a World Bank project, and a school in Shkozet, Durres, that is being reconstructed as part of the Education for Equity and Excellence Project, also co-financed by the World Bank.

“I am glad to see that once a contaminated area – today the project site in Porto Romano is unrecognizable after five years of hard work.  My appreciation goes to all agencies involved in realizing the cleanup project under international supervision”, - said Executive Director Piero Cipollone in his greetings to the beneficiaries in Porto Romano area. “We hope that the experience gained during this operation will be used to remediate other such sites in the country.”

Albania joined the World Bank in 1991. World Bank commitments to the country to date total approximately US$1.4 billion for 69 projects. Currently there are 14 operations under implementation totaling US$263 million in IDA credits and IBRD loans; US$180 million in co-financing loans, credits, and grants; and US$35 million of recipient-executed Trust Funds – amounting to a consolidated financial package of around US$480 million. Six new operations are under preparation.