Your Excellency Prime Minister Prof. Berisha, Minister Bode, World Bank Country Director for South East Europe Ms. Armitage, Mr. Pasha; distinguished participants; colleagues and friend,
I am very pleased to welcome you at today’s conference that will discuss achievements, challenges, opportunities and priorities for improving governance in Albania.
Good governance might sound as an abstract concept, but this is, in essence, what makes the lives of citizens better; this is what helps people, businesses and countries to fuller realize their potential.
At this conference, the World Bank team will present the results of several years of work undertaken in collaboration with government counterparts, development and integration partners, and many other stakeholders inside and outside Albania who provided various inputs and comments. WE are grateful for the strong support we received from so many people and institutions.
Improving governance is a cross-cutting challenge, which is reflected in the agenda of the conference: today, we will discuss the overall governance profile in Albania, as well as specific issues related to property rights, education and water sector. The cross-cutting nature of governance is also reflected in the diversity of speakers, panelists and moderators who represent government, international community, civil society and the private sector. I am particularly excited about participation of several NGOs in today’s event and encourage as many of you as possible to attend the afternoon session during which they will present their innovative projects to improve different aspects of governance.
We, at the World Bank, hope that today’s conference will not only bring interesting discussions, not only an open exchange of different perspectives and ideas, but will also help to identify specific and practical steps for moving forward. This is very important as we are embarking on supporting the Government of Albania with a program of major reforms to improve governance and competiveness.
My colleagues and I look forward to a very successful and useful event, and thank you for being with us today.
Let me now invite His Excellency Prime Minister to open this conference.