TIRANA, November 10, 2011—The World Bank Albania Country Manager Ms. Kseniya Lvovksy visited the city of Korça. The purpose of the visit was to see the impact of World Bank financed projects and deliver a lecture at the Fan Noli University in the city of Korça. She met with the medical staff of the regional hospital, business representatives, and University teachers and students.
In the regional hospital, Ms. Lvovsky saw new mammogram equipment financed with World Bank support which makes possible for women in the Korca area to have this vital test, as well as early screening, close to home. According to hospital staff, 130 women benefited from the equipment this year. Ms. Lvovsky was informed about the positive impact of this and several other new equipments provided by the project, which offered critical service to many people that before had to travel to the capital for their health needs. Interesting discussions about reducing informal economic activities were generated during the meeting with representatives of the Korça Regional Development Agency, one of the 10 winners of ”Innovation for Better Governance” ompetition among civil society and local government organizations organized by the World Bank and the British Council.
This innovative project, implemented by RDA in collaboration with Small Business Association for the Korça Region focuses on reducing informal businesses and tax avoidance in the private sector. Early results point to 260 businesses that have recently registered with the municipal authorities. Ms. Lvovsky encouraged the project team to focus on completing all the planned activities and carefully documenting the results, as well as challenges, of this pilot project, so that it can provide an inspiration and practical lessons for potential replication in other regions of the country.
Ms. Lvovsky’s lecture at the “Fan Noli” University focused on the recent economic developments in South-East Europe and the World Bank program in the country. While highlighting the economic achievements of Albania to the students of the economics department, she invited them to apply their skills and energy to help address significant challenges. Among the challenges, she mentioned slowdown of growth and exhausted fiscal buffers in the aftermarch of the 2008 global crisis that would no longer allow compensating for slower growth and private investment through increased public spending as the Albania Government was able to do in 2009. Ms. Lvovsky further stressed the need to better target social assistance, improve quality of education and marketable skills, and increase competitiveness through promoting innovation, good governance and rule of law, and completing the unfinished agenda of structural reforms. She noted that the World Bank is a major supporter of education - globally and in Albania, and is extending its outreach and knowledge sharing to civil society, giving an example of the Open Data Initiative. The “Fan Noli” University is to receive six new labs from the Education for Excellence and Equity Project supported by the World Bank.