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World Bank Supports Modernization of Social Assistance in Albania

June 6, 2012

Loan Agreement for Social Assistance Modernization Project Signed Today

TIRANA, June 6, 2012— The Government of Albania and the World Bank today signed the agreement for the loan of Social Assistance Modernization Project, totaling Euro38 million.  The agreement was signed on behalf of the Republic of Albania by Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode, and on behalf of the World Bank by Country Manager Kseniya Lvovsky.  The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Finance in the presence of high government officials as well as members of the team who have prepared the project, which was approved on April 3, 2012, by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

The objective of Social Assistance Modernization Project for Albania is to support the Government’s reform agenda to improve the equity, efficiency, and transparency of social assistance programs.  The project will focus mainly on the poverty-targeted Ndihma Ekonomike (NE) program and the disability assistance.

The project aims at improved equity by improving targeting, eligibility and coverage for both Ndihma Ekonomike and Disability Assistance Programs to ensure that resources are channeled to the most needy people.

The current system of social assistance needs to be modernized and automated in order to improve the efficiency of both programs. This would help the current benefits administration to strengthen detection and remedying of fraud and errors and would allow the Government to make timely and informed policy changes.

The project would also support improvements in transparency which cuts across the key reform areas through proactive communications, modernized information systems, and increased clarity on “rules, roles and controls.”

The Social Assistance Modernization Project would contribute to the reduction of poverty and vulnerability through more effective social assistance services and to help Albania mitigate the impacts of the continued eurozone crisis” said Kseniya Lvovsky, Country Manager for the World Bank Office in Albania.

The project activities consist of two interrelated components:

  • Strengthening the Implementation and Performance of Social Assistance Programs.
  • Technical Assistance to Strengthen Implementation Capacity for Social Assistance Programs.

The project support would be provided according to a results-based financing (RBF) approach which implies the partnership and engagement between the World Bank and the Government of Albania for co-financing of major social assistance program and disbursing against measured improvements in implementation.