Working together to advance Albania's development and EU integration agenda

October 5, 2012

TIRANA, October 5, 2012— On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the World Bank Group activity in Albania, the World Bank Office in Tirana organized a conference to celebrate the long partnership with Albania. The conference took stock of the many-folded contribution of the World Bank to the country’s economic, human, and institutional progress. Present there were Prime Minister Sali Berisha, members of the cabinet, project beneficiaries, representatives from the private sector, civil society, media, development partners, etc.

Albania became a member of the World Bank Group in 1992 and the World Bank has been one of country’s key main sources of development support along this amazing 20-year journey. Since then, the Bank has financed 71 projects totaling over US$ 1.2 billion. Throughout the past years, the World Bank Group has been able to assist Albania technically, financially, and through policy advice on virtually every aspect of its development needs.

Participants in the conference pointed out that common successes are many and joint policy work has been critical to the successful transformation of the country in terms of financial sector development, business environment, and economic management. Participants in this conference pointed out the constructive cooperation of the World Bank with successive governments and all the stakeholders, the impact of the financed projects for sustainable growth in its road towards EU integration.

Speakers of different panels in the conference commended key World Bank projects which had strong developmental impact and affected positively the life of the people in the countryside and the towns, students in school, vulnerable groups, farmers, private sector, etc. From the investment perspective, there have been obtained countless visible results. The World Bank has helped to repair or construct 1,700 km of national and rural roads; rehabilitated and upgraded 270,000 hectares of Albania’s irrigation and drainage system (which represents two-thirds of Albania’s irrigated land); enhanced productivity and incomes by improving natural resource management in about 251 communes in mountainous areas prone to erosion; built or reconstructed more than 300 schools in priority areas; and equipped over 2,000 elementary and secondary schools with computers.

Widely referred to as “a development success story” and “one of the fastest growing countries in Europe” in World Bank reports, Albania is an excellent example of an effective and fruitful partnership between a country and our institution, said Philippe H. Le Houerou, World Bank Vice President of Europe and Central Asia in his greeting note. As in every partnership, both parties have been learning, changing, and adapting to new realities.”

In her remarks, Jane Armitage, Country Regional Director for Southeast Europe said that “it has been immensely satisfying to partner with Albania technically, financially, and through policy advice, on many aspects of its development needs. Our support to Albania builds on the Bank’s long experience in working in developing countries all over the world”.

Over the past 20 years, both Albania and the World Bank have expanded partnerships with other multilateral and bi-lateral development institutions and non-government players as the key for keeping abreast of new ideas and experience, and both have placed trust into the EU integration process as the best facilitator of Albania’s continued economic and social progress.

After 20 years full of achievements and lessons, we are better prepared to work together on the next phase of Albania’s development and EU integration agenda, said Kseniya Lvovksy, Country Manager of the World Bank Office in Tirana, - and I look forward to celebrating the country’s future successes.”

A youth photo competition was organized announced recently on the occasion of the 100 anniversary of Albania’s independence, and the 20 year partnership of Albania and the World Bank. During the activity the winners of this competition were also announced.