PRISHTINA, January 15, 2015 – The Minister of Finance of the Republic of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, and the World Bank’s Country Director and Regional Coordinator for Southeastern Europe, Ellen Goldstein, today signed two new World Bank-financed projects, the Kosovo Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project (US$31 million) and Kosovo Health Project (US$25.5 million).
Minister of Finance, Avdullah Hoti, while thanking the World Bank for the willingness to support the Government of Kosovo through these two projects, emphasized, "I am here with the two ministers, Minister of Economic Development Blerand Stavileci and Minister of Health Imet Rrahmani, to sign two important agreements with the World Bank – the agreement on energy efficiency and the agreement on health reform. The agreements are under very favorable terms, particularly given the limited budgetary capacities of the country, and they address two areas that are among the five priorities of the Kosovo Government."
"We have approved yesterday the Government Annual Plan, and energy and health are two areas that are a priority for the Government, not only in declarative terms, but are real priorities, which we aim at supporting though concrete measures. These two projects actually contribute to Government’s efforts to develop the two sectors, which are very crucial for the social aspect of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, but also for the long-term economic development, through finally resolving the issue of power supply," added Minister Hoti.
He also said that "We are moving ahead with the ‘Kosova e Re’ project and Energy Efficiency supports this project through energy saving measures."
“A modern energy sector generating reliable, affordable and cleanest possible electricity is indeed Kosovo’s most urgent priority,” concurred the World Bank Country Director Ellen Goldstein. “Using available energy more efficiently and encouraging the development of renewable sources represent two central pillars of Kosovo’s comprehensive energy strategy.”
The Kosovo Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project (KEEREP) aims at reducing energy consumption and fossil fuel use in public buildings and demonstrating the economic viability of corresponding investments. Through this project, the Bank will be supporting Kosovo in implementing its comprehensive energy strategy and enhancing the policy and regulatory environment for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The Government is expected to benefit from this project through reduced energy expenditures, a renovated building stock, with a particular focus on universities and hospitals, and improved indoor comfort and functionality. In parallel, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, the Kosovo Energy Efficiency Agency, and the Energy Regulatory Office will develop their capacity to foster sustainable energy investments across the country. The private sector will benefit from an improved regulatory environment, which is expected to facilitate faster licensing and easier market entry for companies developing renewable sources of energy, which, in turn, will stimulate demand for goods and services from suppliers and service providers in these sectors.
“Faced with still one of the poorest health outcomes in Europe and the citizens’ risk to be exposed to severe financial burdens from unaffordable out-of-pocket payments,” added Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo, “the Government is taking a pro-active stance towards improving the quality of the health care system, not least through the introduction of a mandatory health insurance that will offer increased access to, and better quality of, health services in Kosovo.”
The Kosovo Health Project (KHP) seeks to improve the financial protection from health spending for the poor and quality of care for priority maternal and child health and non-communicable disease services in Kosovo. It will support the Ministry of Health and future Health Insurance Fund in introducing and implementing health insurance and other reforms to improve the quality of primary health care services. In order to improve quality of care, the project will finance investments in priority maternal and child health equipment for primary care facilities and hospitals. In addition, information systems will be modernized to allow health sector data to be the basis for informed decision-making and oversight in Kosovo.
The poorest households will be exempted from health insurance contributions, cost-sharing for health care, and/or drugs covered under the new legislation. Municipalities, health facilities, and providers at these facilities will benefit from capacity-building and other support provided under the project. The Health Project will be implemented over a period of five years.