Skip to Main Navigation
PRESS RELEASEJune 22, 2023

World Bank Supports Croatia in Advancing its Digital Transformation and Green Transition Agenda

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2023—The World Bank Board today approved financing to the Republic of Croatia to advance research and innovation with a digital and green focus by improving institutional infrastructure and research performance of research organizations and firms.

The $116.4 million Croatia Digital, Innovation and Green Technology (DIGIT) Project will facilitate the digital transformation and the green transition of the economy, increase resources for applied research and experimental development, and support the efforts of the Croatian government to strengthen its institutional capacity to deliver research and innovation policies. Digital transformation helps with the integration of digital technologies to increase productivity and economic efficiency. The green transition promotes and boosts the application of solutions to help the country transition towards an economy with neutral effects on the climate and the environment.

DIGIT project activities will finance, through various grant schemes, digital and green research and innovation, and will complement and enhance the effectiveness of investments and build the capacities of institutions to deliver on this agenda. The project will also support reforms envisaged in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3), and activities important for the country’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Project will be carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Education.

“This project will boost the capacity of public administration bodies and government agencies to serve the innovation system more effectively and finance interventions with potential for transformative effects on research excellence,” said Jehan Arulpragasam, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia. “Research organizations and researchers will benefit directly through various grant schemes in support of new research infrastructure, improving the management of existing infrastructure and establishing new collaborations with the private sector. The envisaged investments in digital and green research technologies can also lead to a significant increase in firm productivity and provide a strong growth opportunity for Croatia’s service-oriented economy.”  

So far, Croatia’s results in digital and green research and innovation have been modest. The research community has been facing challenges in producing high quality research and in establishing effective linkages with the business sector, often due to a lack of funding, outdated infrastructure and equipment, and a suboptimal governance and institutional framework. Participation in competitive international research and development (R&D) funding has been low and Croatian research organizations and firms have struggled to access the competitive and prestigious Horizon 2020 funds, the European Union’s research and innovation funding program that was available from 2014-2020. In the digital and green space, research and innovation has been limited with very few patents in industrial digital technologies, and only 9.5% of patents in environment-related technologies.

Firms will also benefit directly by receiving support for defining their research needs, matching them with research capabilities, establishing collaborations, conducting digital and green R&D projects, and implementing Seal of Excellence projects. Finally, the project will benefit Croatia’s entire economy by improving the systemic outlook and conditions for R&D, business growth, productivity, and subsequent job creation.

About the World Bank Group in Croatia:

Since the World Bank Group’s first loan in 1994 for emergency reconstruction of war-damaged infrastructure, over the past thirty years, the organization has supported over 100 projects worth US$6.5 billion and provided knowledge and technical assistance to help strengthen institutions and support policymaking through more than 330 reports and studies.

The World Bank program currently provides knowledge, technical assistance and financing in the areas of transport, justice service delivery, business environment, land administration, science and technology, post-earthquake reconstruction of key health and education facilities, deinstitutionalization, pension system sustainability, and public administration.



Vanja Frajtic
+385 1 2357 230
Amy Stilwell
+1 202 458 4906


    loader image


    loader image