The FINANCIAL -- The
World Bank Group provided $10.2 billion in funding to governments in
Europe and Central Asia (ECA) during fiscal year 2013, aimed at
fostering growth for shared prosperity and poverty reduction. The
region’s growth is expected to reach 2.8 percent in 2013, 3.8 percent in
2014, and 4.2 percent in 2015, according to the Bank’s recently
published Global Economic Prospects.
Over the past year, IBRD/IDA approved 42 project and policy loans totaling $5.3 billion for ECA, comprising of $4.6 billion and $0.7 billion in IBRD and IDA commitments respectively. The IFC provided $4.4 billion and MIGA $0.54 billion in financing. In addition to its financial products and technical assistance, the Bank Group produced important research about critical issues in the region this fiscal year, including a special report on the economic benefits of climate action, Growing Green.
“Growth in Europe and Central Asia continues, despite the slowdown in 2012,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Acting Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia Region. “This year, calmer financial markets and global trade have helped improve the situation in the region. We have focused on supporting countries in their efforts to strengthen their economic competitiveness and public finances, improve public services, strengthen banking systems, and protect the most vulnerable from the impacts of the economic slowdown,” she added.
The ECA region is implementing a regional strategy that is focused on addressing three critical challenges to growth and development---improving competitiveness, reforming the social sectors to achieve shared prosperity, and making growth more sustainable, including through climate action.
Increasing competitiveness requires improving governance and the investment climate, providing stable and effective financial intermediation, upgrading the skills of the labor force, building and maintaining energy and transport infrastructure, and increasing the efficiency of public spending. To achieve these ends, the Bank has helped modernize tax administration in Armenia and Romania; improve roads in Armenia and Serbia; strengthen the business environment and policies conducive to innovation in Croatia, Georgia, and the Russian Federation; increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises in Turkey; and stabilize public finances and strengthen financial sector regulations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, according to The World Bank Group.
Findings of the regional report Eurasian Cities -- New Realities along the Silk Road show that the cities of Eurasia need to reorganize in order to be competitive in a market economy. Policy makers can support this transformation through better urban planning, faster transport and communication connections, integrated public services, and more efficient financing – areas where some cities in the region have already started to take actions, according to The World Bank Group.