The FINANCIAL — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on January 31 approved a US$ 70 million Competitiveness Development Policy Lending (DPL) operation to the Republic of Albania. The policy operation supports reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s competitiveness by improving the investment regime, making it easier to do business, and facilitating trade.
The Government is implementing a series of reforms to integrate internationally and increase economic productivity. The new operation supports the reform program in three key areas to improve Albania’s competitiveness.
The first area aims to strengthen the investment policy framework and includes measures for creating a comprehensive investment law for domestic and foreign investors, establishing an investor grievance mechanism, and increasing investment retention.
The second area focuses on enhancing Albania’s business climate by making it easier to do business by streamlining the process for construction permits, getting electricity and business licensing, and filling the gaps in national quality infrastructure.
The third area supports trade facilitation and logistics and includes measures to simplify clearance procedures at border crossing points, improve risk management for food products, and reduce congestion at the port of Durres.
These measures complement Albania’s ongoing macro-fiscal and structural reforms and build on the current reform momentum that seeks to rebalance the economy towards private sector investments and exports. While Albania made significant progress in its global ranking in the Doing Business 2017 report, further and faster progress is necessary to enable the country to move towards its goal of establishing a world class business climate.
“After stabilizing the economy, it is now critical for Albania to establish the right legal framework for investors and a business friendly environment for attracting and retaining investments for faster growth and greater private-sector led job creation, especially for youth and women,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania.
The operation also leverages the ongoing EU integration process and the opportunities arising from Albania’s agreements with the World Trade Organization.
“Albania has a number of strengths it can leverage,” said Feyi Boroffice, World Bank Co-Task Team Leader of the Project. “Its assets include a well-educated and internet-savvy population, proximity to the world’s largest economic bloc, and low labor costs. Albania’s geographic location can facilitate its integration into regional and global value chains, such as agriculture and textile.”
“This operation will support the increased integration of Albania into the global economy and help to make the Albanian economy more business friendly, in order to achieve higher and more inclusive growth,” said Wolfgang Fengler, World Bank Co-Task Team Leader of the Project.
The Competitiveness DPL is a fixed spread IBRD loan with a 5-year grace period and repayment of 25 years.
Since Albania joined the World Bank in 1991, a total of 89 projects comprising around US$2.55 billion of IDA credits and grants and IBRD loans have been provided to the country. The World Bank portfolio has ten investment lending projects under implementation with a total net commitment of $615 million.