23rd April 2022, Skopje – During the meetings held with World Bank Executive Director, Koen Davidse, Regional Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Region, Anna Bjerde, Regional Director for Western Balkans, Europe and Central Asia Region, Linda Van Gelder, as well as Country Manager for Kosovo and North Macedonia, Europe and Central Asia Region, Massimiliano Paolucci, measures and policies implemented by our country were considered, pertaining to the energy and price crisis management, the possibilities and the need for supporting their realization, as well as the plans for getting back on the economic growth trajectory.
“The conflict in Ukraine, its duration and the uncertainty thereof affect our country’s economy, as well as the prices of commodities and energy products, which have already increased previously,” he said. Government promptly responded thereto, via set of measures worth EUR 400 million as budget funds, however, the protraction of the crisis, exerts extra pressure and creates a need for additional funds, as Minister Besimi said, thereby finalizing the agreements related to the EC Macro-Financial Assistance Agreement, as well as the IMF financial support, to be a strong impetus in the further pursuing of sound macroeconomic policies.
He stressed that the Government remains, in the medium term, committed to implementing structural reforms, accelerated economic growth and increased living standard of the citizens. Undoubtedly, the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine affect the respective projections, undergoing downward revision, thus following the projection revision trend on global level. Thereby, Growth Acceleration Plan, prepared by the Ministry of Finance and adopted by the Government last year, is a great road map in attaining our medium-term goals, being also positively assessed by the World Bank Group.
During the meetings, the Plan and all of its elements was presented, also including the instruments, which should be further introduced. World Bank Group, EBRD, IFC and MIGA demonstrated interest in the possibilities for their inclusion, as well as for providing support intended for the activities arising from this Plan.
Green agenda, digitalization, innovations and technology, human capital development and improved infrastructure are the priorities set by the Government, which are incorporated in the Economic Growth Acceleration Plan as well. World Bank remains actively involved in realizing the activities in the Republic of North Macedonia, as defined under the current Country Partnership Framework, resuming the detailed analyses of certain sectors, which will be reflected in the new country’s diagnostics, thus determining the upcoming specific areas of cooperation. Aforementioned priorities will be surely incorporated in the new four-year WB Country Partnership Framework.
Minister Besimi, together with WB representatives considered and elaborated all projects, which are part of the portfolio, thereby expressing his assurance for their successful further implementation.
World Bank also launched the initiative for allocating new funds under the Municipal Services Improvement Project for the purpose of institutional strengthening of the municipalities, as well as environmental protection projects, with our country demonstrating interest therein. So far, under MSIP, over EUR 90 million has been disbursed, being geared towards implementing municipal projects.
World Bank is actively working on several projects in the Republic of North Macedonia estimated at nearly US$ 500 million. Their implementation and the intensified dynamics of some of them was also discussed at the meeting, including the following: Road Upgrading and Development Project, Project for Introduction of Integrated Financial Management Information System, Local Roads Connectivity Project, Social Insurance Administration Project, Primary Education Improvement Project, Western Balkans Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, as well as Emergency COVID-19 Response Project.
World Bank has provided continuous support to the Republic of North Macedonia, by being active in our country since 1993, having provided so-far support of over US$ 2.8 billion, pertaining to the implementation of 65 projects.