Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Macedonia to receive $280 million from World Bank in next four years

Macedonia and the World Bank have reached an agreement on launching four new projects in a total amount of $175 million over the course of 2008.
- This is made possible with the promotion of Macedonia in World Bank's top scenario, which envisages the country to be granted several funds. The biggest project will include the construction of local and regional freeways in amount of $100 million, thus being the biggest investment in Macedonia's history regarding regional and local infrastructure. $25 million each are envisaged for the projects involving conditional cash transfers, developing polices and reinforcement of municipality's capacities, stated Vice Prime Minister Zoran Stavreski following Monday's meeting with Jane Armitage, World Bank Director and Southeast Europe Coordinator who's paying a visit to Macedonia.

Elaborating the projects, Stavreski said the project on conditional cash transfers encompassed cash support for the Macedonian families receiving public welfare for sending their children in high school within the first stage. The second one will also envisage cash support for regular health check-ups for children.

- World Bank's board of directors is expected to approve the loan by late May. In 2009 projects will be developed with the World Bank for the improvement of energy sector, said the Vice PM.

World Bank Director Armitage said that loans in amount of $220 million, with a possibility to be increased with additional $60 million, were projected for Macedonia in the coming 4-year period.

- Macedonia is ranked by the World Bank amongst the 10 best countries in terms of investment climate and business environment. The World Bank is willing to support Macedonia towards speedy accession to EU, but it is mainly focused on assisting the country to create new jobs, hence reducing poverty, by improving the investment climate, Armitage stressed.

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