World Bank to offer Bosnia US$750 mil for reforms

BELGRADE: The World Bank is ready to invest US$750 million in loans to Bosnia, aiming to help it recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, to support reforms aimed at job creation and a greener, more inclusive economy, the lender said.

Through the Country Partnership Framework for 2022-2026, approved by its executive directors on Tuesday, the bank will support reforms of Bosnia’s inclusive private sector employment, sustainable service delivery, and improvements in resilience to climate change, a statement said.

Under the plan, Bosnia, which wants to join the European Union, will have access to US$750 million in new lending, depending on the demand and progress in reform implementation.

“Bosnia … can seize the opportunity to move to a better path of growth: one that leads to shared prosperity and eventually to a conversation with the European Union,” the statement quoted Christopher Sheldon, the bank’s country manager as saying.

In May, the World Bank cut its growth forecast for the Western Balkans, comprised of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo to 3.1% from 4.1%, citing risks from the war in Ukraine.

The World Bank currently has an ongoing portfolio of nine operations in Bosnia worth a total of US$551.5 million, while bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency supports one project with exposure of US$123 million.