In Washington: Vesna Kostic (202) 473 9277, Vkostic@worldbank.org
Miriam Van Dyck (202) 458 2931, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, January 18, 2007 – The Republic of Montenegro became the newest member of the World Bank Group today, when Finance Minister Igor Luksic signed the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Montenegro is the 185th member of the IBRD.
In addition to becoming a member of IBRD, Montenegro joined the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The World Bank Group is developing a new four year strategy for Montenegro, in consultation with the authorities and stakeholders in Montenegro. In addition to financing and research offered to the Montenegrin Government by IDA and IBRD, the Bank Group, through IFC and MIGA, will also continue to offer support to encourage private sector investments in Montenegro.
The strategy, which is expected to be completed by mid-2007, is likely to focus on supporting Montenegro on the path toward European Union membership; promoting growth and jobs through investments in environmentally sustainable tourism infrastructure, along with other high priority infrastructure needs; and supporting Government efforts to strengthen and streamline social services such as health and education. Complementing this, IFC activities will focus on support to improve the business environment, including through technical assistance provided through the Private Enterprise Partnership for South East Europe, and potential investments in infrastructure, financial markets, tourism, and other sectors in which opportunities may be available. MIGA also has scope to provide investment related guarantees. The membership enables eligible foreign companies seeking to invest in Montenegro to receive MIGA’s guarantee coverage, which protects investments against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, breach of contract, war and civil disturbance. Investors from Montenegro into other developing countries may also receive coverage.
New support will build on support that the World Bank Group has provided to Montenegro since a separate program was established in 2001. Active World Bank lending projects that are currently being implemented by the Government of Montenegro total slightly over $30 million, while the IFC current has a total portfolio of private sector investments in Montenegro valued at over $18 million.
With the admission of Montenegro, membership now stands at 185 for IBRD, 166 for IDA, 179 for IFC and 170 for MIGA.