WASHINGTON, June 29, 2009―The Republic of Kosovo became the newest member of the five World Bank Group institutions today, when Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi signed the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Kosovo’s Minister of Economy and Finance and World Bank officials witnessed the signing ceremony.
In addition to becoming a member of IBRD, Kosovo joined the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). With the admission of Kosovo, membership now stands at 186 countries for IBRD, 169 for IDA, 182 for IFC, 174 for MIGA, and 144 for ICSID (Kosovo’s ICSID membership will become effective on July 29, 2009).
“I am very pleased to welcome the Republic of Kosovo as the newest member of the World Bank Group,”said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick.“Kosovo’s reconstruction and political transition since 1999 has progressed well, with a quicker than expected recovery and a positive economic outlook.”
According to Shigeo Katsu, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, “The World Bank, along with the IMF and other partners in the international community, remains committed to assisting the Government and people of Kosovo in overcoming the significant challenges they face.”
The World Bank Group is working with the authorities and stakeholders in Kosovo to develop a new two year partnership strategy. In addition to financing and analytical and advisory services offered to Kosovo by IDA and IBRD, the Bank Group – through the IFC and MIGA – will also offer support to encourage private sector investments in Kosovo. The new strategy will work towards a range of efforts that are critical to supporting Kosovo’s development.These include:
·generating new sources of economic growth, and ensuring associated environmental and social improvements;
·ensuring fiscal sustainability, macroeconomic stability, and bettering the investment climate in the face of an adverse global economic environment;
·improving public administration;
·reducing poverty and unemployment by improving employment opportunities, particularly for youth; improving health and education outcomes;
·increasing the efficiency and equity of social service delivery; and
·reducing a sense of vulnerability among many members of the population, particularly ethnic minorities.