World Bank encourages Albania to speed up economic reforms
TIRANA, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Albania is expected to record a 3.8-percent economic growth in 2017, mainly driven by the increase of domestic demand, foreign direct investment and consumption, World Bank representatives told reporters here on Thursday.
While presenting World Bank’s 12th Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, World Bank representatives in Tirana said that growth was expected to moderate to an average of 3.6 percent for 2018-19 as private consumption accelerated.
According to the World Bank report, investment dynamics are linked to progress on two large FDI-financed energy projects such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline and the Devoll hydropower plant.
Meanwhile, it showed that private consumption was supported by job creation and the easing of credit conditions.
“The economic expansion has created jobs. Prudent fiscal policy, continuing during the electoral year, has reduced public debt,” World Bank said.
The report showed that the economic growth stimulated job creation in 2016 and the first half of 2017 when the employment grew by 2.5 percentage points in 2016 and 1.7 percentage points in the first half of 2017.
However, World Bank experts said that Albania must speed up reforms to consolidate public finances, improve the efficiency of spending, reduce risks from the energy and financial sectors, and build up the legal system.
According to the World Bank, reforms are critical for Albania to foster confidence and accelerate growth.
“Sustained fiscal consolidation efforts and structural reforms should gradually reduce the fiscal deficit to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2019 and the debt-to-GDP ratio to 60 percent of GDP by 2022,” World Bank noted in its report on Albania.