The European Investment Bank Group (EIB) has invested €873 million in the Western Balkan region, an increase of 50% compared to the previous year. The support came as an alleviation measure for recovery from COVID19 under the European Union’s Team Europe initiative, to help the sectors affected the most.
The biggest share of the investment, around €531 million, was distributed to constructing and modernizing transport infrastructure in the whole region, including a 12 million grant provided under the EU Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), for investment on Corridor Vc in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Key sectors in the region were supported, investments in school digitalization, as well as introductions of IT equipment and high-speed internet, will become available. Further, adhering to the bank‘s climate objectives, an €11 million investment in wastewater infrastructure in Kosovo will aim to improve access for 90000 people in the Gjilan municipality.
Support for the private sector, namely for small and medium enterprises was a focus for the EIB Group, where approximately €320 million investments were given to the banking sector in support of the businesses. According to the EIB, Strong support for the private sector is necessary to achieve the region’s transition towards a greener, more inclusive and sustainable economic model.
EIB is playing a key role in Team Europe’s response to the COVID19 crisis and has thus committed €1.7 billion of the €3.3 billion total announced at the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit in May 2020. So far, the bank has allocated around €1 billion for boosting the recovery from the pandemic in the region by channeling the funds towards assistance in the healthcare and private sector.
Throughout 2021, EIB intends to focus on delivering more support for climate-related initiatives, recovery to SMEs, digital transformation and projects related to inclusive development.
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