Albania’s 2016 economic growth created new jobs: World Bank report
The World Bank presented its periodic report on developments in the Western Balkans during 2016.
The main theme of the World Bank Western Balkans Regular Economic Report (WB RER) was economic growth and its impact on employment.
The World Bank estimates that the short-term outlook for the region remains positive, but countries should take into account the specific external and internal risks.
According to the report, countries in the Western Balkans are growing at a faster pace than in 2015, with regional growth projected to be 2.8 percent in 2016 and 3.2 percent in 2017.
Accelerating growth in Albania and Serbia compensated for weaker expansion in Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia; while growth in Kosovo slowed in 2016, it remained the fastest growing economy.
More jobs and low prices are helping to reduce poverty in the region, with average poverty rates dropping by nearly two percentage points in Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia in 2016, complementing other gains which have helped lift approximately 240,000 people out of poverty over the last three years.
Despite this progress, the labor market remains challenging in the Western Balkans, with the unemployment rate hovering around 22 percent in 2016.
According to the report, sustaining growth in the Western Balkans and tackling the ongoing challenges of unemployment will require countries to stay the course of reform. In particular, further fiscal consolidation and structural reforms are necessary for all six countries to improve the efficiency of their public sectors and enhance the competitiveness of their economies in order to promote private sector development.
The report emphasizes reforms should focus in the areas of labor markets, business climate public sector efficiency, and global integration, while ensuring sustainable use of energy and natural resources.
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