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World Bank Launches New Strategy of Partnership for Croatia

Available in: Hrvatski
Series #:2008/ECA
The World Bank

Europe and Central Asia Region


News Release No.  2008/ECA


 Contacts: In Croatia: Vanja Frajtic +385 1 2357 297
In Washington: Michael Jones, (1-202) 473-2588


WASHINGTON, September 30, 2008 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed and welcomed the new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) of the World Bank Group for Croatia. The CPS is a key document that sets out the framework of cooperation between the World Bank Group and the Government of Croatia, and describes the Bank’s planned operations in the country – lending, analytical work, and technical assistance. The new CPS for Croatia covers the period 2009-2012 and envisages World Bank financing of up to US$1.8 billion over the four year period.

The goal of the Strategy is to support Croatia’s EU accession process (the rapid convergence of its income level with that of EU member states) in a fiscally, socially, and environmentally sustainable fashion, and to improve the quality of life for Croatia’s citizens. In order to reflect the country’s priorities, the new Country Partnership Strategy has been prepared in close partnership with the Croatian authorities and in consultation with the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders.

“Croatia has made tremendous political and economic progress over the past 15 years,” says Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, World Bank Country Director for Croatia. “Incomes doubled, economic and social opportunities have dramatically improved, and Croatia’s EU membership is within reach. If needed reforms are implemented, Croatia has the opportunity to rapidly reduce the income gap vis-à-vis the EU member states. The new Country Partnership Strategy of the World Bank Group is designed to support Croatia in realizing this opportunity. The Bank will seek to mobilize the best available technical expertise, international experience, and competitive financing to support Croatia in achieving its goals of equitable economic growth and EU accession.”

Croatia’s priorities will drive the program of World Bank Group support. The partnership will build on Croatia’s EU accession agenda and will be organized around four central areas:

  • Sustaining Macroeconomic Stability – including enhancing the efficiency and the effectiveness of public finances, raising the country’s ability to withstand external shocks and improve its competitiveness, as well as strengthening financial sector supervision and bringing about improvements in the transparency and soundness of the corporate sector.
  • Strengthening Private Sector-Led Growth and Accelerating Convergence with EU – includingstrengthening public sector governance, resulting in better policies, increased transparency, and improved provision of public services to the people of Croatia and lower costs of doing business. An improved investment climate would boost the competitiveness of the economy, allow for more private sector activity and help Croatia achieve quicker convergence with EU income levels. Further development of key infrastructure, such as the Rijeka and Ploce ports would also contribute to improved competitiveness.
  • Improving Quality and Efficiency in the Social Sectors – Croatia ’s desire for education to support a knowledge-based society is a high priority. Further progress can be achieved by increasing enrollment and completion rates in secondary and higher education and shifting focus from vocational programs towards promoting skills which respond to the demands of a dynamic economy and fast-changing labor markets. Planned investments in emergency medical services throughout the country supported by the Bank will improve emergency response capacities and save more lives.
  • Increasing Sustainability of Long Term Development – focusing on further strengthening environmental protection, preservation of ecological networks, increasing protected areas and improved spatial planning would contribute to a higher quality of life and preservation of Croatia’s natural beauties and resources. Negative effects of climate change could further increase Croatia’s exposure to floods, droughts and forest fires, thus an improved comprehensive natural disaster management system could save lives and contain the damage caused by disasters.

World Bank-supported projects and programs implemented under the country strategy for 2004-2008 have already generated positive results.

  • Reconstruction of 72 schools is helping reduce multiple shifts schools and improve quality of education for children across the country.
  • In Zagreb, the average response time of emergency medical services was reduced from 30 to 9 minutes, saving more lives.
  • The restructuring and modernization of Rijeka Port doubled port traffic and positioned Croatia as a more attractive trading route.
  • The cadastre and land registry offices and systems were computerized, reducing backlogs by more than 60 percent. As a result, 40 out of 90 Land Registry Offices have no backlogs and can register property transactions in 7 days.
  • Under the new civil service legislation, assistant ministers and deputy state secretaries are hired through a competitive selection process, paving the way for continuity in civil service.
  • Some 8,000 sq. km. of the Karst-ecosystem including many national and nature parks, are better protected and managed by highly skilled park rangers.

Since the Republic of Croatia became a member of the World Bank in 1993, the institution has actively offered its financial and technical assistance, and counsel pertaining to policies in various fields, along with analytical services. To date, the Bank has offered support for 38 operations with a total value of $2.3 billion and 51 grants with a total value of US$61 million. The total active lending portfolio as of June 2008 consists of 17 active projects with total commitments of $1.07 billion.

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