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Balkans: World Bank, economy grows but risks remain

Advance reforms to mitigate challenges, report suggests

03 April, 13:13
(ANSA) - BELGRADE, APR 3 - The economies of the countries of the Western Balkans will continue to grow in 2019-20, at an average of 3.7%, but the outlook is "vulnerable to risks", according to the latest Western Balkans Regular Economic Report of the World Bank.

Economic growth in the Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia accelerated from 2.6 percent in 2017 to 3.8 percent in 2018. It is projected to average 3.7 percent in 2019-20, the World Bank said. However the region is facing serious challenged related to "growing external and domestic risks, including geopolitical and trade disputes and a slower-than-expected pace of structural reforms," the Bank added. Nonetheless, countries in the region "have an opportunity to advance reforms to mitigate these risks amid growing public demand for greater economic opportunities." The Bank noted that "only 96,000 jobs were created in the Western Balkans in 2018, compared to 171,200 jobs created in 2017," with unemployment falling but remaining high across the area. "Policymakers in the region should look to implement reforms that can help generate a sustained growth momentum that spurs job creation," said Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Director for the Western Balkans. (ANSA).

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