World Bank Group

05/02/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/02/2019 11:32

Investing in Opportunities for People Focus of New Croatia World Bank Group Strategy

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2019 - Supporting faster growth, increasing productivity and investing in opportunities for people, especially in less developed regions is the aim of the new 2019-24 World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for the Republic of Croatia, endorsed today by the Board of Executive Directors.

The new strategy is aligned with the government's plan for the country's future development focusing on accelerating growth and convergence to European Union income levels and reducing vulnerabilities and regional disparities.

'The new country strategy will support Croatia on its path toward an inclusive society, where communities, businesses, and regions can prosper, where public institutions provide effective and efficient services to people and where Croatia's rich natural capital is preserved and used in a sustainable manner,' said Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia. 'A central aspect of our strategy will be the continuous investment in human capital for the benefit of all Croatians.'

'The new Country Partnership Framework identifies well the country's key challenges and needs. It supports in a proper manner the ongoing activities of the Croatian Government aimed at further strengthening its institutions and the overall competitiveness of the Croatian economy. It also provides enough flexibility for a five-year horizon,' said Zdravko Maric, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Croatia.

The new CPF envisages support to Croatia across three focus areas. The first area will seek to improve the efficiency of the public sector institutions and delivery of services to people, increase effectiveness of state-owned enterprises and create opportunities for people, focusing on less developed regions and improving education and skills.

The second area will support preserving and leveraging natural capital to address environmental and climate change challenges. These include reducing the energy intensity of the economy and transitioning to a more sustainable energy mix and improving water, waste water and solid waste management.

The third area will aim to increase the role of the private sector in the economy by improving the business environment, promoting entrepreneurship, competition and innovation, creating more and better jobs.

The International Finance Corporation's (IFC) key objective during the next five years is to support the emergence of the dynamic enterprise and private sector. The three pillars of IFC's strategy in Croatia are: enhanced private sector role in the economy through sustainable and innovative investments, efficient delivery in infrastructure through private sector solutions and deepening of capital markets.

'IFC will support the implementation of this CPF by investing in order to improve competitiveness of the private sector, to try and stimulate job creation in less developed regions and to attract private sector investment to improve infrastructure and promote renewable energy,' said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager of Central and Southeast Europe.

The five-year program will be selective and focus on complex, high impact interventions to build essential institutional capacity across sectors to better use EU funds and to speed up the pace of convergence with EU peers. All new lending will also have to target marginalized groups, the poor and the vulnerable, catalyze private sector investment and protect regional and public goods.