World Bank report on Western Balkans: All six countries expected to see growth in 2017

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According to the latest World Bank’s Western Balkans Regular Economic Report (RER), countries in the Western Balkans are seeing an increase in jobs, as growth is picking up throughout the region. 

Regional growth is expected to reach 2.6 percent in 2017, resulting in creation of 230,000 jobs through June 2017 - an increase of 3.8 percent over the previous year.

The WB RER reads that all six countries in the Western Balkans are expected to see growth in 2017, with regional growth forecast to accelerate to 3.3 percent in 2018 and 3.6 percent in 2019.

Investment drove strong growth in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, while consumption led to stable growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An earlier political crisis subdued growth in FYR Macedonia, as did a severely cold winter in Serbia.

During 2017-2019, the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina is projected to grow on average by 3.2 percent”, stated World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina Emanuel Salinas.

Commitment and progress in implementing structural reforms aimed at ensuring macro-fiscal sustainability, fostering private sector development, and improving the efficiency of social spending will be the key for future growth and job creation in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Salinas said.

Despite high unemployment in the six countries in the region, employment rates have returned to pre-2008 levels in Albania, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. More than half of the jobs created in the region were in the private sector.

Economic growth, coupled with job creation, also contributed to a decline in the region’s poverty rate. At 23.6 percent, the projected rate for 2017 is a full percentage point lower than a year ago, which implies that about 124,000 people escaped poverty this year.