World Bank sees Western Balkan economies growing but reforms needed

[Malton Dibra/EPA]

Economic growth in the six Western Balkan countries is projected to rise 3.2% this year and 3.5% in 2025, going back to pre-pandemic averages but still too low for faster convergence with the European Union, the World Bank has said in a report.

The growth in 2023, driven mainly by consumption and trade, slowed to 2.6% from 3.4% in 2022, reflecting the impact of a weak economy in the European Union, a Western Balkans key trading partner.

In its biannual report for the region comprising Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, the bank increased the growth projection for 2024 by 0.2 percentage point from previous reports, citing cautious optimism that the region has weathered shocks since the Covid-19 pandemic.

But it warned about remaining risks of weaker investment and trade with the eurozone that are linked to a persistent weakness in...

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