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World Bank approves $20 mln loan to Macedonia

The World Bank has approved a $20 million loan for the Second Trade and Transport Facilitation in South East Europe Project (TTFSE2) for Macedonia, according to a statement released by the bank on Wednesday.

The TTFSE2 project will facilitate the movement of trade between Macedonia and neighboring countries in South East Europe by enhancing access to regional and global markets and supporting regional cohesion, which are priorities for moving closer towards European Union accession, said the statement. Southeast Europe is an important transit area for the EU and its transport infrastructure is included in the Pan-European network of transport corridors. The EU has identified Corridor 10 as one of the five most important European strategic transport routes, and prioritizes investment and development of this corridor. Corridor 10 begins in Norway, and runs through Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, with one leg continuing to Macedonia and Greece, and another leg to Bulgaria and Turkey.

„The project is part of Macedonia's efforts to speed up the movement of goods and people to and from the countries of the European Union, thereby improving the business environment and facilitating regional and global trade,” said Paul Guitink, leader of the World Bank team that supported the government in designing the project. „The project will support the development of an efficient and effective road and rail transport system, reducing the economic distance to markets. It complements Government efforts to create an enabling business environment and strengthen the foundation for foreign and domestic investments,” he added. The loan has 5 year grace period and 17 years maturity. Macedonia joined the World Bank in 1994. Since then, commitments to the country total more than $700 million, according to the statement. (