The IMF & WB Constituency Meeting is held in Albania for the first time

Publication date: 16.02.2024


On 16th February 2024, the Constituency Meeting* of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) was hosted at the premises of the Bank of Albania.  This meeting, organised under the auspicious of the Bank of Albania and the Ministry of Finance, brings together governors and ministers of finance from the member countries under this constituency and takes place for the first time in Albania.

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The Prime Minister of Albania, H.E.Mr. Edi Rama, greeted this meeting.  The Minister of Finance, Mr Ervin Mete; the Governor of the Bank of Albania, Mr Gent Sejko; the Executive Director for Albania at the IMF, Mr Federico Giammusso; and the Executive Director for Albania at the World Bank Mr Matteo Bugamelli, addressed the opening remarks at the beginning of the proceedings of this event.

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The meeting focused on the current challenges that the economies of these countries are facing and on the most efficient and coordinated approaches for their development. Also, the executive directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) introduced the perspectives of these two institutions regarding global challenges such as: wars and conflicts; the enhanced frequency of natural disasters; the increase in poverty and inequality; as well as the steps that they are undertaking to tackle these issues aiming at the sustainable growth of countries' economies.

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Other issues addressed according to the respective programme were related to the spaces created by the development of artificial intelligence and the best use of energy and mineral resources in support of economic progress.

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In his opening remarks, Minister Mete stated that according to the assessments of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Albania turned out to be one of the most resilient economies in the region and this stability is encouraging for the medium and long-term perspective, as well as for the soundness of public finances in Albania.

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Mr Mete pointed out that public debt fell to the pre-crisis levels, reaching at below 60% for the first time since 2011, hitting 59.2% as at the end of 2023, according to the latest estimations. This ranks Albania among the countries in the region that have reduced public debt at the fastest pace.

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Minister Mete emphasized that work is being done to finalize the Public Finance Management Strategy, in coordination with the European Union, as one of the fundamental preconditions on the progress of negotiations towards the EU. Part of the reforms on Public Finance Management is also the Medium-term Revenue Strategy, on which it has been working together with the IMF, with a view to improving fiscal management and the effectiveness of tax policies.

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Governor Sejko, in his opening remarks, expressed the pleasure of hosting this activity in our country and thanked participants for the cooperation so far in the areas of common interest.

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Next, the Governor highlighted that the year 2023 ended with an economic growth at around 3.5%, the unemployment rate at historic lows, as well as foreign debt, public debt and non-performing loans ratios below pre-shock levels. In particular, inflation was halved over the past year, down to 4%, while indicators of the banking sector's soundness remain positive.

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A surprise in 2023 was an increase in the interest of foreigners in our country. Albania welcomed around 10 million visitors, climbing to third place in the world for the fastest growth in tourism and recording – for the first time in its history – a current account surplus. Also, the year 2023 is well on its way to being the year with the highest level of foreign direct investments, proving once again the attractiveness of Albania as an investment destination.” - emphasised the Governor.

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In addition, Mr Sejko underscored that the central bank must fight against inflation to the end. Its downward trend is good news, but declining inflation is not an inflation on target. Therefore, central banks should continue to focus on taking the necessary measures to return inflation to the target, as a prerequisite for the sustainable growth of economies and the well-being of citizens.

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Minister Mete and Governor Sejko also held bilateral meetings with the participating counterparts with a view to expanding economic cooperation and increasing interest in strategic investments in Albania.

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* The Republic of Albania has been a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 1991. Albania is in the same constituency with Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta and San Marino. The Executive Director of the constituency is Mr Federico Giammusso.

The Republic of Albania joined the World Bank Group (WBG) in October 1991. Albania is in the same constituency with Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, and San Marino. The Executive Director of the constituency (EDS21) is Mr Matteo Bugamelli.