World Bank Regional Vice President Anna Bjerde Visits North Macedonia

SKOPJE – Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, visited North Macedonia on 29-31 May, and met with key partners including representatives of the government, the private sector, and academia. During her visit, Ms. Bjerde also attended the Skopje Economic Finance Forum, organized by the Ministry of Finance, where she delivered opening remarks on Macroeconomic Challenges in Turbulent Times.

“This conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and reflect on how best to design and implement effective and sustainable policies that not only respond to crises, but also support development goals in the medium- and long-term,” said Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “Policy makers need to ensure they are better prepared to handle future crises as part of a comprehensive approach to bolstering resilient, inclusive, and green development. Finance Ministers must balance a commitment to fiscal sustainability, while also protecting the most vulnerable from damaging, long-term impacts.”

In Skopje, Ms. Bjerde met with Stevo Pendarovski, President of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski, Prime Minister, and Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Finance, as well as the Governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska Bezhoska. They discussed the ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis, and the World Bank’s current program in North Macedonia, while exploring new opportunities for engagement to support the country’s long-term development objectives.

During a roundtable meeting with representatives of the private sector, academia and think tanks, Ms. Bjerde discussed the key priorities for North Macedonia’s economic development, as well as the challenges facing the private sector, including skills and female labor force participation, and the need to facilitate trade and enable green and digital transformation for private sector growth.

During her trip, Ms. Bjerde visited a child-centered kindergarten in the village of Volkovo, along with Jovana Trenchevska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, and Aleksandar Stojkoski, Mayjor of the Municipality of Volkovo. In addition, she visited the Day Care Center for Children with Disabilities in the Municipality of Lipkovo, supported by the Social Services Improvement Project.

The World Bank Group is a long-standing partner to North Macedonia and its citizens. The ongoing World Bank Group program in North Macedonia is being implemented under the Country Partnership Framework 2019–23 to support the country in its efforts to: (1) improve the environment for a dynamic private sector and enhance export-led growth, (2) strengthen human capital for inclusive development, and (3) build sustainability.