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A budget support loan of € 50 M was signed on November 25 between the government of Albania and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). It provides budgetary and technical support to remove obstacles for the economic empowerment of women. After a first commitment to the energy sector, signed on November 12, AFD is offering the Albanian government new means to carry out ambitious reforms, in line with regional dynamics and European Union standards.

Albania is addressing gender inequalities through major reform programs, some of which are supported by AFD and the World Bank. In 2019, the government initiated political and institutional dialogue that are essential to foster the productive inclusion of women and thus strengthen their contribution to the country's economic potential. The consultation between partners has thus brought out three objectives for these reforms: 

  • Promoting greater equity in access to assets, through the recognition of women’s rights in real estate and land ownership
  • Developing policies for access to employment, the enforcement of labor law and childcare arrangements to promote women’s participation in the labor market 
  • Strengthening the institutional framework for gender mainstreaming at the national and local levels, in particular through budgetary and statistical levers.

AFD financed this program of expertise, analysis and advice through a grant of € 1.5 M and the engagement of Expertise France. Many actions have already been carried out in terms of access to property, free legal advice, labour law, etc. In addition, an in-depth study to identify the obstacles of women’s access to employment in rural and/or remote areas has been conducted in 2020.. INSTAT has been supported in developing tools to assess the impact of reforms and facilitate the implementation of gender equality policies at the central and local levels. 

The program will not only help to increase salaried jobs and entrepreneurship but also to reduce the share of the informal economy and job insecurity. This will strengthen Albania's competitiveness and social cohesion. Several ministries and agencies have been engaged in this direction.

The collaboration between the Albanian government and AFD, which has been growing since 2019, has been materialized by the recent signing of important agreements, in line with the EU integration agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Albania is initiating a relevant approach to the issue of gender equality, the model developed is innovative and resonates internationally. AFD will continue to nurture this momentum and hopes to bring it to the regional level within the Western Balkans.

Press contact: afdbalkans@afd.fr