Western Balkans

Present in the Balkans since 2019, AFD has a mandate to support countries in the region that are working to meet EU standards and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. AFD is thus financing development projects in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia via sovereign and non-sovereign loans and technical cooperation programs to support an inclusive, low-carbon growth trajectory.
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L'action de l'AFD dans les Balkans occidentaux, Serbie, Macédoine du Nord, Albanie, Kosovo, Monténégro, Bosnie Herzégovine, aide au développement
Supporting an inclusive, low-carbon growth trajectory
L'action de l'AFD dans les Balkans occidentaux, Serbie, Macédoine du Nord, Albanie, Kosovo, Monténégro, Bosnie Herzégovine, aide au développement

Backing the energy sector

wind power Western Balkans

Backing the energy sector

 AFD is working with the Western Balkan countries to structure the electricity market in line with the European Union's Third Energy Package, and to develop a regulatory framework designed to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Albania, having joined the Energy Community in 2006, has committed to adopting the EU’s energy directives. To help achieve this goal, KfW and AFD are co-financing a €50 million loan to support institutional restructuring, development of the energy market and diversification of the electricity mix. AFD and KfW are planning to grant additional funding in 2021 to finance the second phase of this reform.

The Albanian government has also received a €1 million grant from AFD for French stakeholders to set up technical assistance aimed at supporting public electricity actors in modeling the country’s energy mix over the medium to long term. This reform program should help Albania to set out an energy efficiency policy, thus strengthening its economy and putting itself on a trajectory towards the energy transition in line with the Paris Agreement.
 

Promoting sustainable and inclusive urban development

Promoting sustainable and inclusive urban development

For many years, AFD has been working to strengthen the resilience of cities and territories against the negative impacts of climate change, as well as natural disasters and hazards. It is also helping to promote high quality, eco-friendly urban development to make cities less vulnerable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In practice, this support involves the sustainable renovation of urban spaces, the development of public transport networks (improving the resilience of roads, upgrading existing railways, expanding infrastructure for public or soft modes of transport), the establishment of better public water and sanitation services, solid waste collection and treatment networks, and the integration of environmental factors into urban planning.

AFD is promoting the regional Smart City program for instance, which aims to support smart city projects. The objective is to stimulate economic growth and improve quality of life for the residents of many Western Balkan cities through an approach based on sharing expertise.
 

Improving water and sanitation services

Improving water and sanitation services

Improving water and sanitation services

AFD is working to ensure the sustainable use of water resources. To meet the growing demand for these services and to improve the quality of resources in the Western Balkans region, AFD is helping cities to:

  • Optimize their drinking water distribution networks by focusing on energy efficiency and sustainable water use, as well as the improvement of services for residents.
  • Improve sanitation services (wastewater networks and treatment plants), thus providing better living conditions for people throughout the region and helping to preserve water table quality.
  • Anticipate flood-related risks, in partnership with the World Bank, the European Union and other European donors.

As a result, AFD is supporting a project to upgrade and extend the water networks in Durrës, Albania, as part of the post-earthquake reconstruction program, with €60 million in financing.

Reducing inequalities

Reducing inequalities

Reducing inequalities

Although the Balkan countries have experienced economic growth in recent years, women’s employment and rate of participation in the labor force are the lowest in all of Europe. 

In Albania, as in the rest of the Balkans, there are significant gender disparities in the labor market. In 2019, the labor force participation rate for women aged between 15 and 64 was 60.8% compared to 77.2% for men.

AFD has granted a €50 million sovereign loan to the Republic of Albania to support the public policies required to reduce gender inequalities in obtaining access to economic opportunities and to promote more inclusive growth. A technical assistance package of €1.5 million will be provided in addition to this financing to support the implementation of these reforms. This project is being co-financed by the World Bank through a $10 million public policy loan
 

Supporting young people and strengthening social ties

Supporting young people and strengthening social ties

Supporting young people and strengthening social ties

AFD is particularly focused on improving the social and professional integration of young people and vulnerable populations.

In May 2019, AFD financed the WB6 Lab, an ambitious project aimed at providing new spaces for young people in the Western Balkans to find reconciliation through social entrepreneurship. By 2022, more than 200 young people from the region, aged from 18 to 35, will have received support to set up their own businesses. This project is the result of a partnership between the French NGO Groupe SOS Pulse, whose teams will be supporting these entrepreneurs, and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO). The second phase of the project, which began in 2020, includes the launch of the RISE coaching program with the aim of supporting 72 high-impact social business projects led by young agents of change.
 

267
million euros committed since 2019
100%
Paris Agreement to protect the region and its biodiversity from the effects of climate change
WBIF
As a member of the Western Balkans Investment Framework, AFD is able to finance new projects

Located in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe and surrounded by European Union (EU) member countries, the six Western Balkan countries are fledgling States experiencing profound political and economic changes. In terms of economic development, their situations vary: they rank between the 48th and 82nd place in the Human Development Index, and all had relatively high growth rates prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, Western Balkan countries are working to overcome their differences of the past, and focusing on their common values and heritage to build towards reconciliation. They are looking towards the European Union, for which an accession procedure is underway in Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Joining the European Union requires undertaking sustainable reforms to firmly root the EU’s democratic values and legal standards in their political and economic systems. 

Taking a sustainable and just development path poses major challenges, in particular in terms of education, migration, addressing inequality, infrastructure and strengthening the rule of law. It is becoming increasingly important to integrate the fight against climate change in public policy.

AFD is assisting Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia with their political, economic and social transformations towards EU standards and is supporting the implementation of their climate commitments.

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Climate finance and post-Covid-19 recovery: AFD support sustainable and inclusive development projects in Montenegro

AFD supports investments projects in Montenegro

RISE project: 12 social businesses supported

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