The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 185 member countries-the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
and the International Development Association (IDA)
. Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes.
The World Bank has committed over $130 million to Kosovo since the end of the conflict, with all assistance provided on a grant basis. Reflecting Kosovo's post-conflict situation, the Bank has focused on providing opportunities for the poor and for those most affected by conflict, as well as on improving critical social services and ensuring that poor people have access to those services. The World Bank has ensured that opportunities were provided to all communities in Kosovo, including the ethnic Serbian population along with other minority groups. Assistance has also been directed towards building the capacity of local institutions. Financing has come from a variety of sources. Immediately after the conflict, grants were provided from the Bank's Post-Conflict Fund. In 2000, a Trust Fund for Kosovo was established with financing from the Bank's net income. With the introduction of post-conflict grants under IDA-13, recent funding has also come from this source. Under IDA-14, grants to Kosovo will continue until there is any change in status. In addition to financing from these sources, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has been active in Kosovo, especially in providing equity investments in the Pro-Credit Bank to support small and micro-credit to Kosovo businesses.
The Bank is one of the longest development partners supporting the education sector since the end of the war in 1999 in Kosovo. The first Education and Health Project (2000-2003) in Kosovo in the amount of $4.4 million aimed to improve efficiency and equity in public resource allocation for education by developing and piloting per-student financing formula. The subsequent project, Education Participation and Improvement Project (2003-2006) in the amount of $ 4.5 million aimed to improve educational attainment (the number of years of schooling, not learning outcomes) at primary and secondary education and to enhance access of vulnerable groups to education, by providing school development grants to increase enrollment, attendance and retention. The EPIP also developed an Education Management Information System for primary and secondary education. The school grant proved to be instrumental in activating the functions of school boards and communities. Building on the success of the EPIP and recognizing the critical importance of education in the anticipated new status of Kosovo, the Bank mobilized resources from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Post-Conflict Fund of the World Bank for a second phase of EPIP ($1.2 million, 2008-2009), which has a renewed and stronger focus on quality improvement and social inclusion. Concurrently, the current Institutional Development for Education project (2008-2011, $10 million) is aimed at mobilization and guidance of donor support to the implementation of two education sector strategies: Strategy for Development of Pre-University Education in Kosovo (2007-2017) and Strategy for Development of Higher Education in Kosovo (2005-2015). The project supports four key elements of the government's Pre-University and Higher Education Strategies as follows: (i) Strengthening the organization and financing of the education system in Kosovo, (ii) Building institutions and management capacities to promote quality improvements in primary and secondary education, (iii) Creating conditions to introduce efficient and appropriate designs and reduce multiple shifts in Kosovo's schools, and (iv) Strengthening the management capacity at system and institutional levels for higher education.
More information on the World Bank work in Kosovo can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/kosovo