Europe and Central Asia

World Bank Group in Europe and Central Asia

To reach the World Bank Group's goals of ending extreme poverty within a generation and boosting shared prosperity, the strategy of the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Regional Vice Presidency focuses on two main areas: competitiveness and shared prosperity through jobs; and environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. The World Bank Group provided $11.9 billion to ECA during fiscal 2014.

Competitiveness and Shared Prosperity through Jobs. In the past decade, most ECA countries have done well, and the incomes of the lower-earning 40 percent of the population have grown. Jobs and access to quality public services are essential to ensuring that economic growth benefits the less well-off. Creating good-quality jobs is a challenge in many ECA economies, especially in Central and Southeastern Europe, where unemployment has remained stubbornly high since the economic crisis. Creating new, quality jobs will require structural reforms to strengthen the competitiveness of ECA's economies. Such reforms include improving governance and the investment climate, ensuring the stability of the financial sector, upgrading the skills of the labor force, building and maintaining energy and transport infrastructure, and maintaining a sound macroeconomic framework.

To achieve these ends, the World Bank Group has helped improve workers' skills and create new job opportunities, modernize tax administrations, improve roads, strengthen the business environment and policies conducive to innovation, increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises, stabilize public finances, and strengthen financial sector regulations in the region.

Environmental, Social, and Fiscal Sustainability. To be sustainable in the longer term, economic growth and shared prosperity need to be fiscally affordable, environmentally responsible, and conducive to social inclusion. The Bank Group supports ECA countries in designing and implementing reforms to improve the efficiency and fiscal sustainability of their pension, social protection, and health care systems, so that these systems can adapt



successfully and continue to benefit the people of these countries for generations to come.

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