CEB and North Macedonia sign a €3 million multi-donor grant agreement for renovation of school facilities

17 May 2022

Skopje/Paris – The Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the Minister of Education and Science of North Macedonia, Jeton Shaqiri, today signed a multi-donor grant agreement worth €3 million for the renovation of physical education facilities in primary and secondary schools, and acquisition of sports equipment.

Jeton Shaqiri and Tomáš Boček
Jeton Shaqiri and Tomáš Boček

The grant comes from the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), a financing facility established by the European Commission, Western Balkan countries, bilateral donors, the CEB and other financial institutions to deliver funding for strategic investment projects in the region.

It represents WBIF bilateral donors’ contribution, coming from the pledges of Austria, Sweden, Norway, and Germany at the moment of grant approval.

“Physical education contributes to the development of children’s cognitive outcomes and strengthens social cohesion by integrating students from different communities and backgrounds,” said CEB Vice-Governor Tomáš Boček. “We are very pleased to continue working with the authorities of North Macedonia, the European Commission and other WBIF partners to improve the country’s educational outcomes for all.”

The grant will benefit more than 52,000 students in North Macedonia and will increase the overall quality of physical education.

The newly signed grant is part of a wider programme of investments in education infrastructure in North Macedonia, worth almost €65.8 million and carried out with national, bilateral donors’, and CEB funding under the umbrella of WBIF.

It brings the total WBIF grant contributions to €6 million, and complements €42.5 million in loans from the CEB, as well as €17.3 million in national contributions. More details can be found here.

Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)

Launched in December 2009, the WBIF is a joint initiative of the European Commission, the CEB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), bilateral donors and Western Balkans beneficiary countries to deliver finance and technical assistance for strategic investments. The KfW and the World Bank subsequently joined the initiative, while Agence Française de Développement (AFD) became a participating organisation in December 2018. The framework blends grants, loans and beneficiary contributions for infrastructure investments in the energy, environment, social, transport and digital sectors, as well as private sector development. Together with beneficiaries in the Western Balkans, the WBIF forms a unique partnership that defines priorities and supports packages for strategic investments and institutional reform in the region. It contributes to the European perspective of the Western Balkans by promoting investments that improve competitiveness and growth, as well as policy measures that foster regional cooperation and connectivity.

North Macedonia became a CEB member country in December 1997. It has benefitted from more than €170 million in CEB financing over the past ten years in support of job creation and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), education, health and judicial infrastructure. In addition, it is one of the ten largest beneficiary of grant funding from CEB trust accounts. More information can be found here.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.