CEB loan to Albania to mitigate effects of COVID-19 pandemic
22 March 2022
PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the Government of Albania today signed a disbursement notice for € 42 million as part of CEB’s € 60 million loan to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The loan will partially finance the government’s extraordinary expenditures incurred by the COVID-19 measures. They include the cost of supplementary medical and pharmaceutical supplies, specialised equipment needed for COVID-19 patients, hardship and overtime payments for medical and non-medical staff, hiring of additional medical staff, and vaccines.
“We continue to provide timely and flexible support to our member states at times of crisis,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “And as we do so, we are determined to apply a strengthened focus on inclusive recovery for the most vulnerable.”
The negative effect of the pandemic on Albania’s economy exacerbated the already difficult situation in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 26 November 2019, significantly reducing the country’s GDP growth. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has committed € 91 million for extraordinary expenditure on health and social services related to COVID-19.
“We highly appreciate the CEB contribution over the years and decades to enable a better life for the Albanian people, a better education, improved health system, advanced infrastructure and increased housing opportunities,” noted Delina Ibrahimaj, Albania’s Minister of Finance and Economy. “We feel especially grateful for the latest support as it, in essence, means an increase in our power to protect human life.”
In 2020, the pandemic created a budgetary gap of € 570 million, whereas the projected budgetary gap for 2021 was estimated at € 580 million.
The beneficiaries of the loan will be 2.8 million inhabitants of Albania, especially those over 65 years of age and persons with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, who are most vulnerable to the virus.
A member of the CEB since 1999, Albania has benefited from € 237 million in CEB loans in the sectors of education, healthcare and emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, support for MSMEs and job creation, aid to refugees and migrants, and recovery from natural disasters.
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.