World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick will visit Bulgaria, Moldova, and Latvia between today and Friday to meet with government leaders, business people, think tanks, civil society, and visit projects to discuss development issues and the impact of the global economic crisis.
“Europe and Central Asia was one of the regions hit hardest by the financial crisis and the region is still recovering. Rising joblessness is pushing households into poverty and making things even harder for those already poor,” Mr Zoellick said.
“The World Bank has provided record support to help the countries of Europe and Central Asia respond to the crisis. I look forward to discussing with the governments of Bulgaria, Moldova, and Latvia how the Bank can continue to help drive economic recovery.”
Europe and Central Asia is a diverse region of emerging economies, and therefore faces differing prospects for recovery. About half of the region’s 30 countries experienced a decline in GDP in 2009, with GDP growth ranging from a negative 18 per cent in Latvia to a positive 9.3 per cent in Azerbaijan.
Growth in the region, which had peaked at about seven per cent in 2007, fell to a negative six per cent in 2009 and is projected this year at around four per cent.
The World Bank Group responded quickly in fiscal year 2010 to requests from countries in Europe and Central Asia for help in addressing the global economic crisis, providing record support of $14.8 billion to the region.