During Monday’s donors’ conference held in Brussels and titled “Together for Albania”, the international community has promised close to €1.16 billion in aid. The funds are intended to help reconstruction efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck the country on November 26, 2019.
Furthermore, the funds remain promised and need to be made concrete via formal agreements in the following weeks. There is no guarantee that the entire amount will be mobilized, as it is primarily granted in loans whose employment needs to be based on concrete reconstruction projects.
Below, find the five most important features of the promised international aid:
1. Nearly 70% of the funds are in loans
Close to €805 million consist of loans by four international banks: the Islamic Development Bank (€365 million), the World Bank (€160 million), the European Investment Bank (€100 million), the Council of Europe Development Bank (€100 million), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (€80 million).
According to Minister of Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj, the IDB loan will have a 1% interest rate, whereas World Bank and CEB interest rates tend to be lower than those of commercial banks, like EBRD and EIB.
2. Nearly half of the aid is from the Islamic Conference countries
Islamic Conference members are the largest contributors in total, promising about 42% of the total amount of aid.
However, only two Muslim countries, Turkey (€45 million) and Qatar (€5 million) have offered aid, with the lion’s share of the funds promised being loans by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which has made the largest commitment of all donors.
3. EU aid is the most significant
The EU has offered over €216 million in grant money. Upwards of half the funds (€115 million) have been granted by the European Council, with the rest consisting in the combined aid offered by member states (€101 million) who promised about €1-2 million each.
4. Italy and Turkey are the largest bilateral donors
Italy remains Albania’s primary partner in relief funds. It leads other countries with its €65 million amount in aid. A not so close second is Turkey who promised €45 million, part of which will consist of the in-kind reconstruction of buildings and cultural objects. The two countries are followed by Germany (€11 million) and Switzerland (€9 million). Find the complete donation promises made in the table below:
5. Albanian government has to adopt strict standards to access the committed funds
Western institutions, including the EU, the three European banks, and the World Bank, have delineated several principles of engagement that will regulate the employment of their intended funds. Chief among their concerns seem to be the existence of a “uniform national housing reconstruction program” that will operate with transparency, accountability, clarity, and equity.