BELGRADE (Reuters) – The economies of the six countries in the Western Balkans could grow by 4.4% in 2021, up from a 4.8% contraction in 2020, if the region successfully emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
In a macroeconomic update for Europe and Central Asia, the lender estimated that the economies of Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania could grow 3.7% in 2022.
“Despite this improvement, per capita income is anticipated to remain 6.5% below pre-pandemic projections by 2022,” the report said.
The main precondition for the region’s growth would be the rebound of consumer and business confidence as COVID-19 subsides, and a decrease in political instabilities, it said.
Countries in the Western Balkans have suffered from some of the sharpest resurgences of the coronavirus in 2021. All six countries have, however, started vaccination campaigns.
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Nick Tattersall)