Western Balkans Investment Framework - WBIF

GENERAL INFORMATION

Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the partner international financial institutions (EIB - the European Investment Bank, EBRD - the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, CEB - the Council of Europe Development Bank, the KfW Development Bank, the AFD - Agence Française de Développement and the World Bank Group - WB), aimed at unifying and coordinating various funding sources (primarily loans) with grant funds for the priority projects in the region.

The WBIF consists of the Joint Grant Facility and the Joint Lending Facility. The funds of the Joint Grant Facility are intended for the projects supported by the loans of the partner international financial institutions (which informally cooperate in the Joint Lending Facility), as well as other financial intermediaries, in the priority areas related with infrastructure construction, and other areas supporting socio-economic development. 

More on the WBIF instrument: www.wbif.eu

1.       Donors: WBIF grants are fully funded by donor contributions:

a.      European Commission – the largest donor is the European Commission through the IPA funds,

b.    Bilateral donors – Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, Hungary, Norway, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain,

c.    International Financial Institutions (IFI): the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the German Development Bank (KfW), the World Bank (WB), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).

The IFIs pay a part of the grant funds in the Joint Fund and give loans to the beneficiary countries for individual projects.     

 2.  Beneficiary countries: potential candidates / EU membership candidates from Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. They are represented by:

a.   National IPA coordinator (NIPAC) – has a key role in coordinating the process of preparation and submission of applications for WBIF financing. The NIPAC is the entry point for the WBIF structure.

b.      National Investment Committee (NIC)local body, chaired by the prime minister or the minister of finance. The role of this body is to approve and confirm prioritisation of strategic investment projects identified in the Single Project Pipeline.

3.       Creditors: International Financial Institutions (IFI)

Source: WBIF (2019.)

*Under UNSCR 1244/99

Area supported by WBIF

§  Transport: railways, inland waterways, roads, ports, airports, cross-border facilities;

§  Energy: renewable energy sources, connectivity systems, electricity transmission, hydropower, gas transmission, energy efficiency and energy saving;

§  Environment: water supply, wastewater treatment, sewage, solid waste and hazardous waste management, polluting emission control;

§  Digital Connectivity;

§  Social Sector: schools, hospitals and health centres, social housing, other public institutions;

§  Private Sector Development Support (Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility - WB EDIF);

§  Other sectors that support socio- economic development, if approved by the Steering Committee of the Western Balkans Investment Framework.

The grants are intended to support activities within infrastructure projects financed by the loans of the partner international financial institutions (IFI). Only in exceptional cases will a grant be approved for technical assistance projects, to which loans of the partner international financial institutions are not directly linked. Applicants can be public entities or entities with mixed public and private capital, in charge of delivering public services, their management, contracting and building.

The projects applying for grants should be prepared in accordance with the EU pre-accession strategy and the relevant sector strategy documents and investment plans. They should be included in the Single Project Pipeline for BiH (SPP). In the period 2015-2020, the priority was given to the projects within the Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans, for which the European Union allocated around EUR 1 billion to co-finance investment grants to foster building of transport and energy corridors to link the Western Balkans with the European Union.

Details for each WBIF call for proposals are published by the national IPA coordinator (NIPAC), based on the call by the European Commission. The Steering Committee of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (consisting of the representatives of the European Commission, international financial institutions and bilateral donors) decides on the projects that would receive the grant support. Grant applications of all beneficiary countries are proposed through the NIPAC or through partner international financial institutions, endorsed by the NIPAC. More details on the application are in the FAQ Section. 

Source: WBIF (2019)

What is financed by the WBIF grant?

There are two types of calls to apply for WBIF funds:

1.       TA calls (technical assistance for project preparation) - two rounds a year (January and June)

2.       IG calls (co-financing of investment grants) - one round a year (June)

 

The following is financed through technical assistance:

    ·   CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis), preliminary feasibility studies, feasibility studies, designs and other project documentation;

    ·         Environmental and social impact studies;

·         Construction supervison;

·         Targeted capacity building and implementation support;

·         Regional sector studies.

Investment grants provide support for:

·         Co-financing of works;

   ·         Co financing of equipment procurement.

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