World Bank lends Bosnia $65.3 million to help pandemic-hit businesses

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The World Bank announced it had approved a $65.3 million loan to Bosnia to help the Balkan country’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises withstand the coronavirus crisis.

The loan will be used to boost longer-term financing for businesses hit by the pandemic downturn and to fund programmes focused on increasing their use of technology.

“This project will … contribute to a recovery that is resilient to future shocks,” Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Montenegro, said in a statement.

According to Bosnia’s central bank, the economy of the former Yugoslav republic is set to contract by 4.6% this year. Just over 100,000 people in Bosnia have contracted COVID-19 and 3,298 have died.

In October Bosnia also borrowed 30 million euros from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to protect its banking system from risks posed by the health crisis.

Neighboring Serbia, where 261,437 people have contracted coronavirus and 2,275 have died, plans next week to pay 2 billion dinars ($20.61 million) in monthly minimum wages to 72,500 people working in hard-hit restaurants, hotels, tourist agencies and rent-a-car companies.

($1 = 97.0200 Serbian dinars)

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