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World Bank Mulls Kosovo Energy Projects Finance as Demand Grows

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- The World Bank and its financing arm, the International Finance Corp., is considering financing energy projects in Kosovo on increased demand for electricity.

The Washington-based lender, with the Multi Investment Guarantee Agency, is willing to finance the construction of a new 600-megawatt power plant, development of the associate Sibovc lignite mine and the rehabilitation of the Kosovo B thermal power plant, Phillipe Le Houerou, the World Bank’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Hashim Thaci today.

“The gap in energy supply will need to be met by stepped-up efforts to generate energy from all practical renewable sources and significantly energy efficiency in addition to thermal power generation,” the World Bank said in the letter.

Kosovo, which became an independent country in 2008 when it separated from its former ruler Serbia, is seeing an increase in energy use as the economy expands much faster than some of its neighbors and consumers use more electricity.

Gross domestic product in the predominantly ethnic Albanian nation is forecast to expand at an annual rate of 3.8 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund.

By contrast, Serbia’s GDP is set to grow 0.5 percent this year, the IMF has said.

World Bank’s Le Houerou will hold talks with Kosovo officials on the energy projects financing next month in the capital Pristina, it said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net; Bekim Greicevci in Pristina at bgreicevci@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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