Albania to receive WB funds

TIRANA (AP) The World Bank and other international institutions gave a $19.4 million (15.85-million-euro) grant to Albania to reduce poverty and fight land erosion in its mountainous regions, a bank statement said yesterday. Tirana proposed the project to improve its management of mountain forests and pastures, where the poorest of Albania’s 3.2 million population tend to live, chopping down trees for wood to use for heating. «Rehabilitation and sustainable management of natural resources is key to improving the productivity and incomes in the Albanian upland areas, where poverty is mostly concentrated,» said John Fraser Stewart, the bank’s team leader on the project. Deforestation by residents in the mountains of the north and east has contributed to land erosion and environmental degradation that has hurt farmers seeking fields to graze their cattle and sheep. The government’s project, targeting 218 communities, was also being funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, which was providing 4 million euros of the funds, and the Albanian government itself, which pledged 1.8 million euros.

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