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Prishtina, 20.07.2018 – The Ministry of Finance and the World Bank have signed today an agreement on funding the “Kosovo Digital Economy – KODE” project, at a value of 20.7 million euro. The Agreement was signed by the Minister of Finance, Bedri Hamza, and World Bank Manager for Kosovo, Marco Mantovanelli, while the ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Economic Development, Valdrin Lluka, as MED will be the project implementing partner.

Minister of Finance Bedri Hamza considered this to be an important project, which will contribute to economic development, while assessing that the conditions of the agreement are extremely suitable, with 2.7 million euro disbursed with a 5-year grace period and a repayment period of 20 years.

For his part, Minister of Economic Development Valdrin Lluka said that through this project Kosovo aims to be one of the first countries in Europe to place broadband internet networks to all edges of Kosovo territory, in order to ensure high-speed internet access for all, and to provide additional components, such as skills development, to allow for self-employment of those attaining such skills.

“Today Kosovo has around 1 billion euro in service exports, and half of this sum comes from the information technology sector, and this represents an important factor for us, knowing that production exports comprise around 300 million euro. Therefore, I believe that digital economy is our future, not in terms of internal infrastructure, but also in terms of employment potential for youth in the sphere of information technology,” said Lluka.

According to him, this project aims to improve the infrastructure and make it easier for youth, making this one of the most attractive projects in the country. Lluka said he is proud to have Kosovo remain a regional leader in the digital highway project for Western Balkans, and hoped to have Kosovo serve as an example, upon project conclusion, for other developing countries in terms of digital infrastructure development.

World Bank Manager for Kosovo, Marco Mantovanelli, compared the KODE project with the visa liberalization process, as it brings Kosovo closer to the world and vice versa.

According to him, the project will ensure the connection of over 60 thousand persons to the internet. “We expect to have by 2023 more villages connected to this frequency band. Over 60 thousand persons will be connected to the internet. Today, we signed the financial agreement, for the preparation of which we worked for two years with the staff of Minister Valdrin Lluka. We have also implemented a few projects to connect women to this project. We’ve established a women’s network, which will be developed further to include youth as well".

The Kosovo Digital Economy Project – KODE will be implemented by the Ministry of Economic Development, and aims to cover the entire Kosovo territory with optical fiber.