This Selected Issues paper on Kosovo discusses various challenges and opportunities in the public infrastructure domain. Given the very low initial stocks, largely due to the sharp depletion of capital stock during the conflicts in the 1990s, higher investment rates are needed. The resources available from international development partners, including the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are a unique opportunity to leverage and accelerate the implementation of priority projects. Strengthening Kosovo’s investment framework is key to achieving this objective. Kosovo faces significant public infrastructure gaps, which constrain private sector development. Scaling-up public investment will raise gross domestic product growth potential and accelerate income convergence toward the EU average level. The priority project list has helped the authorities to prioritize plans and facilitate the discussions and negotiations with donors and International Financial Institutions (IFI). However, implementation so far has been modest, despite the new investment clause of the fiscal rule exempting IFI-financed projects from the deficit ceiling.
This paper highlights that banks and nonbank financial institutions, businesses and households have large exposures to the government and, in some cases, their own vulnerabilities. In this context, a fiscal shock can rapidly propagate into the economy through the financial sector. The financial sector is also likely to amplify the impact of shocks on the economy, possibly opening the way to deep recession. In the case of an extreme shock with difficulties in servicing debt, the banking system capitalization would be significantly hit. Staff analysis highlights the need for fiscal consolidation and for strengthening the CBS’s role in monitoring and managing macrofinancial risks. Since 2015, the government’s balance sheet, liquidity, and risk exposures have been rapidly deteriorating, raising concerns about the impact on other sectors of the economy. As in many countries, the government in Swaziland is a major economic player with strong linkages with both the financial and nonfinancial sectors.