Nearly five months after declaring independence, Kosovo is struggling economically. To help the crisis-ridden province onto its feet, the European Union is hosting a donors’ conference in Brussels.
Representatives of the EU member states, of international financial institutions and UN agencies have been invited to attend. Donors are expected to pledge nearly one and a half billion euros in funds for the former Serbian territory.
According to a local newspaper, the government’s hoping to return with a full wallet from the conference. But there are many challenges ahead. The newly independent state depends almost entirely on foreign aid: 20 percent of its gross domestic product comes from foreign subsidies; another 15 percent is sent back by locals working overseas.
Unemployment in Kosovo is around 40 per cent. More than one third of its around two million inhabitants live below the poverty line. The donors’ funds will go to bolster law and order reforms and help pay for infrastructure such as schools, roads and energy plants.