Albania holds international financial donors together

Albania brought international financial donors together on Tuesday to try to persuade them to invest more in its electricity sector and alleviate an energy crisis that has caused power cuts across the country this winter.

Representatives from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and European Investment Bank, as well as from the United States, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France were present.

Since November the Albanian power corporation has imposed daily power cuts on all consumers, except hospitals, water supply stations, police and emergency services and embassies, after production dropped drastically when main hydropower stations failed because of drought.

Albania spent some Ђ14.4 million (US$17.4 million) on electricity during the last quarter of 2005, according to official figures. In late December the government decided not to award any winning contracts in an international tender to buy electricity for 2006 due to high prices demanded by bidders.

Electricity shortages were projected to reduce economic growth to 5 percent this year from the approximately 6 percent that Albania, one of Europe's poorest countries, has had in the last few years, reports the AP. I.L.

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