World Bank concerned by Ukraine war impact on Serbia’s energy dependence

“Clearly, energy dependency is the main concern. Serbia is fully dependent on Russia for its natural gas. Yet the country possesses storage capacities, which should help alleviate the consequences of the slower flow of gas,” the bank official said in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA). [Shutterstock/Kristi Blokhin]

The consequences of the war in Ukraine will be devastating for Ukraine and Russia, World Bank chief economist for Europe and Central Asia, Asli Demirguc-Kunt, said on Saturday, adding that the war would also affect the Western Balkans and that energy dependency was a serious concern in Serbia.

“Clearly, energy dependency is the main concern. Serbia is fully dependent on Russia for its natural gas. Yet the country possesses storage capacities, which should help alleviate the consequences of the slower flow of gas,” the bank official said in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA).

According to Demirguc-Kunt, if the situation lasts or worsens, prices will jump, and there will be industrial restrictions.

“In the long run, there are other challenges, too, that the Serbian economy is facing in promoting quicker growth, including potential delays in private investments. Some of the concerns are related to the deterioration of management, lack of infrastructure and an education sector that needs reforms, as there are discrepancies between what is taught and what the labour market needs,” the World Bank official also said.

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