World Bank evaluates Balkan financial problems
Experts tracking the progress of Balkan nations over the past few decades still have concerns about the stabilization of these national economies and their financial industries.
A World Bank book published last year looks into some of the trends in the region.
In the early millennial years, Western Balkan nations grew at a rapid rate, writers contend. This, some analysts say, was driven by domestic demand and international investment backing.
Now, some challenges are threatening to “undermine economic growth,” according to the World Bank publication.
World Bank analysts say these nations need to focus on structural reform and the financial stability of systems that are largely bank-based.
“Banking regulation and oversight have improved over the last decade, but a number of important shortcomings in some segments remain," the World Bank book says.
The book lays out various scenarios for projections up to 2025 to talk about the possibilities for these economies.
Despite the negative news, some believe that Balkan nations can tackle these problems with new technologies.
“Distributed ledger technology has tremendous potential in the fight against corruption, both in the Balkans and in many other places where corruption is a problem,” Areiel Wolanow, managing director of Finserv, told Balkan Business Wire.
Wolanow gave the example of managing property ownership within a given area.
“In many parts of the world, it is very easy to bribe officials to create false land records,” Wolanow said.
With new transparent digital records, alterations are impossible, so government officials won't be able to create false title deeds or other documents to deprive residents of their rightful property, Wolanow said.
Another example, he said, is Everledger, a company that is using a blockchain tool for tracking high-quality diamonds.
“This makes it much harder for thieves, smugglers or people from war zones to sell illegally obtained diamonds,” Wolanow said.
Technical problems with block change transparency, Wolanow said, can often be solved with effort -- but another challenge is that corrupt officials may try to sabotage modernization initiatives.
In short, Balkan countries will need the political will to use the tools available to drive modernization and change.
Organizations in this story
The World Bank 1818 H St NW Washington, DC 20433