March 22, 2013
On January 26, 2013, a completion ceremony was held near a multipurpose dam constructed by the Zletovica Basin Water Utilization Improvement Project. In addition to the dam, the project constructed water intake and conveyance facilities to supply drinking, agricultural and industrial water to the eastern part of Macedonia, which suffers from chronic water shortages. As the first Japanese ODA loan project for Macedonia, this project performed construction work over a period of nearly 10 years, after the ODA loan agreement for up to 9.689 billion yen was signed in November 2003.
Regardless of inopportune snowy weather, many local people gathered for a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the construction. Among the attendees were Macedonian cabinet members, including Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zoran Stavreski and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy Ljupcho Dimovski, along with many other leading figures of Macedonian society, showing the high level of interest in this project. All of the attendees, including Prime Minister Gruevski, who addressed the gathering from the podium, expressed their gratitude to JICA, and further noted how important the project was for supplying clean water to the six municipalities surrounding the dam. Gruevski also added how this project was the largest in its scale over the past two decades in Eastern Macedonia.
Macedonia is generally in a low-rainfall belt, but Eastern Macedonia in particular receives around 500 millimeters per year, scanty rainfall that is approximately one-fourth of Japan's and approximately one-half of annual average world rainfall. Due to this circumstance, ensuring water for daily living and agriculture, securing safe drinking water resources and providing a stable water supply are priorities. A stable water supply is critical for industrial and manufacturing development, and this project is expected to contribute to further economic development in Macedonia, which aims to join the EU.
JICA cooperates with Macedonia to find solutions on a number of priority issues this country is facing. JICA will continue the cooperation for further development of Macedonia.
JICA Balkan Office
The tape is cut at the project dam with (starting third from left) Toshiya Abe, Resident Representative of the JICA Balkan Office, Zoran Stavreski, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Shigeo Iwatani, Ambassador of Japan to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister, Ljupcho Dimovski, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy and Stojan Milanov, general director of Zletovica, in attendance.