Invest in Albania? 12/11/2019

Dear Ambassadors, 

I am delighted to join this community to promote Wallonia in my new country of residence: Albania.

I can see the question on your lips... why Albania? I understand your reaction because this country unfortunately has a negative image in the rest of the world. Before my first visit here in March 2018, I had heard all sorts of conflicting things about this country, which I now hold dear to my heart. Albania is a country with enormous potential in various economic sectors, but what has left the biggest impression on me is its people and history.

To put things in their historical context: this country, located on the Adriatic Sea (bordering Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia), has experienced its share of hardship and suffering... Occupied for a period by the Ottoman Empire, then by Italy until 1944, it ended up being subjected to communist dictatorship under the rule of Enver Hoxha.

 Since 1992, Albania has been a democratic, representative and parliamentary republic! 

If I were to characterise this situation, I would say that Albania was comparable to North Korea on the European continent. Today this is no longer the case. The country is growing rapidly, because I state and sincerely believe that Albania will be (or is already?) an excellent choice for economic development.

Together with my partners, we have decided to create an outsourcing and nearshoring IT solutions/service agency here in Tirana to meet the growing demand for IT profiles in Europe.

Here are some points that I think are essential to understanding the value of investing in this country:

  • High growth potential

Albania's exports have grown over the last five years, as has its trade with various EU countries.

  1. According to the 2016 'Doing Business' report, Albania ranks 7th in the world and the best in the region in terms of investor protection;
  2. The 2016 report of the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom places Albania in a very favourable position compared to other countries in the Region. It notched up an improvement of +0.2 points by ranking 59th in the world and 27th regionally. Best performance in terms of business freedom, property rights, absence of corruption, tax burden and monetary freedom (+0.9);
  3. According to the Global Competitiveness Index report 2015-2016, Albania moved up 4 positions, ranking 93rd out of 140 countries, improving its performance in the area of competitiveness;
  4. Referring to the 8th report of the World Bank in 2015, Albania has experienced economic growth driven by investment and net exports.
  • Competitive human capital

50% of the Albanian population is under 35 years old and the average salary is one of the most competitive, with a school life expectancy that gives the rest of Europe a run for its money.

 Population

15-24 years: 16.84% (male 267,695 /female 247,230)

25-54 years: 41.31% (male 604,250 /female 658,773)

55-64 years: 11.77% (male 176,420 /female 183,391)

School Life Expectancy

total: 15 years 

male: 15 years 

female: 16 years

Degrees in Albania: Tier list 3 in the world as regards graduation, the same level as France, Italy, Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, etc.

Albanian wages are the most competitive in Europe!

  • A liberal, positive and reform-minded investment climate
  1. The government has implemented far-reaching reforms to better share growth with foreign investors, the legal framework for public procurement is governed by non-discrimination and transparency;
  2. The creation of economic zones with special incentives for investors is one of the cornerstones of the country's continued economic development;
  3. The law on tourism offers new incentives to investors in the tourism sector;
  4. The Albanian government has improved communication with companies through the National Economic Council and the Investment Council established jointly with the EBRD;
  5. The government has organised ongoing consultation with international partner organisations, the IMF, the World Bank, the EBRD, etc.
  • Promising strategic sector opportunities
  • Energy & natural resources
  • Agriculture
  • Engineering industry
  • Tourism
  • Transport
  • Telecoms
  • IT

In sum, a country with enormous potential that I invite you to discover in my future articles

Thank you for having read my article 

Feel inspired

 

Pierre Duchateau 

pierre@thetechpro.be