Economy of Albania

The economy of Albania went through a process of transition from a centralized economy to a market-based economy on the principles of the free market. Albania is an Upper-middle-income country and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Albania is an Upper-middle-income country with an economy based on the service (54.1%), agriculture (21.7%), and industrial (24.2%) sectors.[3] The country is rich in natural resources, and the economy is mainly bolstered by agriculture, food processing, lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydro power, tourism, textile industry, and petroleum extraction. The strongest sectors are energy, mining, metallurgy, agriculture and tourism. Primary industrial exports are clothing, chrome, oil and refined fuels.

The tourism sector is traditionally a notable source of income of the people of the nation, particularly during the summer months, but also more recently during the winter months as well, due to an increase in popularity of snow sports such as skiing. With over 3.8 million tourists annually, tourism generates revenue in excess of €1,5 billion.[11] Albania is ranked among the top 25 most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and was voted one of the world's top tourism destination in 2014 by The New York Times and Lonely Planet.[12][13]

Economy of Albania
Twin Towers Tirana, Albania 2017
Tirana is the economic hub of Albania.
CurrencyLek (ALL)
Calendar year
Trade organisations
WTO, BSEC, CEFTA
Statistics
GDPIncrease $15.202 billion (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $38.356 billion (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP rank123rd (nominal, 2018)
123rd (PPP, 2018)
GDP growth
3.4% (2016) 3.8% (2017)
4.2% (2018e) 3.8% (2019f)[2]
GDP per capita
Increase $5,288 (nominal, 2018 est.)[1]
Increase $13,344 (PPP, 2018 est.)[1]
GDP per capita rank
101st (nominal, 2018)
95th (PPP, 2018)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 24.2%
services: 54.1% (2017 est.)[3]
1.999% (2019f est.)[1]
2.029% (2018 est.)[1]
1.987% (2017)[1]
Population below poverty line
14.3% (2012 est.)[3][4]
29 low (2012, World Bank)[5]
Increase0.785 (2018)
Labour force
1.198 million (2017 est.)[3]
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 41.4%
industry: 18.3%
services: 40.3% (2017 est.)[3]
Unemployment12.4% (2018)[6]
13.8% (2017 est.)[3]
15.2% (2016 est.)[3]
these official rates may not include those working at near-subsistence farming
Average gross salary
45,539 ALL / €365 / $414 monthly (2014)[7]
Main industries
food; footwear, apparel and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
65th (2018)[8]
External
ExportsIncrease $900.7 million (2017 est.)[3]
Export goods
apparel and clothing, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; cement and construction materials, vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Main export partners
 Italy 53.4%
 Kosovo 7.7%
 Spain 5.6%
 Greece 4.2% (2017)[3]
ImportsIncrease $4.103 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Import goods
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Main import partners
 Italy 28.5%
 Turkey 8.1%
 Germany 8%
 Greece 8%
 China 7.9%
 Serbia 4% (2017)[3]
FDI stock
Increase $6.12 billion (31 December 2016 est.)[3]
Steady Abroad: N/A
Decrease -$908 million (2017 est.)[3]
Negative increase $9.505 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Public finances
Positive decrease 71.8% of GDP (2017 est.)[3]
-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)[3]
Revenues3.614 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Expenses3.874 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Economic aidrecipient: ODA: $366 million (top donors were Italy, EU, Germany) (2003 est.)
Standard & Poor's:[9]
B1 (Stable)
Foreign reserves
Increase $3.589 billion (2018)[10]
Increase $3.59 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

History

Following the collapse of the communist regime in 1990, Albania was marked by a mass exodus of refugees to Italy and Greece. The country attempted to transition to autarky, but this eventually has succeeded. Attempts at reform began in earnest in early 1992 after real GDP growth of more than 50% from its peak in 1989. The country currently suffers from high organized crime and high corruption rates.

The democratically elected government that assumed office in April 1992 launched an ambitious economic reform program to halt economic deterioration and put the country on the path toward a market economy. Key elements included price and exchange system liberalization, fiscal consolidation, monetary restraint, and a firm income policy. These were complemented by a comprehensive package of structural reforms including privatization, enterprise, and financial sector reform, and creation of the legal framework for a market economy and private sector activity. Most agriculture, state housing, and small industry were privatized. This trend continued with the privatization of transport, services, and small and medium-sized enterprises. In 1995, the government began privatizing large state enterprises. After reaching a low point in the early 1990s, the economy slowly expanded again, reaching its 1989 level by the end of the decade.[14]

Macroeconomics trends

This is a chart of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Albania in US dollars based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) from estimates by the International Monetary Fund.[15]

Year GDP (PPP) GDP (PPP) per capita GDP (nominal) GDP per capita
2016 3400,214 1100,861 1200,144 400,210
2017 3600,241 1200,583 1200,876 400,471
2018 3800,626 1300,432 1300,764 400,786
2020 4300,741 1500,258 1500,997 500,580

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US dollar is exchanged at 49 leks (2007 estimate).[15] Mean wages were $300.83 per month in 2009.

Albania is a low income country by Western European standards, with GDP per capita lower than all countries in the EU. According to Eurostat, Albania's GDP per capita (expressed in PPS – Purchasing Power Standards) stood at 35 percent of the EU average in 2008. The current unemployment rate is 12.4%.[16]

Results of Albania's efforts were initially encouraging. Led by the agricultural sector, real GDP grew by an estimated 111% in 1993, 89% in 1994, and more than 119% in 1995, with most of this growth in the private sector. Annual inflation dropped from 25% in 1991 to zero. The Albanian currency, the lek, stabilized. Albania became less dependent on food aid. The speed and vigour of private entrepreneurial response to Albania's opening and liberalizing was better than expected. Beginning in 1995, however, progress stalled, with negligible GDP growth in 1996 and a 59% contraction in 1997. A weakening of government resolve to maintain stabilization policies in the election year of 1996 contributed to renewal of inflationary pressures, spurred by the budget deficit which exceeded 0.12%. Inflation approached 0.20% in 1996 and 0.50% in 1997. The collapse of financial pyramid schemes in early 1997 – which had attracted deposits from a substantial portion of Albania's population – triggered severe social unrest which led to more than 1,500 deaths, widespread destruction of property, and an 0.08% drop in GDP. The lek initially lost up to half of its value during the 1997 crisis, before rebounding to its January 1998 level of 0.00143 to the dollar. The new government, installed in July 1997, has taken strong measures to restore public order and to revive economic activity and trade.

Albania is currently undergoing an intensive macroeconomic restructuring regime with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The need for reform is profound, encompassing all sectors of the economy. In 2000, the oldest commercial bank, Banka Kombetare Tregtare/BKT was privatized. In 2004, the largest commercial bank in Albania—then the Savings Bank of Albania—was privatised and sold to Raiffeisen Bank of Austria for US$124 million. Macroeconomic growth has averaged around 59% over the last five years and inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment.

Albania Export Treemap
Albania Export Treemap

The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing their weekends in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to improve transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

Reforms have been taken especially since 2005. In 2009, Albania was the only country in Europe, together with Poland, San Marino and Liechtenstein, to have economic growth; Albanian GDP real growth was 37%.[17] Year after year, the tourism sector has gained a growing share in the country's GDP.

Data published as of July 2012 by the National Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, show the economy contracted by 0.0002 per cent in the first quarter of the year – a downturn blamed mainly on the eurozone debt crisis.[18]

The informal sector makes up a portion of the economy, although its share remains unclear due to its secretive nature.

According to Santander Bank, foreign direct investment in Albania now accounts for 50% of its GDP.[19]

Challenges and solutions

Reforms in Albania are constrained by limited administrative capacity and low income levels, which make the population particularly vulnerable to unemployment, price fluctuation, and other variables that negatively affect income. The economy continues to be bolstered by remittances of some of the labor force that works abroad. These remittances supplement GDP and help offset the large foreign trade surplus. Most agricultural land was privatized in 1992, substantially improving peasant incomes. In 1998, Albania recovered the 0.8% drop in GDP of 1997 and pushed ahead by 79% in 1999. International aid has helped defray the high costs of receiving and returning refugees from the Kosovo conflict. Large-scale investment from outside is still hampered by poor infrastructure; lack of a fully functional banking system; untested or incompletely developed investment, tax, and contract laws; and an enduring mentality that discourages initiative.

Other recommendations

However, Forbes also indicated some progress: "with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth. Inward FDI has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The government is focused on the simplification of licensing requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support."[20]

The International Monetary Fund's January 24, 2017 report also offered some positive reinforcement: "Economic program remains on track, good progress in implementing structural reforms, Bank of Albania’s accommodative monetary policy stance remains appropriate". The IMF inspectors who visited Tirana provided the following action plan: "Going forward, the main priorities should be: to continue expanding revenue to strengthen public finances and to ensure debt sustainability, reduce NPLs to strengthen financial stability and support credit recovery and advance structural reforms to improve the business climate. Important progress has been made in these areas, and further efforts are needed to cement these gains. In this regard, strengthening of tax administration, broadening the tax base, and introduction of a value-based property tax remain important objectives. Improved public financial management will help ensure more efficient public spending and control of arrears. Rapid implementation of the strategy for resolving non-performing loans is needed to strengthen lending to the private sector. Structural reforms to enhance the business environment, address infrastructure gaps, and improve labor skills will be crucial to strengthen competitiveness."

[21]

Application of Albania to the European Union

Full European Union membership would benefit Albania's economy. The country had received request status in 2014 (based on the 2009 application), but the Albania has twice rejected full membership.[22] The European Parliament warned the government leaders in early 2017, that the parliamentary elections in June must be "free and fair" before negotiations could begin to admit the country into the Union. The MEPs also expressed concern about the country's "selective justice, corruption, the overall length of judicial proceedings and political interference in investigations and court cases" but the EU Press Release expressed some optimism: "It is important for Albania to maintain today's reform momentum and we must be ready to support it as much as possible in this process".[23][24]

Albania also needs to improve its infrastructure, particularly highways within its borders and connecting the country to its neighbors. Once there is evidence of significant progress on this front, the country's chances of acceptance into the EU should improve. Discussions are underway to get the funding to do so.[19]

In the meantime, China is one of the major investors in Albania having purchased drilling rights to the oil fields of Patos-Marinze and Kucova (from a Canadian company) and Tirana International Airport SHPK. China Everbright and Friedmann Pacific Asset Management will operate the airport until 2025. As of March 2016, China was the country's main trading partner, with 7.7 percent of the country's total international trade; that is far more than the trade with Greece and Turkey. This is reminiscent of the strong relationship between Albania and China in the 1970s.[25]

Sectors

Primary sector

The Albanian Riviera is famous for its olive and citrus plantations. left Albania is the 9th largest producer of Figs in the world. center Vinyard in Përmet. right

Albaniens kust
Figs (3548354141)
Vinyard Përmet

During the communist regime, Albania's agriculture was heavily centralized integrated with agriculture-related industries, and state-run. Today, Agriculture in Albania employs 47.8% of the population and about 24.31% of the land is used for agricultural purposes. Agriculture contributes to 18.9% of the country's GDP. The main agricultural products in Albania are tobacco, fruits including oranges, lemons, figs, grapes, vegetables such as olives, wheat, maize, potatoes but also sugar beets, meat, honey, dairy products, and traditional medicine and aromatic plants.

Albanian wine is characterized by its unique sweetness and indigenous varieties. It has one of Europe's longest histories of viticulture.[26] Albania produced an estimated 17,500 tonnes of wine in 2009.[27] During communism, the production area expanded to some 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres).[26] The today's Albania region was one of the few places where vine was naturally grown during the ice age. The oldest found seeds in the region are 40,000 to 60,000 years old.[28] Ancient Roman writer Pliny describes Illyrian wine as "very sweet or luscious" and refers to it as "taking the third rank among all the wines".[29] Albanian families are traditionally known to grow grapes in their gardens for producing wine and Rakia.

Tertiary sector

Gjipe beach, Albania
Gjipe Canyon in the Southern of Albania where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea.
Lake Koman Albania 2016
The Komani Lake is a very popular ferry rides in southern Europe. It reminds of the Scandinavian fjord with its mountains.

A significant part of Albania's national income derives from tourism. In 2014, it directly accounted for 6% of GDP, though including indirect contributions pushes the proportion to just over 20%.[30] Albania welcomed around 4.2 million visitors in 2012, mostly from neighbouring countries and the European Union. In 2011, Albania was recommended as a top travel destination, by Lonely Planet.[12] In 2014, Albania was nominated number 4 global touristic destination by The New York Times.[13] The number of tourists has increased by 200% for 2014 as well.

The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea coast. The latter has the most beautiful and pristine beaches, and is often called the Albanian Riviera. The Albanian coastline has a considerable length of 360 kilometres (220 miles), including the lagoon area which you find within. The coast has a particular character because it is rich in varieties of sandy beaches, capes, coves, covered bays, lagoons, small gravel beaches, sea caves etc. Some parts of this seaside are very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective unexplored areas, very rare in Mediterranean area.[31]

The increase in foreign visitors has been dramatic. Albania had only 500,000 visitors in 2005, while in 2012 had an estimated 4.2 million – an increase of 740% in only 7 years. Several of the country's main cities are situated along the pristine seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. An important gateway to the Balkan Peninsula, Albania's ever-growing road network provides juncture to reach its neighbors in north south, east, and west. Albania is within close proximity to all the major European capitals with short two- or three-hour flights that are available daily. Tourists can see and experience Albania's ancient past and traditional culture.[32]

A report from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) in October 2015 indicated that the direct contribution of tourism is becoming a significant part of the country's Gross Domestic Product, a full 4.8 percent of it in 2013. The total contribution to the GDP was about 17 percent "including wider effects from investment and the supply chain". This is expected to increase in future.[33]

Seventy percent of Albania's terrain is mountainous and there are valleys that spread in a beautiful mosaic of forests, pastures, springs framed by high peaks capped by snow until late summer spreads across them.[34]

Infrastructure

Transport

Terminal jashte
Tirana International Airport is the 10th busiest airport in the Balkans, handling over 2 million passengers per year.

Transport has undergone significant changes in the past two decades, vastly modernizing the infrastructure. Improvements to the road infrastructure, rail, urban, and airport transport have all led to a vast improvement in transportation. These upgrades have played a key role in supporting Albania's economy, which in the past decade has come to rely heavily on the construction industry.

Albania's motorway network has been extensively modernised throughout the 2000s and part of it is still under construction. There are a total of 3 major motorways in Albania: the A1, A2, and A3. When all corridors are completed, Albania will have an estimated 759  kilometers of highway linking it with all its neighboring countries. The Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza is the only port of entry for air travelers to the country. The airport is named after the Albanian Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa. It has seen a dramatic rise in passenger numbers and aircraft movements since the early 1990s. Today, the Airport handles over 2.2 million passengers per year. Furthermore, Albania plans to build two airports which will mainly serve the tourism industry.

Panorama of Durres Port
The highly advantageous geographical location of Durrës makes its port the busiest in Albania and among the largest in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

The busiest and largest seaport is the Port of Durrës. As of 2014, the port ranks as one of the largest passenger ports on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, with annual passenger volume of approximately 1.5 million. Other seaports include Vlorë, Sarandë, and Shëngjin. The ports serve an extensive system of ferries connecting numerous islands and coastal cities in addition to ferry lines to several cities in Croatia, Greece, and Italy.

The railways in Albania are administered by the national railway company Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH). The railway system was extensively promoted by the totalitarian regime of Enver Hoxha, during which time the use of private transport was effectively prohibited. Since the collapse of the former regime, there has been a considerable increase in car ownership and bus usage. Whilst some of the country's roads are still in very poor condition, there have been other developments (such as the construction of a motorway between Tirana and Durrës) which have taken much traffic away from the railways.

Energy

StauseeBeiFierze2014-2
The Fierza Reservoir was formed as a result of the construction of the Fierza Hydroelectric Power Station in 1978.

Albania is dependent on Hydroelectricity and the largest producer of Hydroelectricity in the world, with a percentage of 100%.[35] It is host to five Hydroelectric power stations and a plant including the Fierza, Koman, Skavica and Vau i Dejës which are situated on the Drin river, due to its significant role for the production of electricity in the country. The Albanian Devoll Hydropower company is currently built two hydroelectricity plants on the Devoll river near Banjë and Moglicë.[36] The two plants are expected to be completed in 2016 and 2018. After its completion, it will produce 729 GWh annually, increasing the electricity production in Albania by almost 17%.[37]

Trans Adriatic Pipeline
TAP route from Kipoi, Greece through Fier, Albania to San Foca, Italy.

The construction of 1.2 billion dollar AMBO pipeline was planned to begin in 2007. This would connect the port of Burgas in Bulgaria with the port of Vlora in Albania. It is expected to ship 750,000 barrels (119,000 m3) to 1,000,000 barrels (160,000 m3) of crude oil each day. However, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline seems more likely to get started. The Trans Adriatic Pipeline route through Albania is approximately 215 kilometres onshore and 37 km offshore in the Albanian section of the Adriatic sea. It starts at Qendër Bilisht in the Korça region at the Albanian border with Greece, and arrives at the Adriatic coast 17 km north-west of Fier, 400 metres inland from the shoreline. A compressor station will be built near Fier, and an additional compressor is planned near Bilisht should capacity be expanded to 20 billion cubic metres (bcm). Eight block valve stations and one landfall station will be built along its route.[38] In the mountainous areas, approximately 51 km of new access roads will be constructed while 41 km of existing roads will be upgraded, 42 bridges refurbished and three new bridges built. In the summer of 2015, TAP started the construction and rehabilitation of access roads and bridges along the pipeline's route in Albania. The work is expected to be completed during 2016.[38]

Oil

Albania has the second largest oil deposits in the Balkan peninsula and the largest onshore oil reserves in Europe. It's crude output amounted to more than 1.2 million tonnes in 2013, including 1.06 million by Canada's Bankers Petroleum, 87,063 tonnes from Canada's Stream Oil and 37,406 tonnes by Albpetrol on its own. Three foreign firms produced the rest.[39] Oil exploitation in Albania began 80 years ago on 1928 year in Kuçova Oil field and was continuously increasing and one years later in Patos, in sandstone reservoirs. Oil production in Albania was increasing continuously. During the periods 1929–1944 and 1945–1963 the total production was only from the sandstone reservoirs, while after 1963 year was and from the carbonate reservoirs. Up to the 1963 year from the sandstones were produced 400 974 649 ton oil.[40]

Albanian oil and gas is represents of the most promising albeit strictly regulated sectors of the economy. It has attracted foreign investors since the early nineties marking the beginning of reforms which transformed the public exclusive rights, control and responsibilities with regard to exploration and exploitation, to the private sector. Oil and gas reserves still remain property of the Albanian State which enters into agreements and grants rights with regard to evaluation, exploration, production, refining/processing and transport of the product.[41] In March 2016, affiliates of China's Geo-Jade Petroleum purchased the drilling rights (from a Canadian company) for exploiting the oil fields of Patos-Marinze and Kucova. They paid €384.6 million, presumably indicating an interest in accelerating the process.[25]

Statistics

Natural resources of Albania
Natural resources of Albania. Metals are in blue (Cr, Fe, Ni, Cu), fossil fuels are in red (L — lignite, P — petroleum, BI — bitumen).

Macroeconomic indicators

GDP (PPP): $36.524 billion[42] (2017)

GDP per capita (PPP): $13,368[42] (2017)
country comparison to the world: 95

GDP – real growth rate: 3.5% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 109

Inflation: 2.0% (2017 INSTAT)
country comparison to the world:

Unemployment: 14.2 (2017 INSTAT)

Agriculture

Products: wheat, maize, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products

Foreign trade

Top export destinations by dollar (2014): Italy ($10.15 billion), Spain ($1680 million), China ($1300 million), Turkey ($920.8 million) and India ($880.5 million).

Top import items 2014: Refined Petroleum ($547 million), Cars ($198 million), Packaged Medicaments ($129 million), Tanned Equine and Bovine Hides ($97.4 million) and Footwear Parts ($86.2 million).

Top import origins by dollar (2014): Italy ($100.38 billion), Greece ($41300 million), Turkey ($31500 million), China ($27800 million) and Germany ($23500 million).

Import partners: Italy 45.6%, Greece 7.8%, Turkey 7.4%, Germany 5.6%, Switzerland 5%, China 4.2% (2014)

Remittances: $600 million (2014 est.)

Electricity – production by source:

  • fossil fuel: 2.9%
  • hydro: 97.1%
  • other: 0%
  • nuclear: 0% (2007)

Natural gas

  • production: 30 million m³ (2006 est.)


country comparison to the world: 84

  • consumption: 30 million m³ (2006 est.)


country comparison to the world: 108

  • exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
  • imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
  • proved reserves: 849.5 million m³ (January 1, 2008 est.)


country comparison to the world: 100

Exchange rates

  • Lekë per US dollar: 125.4 (2017), 79.546 (2008), 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003), 140.155 (2002), 143.485 (2001), 143.709 (2000), 137.691 (1999)

See also

References

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  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "The World Factbook". CIA.gov. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
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Further reading

  • Bitzenis, Aristidis, and Leslie T. Szamosi. "Entry Modes and the Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in a European Union Accession Country: The Case of Albania." Journal of East-West Business 15, no.3-4 (2009): 189–209.
  • Feilcke-Tiemann, Adelheid. "Albania: Gradual Consolidation limited by Internal Political Struggles". Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 6, no. 1 (2006):25–41.

External links

Trade
2016 Western Balkans Summit, Paris

2016 Western Balkans Summit in Paris, France was third annual summit within the Berlin Process initiative for European integration of Western Balkans states. Previous summits took place in Berlin in 2014 and in Vienna in 2015. Heads of government, foreign ministers and the ministers of economy of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as EU member states from the region Croatia, Slovenia and EU member states Austria, France, Germany, Italy as well as representatives of the European Union and the International Financial Institutions took part in Paris summit. Summit took place on 4 July 2016. Participants welcomed the intention of Italy to host the next summit in 2017.Summit took place in the context of the outcome of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Western Balkans participants reaffirmed their commitment to European integrations process. European perspective of the region was recognized to all countries during the summits in Zagreb and Thessaloniki in 2000 and 2003 and "repeatedly and unequivocally reiterated since then" as stated in Final Declaration after the summit. Participants reaffirmed the importance of regional cooperation and their commitment to abstain from misusing bilateral issues in the EU accession process. At the day of summit Regional Youth Cooperation Office was established based on experience of the Franco-German Youth Office. All parties welcomed the progress with projects that were launched in August 2015 and agreed upon a list of 3 new railway projects, which will receive EU co-financing of little less than 100 million euros in addition to financing from the International Financial Institutions and the national budgets of the Western Balkan states. The parties welcomed the launch of an energy efficiency initiative supported by EU through funding of 50 million euros. Participants agreed on a road-map for the setting up of a regional market for electricity in the Western Balkans and European Commission intent to support initiative through the Energy Community secretariat. Regional market integration, especially through CEFTA was reaffirmed. Improving the perspective of younger generations' through Erasmus+ and investments in education were discussed.

2017 Western Balkans Summit, Trieste

The 2017 Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, Italy was the fourth annual summit within the Berlin Process initiative for European integration of Western Balkans states. Previous summits took place in Berlin in 2014, Vienna in 2015 and in Paris in 2016. Heads of government, foreign ministers and the ministers of economy of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as EU member states from the region Croatia, Slovenia and EU member states Austria, France, Germany, Italy as well as representatives of the European Union and the International Financial Institutions attended.

Participants once again committed the Western Balkan's eventual path into the EU and agreed the next Berlin Process Summit would take place in London.

2018 Western Balkans Summit, London

The 2018 Western Balkans Summit in London, United Kingdom, was the fifth annual summit within the Berlin Process initiative for European integration of Western Balkans states. The summit took place on July 9-10. Previous summits took place in Berlin in 2014, Vienna in 2015, Paris in 2016 and Trieste in 2017. Heads of government, foreign ministers and the ministers of economy of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as EU member states from the region Croatia, Slovenia and EU member states such as the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Italy as well as representatives of the European Union and the International Financial Institutions attended the summit.

By hosting the summit in London, the United Kingdom demonstrated its continued interest and involvement in the stability of the region beyond its imminent exit from the EU.

Agriculture in Albania

Agriculture in Albania is still a significant sector of the economy of Albania, which contributes to 22.5% of the country's GDP. The country spans 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles) of which 24% is agricultural land, 36% forest land, 15% pasture and meadow and 25% urban areas including lakes, waterways, unused rocky and mountain land. It can be separated into three main zones such as the lowland zone alongside the coastline of the country, the hill zone in the lowland and the mountain zone.

The country encompasses coastal plains in the west to the Albanian Alps in the north, the Sharr Mountains in the northeast, Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, Korab Mountains in the east, Pindus Mountains in the southeast and Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest along the Albanian Riviera. The Mediterranean Sea, which includes the Adriatic and Ionian, makes up the entire west border of Albania.

The country experiences mostly mediterranean climate with continental influences. That means that the climate is characterised by mild winters and hot, dry summers. The warmest areas of the country are along the west, where climate is profoundly impacted by the sea. The coldest parts of the country are at the north and east, where snowy forested climate is prevalent.

In 1990, domestic farm products accounted for 63% of household expenditures and 25% of exports. As part of the pre-accession process of Albania to the European Union, farmers are being aided through IPA funds to improve the Albanian agriculture standards.As of the Ministry of Agriculture the exports of vegetables and fruits have doubled over the first months of 2017. However, the exports of fish, seafood and marine products have also increased by 35 percent.One of the earliest farming sites in Europe has been found in Southeastern Albania.

Albania–Japan relations

Albania–Japan relations are the bilateral relations between Albania and Japan. Japan’s Ambassador in Rome is accredited to Albania, while an Honorary Consulate in Tirana assists Japanese interests in Albania.

Albania has an embassy in Tokyo.

Bulqizë

Bulqizë (IPA: [bulciz], definite Albanian form: Bulqiza) is the name of both a town and a municipality in Dibër County, eastern Albania. It was formed during the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipality of Bulqizë with the adjacent municipalities of Fushë-Bulqizë, Gjoricë, Martanesh, Ostren, Shupenzë, Trebisht and Zerqan. The seat of the municipality is the town also called Bulqizë. The total population is 31,210 (2011 census), in a total area of 678.51 km2. The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 8,177.The location of Bulqiza lies at the east side of Albania, and bound at east side with Big Dibra (Macedonia), at north with Dibra (Albania), at west with Mati region and Tirana, while at south is bordered with Librazhdi. The administrative center is Bulqiza with 16768 inhabitants. The locality has 1 municipality and 7 communes; Fushë-Bulqizë, Zerqan, Shupenzë, Gjoricë, Ostren, Trebisht and Martanesh. In this locality, lies also the town of Krasta with 5969 inhabitants. In Bulqiza and Krasta, is present the biggest sources of chronium. Together with 36 thousand hectares of forest of pine-trees and beech-trees, is composes the most important support for the economy of the area. Bulqiza is also one of the most important centers of the economy of Albania because of the big quantity of chromium, which is also today the resource of life for many families in the area. This zone is rich in sources but the level of life is very low. The future of this area, except the chromium sources, can be considered also the natural tourism.

Environment of Albania

The Environment of Albania is characterised by unique flora and fauna and a variety of landforms contained within a small nation. It also consists of different ecoregions, which represent the natural geographical ecosystem, water systems, weather, renewable resources and influences upon them.

Of the factors caused by human intervention that can affect this environment, activities that sustain the economy of Albania such as mining and forestry are notably influential. The environment strongly influences public health in Albania, as for example air pollution and smog in urban areas such as in Tirana can result in great distress for those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

List of companies of Albania

Albania's transition from a socialist centrally planned economy to a capitalist mixed economy has been largely successful. "Formal non-agricultural employment in the private sector more than doubled between 1999 and 2013," notes the World Bank, with much of this expansion powered by foreign investment.For further information on the types of business entities in this country and their abbreviations, see Business entities in Albania.

List of exports of Albania

The following is a list of the exports of Albania.

Data is for 2012, in millions of United States dollars, as reported by The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Currently the top ten exports are listed.

Port of Sarandë

The Port of Sarandë or Sarandë Harbor (Albanian: Porti i Sarandës, Greek: Λιμάνι των Αγίων Σαράντα) is a port of Albania in the city of Sarandë, Albania. As of 2012, the port is undergoing an expansion to include a cruise line terminal. Stemming from the small size of the port, cruise lines cannot dock at the port. Instead, a fast boat serves tourists back and forth between cruises and the port.

Port of Vlorë

The Port of Vlorë or Vlorë Harbor (Albanian: Porti i Vlorës) is a port of Albania in the city of Vlorë, Albania. The Port of Vlora is the second largest in the country. Vlore comprises a dry cargo port, the Vlore 1 petroleum port and a fishing harbour. The Port is considered as part of the Lungomare Master Plan in Vlorë. Part of this project is the construction of a yacht port, while the new Trans-Balkan Road or Cultural Corridor, which has been completed, will be added a second segment that starts from the existing road to the port.

Renewable energy in Albania

Renewable energy in Albania includes biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind energy. Albania relies mostly on hydroelectric resources, therefore, it has difficulties when water levels are low. The climate in Albania is Mediterranean, so it possesses considerable potential for solar energy production. Mountain elevations provide good areas for wind projects. There is also potentially usable geothermal energy because Albania has natural wells.

SH 2 (Albania)

The Albanian State Road 2 (SH2), (Albanian: Rruga Shteterore 2) is a dual carriageway in Albania linking the port city of Durrës with the metropolis and the capital Tirana. The road was the first highway to be reconstructed in Albania, following the Fall of Communism in 1991.

SH 8 (Albania)

The Albanian State Road 8 (SH8), (Albanian: Rruga Shtetërore 8) connects Fier with the port city of Saranda in southern Albania. It leads mostly through the mountainous terrain of the Albanian Riviera along the Ionian Sea. The highest point of the SH8 is the Llogara Pass, 1,043 m (3,422 ft) above sea level.

The road was built in 1920.

Telecommunications in Albania

Telecommunications in Albania include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Tirana East Gate

Tirana East Gate is a shopping mall based in Tirana, Albania. It is located about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the city center of Tirana just off the National Road SH3 in Lundër.

The mall was inaugurated on 26 November 2011 by former Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha and other representatives of the Albanian government. Covering two floors, the mall has about 96,000 m2 (1,030,000 sq ft) of retail space. It accommodates 180 shops, 10 bars, cafes and 5 restaurants. Approximately 4,200 parking spaces are available. Around 2,000 people are employed here.

List of prominent stores includes LTB, FLO, ELLE, PENTI, Interspar, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Timberland, Calzedonia, S.Oliver, LC Waikiki, Reebok, Adidas, Rossmann, Mango, Geox, Swarovski, Springfield, Swatch, and more.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Coffeeshop Company are also located in the Mall. TEG also features some local brands of fast food restaurants like Kolonat.

The Mall also features a Cineplexx multiplex cinema.

Four bus lines connect the city with the Tirana East Gate.

Tirana Stock Exchange

The Tirana Stock Exchange (Albanian: Bursa e Tiranës) is the principal stock exchange in Albania. It is located in the capital city, Tirana. Its name is abbreviated as TSE. The general manager of the stock exchange is Anila Fureraj.

Ymer Fortuzi

Ymer Fortuzi (April 25, 1895 in Tirana – September 25, 1980 in Thessaloniki) was an Albanian politician and mayor of Tirana from 1940 through 1943. He died in August 1980 and buried in Xanthi. He served as Minister of National Economy of Albania.

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