The Government of Albania is undertaking a wide range of structural reforms to strengthen the rule of law, promote sustainable economic growth and create an internationally competitive business environment in Albania.
Albania has a supportive Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) legal framework, Free Trade Agreements with major regional markets and beyond, a competitive and young labor force, favorable tax and customs regime, fast improving business climate, increasing FDI rates and overall growing economy.
The Albanian economy showed a positive growth of 2.1% in 2014, characterized by a 9% growth in exports. Average annual growth of 5% is expected in the foreseeable future, with several sectors growing at well above this rate.
The country has seen vast improvement in four sectors: 1) energy, 2) tourism, 3) agriculture and 4) manufacturing. The growth potential in all four sectors is also estimated to be well into the double digits. As a result FDI inflow is growing markedly, from 716 million USD in 2011 to 893 million USD in 2013.
Human resources and wages
Albania has one of the youngest populations in the region, the majority of which speaks a second language – English, Italian and Greek are all widely spoken, while French and German are fast becoming part of school curricula. Albania also boasts one of the most competitive average wage rates and the second lowest minimum wage within the region.
Business environment and economic freedoms
In 2014 Albania jumped 40 positions (from 108 to 68) in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 Report, performing exceptionally well on three indicators in particular: paying taxes, registering property and providing investor protection (where it ranked 7th in the world, and best in the region).
The Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Albania very favorably with other countries in the region. Albania scores highest in trade, fiscal and investment freedom indicators.
In June 2014, Albania was granted candidate status by the European Commission — in recognition to its progress. Albanian exports experienced 24% growth over the past five years, driven by goods and services flowing primarily to EU countries. Indeed, trade with many EU countries has been surging and Albania’s economy will continue to integrate. The World Bank estimates that at current capacity, exports to the EU could more than double over the next decade.
Albania’s reforms have also been recognized by credit rating agencies. Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services revised its outlook on the Republic of Albania twice in 2014 and 2015 from negative to stable, to positive. At the same time the Government has entered into a mid-term program with the IMF to monitor and improve its fiscal policy and public expenditures. It has made significant improvements in these areas over the last eighteen months.