A candidate country for EU accession, Albania is a member of World Trade Organization since 2000, and a NATO member country since April 2009.
Albania has achieved strong economic positive growth despite the global economic and financial crisis with a GDP growth of 6% for the period 2000 – 2009, and of more than 3% for years 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Strategically located in the Western Balkans, with its developing market economy, low tax burden and its young, educated and cost competitive workforce, Albania offers many opportunities for investors.
Albania’s natural resources include significant hydro, solar and wind power capacity, large tracks of agricultural land and over 400 km of coastline with excellent tourism potential. The country is rich in oil and gas and is endowed with valuable mineral deposits such as copper, iron and chrome ores.
Well anchored structural, legal, fiscal and administrative reforms focusing on trade liberalization and ease of doing business, have boosted investors’ confidence in Albania.
According to UNCTAD World Investment Report 2012, in 2010 the number of foreign direct investments received by Albania amounted to $1051 million, and in 2011 amounted to €1031 million. According to the same report, Albania ranks in the countries with the highest performance index meaning that the number of foreign investments received was above expectations and this thanks to improvements in its investment climate.
The focus for the future development of the Albanian economy will remain on attracting FDIs with a focus on sectors where the Albanian economy has unexploited potential both in terms of natural resources as well as in developing sectors that are yet underperforming such as renewable energy, tourism, agribusiness, infrastructure and services.
Albania has adopted a liberal framework which has been designed to create a favorable investment climate for foreign investors. Albania has also signed a considerable number of Bilateral
Investment Treaties with different countries such as United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, United States, China, Russia, Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, Cyprus, Kuwait, Turkey, Serbia etc.
Albania has successfully completed its threshold program, aimed at improving government effectiveness and transparency and strengthening the rule of law through implementing online tracking systems, such as:
- an e-procurement system that handles all procurements over $4000 in value. The system has cut procurement costs and increased competition;
- an e-filing system for paying personal income tax, used by two-thirds of all taxpayers, which has increased revenues while drastically reducing opportunities for corruption;
- a national planning registry used to manage building permit applications with greater transparency;
- a non-stop shop National Licensing Center.