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Minister Lutfi Zharku
Trade Ministry Strongly Supporting Private Sector
Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade has made significant progress since 2008 in stimulating the growth of Kosovo’s trade activities. The ministry is currently involved in two major projects in partnership with the European Commission, one to promote small and medium-sized enterprises and the other concerning industrial property.
The ministry also has a project funded by the World Bank to develop municipal business centres throughout the country; around 22 of these centres will be completed by the end of 2010. Lutfi Zharku, Minister of Trade, says that Kosovo will also have new industrial
parks, one of which should be open by the end of this year. In addition to these projects, the Ministry of Trade is working with other ministries on sustainable development initiatives funded by the World Bank concerning education, the financial sector and human resources.
New investment promotion strategy for 2011 to 2013
A major recent accomplishment for the ministry is Kosovo’s new investment promotion strategy for 2011 to 2013. As Lutfi Zharku points out, “We have a very close relationship with the private sector, which our new investment strategy will promote. The new strategy is not just general promotion and seminars, but rather a more focused effort that targets first countries, then specific sectors with investment potential, and then particular companies. We invite foreign companies to come here and see first hand the opportunities Kosovo offers. We want to show them that Kosovo has a young population, low taxes, abundant natural resources and a stable, sound financial system.” The ministry is working with various agencies, business associations and embassies to promote investment in Kosovo worldwide.
Investors from Europe are particularly welcome in Kosovo. “The EU is already the source of 40% of our imports, and since Kosovo is very oriented towards the EU, our trade development should focus on that large market of over 500 million customers,” the minister says. He singles out Kosovo’s agricultural exports as having particularly strong potential.
Lutfi Zharku explains that privatisation programmes currently in progress will create even more investment opportunities in Kosovo. He says, “We have already signed a contract for an airport concession and we are privatising our telecom company, PTK and energy company, KEK, who deals with electricity distribution; also on the agenda is to reorganise Trepca Mining to make it attractive to international investors. Here in Kosovo, investors will find a supportive business environment and the most liberal business climate in the region!”