Foreign direct investment in Albania surpassed the US$1 billion mark (€738.3 billion) in 2010, making Albania the second largest investment recipient in Southeast Europe after Serbia, and the only country in the region in which investment has increased despite the global economic downturn. This international confidence in Albania’s long term potential will help the country reach its goal of joining the EU and becoming a more important player in the European and global economy.
Nasip Naço, Albania’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy, explains, “Over the last two decades, Albania has gone through a tremendous political, institutional, and socio economic transformation. The Euro Atlantic integration process has been the driving force behind several institutional and structural reforms that have contributed to the ongoing democratisation of Albania, and naturally EU membership remains our priority.”
Minister Naço added that Albania is committed to supporting the growth of the Balkans region. He noted, “Albania, although a small country, has played a big role in the region to create a vision for a more prosperous Balkans, where peace and stability have replaced ethnic conflicts, where economic growth has prevailed over stagnation, and where Europeanization has triumphed over nationalism.”
Europe’s lowest corporate taxes
As Nasip Naço pointed out, Albania’s economic growth rate has been one of the highest in South Eastern Europe since 2000, reaching an average of 6% per year with a peak of 8% in 2008. Albania has also maintained macroeconomic stability, cut taxes on small businesses in half and reduced corporate and personal income taxes from 25% to 10%. As the Minister points out, “Albania is among the countries with the lowest fi scal burden in Europe, applying a fl at tax regime of 10% for individuals and businesses.”
Nasip Naço notes that Albania has successfully pursued an ambitious privatisation programme and the government is actively supporting public private partnerships. He says, “The private sector of Albania’s economy has been the main driver towards economic growth with a contribution of about 85% of GDP, and most importantly providing about 80% of employment. The Albanian government has undertaken a comprehensive regulatory reform in order to establish a business friendly climate. Due to these reforms Albania was ranked the second among top ten reforming countries in the World Bank Doing Business Report concerning protecting investors’ interests.”