ALBANIA INVESTMENT COUNCIL: MAIN NEWS, OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2021 

ASSESSMENT FROM IC MEMBERS AND PARTNERS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF IC WORK

October 2021

Continuous improvement of the work of the Investment Council (IC) is based on the periodic evaluation of our members and partners. In accordance with the already established methodology and the standard of IC work, we interviewed 21 IC members and partners representing the business community (associations and chambers of commerce and industry), development partners, central and local government, media, academia and civil society. The analysis highlighted that IC members and partners continue to consider the IC as a format that creates communication, interaction and transparency on investment encouraging policies, therefore it should be considered a stable institution and strengthen its influence at government levels and other market actors.

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SPEEDING UP IC RECOMMENDATIONS ON DIGITALISATION OF SERVICES – MEETING WITH THE STATE MINISTER FOR STANDARDS AND SERVICES

October 2021

The provision of high standard services by the public administration is crucial for the improvement of the investment climate in the country. The digitalisation of public services through government platforms has progressed rapidly in recent years, but there is still much to be done in terms of real-time data exchange between institutions. Over the years, the Investment Council has recommended the increased use of electronic documents, electronic and digital signatures in commercial and administrative activities, which would undoubtedly bring great benefits to the business.

In a dedicated meeting held with the Minister of State for Standards and Services, Ms Milva Ekonomi (former Chair of the Investment Council, 2016-2017), we had the opportunity to discuss these issues of great interest to the businesses in Albania, with the ultimate goal to accelerate the fulfilment of the respective recommendations of the Investment Council.

 

BRINGING TIMELY EVIDENCE ON FACTORS AFFECTING POTENTIAL EXPORT MARKETS OF MICRO-, SMALL, MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES

October 2021

A questionnaire was conducted online by the Secretariat and with the participation of 82 companies, containing questions about internal and external factors affecting export expansion and the integration of MSMEs into global value chains and potential export markets. The questionnaire was distributed only to companies operating in tourism, manufacturing (garment) and agriculture, as the main sectors contributing to the country’s current exporting trends.

Companies listed as the main three obstacles in expanding their activities toward exports: ‘limited financial resources’ (33%), ‘company’s size and productivity’ (20%), and ‘company’s export experience’ (13%). On the other hand, companies listed ‘mentoring and training’ (49%) as the most important element to help them integrate into global markets, followed by ‘support in management’ (29%), and ‘financial advice’ (11%).

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A SERIES OF CONSULTATIONS CONDUCTED IN THE FRAME OF THE UPCOMING IC MEETING “ON THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF THE MICRO-, SMALL, MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES”

October 2021

To timely evidence and highlight key MSMEs’ concerns, besides the online questionnaire, the Secretariat held around 30 consultations meetings with private companies (tourism, manufacturing, agriculture), business associations, and public institutions to elaborate the Secretariat’s questionnaire findings and get insight into concerns and possible solutions.

 

IC PLENARY MEETING: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE COMPETITIVENESS AND INTERNATIONALISATION OF MSMEs

12 November 2021

Chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Delina Ibrahimaj, the Investment Council (IC) held a plenary meeting to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the internationalisation of Albanian Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). During her speech, Minister Ibrahimaj highlighted the government’s support through tax incentives, recent policy efforts through the newly adopted Business and Investments Development Strategy (BIDS), and other regional initiatives such as CEFTA, Open Balkan which are providing support to SMEs in regards to exports. On the other hand, representatives of the private sector (FIAA, AMCHAM, Producer’s Associations, Tour Operators, Milk Processors Associations, Exporters’ Associations, etc.) asked for more policy efforts on building Albanian image abroad, more support to MSMEs in training and staff education, better ICT infrastructure and facilitation of electronic payment systems, and infrastructure through TEDA.

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IC ACCOUNTABILITY MATTERS – REPORTING PROGRESS OF IC RECOMMENDATIONS 2015 – 2021

December 2021

From its establishment in 2015 until December 2021, the Investment Council has issued 274 recommendations for the improvement of the investment climate in the country, where recommendations at the institutional level have the highest share of the total recs. 40%, with an emphasis mainly on:

  • Inter-institutional collaboration
  • Capacity-building of the operational government structures
  • Sustainability of the state institutions
  • Improvement of the standards and the quality of services

In December 2021, as per our monitoring analysis, around 40% of the total IC recommendations (2015-2021) were fully implemented by the government, with most of the progress noted during 2021, especially toward the improvement of the innovation ecosystem in the entrepreneurship, the interaction between businesses and municipalities, customs procedures, and economic recovery post-Covid-19.

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COLLABORATION WITH ACADEMIA TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE ROLE OF IC

17 December 2021

Invited by the Academy of European Integration and Negotiations (AIEN), a project supported through the Jean Monnet Program—European Commission, and in the frame of the week of integration, Head of Secretariat, Ms Diana Leka(Angoni) delivered a lecture, attended mainly by public administration representatives, regarding the need of formalisation as a precondition for market well-functioning relying upon   Investment Council’s work on the identification of the private sector challenges.

 

PUBLIC CONSULTATION, THE ROLE OF THE IC AND SECRETARIAT

December 2021

The consultation process of the draft laws is a challenging process in Albania. Despite some improvements, businesses claim that more transparency is needed for a solid legislative framework that addresses fairly the rights of involved parties. To leverage this crucial process, the Secretariat of Investment Council has continuously advocated with its stakeholders the importance of a transparent and proactive business role to implement the legal and regulatory framework successfully.

During 2019-2021, a set of draft laws and a strategic policy document with a direct impact on the investment climate have been part of the IC agenda and discussed at the technical level under the IC consultation frame. In December, we released a consolidated publication, summarising and highlighting the Secretariat’s efforts and contribution in the consultation process to establish a constructive and sustainable business dialogue with the government agencies.

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SECRETARIAT’S RECENT PUBLICATIONS

 

INVESTMENT COUNCIL IN THE MEDIA

 

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ABOUT ALBANIA INVESTMENT COUNCIL

Investment Council is a platform set up by the Albanian authorities with support from the EBRD to intensify the dialogue between the government and the private sector, improve the business climate and promote good governance. The work of the Council is supported by a Secretariat, an independent body of professionals selected and contracted by the EBRD to engage with the business community directly. Investment Council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

 

Investment Council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

Albanian Investment Council