Competitiveness and Internationalization of Albanian MSMEs

November 12th, 2021

Tirana, 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 internationalization of Albanian Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The meeting was attended by all IC members and other representatives from the public and private sector and development agencies in the role of observer.

During her speech, Minister Ibrahimaj underlined the importance of MSMEs for the country’s economy and highlighted 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, Minister Brahimaj stated that more improvements are needed to upgrade MSMEs’ exporting capacities and target foreign direct investments (FDIs). Thus, additional work is initiated in close cooperation with the chambers & business associations to evaluate better what has worked to date and then explore MSMEs’ specific needs in the near future.

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.

The Secretariat delivered a brief presentation on the key findings and proposals brought by IC partners during the prior consultation with them and through the questionnaire conducted with 82 companies in the agro, tourism, and garment sectors. Most of the proposed recommendations were related to entrepreneurship skills and re-skilling in-house labour force, improving the MSMEs data and market research, international networking, raising SMEs’ awareness on energy efficiency and options for waste management.

In addition, an overview was presented by the Secretariat on the implementation status of previous IC recommendations, bringing up some key achievements, especially in the direction of access to ICT, e-commerce for SMEs, or collaboration between municipalities and businesses. More attention is needed for the unfulfilled recommendations such as approval of a formalization strategy, stabilization of legal and fiscal framework, digitalization of key institutions’ registers, strengthening collaboration among inspectorates, etc.

Full materials of this meeting will be published in the next few weeks in our dedicated section https://www.investment.com.al/ic-meetings/.

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