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Investment Council Main News, April – June 2024

Voting on IC Agenda for 2024

April 2024

Members of the Investment Council voted online to determine the agenda for 2024. The top-voted issues that will guide our focus and efforts in the coming year:

  • Improvement of the Competitiveness for Non-Food Products in the Albanian Market and their Access to the EU Market – Challenges and Opportunities
  • Addressing Business and Banking Challenges for Access to Finance—Focusing on Reducing Administrative Burdens and Expanding Financing Options for MSMEs while Ensuring Transparency in Incentive Programs.

Introductory Meetings with New IC Business Members

April 2024

Following the rotation of the IC business members in March, the Secretariat organised introductory meetings with the newly appointed members to acquaint them with the IC’s operational framework and ongoing initiatives. Discussions centred around familiarising them with existing IC recommendations, emphasizing their role in supporting IC activities and advocacy efforts. These sessions aimed to foster collaboration between new members and existing stakeholders to enhance the Council’s effectiveness in addressing key investment climate challenges and promoting sustainable growth.

Albania Economic Outlook 2023

April 2024

The summary provides a comprehensive assessment of the country’s macroeconomic landscape based on official sources and international organizations. It covers key areas such as national accounts, foreign trade dynamics, the labour market situation, investments, and monetary indicators. Additionally, the summary evaluates Albania’s rankings in global indices like the Corruption Perception Index, Economic Freedom Index, Global Innovation Index, Index of Economic Complexity, and Technology Readiness Index. This analysis serves to highlight both strengths and areas for improvement in Albania’s economic performance and competitiveness on the regional and global stage.

Survey Findings: Private Sector Challenges – Informality, Productivity and Innovation

April 2024

The Secretariat’s survey, involving 601 companies, highlighted major challenges in informality, productivity, and innovation within Albania’s private sector. Key areas of concern included communication with tax authorities, the impact of fiscalisation and VAT reductions in tourism, and businesses’ perceptions of informality and productivity. Notable insights from the survey revealed that 77% of companies are planning investments to enhance productivity. Key areas identified for state intervention include tax reductions or subsidies, support for training programs, and assistance in technological improvements. There’s a strong emphasis on innovation and efficient resource allocation, particularly in research and development, to sustain business competitiveness.

Technical Note: Private Sector Challenges – Informality, Productivity and Innovation

April 2024

As Albania deepens its integration into regional and global markets, the traditional reliance on a low-cost workforce is increasingly unsustainable due to widespread emigration and escalating wages not matched by productivity gains. This threatens business competitiveness and heightens bankruptcy risks. Addressing these challenges, particularly through enhancing productivity and investing in innovation, is vital for maintaining the competitiveness of Albanian businesses.

Cooperation with Academia: Advocating IC Recommendations on Human Capital and Quality of Skills

23 April 2024

In line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Faculty of Economy at the University of Tirana (FEUT), the Head of the IC Secretariat participated in a panel discussion at the FEUT Labour Fair. Since 2015, the IC has been instrumental in advocating for the enhancement of local skills quality and fostering partnerships between the private sector and academia. Recognizing skills gaps as a critical obstacle to future private investment, the IC has consistently advocated for aligning educational curricula with market needs and encouraging innovative training programs. In 2024, the IC continues to focus on bridging these gaps, reinforcing its commitment to improving Albania’s competitiveness by prioritising human capital development.

Monitoring the Implementation of IC Recommendations

April-May 2024

In the second quarter of 2024, the systemic follow-up on the implementation of the IC recommendations continued through formal interaction with eight key institutions. These institutions include the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Agency for Agricultural and Rural Development, the National Agency for Information Society, the State Cadastre Agency, the Ministry of State for Local Governance, the Ministry of State for Public Administration and Anti-Corruption, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, and the Agency for Innovation and Excellence. Public institutions have shown a readiness to provide information regarding the fulfilment of IC’s recommendations. However, the responses often lack detailed data and specific metrics and do not clearly demonstrate the measurable impact of the initiatives on the private sector.

Bright Mind Albanian Worldwide Awards 2024

11 May 2024

Ms Diana Leka (Angoni), Head of the Secretariat, attended the prestigious ‘Bright Mind 2024’ Gala organised by the Albanian Diaspora Business Chamber (ADBC), a member of the Investment Council. During the event, Ms. Leka had the privilege of presenting an award to the Association of Albanian Accountants in Italy (ADCAI) in recognition of their outstanding contributions. She also encouraged ADCAI to actively engage through ABDC by sharing their invaluable insights and suggestions to enhance the business climate in Albania.

Get in the Ring Albania 2024

28 May 2024

Head of the Secretariat, Ms Diana Leka (Angoni), served as a jury member during the “Get in the Ring Albania 2024” startup competition event. This dynamic event brought together a diverse spectrum of participants, including aspiring young entrepreneurs and key stakeholders from the public, private, and donor sectors. This involvement underscored the sustained Investment Council’s commitment initiated in 2016 to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Albania, providing valuable guidance and support to emerging business leaders striving to make a significant impact in the startup ecosystem.

The Secretariat engages with public and private stakeholders on the upcoming topic of the IC Meeting (survey and interviews)

May 2024

The Secretariat actively engaged with both public and private stakeholders to prepare for the upcoming IC Meeting. Through consultations with 15 stakeholders from the public and private sectors and an online survey involving 143 local companies, the focus was on understanding the challenges faced by local entrepreneurs in meeting EU market standards. The consultations underscored several key points like the crucial role of regulatory oversight in ensuring standards and quality, the importance of developing inspection capabilities to verify processes and mitigate conflicts of interest, and the need for increased awareness among businesses regarding legal and regulatory frameworks. This preliminary work and input aimed to equip the Secretariat to propose to the Council valuable recommendations for a tangible impact on the business environment.

Focus group meetings on the Secretariat’s findings and draft recommendations “On Improving the Access and Competitiveness for Albanian Products in the EU Market”

May 2024

The Secretariat convened three focus group meetings with the Hellenic Business Association of Albania, Tirana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Builders’ Association to review its preliminary findings and draft recommendations. The meetings were important for analyzing and refining the recommendations before their presentation at the upcoming Investment Council meeting. Experts and business members from these organizations discussed the proposals to ensure they are well-suited and effective for the Albanian business landscape.

Contribution to the Conference hosted by AmCham and Monitor Magazine “Economic Restructuring for a New Perspective”

24 June 2024

Head of the Investment Council Secretariat, Ms Diana Leka (Angoni), spoke in one of the panels of this conference. She highlighted the need to formalise the economy and discussed challenges in enhancing Albania’s economic climate. Drawing on the IC’s analyses on informality and competitiveness, Ms Leka prioritised three key elements: i) clarifying the vision to grasp the complexities of informality, ii) the need for official data and comprehensive policy analyses, and iii) aligning with significant national reforms. Moreover, she stressed the need for sustainable policies to formalise informal access, independent of political cycles, by broadening the taxpayer base and ongoing education in partnership with business groups, along with robust monitoring and establishing permanent enforcement institutions for effective implementation of state-business agreements and regulations.

Activity Report 2023

30 June 2024

The report provides an overview of our initiatives, the progress made on IC recommendations, and ongoing efforts to create enabling conditions for transparent policy dialogue on the business environment.

SECRETARIAT'S RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Minutes of IC Meeting XXXIII

Albania Economic Outlook 2023

Activity Report 2023

INVESTMENT COUNCIL’S MENTIONING IN THE MEDIA

Report TV, 16 April 2024 (in Albanian)

Investment Council survey, non-declaration of real wages increases

TV Klan, 17 April 2024 (in Albanian)

Survey with businesses: Informality, still present

Report TV, 19 April 2024 (in Albanian)

Survey: Business in the country requires more than 5,700 employees! Here are the professions that are in demand

TV Klan, 8 May 2024 (in Albanian)

Albanian businesses, less attention toward innovation

ABOUT ALBANIA INVESTMENT COUNCIL

The Investment Council is a platform set up by the Albanian authorities with support from the EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to intensify dialogue between the government and the private sector, improve the business climate, and promote good governance.

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