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Secretariat

Team

Since 2015, the IC is supported and coordinated by a technical Secretariat that consists of independent professionals selected and monitored in their activities by the EBRD. The Secretariat’s mandate is to directly engage with the business community, underpin the discussions in the IC with analytical and unbiased research work, and monitor the implementation and follow-through of all recommendations adopted.

Dr Diana Leka (Angoni)

Head of Secretariat

Dr. Diana Leka (Angoni) has more than 20 years consecutive management and expert working expertise in Albania with government, including central and local level, international organizations such as EU, IFC/WB, UNDP, GIZ, or business in areas covering competitiveness, trade and foreign direct investment.

She directly led or supported the strategic direction, guidance and management of programs that included several important initiatives with the Albanian government such as attraction of FDIs and its targeting strategy, advocacy on business competitiveness, direct support to SMEs and exports, monitoring of public policies and establishment of Government economic management(MIS) functions, including first national ICT strategy and roadmap for Albania, etc.

As an independent consultant, she delivered consultancy services in setting up a quality management system (ISO, HACCP) to several private companies or state institutions. She is a licensed auditor from Moody International (2005) and a licensed European Manager of QMS from the German Institute of Quality.

She has also worked as independent EU Evaluator contracted by EUD in Albania in relation to the evaluation of the offers for IPA 2007 on supporting SMEs to become more competitive in the EU market. She has published several articles in the Albanian print media on issues related to the investment climate in the country, including challenges of the Albanian companies while integrating into the EU and regional markets, as well as incentives to investment in Albania, compared to the region. Since 2010, she has led several business surveys while being the national coordinator of the Albanian Investment Report (UNDP/UNCTAD, BoA, INSTAT, etc) for 2010 and 2011. Ms Leka holds a university degree in Economy from the University of Tirana, a Master Degree in Economy and Financial Management from the University of Aix – Marseille No. 2, France, and a PhD Degree on the “Challenges of Albanian companies in the process of EU integration” from the University of Tirana.

In addition, since 1998, she has delivered lectures on Operation Management, Quality Management at public and private universities in Albania. Following her recent experience as Adviser to the Minister of Finances 2013-2014, Ms. Leka joined the IC Secretariat as Director, leading the overall work on the identification of the main impediments to investment climate in key sectors of the economy, facilitating the consultation process with the private sector in the elaboration of main obstacles and prioritization of relevant recommendations for doing business and organizing the work of the Investment Council.
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Elvis Zerva

Legal & Regulatory Expert

Mr Elvis Zerva (Ll.M, EMBA) is an experienced professional in business and investment law, policy dialogue and studies in public law.

Mr Zerva joined the Secretariat in 2015 and is responsible for identifying legal and institutional aspects that impede the development of the private and public sector in the frame of the investment climate in Albania. He provides detailed analyses on systemic issues, researches and practical recommendations on legal and regulatory improvements that aim to foster investments and enhance business climate in the country.

Mr Zerva holds a Bachelor Degree in Law and Master LL.M in Constitutional Right, Comparative and European from the University of Tirana and an EMBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology-Washington. He has completed executive education courses with YALE School of Management and London School of Economics & Political Science and holds several qualifications from national and international institutions in Justice, American Government-Constitutional Foundations, Compliance Programs and Conflict of Interests.

Mr Zerva is a member of the National Bar Association since 2008. Since 2021, Mr Zerva acts as Assistant Country Reporter for CELIS Institute Berlin. Previous working experiences, include solid experience with international companies in private sector, operating in banking and electronic communications.
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Elida Fara

Economic Expert

Ms Elida Fara joined the Secretariat in 2019. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Finance and a Master Degree in Management and Finance. She has 15 years of relevant practical work experience in Public Finance Management, Strategic Planning, Revenue and Project Management.

For 13 years she worked for the Ministry of Finance of Albania fully involved in policymaking, covering different aspects of public finance, varying from tax policy to strategic policy documents and other issues concerning public policy, administration and international cooperation. In the past 2 years, she worked for the United Nation Development Program as Public Finance Expert involved in supporting the enhancement of Local Self-Government Units in Tax Administration, Asset Management and External Audit.

Ms Fara is responsible for reviewing and identifying economic and business implications of the current legal and institutional framework with a focus on private sector concerns, providing detailed analyses and practical recommendations on improving the business climate and in general fostering investments in Albania. She has participated in various technical trainings from national and international institutions in the areas of macroeconomics, fiscal policy and programming, PFM, government finance statistics, incl. in training-to-trainers and PCM/Log-Frame courses.
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Xaira Shurdha

Liaison and Monitoring Expert

Ms Xaira Shurdha joined the Secretariat in 2019. Her professional experience is built in the financial and banking system where she worked for 17 years, being responsible for business analysis and strategic planning, supporting business clients growth, projection of institution profitability, statistically reporting, adequate information reporting to the Executive Management, financial and strategic consulting to the business and private individual clients, risk management.

In 2015, she founded a development-oriented NGO, that impacted the economic and social development of rural areas, especially in North Albania. In the capacity of project manager, she provided the overall strategic leadership to all project components, networking, project proposal writing, fundraising, budgeting and reporting, project implementation, consulting services, capacity building and training services.

In 2017, Ms Shurdha joined the central governance sector as Director of Cabinet of Deputy Prime Minister. She coordinated two cross-ministerial reforms ongoing in Albania “The reformation on Public Services” and the “Deregulation Reform-Simplification of licenses, permissions and authorization in the Republic of Albania.” These reforms were widely supported by many partners through different projects and she had the coordination role with these donors. Ms Shurdha was Board Director of the Agency for delivery of integrated services in Albania (ADISA), during September 2017- December 2018.

She led the working group for the network expansion of ADISA in all Albania, optimization of the agency staff structure and HR management, budgeting and reporting, costs and processes evaluation and projection. In addition to her Degree in Business Administration, she has attended the executive studies in Finance and Banking in Frankfurt, Germany. Being very keen on sharing her knowledge with young generations, she influenced them by lecturing “Business Communication” and “Management principles” to the students of Shkodra University.
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Elisa Lula

Administrative and
Communications Officer

Ms Elisa Lula joined the Secretariat in 2015 after a 6-year work experience (2003 – 2009) in the private sector, followed by 5-year work experience (2009 – 2014) in the administration of international projects (EU-IPA, GIZ) with a focus on innovation, SME competitiveness and entrepreneurship.

She holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages from the University of Tirana (2003), and an MBA degree with a major in Entrepreneurship from Regent University, USA (2015).

Mimoza Agolli

Economic Expert (part-time), July 2018 – December 2018

Ms Mimoza Agolli joined the Secretariat of Investment Council on a short-term assignment as an Economic Expert. She has extensive experience as a consultant /researcher on economic issues, with a focus on welfare and distributional impact of public policies including fiscal policies, education and employment.

She is an excellent connoisseur of national statistics and possesses expertise in using quantitative tools, econometric and computational ones, in research and policy analyses. She has been providing her expertise for the public sector, private banking institutions, NGOs and international organisations on numerous assignments.

Ms Mimoza Agolli holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economy and Finance, with minor in Tourism Management from University “F. S. Noli”, in Korçë. She pursued graduate studies in Applied Economics and Management Sciences, in Greece at Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH/CHIEAM). She is currently completing her research work as part of PhD studies in Quantitative Economics, Faculty of Economics (CAU, Germany).

Ermelinda Xhaja

Economic Expert (full time), July 2015 – December 2017

Ms. Ermelinda Xhaja joined the Secretariat after a seven-year experience in the OSCE Presence in Albania as National Programme Officer for Economy and Anti-corruption. She has previous six-year experience in the Albanian Ministry of Economy dealing with strategic programming and donor coordination. Additionally, Ms. Xhaja has an academic background as an assistant professor in various economic courses in Tirana and Vlora University.

She holds a university degree in Business Management and a Master Degree in Economy from the University of Tirana. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana. As Economic Expert in the Secretariat, Ms. Xhaja was responsible for reviewing and identifying economic and business implications of the current legal and institutional framework with a focus on private sector concerns, providing detailed analyses and practical recommendations on improving the business climate and in general fostering investments in Albania.

Methodology of work

How the IC Secretariat prepares Technical Notes?