A member of the multilateral Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), Albania is an inclusive, multicultural society that is intimately connected to its partner nations through its people, its trade, its aid and a form of socially and environmentally aware entrepreneurship that encourages a rising tide for all people, everywhere.
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the Albanian economy primarily through its negative effect on tourism, which normally contributes to more than a fifth of the country’s GDP. According to the Albanian Tourism Union, around 5 million overnight stays during the summer season have been cancelled this year.
Also, goods exports to Italy, Albania’s main trading partner, fell by more than 40 per cent year-on-year during the most severe lockdown (March to May 2020), and by 15 per cent year-on-year in June-July. Overall, total exports of goods in the first seven month of 2020 were 17 per cent lower in year-on-year terms.
The decline in remittances, which decreased by almost one fifth in the first half of 2020 versus the same period of 2019, has dampened private consumption.
By end-August 2020, the government had adopted two economic support packages, worth 2.8 per cent of GDP. The packages consisted mainly of increased government expenditures to support businesses, sovereign guarantees and one-off social transfers. Monetary policy responded by policy rate cuts, to the record low of 0.5 per cent, while foreign exchange market interventions at the end of March 2020 sought to mitigate depreciation pressures. By mid-2020 public debt stood at 80 per cent of GDP, 14 percentage points higher than at the end of 2019.
Taking everything into account, Albania’s GDP is projected to contract by 9.0 per cent in 2020, rebounding by 4.5 per cent in 2021, supported by reconstruction after the earlier earthquake. These forecasts assume no major resurgence of the pandemic.
Additionally, Albania is implementing important structural reforms that will support equitable growth, raise productivity and competitiveness in the economy, create more jobs, and improve governance and public service delivery. Enhanced regional connectivity and access to regional and global markets, coupled with export and market diversification, can also help promote faster growth.
Digital trade as an opportunity for economic development
Albania has recognized the importance of digital trade as an opportunity for economic development. The Government is rolling out an e-business campaign for small and medium-sized enterprises, helping companies to break into foreign markets. The digital trade in goods and services has played a crucial role in keeping Albania’s economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic. Albania is partnering with the World Bank to build on this digitalization momentum.
A member of the multilateral Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), Albania is an inclusive, multicultural society that is intimately connected to its partner nations through its people, its trade, its aid and a form of socially and environmentally aware entrepreneurship that encourages a rising tide for all people, everywhere. These values and characteristics align strongly with those of the WBAF.
WBAF opens a Country Office in Albania
As announced by the World Business Angels Investment Forum, the first WBAF Country Office in the Western Balkans will be launched in Albania with an opening ceremony on 8th of November in Tirana. The inclusion of Albania in WBAF opens the doors on a wide range of multilateral opportunities for Albanian start-ups, scaleups and high growth businesses to engage with global markets, peers and investors.
With this new office, the Albanian entrepreneurship ecosystem will join the largest forum of the world’s equity investment markets. Albanian angel investors, incubation centres, accelerators, private equity funds, co-investment funds, technology parks, corporate ventures and aspiring entrepreneurs will have even more opportunity to connect with global leaders in the same fields.
Baybars Altuntas, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the World Business Angels Investment Forum says “As an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnerships for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the WBAF supports start-ups, develops entrepreneurial ecosystems, and helps venture capital and companies connect with international companies, fintechs and other relevant institutions. We are confident about our contribution to economic development by facilitating connections with entrepreneurial ecosystems. We welcome Albania for the contribution it can make as one of the fastest growing and most advanced start-up nations in the Western Balkans.”
About the World Business Angels Investment Forum
As an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) is committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development of the world by fostering innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and to promoting gender equality and women’s participation in all sectors of the world economy. WBAF invites you to join our global efforts to ease access to finance, promote financial inclusion, and create more jobs and social justice.