Albania is the most dynamic renewable energy country in Europe. Through strong political commitment and an ambitious national strategy, the Government has placed renewable energy at the top of the country’s development agenda. The long term vision of the government is to position Albania as one of the world’s leading renewable energy –driven economies.
For investors in the renewable sector, the Government of Albania offers the following benefits:
- Attractive feed-in tariffs for small hydropower plants (HPP)
- New laws on electricity market
Albania has huge potential for hydroelectric energy:
- Total installed capacity of 1,878 MW;
- Potential installed capacity of 4,500 MW;
- Average power production of 4.2 TWh;
- Potential annual power production of 16-18 TWh;
- Only 35% of hydroelectric energy potential is currently being utilized.
Exploration, exploitation and processing of mineral ores constitute a significant activity in the Albanian economy, and the sector is growing up each year. Albania’s mineral deposits include chrome, copper, iron-nickel, limestone, sandstone, asphalt and natural bitumen, decorative limestone, decorative massive sandstone.
The exploitation sector represents a growing contributor to the Albanian economy. The sector represented about 1.2%-1.4% of GDP (in 2013, 1.2%).The total number of mining licenses is 640 and 40 of them, are foreign owned companies. The total licensed surfaces in mining sector is S = 75.40 km². The major foreign operators in mining industry come from Turkey, Canada, China and Italy.
There are several advantages on investing in the mining industry in Albania:
- Rich in various minerals with a proven record of successful investments in the sector (both domestic and foreign);
- Huge untapped potential for further investments, both in extracting and processing;
- A priority sector for the Government, which continues to develop favorable investment policies;
- Availability of high quality, experienced engineers and other technical personnel;
- Easy access to international markets;
- Competitive human capital.
Tourism is one of the most important pillars of the Albanian economy. The country offers unique development potential, attractive coastline, with long sandy beaches, rocky shores and clear water. The climate and geographical position of Albania, is suitable for both mountain and beach tourism.
In 2015, the total tourism contribution to GDP was ALL 306,2bn (21.1% of GDP). Within the tourism sector 182,000 jobs have been created, which represent 19.2% of total employment and 13. 784 enterprises are operating in the tourism sector and related services.
The importance put in tourism development has escalated in these recent years. Albania is transforming in an internationally recognized tourism site for foreign tourists as well. In 2014, Albania was listed 4th on the New York Times’ “52 places to go in 2014” article. The country was ranked 3d among top 15 tourist location for 2015, according to L’ Express Magazine.
Its range of archaeological, historical and religious sites:
- Natural protected areas: 56 protected areas
- International protected areas: 4 RAMSAR areas
- Cultural monuments: ~1600 monuments
- Archeological parks: 9 parks
- International protected sites: 3 UNESCO protected sites
Key tourism segments to develop businesses:
- Beach resorts
- Nature tourism (including trekking, climbing and rafting)
- MICE tourism
- Health tourism (SPA and Thermal)
Albania has a strong and vibrant manufacturing sector, which is driven by highly successful enterprises in the textile and footwear industry. This success has been achieved through establishing extraordinarily close relationships with leading Italian brands over the past 20 years.
Key facts on the manufacturing sector:
- In 2014, exports increased by 24,6% or 165 million dollars;
- 5000 new jobs were created within the year;
- 14% increase in imports of machineries and equipment;
- Partnerships with major brands and retailers throughout Europe;
- Major markets in Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Denmark and Greece.
Key advantages of the textile and footwear industry in Albania:
- Highly skilled and cost-competitive workforce;
- Experience and tradition, high quality products;
- Short-time deliveries to EU countries with comparatively low transport costs to Europe;
- Competitive labor expenses due to lower salaries than the other countries in the region;
- Excellent language skills;
- Stable and favorable Investment climate;
- A consolidated legal framework in compliance with international standards;
- Government policy to support this sector for this business
The government has rolled out the Textile and Footwear Industry Package 2014, giving a strong stimulus to the fashion industry
- For the first time, the Government provides a symbolic tariff of € 1 leasing contract, when renting government property;
- Instant reimbursement of VAT, in the case of taxpayers with a zero risk, and within 30 days in the case of exporter taxpayers;
- Exemption from VAT on machinery and equipment;
- Different financing incentives for job training;
- Facilitation of Customs Procedures;
- Simplification of procedures on the Employment and Social Security;
- This sector is represented in the National Economic Council;
- A one-stop shop dedicated solely to textiles and footwear investors has established within the Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA).
Agriculture remains one of the largest and most important sectors in Albania. Agriculture is a main source of employment and income – especially in the country’s rural areas – and represents around 20% of the GDP covering about half of the total employment. The main objectives for 2015 are the irrigation and the drainage systems and food security, in line with the EU priorities and conditions. The Government aims to transform “Made in Albania” brand into a certified and reliable food brand in the international market.
There are many reasons to invest in the agriculture sector in Albania:
- Favorable climate;
- Annual average temperature of 16 Cel. in the coastal areas;
- Diverse micro-climate that is suitable for a broad diversity of agricultural products;
- Suitable soil and abundant water;
- Advantages from preferential trade agreements with EU;
- Continuing and steady sector growth in the past five years;
- Non-affected by the European debt crisis;
- 18% increase in exports in 2015.
- Reimbursement of VAT for agricultural products;
- Governmental property lease contracts for a symbolic EUR 1.00;
- Revision of tax on raw materials and breeding animals;
- Exemption from import VAT for agricultural machinery;
- Revision of customs tariffs for seedlings;
- Registration of agricultural mechanics.
Transport and Logistics
Albania’s location at the center of the natural crossroad of European transport corridors places the country in a unique geographical position. A decade of continuous investments in the country’s infrastructure has boosted the development of the transport sector, which continues to play an important role in the broader economic development of the country.
The Albanian national road network contains:
- 3,719 km of roads;
- 1,198 km of primary roads and 2,083 km of secondary roads;
- All the country’s primary roads are paved according to the international;
- 67% of the country’s secondary network paved to international standards
Albania is connected to a number of regional logistics corridors
The Pan-European Corridor VIII
This strategic transport corridor is important for the Albanian trade:
- Joins the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea;
- Passes through Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria;
- Connects Durres and Tirana with Skopje, Sofia, Bourgas, Varna and Plodviv.
Albania also has several critical logistic corridors:
The “Durrës – Kukës – Morinë” corridor, which is known as “Rruga e Kombit”:
- Concidered as Albanian’s best link with Pan-European Corridor VIII;
- 170 km long;
- Connects the capital – Tirana – with the port of Durres and state of Kosovo.
Work is currently in progress on the completion of a number of other important corridors including:
- Between the east and west of Albania, a 64 km road connecting Lushnje, Fier and Vlore;
- 63 km road between Qafë Thanë, Pogradec and Korçë;
- 29 km road known as the ‘Tirana – Elbasan highway’, an important part of Albania’s Central-South Axis;
- 22 km bypass around the city of Fier, a significant project, which will connect two of Albania’s main highways.
Albania currently has ports in four main cities – Durres, Vlora, Saranda and Shengjini – with plans for continuous expansion.
Tirana International Airport – “Mother Teresa” is located in an excellent geographical position at the heart of Albania. It is:
- 17 km from the capital city;
- 32 km from Durres, the country’s biggest port;
- Located at a major crossroad between northern, southern, central and eastern Albania;
- Located very closely to Albania’s core industries which are mostly located in or around Tirana