Ilir Konomi

Albanian apple exports reach EU, African and Asian markets

In recent years, exports have expanded to Bulgaria and Greece as well as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Providing guarantee for rising domestic production as long as it meets international safety standards.

Albanian apple exports have registered a 10-fold increase in the past six year.

Mainly thanks to higher quality production in the region of Korça, southeastern Albania


Is it safe to travel to Albania?


Streets of Gjirokastra

Since returning from an extended stay in Albania and publishing my guide to visiting the country, I’ve been receiving regular emails from readers wanting to know more.

Surprisingly, for me, one of the most common questions I’m asked is whether it’s safe to travel to Albania. I admit to finding this question a little perplexing. Aside from a brief period of unrest in 1997, Albania hasn’t been in a conflict since WWII.

Even during the Communist period when the country was mostly closed to outside visitors, it was still possible to safely travel around the country.

Random acts of violence are practically unheard of and even pickpocketing is uncommon.

As with all European nations (with the current exception of parts of Ukraine) Albania is completely safe and welcoming of tourists. To answer certain reader questions, Albania is safe for children and safe for dogs.

You might find it reassuring that Albania will likely join the EU in the next few years. The only reason they are late to join is due to issues of corruption, not safety.

Ksamil Beach

In some ways I feel like Albania is safer than most other European nations. Albanians are not always used to seeing tourists in their country. This spurs a certain curiosity and questions as to what you’re doing there. This is often followed by offers of help and invitations for drinks or meals. It’s not unusual for locals to come and say hello and make sure you’re getting the best out of your visit.

Butrint National Park

That’s not to say you should take unnecessary risks.

The biggest risk in Albania comes from the driving conditions. Albanian drivers aren’t exactly known for their patience and adherence to the law. But to be honest that’s a problem in much of the Balkans and Southern Europe.

Driving in Albania

Another issue faces adventure travellers who don’t take enough water and other supplies or those climbing in remote mountain areas. There have been a few incidents but these have mostly been caused by unprepared or inexperienced travellers.

Dodgy taxi drivers is a worldwide phenomenon and although annoying can easily be avoided by taking metered taxis.

What about solo women travellers? Admittedly I have never travelled solo in Albania although I know many who have. Most were in their 20s or early 30s but some baby boomers too. All had great experiences and encourage others to travel independently in Albania.

So what is it that makes travellers fear Albania? It could be their reputation for drug smuggling, human trafficking and the mafia. All of which exist in other countries and none of which affect tourists.

I guess more than anything it’s the fear of the unknown. Albania doesn’t often come up in top travel destination lists and many people couldn’t even point it out on a map. Where is Albania? What are the people like? Is it dangerous?

I can’t think of any other reason why people would think Albania isn’t safe. Albania is European. It’s safe.


Albania achieves historic finals

Before their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign, Albania had appeared in just two UEFA final tournaments at any level: the 1982 Under-18s and 1994 U16 Championship.

As soon as they opened with a 1-0 win in Portugal, however, it was clear that Albania were genuine contenders for a place in France. And although home losses to Portugal and Serbia delayed the big moment, their 3-0 victory in Armenia on Sunday stamped the nation’s historic finals ticket.


Giovanni de Biasi, Albania coach
This has been a big success, that’s obvious. I’m happy we’ve won a ticket to EURO 2016. To tell the truth, the score [in the 3-0 victory in Armenia] didn’t matter; the important thing was to win, get the three points and take second place in the group. Armenia played well, but we were stronger. Every victory makes us happy, but this one is the most valuable.


Key stats
Final tournaments: had never qualified
Coach: Giovanni de Biasi
Leading scorers: all-time – Erjon Bogdani (18); current – Hamdi Salihi (11)
Most appearances: all-time – Lorik Cana (87); current – Lorik Cana (87)

Record EURO appearances
Overall: Fotaq Strakosha (29)
Final tournament: none

Record EURO goals
Overall: Edmond Kapllani (5)
Final tournament: none

Albania Government announces 1 bln USD project

The bidding process for the tender of economic Spitalla area is open and transparent, assured yesterday the Minister of Economy of Albania. Minister Ahmetaj, presented the procedures, deadlines, evaluation criteria and selection of winners.

Spitalla Free Zone is a project through which Albania Government seeks to attract over $ 1 billion investment and to open 15 thousand jobs for the next 5 years. The interest was high among big businesses, representatives of Chambers of Commerce, commercial attachés, embassies, etc. Ahmetaj said that the tender which was opened two weeks ago, will close on 28 October.

The Minister assured the tax benefits to businesses that will be part of the economic development zone in Spitallë Durres. The developer will have full guarantee from Albania Government, that it will benefit the 99-year contract. Meanwhile business requires more time to this project. “I think that is long enough for an investor for a project so big that make business plan and have clearly identified all sources of funding,” said Egla Ballta, EBRD representative. “I believe, we all believe. We consulted the 65 days plus 4 months ahead. We believe that developers are interested enough, to have a very good project,” responded Ahmetaj.

Another concern of business is that the tax facilities. Nikolin Jaka, head of the Chamber of Commerce, said that the neighboring countries give more fiscal incentives for free zones. But the government has another assessment. “Macedonia has 50 tax convenience and reimbursement of social security 50. And even have a certain amount of 3 thousand euros for each job. Serbia offers tax incentives for 10 years of tax. We are still in the areas of technology and economic development and not a free economic zone said Nikolin Jaka.

Albania Economy – fight against informality

Action against informality in Albania Economy will not reduce consumption


Albania economy

Minister of Finance Shkelqim Cani

Ministry –  2.5% inflation that the government had anticipated was not confirmed, instead but proved only 1.3%. This difference gave effect to income.

Taxes –  “From 100 lek more on the economy from rising prices, the VAT is 20 Lek. In fact, the increase was only 50 Lek and VAT, 10 Lek.

Bank –  According to the governor of the Bank of Albania, Gent Sejko, “the average inflation in 2015 is expected to fluctuate around the level of 1.9%”.

Gent Sejko

Governor of Bank of Albania, Gent Sejko

Low inflation affects the revenue decline, but the consumer benefits from lower prices. This is the explanation provided by the Minister of Finance, Shkelqim Cani. An estimated budget of over 2 billion Lek lost only by the decline in inflation in the first six months of 2015. Mr.Cani answered reporters a day after signing the agreement with the Swiss government to grant a support program for public debt management. When asked whether action against informality could reduce consumption, he gave a different answer from the Bank of Albania. Minister Cani believes that the payment of bills reduced private consumption. And on the other hand increased budget revenues and increased consumption in the form of public expenditure of the government. That led at 2.82 per cent growth in the first quarter. Bank of Albania stated that the payment of overdue energy bills lowered consumption of the population. However, minister Cani admitted that at the moment inflation is a problem. Currently, the level of 1.3%, according to him, is far from target. Bank of Albania hosts a fluctuation about 3% by the end of 2017-s. Minister Cani was asked about the new Eurobond worth of 300-500 million euros that the government had planned to issue in September.  He said that currently the market conditions are not favorable. But the deadline for this action is up in November 2015.

The effect of inflation in Albania Economy

In his speech at the opening of the operation against informality, two days ago, Minister Cani said that 2 billion ALL missing due to rising inflation lower. “Inflation had anticipated that it would be 2.5%. Not confirmed the price increase that we had anticipated as a result of better development of the world economy. It proved only 1.3%; This difference gives us little income”, said Cani. For clarification of the public, Cani took an example. “If we had calculated that we had 100 lek more in the economy from higher prices, but VAT was imposed on 100 Lek will give 20 tax for fiscal authorities. In fact, it proved only 50 Lek. And well, that was not raised prices! Implemented 20% VAT on 50 Lek (no more than 100 lek), gives only 10 and not 20 Lek, revenues fell only from its effects”, explained Cani

The Governor of Bank of Albania

A day earlier, the governor of the BOA, Gent Sejko, reported on monetary policy. “Inflation fell slightly in July, due to the reduction in prices of fresh seasonal foods” he said. The decline in inflation of these products during the summer months are related to the growth of agricultural production in this period. Therefore, this factor is expected to have a transitional effect in Albania Economy. Prices of other items of the consumer basket has not changed significantly said the Governor. According to Sejko, the impact of these factors will continue to be present in the short run. “The average inflation during 2015 is expected to fluctuate around the level of 1.9%. However, our medium-term inflation expectations have not changed. Inflation will continue to rise further. And over the next two years and will be back steadily in our target of 3% by the end of 2017 promised Sejko.

Agreement with Switzerland 

Ministry of Finance and the Swiss government sign agreement on financial assistance of 450 thousand dollars for the project. “Maintaining macroeconomic stability is ranked at the top of the list of priorities of the government”, the minister said.”Debt and cash management will be improved with new electronic systems,” Cani said. Ambassador Christoph Graf said that reporting of accurate data on debt, paves the way for a better management and decision-making.

Inflation –  Inflation is rising prices. To assess the stability of prices in Albania Economy, the Bank uses the Consumer Price Index.

Objective –  The objective of the Bank of Albania is to maintain price stability. Bank of Albania intends that the annual increase in consumer prices in the country to be at 3%.

Albania Football Team one step closer to European 2016

Albania Football Team is getting closer and closer to their dream for participation into the European Football Championship 2016.

Still not beaten, Albania is in 3rd place in their group.

Thousands and thousands of Albanian travelled to attend the match played in Copenhagen on the 4th of September. The roads of Copenhagen were filled up with “Red and Blacks” with the white traditional caps. Proud Albanians finally are enjoying and having great time in the streets of Danish capital city. Their teams is writing history by playing high class football with one target: participating in the Finals of European Football Championship 2016. No other national football team before them has ever reached in such position.

On Monday September 7th, Albania Football Team will play vs Portugal in Elbasan Arena in Albania.

Albania Property Group wishes best of luck to our football team.

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