Albania is situated in South Eastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia-Montenegro. The country covers a total of 28,000 squared kilometers (11,000 squared miles) and its population is 3.3 million. The terrain of the country is mostly mountains and hills, while plains are along the coast. Total land boundaries are 720 km, of which 282 km with Greece, 151 km with Macedonia, 287 km with Kosovo and Montenegro. Land boundary reaches 362 km, facing the Italian coast for less than 100 km.
Originating since 4,000 years before Christ, the Albanians are descendants of ancient Pelasgians. Their language is the oldest one in the Indo-European group of languages. The name “Albanian” derives from the name of an Illyrian tribe “Albanoi” who were descendants of ancient Pelasgians. Illyrians used to trade with Greeks and Thracians their cattle, horses, coppers, iron, etc.
After centuries of wars with invadors, Illyrians survived with their culture and language. The Roman, Barbarian and Turkish invasions lead in the beginning of 19th century the creation of Albanian state.
Albanians were also part of the countries fighting against invadors during World War I and II, which lead the establishment of Albanian communist regime, under the Soviet Union camp.
After a long period of 50 years in the communism regime, Albania introduced the democracy and market economy principles in 1992. The country is striving towards integration in NATO and EU and is testying growing trends in economic and social development.
Albania has a democratic government currently lead by Democratic Party who won elections of 2005. Democratic Pary and Social Party are the two main political forces in the countre. Many other smaller political parties exist in the country.
The constitution of Albania is adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998.
Albania has a civil law system. The Executive branch of the country consists of the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers. The Legislative branch is composed by the unicameral People’s Assembly, while Judicial branch consists of Constitution Court, Supreme Court and multiple appeals and district courts.
Petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower. Furthermore reserves of marbles, stones are found in the country and not fully exploited. Beaches, rivers, lakes, mediterranean climate, and other water resources are other natural resources of the country.
People: Education and Labor
With a population of 3.5 million people, the median age reaches 28.5 years old. Albanian ethnic group composes 95% of the population, while minorities of Greeks, Roma, Valch, Serbians, Macedonians, Bulgarians leave in the country.
7 universities and a lot of high and vocational schools generate thousands of graduates each year in various sciences such as Education, Humanities and Arts, Social Sciences, Business, Law, Mathematics, Informatics, Engeneering, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Medicine, Services, etc
1.09 million people represent labor force in Albania, a figure that does not include 352,000 emigrant workers. Unemployment rate is officially acknowledged as 14.8%. 57% of employed people are hired in the agriculture sector, 20% in the non-agriculture sector and 23% in the public sector.
The country is striving to succeed the transition period towards development and EU integration. A positive growth rate has been noted in the level of 5.6% in 2004. The GDP (purchasing power parity) of 17.46 billion USD is divided amid sectors as follows: agriculture 46.2%, industry 25.4% and services 28.4%. Inflation rate is only 3.2% (est. 2004), while investments counted for 18.4% of GDP.
Current account balance reaches USD 504 million. Budget expenditures of USD 2.46 billion (including capital expenditures of USD 500 millions) exceeded budget reveneues of USD 2.05 billion.
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold reaches USD 1.2 billion. Albanian currency “lek” (code ALL) is exchanged with USD in a ratio of 102:1 (in 2005).
Main agriculture production sectors include: wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruit, sugar beets, grapes, meat, dairy products, herbs & spices.
Main industrial production sectors include: food processing, textiles/clothing, leather/footwear, wood processing/furnitures, oil, cement, chemicals, minig, basic metals, hydropower, construction, tourism, etc.
Main trade partners of Albania are Italy and Greece. Albanian trade balance is negative with exports reaching USD 552.4 million and imports reaching USD 2,076 millions.
Investment and Business Opportunities:
Investment opportunities exist in various sectors, such as:
• Mining and Oil
• Agroindustry: Meat processing, Herbs & Spices, Frozen foods, etc.
• Stone and marbling processing,
• Wood processing and Furnitures, etc.
• Plastic products