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Foreign Business Community and Government of Albania

November 8, 2017
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“Moving Forward”

Ministers state: Sustainable Investments for Sustainable Development!

FIAA organized an event whereby Albanian Ministers of Infrastructure and Energy Mr. Damian Gjiknuri, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship Mrs. Sonila Qato and Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Niko Peleshi presented their sectoral plans at the presence of the foreign business community in Albania and confirmed government’s full commitment to move forward with the improvement of business climate.

In his opening remarks, FIAA’s Chairman, Mr. Silvio Pedrazzi highlighted that Albania should keep up with reforms for a friendly business environment, in particular for the existing foreign investments. “We are willing to commit on our behalf, but this requires a friendlier business environment. We are aware, it is in the Government’ priorities to improve the business climate, but there is need to move forward and speed up with the related reforms. We are the best ambassadors to promote Albanian investments!”- stated Mr. Pedrazzi.

During his word, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Mr. Gjiknuri highlighted the importance of foreign investments in Albania and the need for sustainable development. The Minister emphasized the importance on foreign investments in Albania, but stressed that the absorption of new investments starts with the treatment of those investors that are currently in the country.

“The Government should play its role through institutional support, by providing incentives in the event of conflicts, or when things are up to Government to solve them on time with the ultimate aim of having a proper investment climate. Albania has great potentials for investments in many areas. Energy is not the only field, although it has been the mainstay of the country’s economy with a large share of foreign investments. I am confident that even in the field of transport in frame of public private partnership for infrastructure including roads, water system or urban waste treatment, Albania has plenty of opportunities and potentials to attract more investments”- stated Minister Gjiknuri.

From the other side, Minister for Entrepreneurship Mrs. Qato presented the role of the Newly created Institution having in focus the protection of Business interests in Albania. The Minister further highlighted that “The Government is planning fiscal incentives to attract new foreign investments. We are focused on improving the situation and building a favorable business climate, undertaking concrete measures, such as: the deregulatory reform and the structural reform of institutions which do directly operate with entrepreneurship”.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Peleshi emphasized that the Government should continue reforms to build a sustainable investment climate and in particular his institution commits to support and assist all potential investors in agriculture, considering this sector as highly vital and promising for Albania.

“We will convert weaknesses of the agricultural sector into advantages. It is our challenge to draw the attention of foreign and domestic investors into agriculture. This is the indicator of our performance. Supporting the entire value chain of agricultural production for the best performing products, economic support and facilitation of the ministry’s procedures and subordinate agencies are at our focus to bring serious investments to this sector”.

The event was hosted by FIAA Members ALBtelecom sh.a, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Vodafone Albania, Statkraft, and Kalo & Associates.

    

    

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Meeting with EITI International Validation Team Experts

June 8, 2017
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Mining Industry issues

In the framework of the cooperation among FIAA Committee of Mining, Oil and Gas Members and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Albania, the FIAA Members have been very active in response to the implementation of the International EITI Standards in the country. Being part of the-Institutional Working Group, they have been part of the steering and co-coordinating structure for the EITI issues in Albania.

In this ambit, they met in early June with the Validation Team from EITI International Secretariat in Oslo, who visited Albania in order to monitor and review the EITI work in Albania. During the roundtable, the present businesses discussed about the better functioning of the Interagency Working Group (MSG) and the continuous improvement of Albanian Legislation in the focused sectors along with concrete results and impact of this process in all institutions, especially in mining industry areas, communities’ areas, relations with interest groups and civil society, etc.

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Transit –Tirana Farm Days

May 22, 2017
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EU Transit, Tirana Farm” is a Fancy Event hold on May 19th-20th, which aimed at the promotion of the Albanian products to the invited Entrepreneurs from European Enterprise Network and was organized under the care of the Municipality of Tirana and Ministry of Economy.

In the framework of the cooperation that FIAA has with Risi Albania Project, it has been given support to the Business Forum Session of this event along with the presentation of several successful business cases in agro processing sector.

During the two days event, there were presented the most successful business Models and the experiences the Entrepreneurs have had in Albania including their exchange of experiences, promotion of good ideas, success stories and promotion of Albania into the Entrepreneurship culture. This event combined various activities which created the opportunity to increase business networks and build new contacts.

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TAP Project holds a presentation at the FIAA First Business Networking Event

May 11, 2017
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In frame of the promotion of foreign investments in the country, FIAA organized a Business Networking Event which had in its focus the Project presentation of Trans Adriatic Pipeline – TAP. The Chairman of FIAA, Mr. Pedrazzi during his opening word expressed that: “I think FIAA, in fulfilling its mission has also the obligation to bring to public attention, the success of businesses and the achievements of its members. In TAP’s case, I should emphasize not only the grandeur of this work, but also the quality of this project, as the largest investment ever made in Albania, and also emphasize all the other positive effects on society, especially for local communities, through social investments made by TAP”.

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Mr. Dietmar REINER – VERBUND’s Country Representative and CEO of Energji Ashta

April 20, 2017
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An independent, functioning and reliable justice system is a basic element required for all!

FIAA: During the first four years of the operation phase of the Ashta Hydro Power Plant, what have been the most significant challenges that you have had to overcome?

 Mr. Dietmar Reiner:  We have invested more than 200 Million EURO until end of 2012 to build a state of the art Hydro Power Plant. VERBUND and its partner EVN were the first large–scale private investors entering the Albanian Energy Sector. Due to the difficult situation in 2008, the time when the concession agreement has been signed, it was agreed with the government to enter into a long-term power offtake agreement. This agreement entered into force in April 2013, until June 2016 KESH was the off-taker, but then it was transferred to OSHEE. In the last four years there were a lot of challenges in the Albanian energy sector, especially in the downstream business, with the difficult situation in the distribution system and the supply to endcustomers. These difficulties also influenced our business; we were mainly suffering from payment delays which created for some periods huge arrears mainly to our lenders. Due to the background of our shareholders as large public utilities in the energy sector in Austria, the understanding of the situation and our belief in the success of the necessary reform in the energy sector, we and also our shareholders and lenders kept calm and focused during this time.

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EBRD’s Board Directors Meet authorities, businesses and civil society organizations in Albania

March 29, 2017
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By end of March, the EBRD Board of Directors visited Albania and met government representatives, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations.

The purpose of the visit was to bring the Directors, up to date with the progress of transition, as well as to allow them to witness the impact of the Bank’s activities on this process and to become better acquainted with the domestic, foreign business and diplomatic communities in these countries.

To date, the EBRD has invested €1 billion in 77 projects in Albania. Infrastructure and energy are the largest sectors of EBRD investments, reflecting both the country’s most pressing needs and strongest potential.

Other EBRD priorities in Albania according to the current country strategy (2016-2019) include supporting private sector competitiveness, building on the strong entrepreneurial spirit in the economy, strengthening regional infrastructure linkages, enhancing the commercialization of state-owned enterprises and promoting sustainable energy and environmentally sound investments.

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FIAA Board meets USA Ambassador

March 28, 2017
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In late March 2017, the Executive Team of FIAA met with the Ambassador of USA in Tirana, Mr. Donald Lu. This meeting was in the course of other meetings FIAA is having with High Governmental, Internationals and Diplomats in Albania, mainly focused on the recent developments in the business environment of the country and exchange of views for related support. During the Meeting with Ambassador Lu, The Chairman of FIAA highlighted the main findings of the FIAA recent Survey and expressed his readiness for closer cooperation with the Embassy in particular for good implementation of the Justice Reform as one of the preconditions for a better business climate in the country. On the other side, Ambassador Lu thanked FIAA for the good job done and suggested for stronger cooperation between FIAA and American Businesses in Albania.

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FIAA participates in the World Bank Group Executive Directors’ Meeting, Highlighting Albania’s Future in Regional Power Exchange

March 27, 2017
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In late March, a group of Executive Directors, members of the Board of the World Bank Group, visited Albania with the purpose to assess the Bank Group’s engagement in the energy sector and efforts to support regional connectivity. Increasing regional cooperation and plans to improve connectivity within Western Balkans started in 2014 with support from the World Bank Group and the European Union.

During their visit, the WB Directors met with key Executives of the Albanian Government and discussed Albania’s progress and challenges in the energy sector and shared views on facilitating energy exchange through the establishment of organized electricity markets and the prospects for expanding regional integration. As well, it was discussed the impact of World Bank Group financed operations, like the Power Sector Recovery Program, on energy sector reforms within the Government’s broader structural reform agenda.

Part of the WB Executive Directors’ Agenda was a meeting with private sector’s representatives, where FIAA was represented by its Chairman, Mr. Pedrazzi. In the meeting it was discussed on challenges to a competitive and efficient energy sector and how the World Bank can assist in addressing these constraints.

The World Bank Group has a large lending and guarantee portfolio in Albania, including International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing of US$615 million, an International Finance Corporation Portfolio of US$187 million, including funds mobilized from its partners, and a Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency portfolio of US$214 million.

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FIAA Executives meet the European Journalists

March 1, 2017
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European Commission’s DG NEAR is a project implemented by Particp GmBh aiming to inform the public in EU member states about the progress that countries who are candidates and potential candidates for EU membership are making in fundamental areas, such as fight against corruption and organized crime, economic development etc.

FIAA Executive Director participated in a Business lunch with several journalists from different EU member states who visited Albania this February, in frame of promoting a better understanding of the EU’s enlargement process and offer insights into the key reforms in the candidate countries and potential candidates for future EU membership. The February’s study visit to Albania focused on economic governance and rule of law as key enablers for a conductive business environment and opportunities in the country.

Being one of the key organizations in the country, FIAA was picked as one of the main representatives of the business community in Albania expected to share views and perspectives with the EU Journalists. During her presentation, Mrs. Jazoj made a broader picture of Albanian potentials and challenges providing also information into a broader perspective for the investment opportunities and areas where work should go on.

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