“Justice Reform can increase investment in Albania”
FIAA: What are your impressions of the business operating environment in Albania currently?
Mr. Canacaris: The environment has improved a lot in recent years, especially after the international crisis of 2008. For sure the growth in 2016 is much higher than in 2015, which was higher than 2014. The overall environment is not so bad. Of course, it can always improve.
What have been some of the drivers of this change in recent years?
The payment of the arrears by the state was an excellent move; the state needed to do it and it did it properly. And the power reform was also a good move; it has improved the business climate.
What is your prognosis for the next one or two years?
We still have the challenge of non performing loans in the banking system, and this is our biggest challenge for this year and the coming years. The central bank has taken some good steps to decrease NPLs. We need to continue to decrease NPLs, which will give more confidence to the banking system to increase lending.
What do you think the central bank can do to improve the environment for banks?
The central bank has done everything that has to be done, and it is continuing to take all the necessary steps.So it is not that it needs to change; it needs to continue. More improvements are needed in the general environment, for example Justice Reform.
What are your views on how Justice Reform may impact business in Albania?
Justice Reform is necessary for Albania to negotiate to be an EU member. And when it really takes the last steps to become an EU member, Albania will be more in the loop for investment. I was in Romania before it became an EU member and when Romania started negotiations, more EU companies invested there. Justice Reform is necessary to really start negotiations with the EU.
What more can be done to improve the operating environment here for foreign businesses?
Justice Reform is really important because we need to have fair court decisions. But to increase FDI further, we need to continue to promote Albania abroad, for example through road shows. In this region there is tough competition for FDI. Albania is more stable than other countries in the region, and we need to continue to promote Albania abroad.