“20+ years’ milestone with FIAA”
FIAA: Coca-Cola Bottling Shqipëria entered the Albanian market in 1994, thus being among the first foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the country. How would you describe the development of your business in Albania since our country is going through a more mature market economy?
Mr. Busi: Based on recent years ‘analytic data, Albania is showing and demonstrating some very interesting growth in numbers. Today, many entrepreneurial realities are expanding more and more their business in the Albanian market. CCBS was a pioneer investor, which officially entered Albania 28 years ago, impacting significantly and positively both, economy and culture.
We decided to invest in Albania during a difficult period, a country with a troubled political history, isolated from international realities and foreign markets’ landscape at that time. When we entered the country, it was just 4 years after the collapse of the totalitarian system, but we envisaged the changing of that realty towards a new Albanian appearance.
An entrepreneurial risk that we wanted to run with prudence, arriving in this country not as foreigners looking to do business, but as strategic partners, ready to support the institutions and the people on a recovery path that would soon take place. We started with 20 employees and today, despite the pandemic, we can guarantee development and employment with 342 employees and a portfolio of iconic brands such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes. Just a few months ago we presented a research by the Italian University SDA Bocconi, which calculated the impact of the company on the country’s economy: 3,267 million Lekë, is CCBS’ contribution generated and distributed in 2019, equal to 0.19% of Albanian GDP.
In this direction, Coca-Cola Bottling Shqipëria wants to become an example to be followed from all those companies that want to invest in this splendid country, full of resources, which continues to follow a constant trend of growth, which I am sure, still has a high potential of development. The key word must be “integration” and “cooperation”, only in this way, Albania will we be able to aim for ethical, healthy and responsible development.
Coca-Cola Bottling Shqipëria has been part of FIAA since the very first days of our organization. How would you describe your journey with us?
FIAA is the most important Albanian reality in support of foreign investors. Thanks to the commitments of your association, CCBS has had a real partner at its side to open new gates of cooperation with the government and resolve the bureaucratic and regulatory problems encountered in recent years, especially in the pandemic period, which has dragged many operational difficulties with it. The intervention strategies implemented have in fact allowed our company to continue to be operational during the lockdown and to find solutions thanks to networking abilities. In recent years, FIAA has also created “shared value”, with the aim of strengthening the contribution of businesses in creating a new model of economic development. By affirming the importance of the entrepreneurial system as the engine of the country’s economic, social and civil growth, it has managed to create common and shared paths, respecting the identity and autonomy of each business, developing concrete proposals for reforms on supporting investors’ legislation.
What do you think are the biggest future challenges in Albania and how do you see the role of FIAA in ensuring sustainable growth of your business in the country?
Today, more than ever the Albanian Business Community needs a reference point, which can lead the way acting as a process facilitator and create a better business climate, not only by dialogue with the Public Administration but also with the social partners and civil society, to support economy and finance, culture, research, technological innovation and more. The challenges that drive all our future choices are mainly linked to the ecological transition with green investments that can reverse the course of the past, and the fight against corruption: just think of the improvement of differentiated waste management, the strengthening of infrastructure for the electric vehicles’ mobility (public recharging stations), up to the sanctions for incorrect behavior to combat unfair competition. We need to start a new path of incentives and government support in favor of the development of a circular economy, just as it is necessary to push on the culture of rule of law, to allow healthy businesses to find a proactive context to operate. A common strategic vision is needed to achieve the objectives that could change the face of Albania. And, I am sure that, also in this case, FIAA will not be supportless.