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Mrs. Katia Stathaki – CEO of Vodafone Albania

December 22, 2021
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“Vodafone Albania has always been a pioneer of introducing new technologies in the country”

FIAA: Finally, we have a female Leader for Vodafone Albania, this is a trend applied also to other industries and to the recent Governments. How is your experience in Albania going so far?

Mrs. Stathaki: Albania is a beautiful country to live in. When I was appointed to this role, I knew little about the country. Half a year later, I could not be happier for my appointment as Vodafone Albania CEO. I have not only found a great team here, but I have discovered also a beautiful country with an amazing spirit and hospitality.

My colleagues in Albania are doing a fantastic work to transform Vodafone from a telecommunication to a technology company, and I am glad that the leadership in this journey was trusted to me.

In this view, I would like to refer to female leadership as a global milestone. Females have fought for equal rights for centuries and arriving here, is not a matter of coincidence or a trend, it is a sign of a maturing society that is acknowledging the equal role of us females in leadership and management. And not only that, it acknowledges the different angle that female leadership brings to the table. In Albania, I might say, the high number of females in leadership roles has caught my attention; often it is even higher than some of the other European countries. I am also very lucky to be working for a company which acknowledges and promotes female leadership. Vodafone highly promotes females in leadership positions, this combined with their professional skills and experience can make for a great team building and results. At Vodafone we encourage participation, innovative ideas, diversity and inclusion. Being the CEO of Vodafone Albania is for me a personal and professional achievement, yet an enormous responsibility towards the company, my colleagues, our customers and the society at large where we operate and contribute. Being the very first female CEO of Vodafone in Albania motivates me even more and gives me courage to do better each day.

How is Vodafone performing in Albania? Any new project for our market?

What are your plans for investment in Albania the next 2-3 years?

We will hopefully soon be entering the post pandemic era; the pandemic taught us a new reality and gave us a different perspective on things; it has helped us form a new vision and that vision is strongly connected with technology and digitization, a vision that will put Vodafone Albania in the forefront of this digital transformation. For us at Vodafone it has become apparent since many years ago that digital and the use of technology for the welfare of our society is of huge importance. The pandemic has accelerated what was expected. I would like to stress out at this point that Vodafone Albania has always been a pioneer of introducing new technologies in the country. We were the first in the Albanian market to introduce 3G, 4G and will introduce 5G technology, following the footsteps of the Vodafone Group 5G investments all over Europe. Though we see the introduction of the new technologies not as a goal in itself but as a tool to the benefit of the society and always following the moto that “nobody should be left behind”.

Today we have moved to a fully converged company, and our aim is to invest over 100 million euros in fixed broadband infrastructure, and to bring that to the same high standards as we have brought the mobile network in the country.

We are all aware that the telecommunication sector is vital part of our society; connectivity is a service with almost the same importance as water and electricity. The pandemic made it even more visible to society, to consumers and businesses that we need a network infrastructure, that is inclusive and available in the same way in urban and rural areas of the country, in schools, universities, businesses, hospitals, everywhere. We see the introduction of the new technologies not as a goal in itself but as a tool to bring real benefits to the society and always following the moto that “nobody should be left behind”.

In the next decade we will answer that need!

The next decade will see a major societal change, enabling inclusiveness, strengthening digital education, e-health, e-agriculture, transport and all sectors of our economy, transforming our networks and operations fully green, empowering women, transforming a society to be better, more efficient and sustainable for the generations to come.

Vodafone has been a Member of FIAA for 20 years now. To you personally, what is the significance of this long journey of Vodafone within the Biggest Foreign Investors Network in Albania?

Vodafone has partnered with FIAA since its beginning. We have walked together for almost 20 years, a journey that has been fruitful.

Like FIAA’s mission, Vodafone is always working to offer the best solutions for businesses, making their life easier and their activity more profitable. FIAA provides advocacy, we provide technology solutions.

But our journey has passed borders. FIAA and Vodafone together have achieved to raise awareness about important topics related to business and the social environment that surrounds us. As the largest foreign investor in the country, we have both made our part to promote Albania and invited more foreign businesses to invest in a sustainable manner in this fantastic country with high natural and human potentials.

Finally, as we come near the year finish line, I would like to take the occasion to wish you and all Albanians good health, joy and prosperity in their families for the new year to come!

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EBRD steps up support for tourism and agribusiness in Albania

December 7, 2021
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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), OTP Bank Albania and the Albania Agribusiness and Tourism Support Facility are stepping up their support for companies in the country’s agribusiness and tourism sectors.

Together with the government of Albania and the European Union (EU), the EBRD is committing up to €7.11 million of loans to eligible firms in the agribusiness and tourism sector, risk-shared with its partner bank, OTP Bank Albania. The funds will be provided through the Albania Agribusiness and Tourism Support Facility (AATSF), a framework aimed at improving access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses.

The facility also includes a 10 per cent investment incentive for sub-borrowers in the agribusiness and tourism sectors, funded by the government of Albania and the EU, respectively. Borrowers will receive the grant incentive once their investments have been completed and verified. The facility will also benefit from a government-backed first-loss risk cover mechanism.

 

For more information please read: https://www.ebrd.com/news/2021/ebrd-steps-up-support-for-tourism-and-agribusiness-in-albania-.html 

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FIAA participates in the meeting with European Commission officials on Albania’s Economic Reform Program 2022-2024 (ERP)

November 18, 2021
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The Albania’s Economic Reform Program 2022-2024 is currently under drafting process. A European Commission team from DG NEAR visited Albania in mid-November with the purpose to interact with the relevant stakeholders on business environment, challenges and opportunities, policies to promote entrepreneurship and attract FDIs, concerns on informality as well as impact to competitiveness. FIAA was represented in this discussion by its Board Member Mr. Ante Frens who shared insights of the foreign Business Community and highlighted the preparation of the FIAA White Book as a very comprehensive and useful document containing both concerns and recommendations for the business environment on different themes and sectors of the economy. The White Book Document has been very welcomed by the European Delegation in Albania and highly appreciated by the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

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Ongoing Meetings on the Chapters of the European Integration Partnership Platform

November 17, 2021
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In frame of the discussions for the chapters of the European Integration Partnership Platform, FIAA’s representatives from the Membership have been highly active in the organized Working Groups. During the period September- November have been held introductory and discussion tables, specifically on the following Chapters:

Chapter 1 “Free movement of goods”, Chapter 3 “Right of establishment and freedom to provide services”, Chapter 6 “Company Law”, Chapter 7 “Intellectual Property Law”, Chapter 16 “Taxation,

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Competitiveness and Internationalization of Albanian MSMEs

November 12, 2021
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The Investment Council (IC) held a plenary meeting to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the internationalization of Albanian Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). The meeting was attended by all IC members and other representatives from the public and private sector and development agencies in the role of observer.

Chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Ms Delina Ibrahimaj, during her speech underlined the importance of MSMEs for the country’s economy and highlighted Government’s support through tax incentives, recent policy efforts through the newly adopted Business and Investments Development Strategy (BIDS), and other regional initiatives such as CEFTA, Open Balkan, which are providing support to SMEs in regards to exports.

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FIAA comments on the Fiscal Package 2022

November 5, 2021
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In early November, the Ministry of Finance and Economy introduced the draft of the Fiscal Package 2022 during a Fiscal Council Meeting, which was shared for comments and concerns from the representatives of the Business Community. The draft was further distributed to FIAA Members for comments and opinions. Several suggestions have been collected and further addressed to the Fiscal Council, specifically on excises, VAT, National taxes and the amendment to the “Income Tax” law on salaries. Nevertheless, the Fiscal Package Draft was given a short time for consultation and there have been objections from Business on the presented draft claiming for more time in disposal and proper consultation with the Business Community representatives. FIAA is looking forward for the start of the roundtable discussions with the Ministry of Finance on various concerning issues which are also part of the White Book Content.

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Albania and UN renew commitment to joint work on sustainable development for the next five years

October 25, 2021
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The Government of Albania and the United Nations Country Team in Albania announced their renewed commitment to a joint programme of work for the next five years this Monday, as Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj and UN Resident Coordinator Fiona McCluney signed the Albania-UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026.

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EBRD and Italy promote eco-tourism in Albania

October 21, 2021
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Road investment and sustainable tourism to boost economic development

Ancient hillside fortresses, pristine beaches and unspoilt nature are just some of what Albania has to offer to tourists. In the Velipoja-Shëngjin area, in particular, many people make a living from the tourism sector.

The EBRD is supporting sustainable tourism in the area. A US$ 50 million investment will upgrade a number of regional and local roads, including the road between Velipoja and Shëngjin, and provide easier access.

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As Economy Rebounds, Albania Has Opportunity to Build a More Sustainable Growth Model

October 21, 2021
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Albania’s economy, like other countries in the region, is recovering faster than expected after the historic recession created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the contraction of the economy by 4 percent in 2020, GDP growth is projected to reach 7.2 percent in 2021, one of the highest among Western Balkans countries, says the latest edition of the Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, Greening the Recovery.

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