Mrs. Stela Dhami, Managing Partner of Colliers Albania

July 24, 2023
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“FIAA stands as the epitome of excellence in representing the international business community in Albania”


FIAA: Stela, you recently joined for the second time as Member of the Board of Directors of FIAA. What is your perspective for the upcoming two years in the organization?

Mrs. Dhami: Dear Marinela, President D’Oria, esteemed Board members, and honorable members of FIAA,

I am deeply honored to be granted the opportunity to serve on the Board of FIAA for another two-year term. In my view, FIAA stands as the epitome of excellence in representing the international business community in Albania. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role as the primary intermediary between the business sector and the government, driving numerous beneficial business initiatives. Recently, the establishment of the Energy Council and the HR Committee exemplify FIAA’s commitment to enhancing the significance of the energy sector and the impact human resources have in our enterprises.

Looking ahead, I firmly believe that FIAA will persist as a catalyst for positive change and further strengthen its position as a key advocate for foreign investment in our country. In relation to my industry, real estate, I wish to encourage FIAA to direct more attention in this domain, possibly by forming a committee that specifically focuses on real estate, particularly the flourishing tourism sector, which has experienced remarkable growth in recent years.

I am excited about the prospects that lie ahead for FIAA and the impact we can collectively create for the international business community in Albania. I am committed to contributing my utmost to ensure our shared vision becomes a reality.

Your company, Colliers Albania is a key contact for the real estate market in the country. Could you tell us more on how this market has developed in the recent years?

Thank you for your kind words, Marinela. Colliers took the pioneering step of establishing the first commercial real estate office in Tirana back in 2007, driven by the visionary leadership of our previous regional director who always had unwavering faith in the future of our country. Since then, Albania has experienced remarkable growth, particularly in the development of large-scale residential complexes and a substantial increase in office space stock. Additionally, the Adriatic and Ionian rivieras have witnessed the emergence of high-quality hotels, a sector that has seen rapid advancement with the invaluable assistance and expertise of international brands, many of whom we engage with on a daily basis. While the initial two sectors largely developed speculatively, the latter sector is rapidly evolving, thanks to the involvement and know-how of these renowned international brands.

Colliers Albania have recently published the latest Market Overview Report covering the Albanian Real Estate Market. What is really happening with the real estate market in Albania?

The residential market is currently experiencing the effects of escalating commodity prices, and higher inflation rates, partly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation in Ukraine. As a result, consumers are facing increased sales prices. Remarkably, we are witnessing sales prices reaching as high as 3.500-6,000 EUR/m2 in the capital city of Tirana, a phenomenon that was unimaginable just a few years ago.  The total office stock has expanded to 140,000 m2, which, considering Albania’s accelerated progress towards EU integration, is still relatively modest. However, due to the majority of office buildings being under private ownership and developed with limited bank financing, we are witnessing some of the highest rental rates in the region. On average, rents stand at 17 EUR/m2, while asking prime rents have reached as high as 30 EUR/m2.

Hotels in Albania are undergoing development primarily led by local developers, who are actively partnering with international brands to elevate their prominence and gain valuable management expertise. These brands are enthusiastic about expanding their network, driven by their customers’ desire to explore new destinations. As we are the final market to develop in the Adriatic and Ionian region, it is crucial that we approach this development thoughtfully, considering the preferences of tourism customers and prioritizing environmental sustainability, a key focus for both customers and brands.  The influx of numerous international hotel chains to Albania, including Hilton, Melia, Maritim, Intercontinental, Mercure, M Gallery, Hyatt Regency, and more, is becoming increasingly evident. As these renowned brands and the investors they represent establish their presence in our country, it becomes essential for them to take on the responsibility of being good stewards of the places they conduct their business in.

Is nearshoring the future of SEE? Any future for Albania?

Nearshoring is gaining prominence as the future of Southeastern Europe (SEE) due to the combined influence of COVID-19 and the Ukrainian war on global manufacturing. Western and Central European companies experienced significant delays in receiving goods from traditional manufacturing hubs like China and other Asian countries during and after the pandemic, impacting pricing and customer satisfaction. Consequently, European companies have had to adapt their production processes to cater to customers efficiently and reduce manufacturing timelines.

Southeastern Europe emerges as an ideal location for in-house production, with Albania being particularly appealing. Its advantages include a young and skilled labor force, cost-effective labor and human resources, and a strong willingness to learn. Furthermore, the region boasts excellent geographical connectivity, though efforts are needed to further develop transportation links to ensure timely and high-quality delivery of goods throughout Europe.

Albania has made significant strides in light production, especially in shoe wear and clothing manufacturing, over the past three decades. However, the potential for growth in light industrial manufacturing remains untapped, particularly in the car parts manufacturing industry, which presents exciting opportunities for further expansion.

Finally, what are the biggest challenges in doing business in the real estate industry in Albania?

The persisting problem of unclear land titles and the absence of proper zoning across the country create challenges in obtaining accurate information and presenting it to potential investors interested in investing in Albania. However, once these issues are addressed and resolved, the country is poised to experience significant growth in the real estate sector, both in central cities and coastal areas.

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Mr. Constantin von Alvensleben – Country Manager of Voltalia Albanie and Chairman of FIAA’s Energy Industry Council

April 19, 2023
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“Government needs structured feedback from Business on its legislative initiatives”

FIAA: Mr. Constantin, you joined recently Voltalia Albanie as the Country Manager in an important phase such the Project Construction. Could you tell us about this experience of yours in Albania?

Mr. Alvensleben: I started as Country Manager for Voltalia in Albania in November, have now been on the job for half a year and must say that I really enjoy having joined the energy field. Compared with air transport it is a much more competitive sector, and the current situation where Albania is moving to diversifying its energy mix, introducing more solar and more wind energy sources, presents a lot of opportunities.

I have also been welcomed by a motivated and competent team at Voltalia Albanie SHPK, which even has grown since I started. And finally, yes, we have a very important project in construction, the Karavasta Solar Project on 200 ha and installing a capacity of 140 MW. All this energy will be made available to Albanian consumers. The construction is progressing well as we speak, and we are confident to deliver power as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

How is the company coping with the challenges of the Albanian Market? Are there further plans for more investments in the Energy Industry?

Our company Voltalia Albanie soon will have 25 experienced employees and will continue to be supported by the competence centers of Voltalia in Paris and Porto. For me, it is key to have a competent and motivated team available, so that we can manage the ongoing construction in Karavasta well, but also continue the development of our future projects, most notably the Spitalla solar project, but also further wind and solar opportunities on which we are working intensively, but which I cannot name at this point. So, later this year and next year, we will be able to present further investments.

What improvements in your business-operating environment do you think are important for attracting more foreign investors in Albania?

Speaking in the first place about energy, I think even more foreign investment can be achieved by maximum transparency about the goals of the Government. This does not mean that the Albanian Government has not been clear. It has strongly prioritized new investments in renewable energies, in particular solar and wind. At this point in time, I believe it is helpful for the Government to confirm its objectives in this field and bring further auctions in wind and solar to the market.

But you also asked for improvements of the business climate in general. This is a field in which FIAA has been active at all times and I am happy that I have been part of it since 2020. There are always the general topics, which should never be forgotten: fight against informality, fight against corruption, continue the reform of the justice system. However, there are also legislative improvements in many fields which are important. In 2021, FIAA has presented its White Book with more than 100 proposals for legislative improvements. Government has taken the White Book very seriously and engaged in a consultation process with FIAA and other associations. But of course, not all suggestions have been dealt with, and everybody knows that legislative reforms and improvements are an on-going process. For the sake of future foreign investment, I think FIAA must remain engaged with Government for further improvement of the business climate. 

In addition of your role as the Country Manager for Voltalia Albanie, you have been trusted with the role of Chairman in the FIAA Energy Industry Council.  Which is the main mission of this Council and what are the current Matters in Energy Industry that the Government should focus more?

I am very glad to be able to serve the energy industry in Albania in this role and thank my industry colleagues for their trust. The purpose and task of the FIAA Energy Industry Council will be to align all industry participants on the on-going issues, which shall be presented to Government of Albania. Government needs structured feedback on its legislative initiatives. We shall provide it and will aspire to be a competent and reliable, but at times also a critical partner of Government of Albania in the field of energy policy. Main fields are the secondary legislation for the new Law on Renewable Energy, on which we will ask to be consulted. And we will present general matters of concern, such as quality and capacity of the national grid, capacity of connection points/ substations, efficiency of permitting processes, reaction times of cadaster offices and last but not least, the framework for balancing services.

As energy is a dynamic sector of high economic importance, I am happy that FIAA devotes attention to this industry by setting up this Council. It shall be a part of FIAA and always act under its roof, promoting FIAA’s mission, namely to improve the business climate and to be the true voice of the investors.

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Interview with Mrs. Alba Paparisto, Managing Director, Tax at KPMG Albania

January 19, 2023
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“The Law on Income Tax is a fundamental law, and a new improved law will provide a more solid framework for the business environment”.

FIAA: Mrs. Paparisto, in addition of representing FIAA to the National Tax Committee in the Ministry of Finance, you have been recently elected also the Chairwoman of the FIAA Tax & Financial Committee. Can you tell us what motivated you to further contribute to FIAA and how do you plan your engagement in this journey?

Mrs. Paparisto: KPMG Albania is a long-time member of FIAA and has contributed to increase the awareness of the public authorities on the tax issues faced by taxpayers in Albania. The experience gained through the years working for KPMG Albania and management of different complex engagements, strongly motivates me to lead the Tax & Financial Committee of FIAA in the future. My aim here is to contribute in the technical discussions and legislative proposals of the Committee in order to help improving the tax/customs climate and their compliance in Albania. I believe that our efforts as a Committee to contribute through the experience and expertise we possess, is very crucial to increase the awareness of the policy makers for the improvement of the regulatory and compliance procedures.

I am eager to transmit the technical and practical issues of other members of FIAA to the Authorities and altogether try to find out acceptable solutions. In addition, I look forward to organize networking activities, aimed at establishing and maintaining a dialogue with stakeholders on issues which are critical to the business climate in the country, which is one of the goals of the working Committees established in FIAA.

During the last months, you and the other colleagues from the Financial Consulting Firms in FIAA, have been intensively and proactively working with the Ministry of Finances for the consultation of the Draft Law on “Income Tax” currently under the care of the Parliamentary Commission for Economy and Finances. How have you found this draft law? Does the business expect fundamental changes and novelties? Is it going to improve the doing business environment?

Well, for me the preparation and drafting of a very important law such as the one on “Income Tax”, it is a great effort and commitment from the Ministry of Finance and Economy. I must admit that it is not an easy process. Taking into consideration the climate of approximation of laws with the EU legislation, and also trying to capture the gaps that the current law on income tax provides, are not easy tasks.

I consider though, a positive fact to have a new law on income tax, as the current law is to a certain degree outdated. The Draft Law is quite extensive and covers a wide range of definitions, new concepts, and certain changes in taxation of individuals income and business income (comprising here, but not limited to business income that non-resident entities incur in Albania). The Draft Law provides more novelties rather than fundamental changes when it comes to business transactions and income. Of course, certain concepts, definitions and articles of this draft law could have been considered more thoroughly and be written in a more clear and explicit way in order to mitigate the risk that business have faced in the past decades, which is that of misinterpretation of legal provisions.

However, there is still work to be done once the draft law is approved. The preparation of the Instruction of the Law, hopefully will bring more clarifications and provide clear guidance further for the taxpayers.

The Law on “Income Tax” is a fundamental law, and as such, a new improved law provides a more solid framework for the business environment. This shall not automatically improve the business environment, as I believe what is another important step after approval of the draft law, is the education that the authorities should undertake with the taxpayers, but also for the tax administration itself for the provisions and implementation of the new law.  If all the steps are taken properly, then business shall see improvement in the business environment.

Finally, let’s talk a bit about KPMG and its experience in Albania! More than 20 years in the local market, in this perspective how do you find the market? Can you share with us some challenges you are facing?

In the past two decades the market has changed considerably, and especially in the last 3 years, we learned the importance of being flexible and taking immediate actions to unexpected changes in the way of doing business. The Albanian market is a small one, and being part of a bigger organization or network, which encompasses multi jurisdictions, for sure brings more stability to your own business and provides more opportunities for further business growth. Having said that, we see that Albania is moving forward and developing fast towards the digitalization era and also in trying to harmonize legal framework with the EU legislation. However, one of the main challenges we face is still at the phase of implementation. It’s not enough to make theoretical changes. We still face difficulties, problems, challenges which are time consuming for the business, when we come at the point of implementation (i.e. of a certain legal framework, a new electronic procedure, or when we simply need input from public administration).

In the nowadays doing business, having talented people onboard, fast reaction, high flexibility, and adapting quickly to frequent changes in the global or local market, are the key elements for the business ‘success.

Also, not to forget about the journey of KPMG with FIAA for almost 22 years Membership. How would you describe this long journey of KPMG in FIAA?

KPMG Albania is very pleased for being a member of FIAA in the past 22 years. Throughout all these years, we have been part of this important business network and we have been working together in different business initiatives and considerable round tables between business and government. Continuously, there have been taken actions and often there have been given solutions, so, we feel that our voice has been heard. And for this, I would like to thank FIAA for the work and commitment in supporting business in all these years.

How attractive do you find Albania as an investment destination? 

Throughout my work as a Consultant for different investors in Albania and potential ones, I may say and confirm the high interest of the latter to invest in Albania. Though Albania is a small market, its geographic position and potential of natural resources have put the country in the target of foreign investors. There is still work to be done in making our country even more attractive and this is an ongoing process which, does not have a starting or an ending point. When taking initiatives which, may affect legal framework, tax system or other investment incentives, one important point to consider, is to follow good examples in the other neighboring countries in order to be aligned or potentially bring our country to a better position in the Balkan. As a tax expert, I would take as an example here the tax system, and I may say that the Albanian tax system can be considered the least attractive in the region. However, considering other advantages that Albania may offer, there is still potential to improve further the position of the country in the eyes of a foreign investor.

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Interview with Mr. Diego Pisa, CEO at Teleperformance Italy Group and Albania

October 19, 2022
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“Trying to improve the quality of the life in all the sectors is our due for the future of Albania”

FIAA: Teleperformance Group enjoys a long and successful history in the industry of Outsourcing and Offshoring Consulting, with global presence around the world and in Albania. In our country, Teleperformance is present since 2008, clearly high standing with Teleperformance Group´s world-class standards and tools.  Could you tell more about your group’s experience in Albania?

Mr. Pisa: If we wanted to summarize in one word the experience that Teleperformance Group in Albania has had in Albania, I would say: outstanding.

Teleperformance is the largest and more successful Group in the world in the CRM/BPO sector, we are present in 82 countries with approximately 500,000 employees worldwide.

We started in Albania the first pilot projects in 2007 and then in 2008 I personally opened our legal entity and the first office and today, at the age of 15, we are more than 3,500 employees, the largest employer in the country and the largest tax payer. If I look back, I can say that I am proud of what has been done so far in Albania. I have always believed that here we had all the conditions for creating a solid reality in this community and the numbers to date have proved me right. I would say a great business case.

We have created an industry that did not exist before us, and above all, we have defined the benchmark in terms of employee management, office quality, internal procedures, salaries, quality of delivery and any serious company in the sector that wants to enter the country must measure itself with these standards to be competitive.

Albania is often considered abroad only for the availability of low-cost jobs. Nothing is wrong in my opinion anymore. Our experience is diametrically opposite. We have invested in training, quality, wages above the market average, and this has given us the opportunity to attract International Clients who are known everywhere in the world for the quality of the products and services they provide, demonstrating the fact that in Albania you can work with high quality standards if you invest adequately in personnel.

How is the company performing? Are there any plans for further extensions?

The results are positive, both in financial and quality of the service we provide to our Clients. The company has grown steadily every year since it exists in Albania, with a strategy oriented towards sustainable and organic growth and we estimate that this trend will continue in the coming years, obviously considering the limit constituted by the fact that young Albanians speak less and less Italian language and more English which, however, is a language available at low cost in other regions of the world.

Would you share with us what you consider key advantages for success in Albania and some drawbacks that might be still improved for a better operating digital market and technological progress?

What has always impressed me in Albania is the ability of young people to adapt to both the language and culture of countries we serve, even if they may never have seen in person yet those countries. Our services are mainly Customer Care, and this places people in the daily management of problems that have occurred in the management of purchases of products or services in some part of the world far from Albania. If I talked about the ability to empathize with such different cultures you would not believe it, and it is the reason why all our customers love us. Imagine also when you are managing some outsourced process for big companies: they are in contact with employees based in other countries and they are able to deal without any cultural or language issue.

Level of education, work flexibility and ambition are certainly to me the strengths of the Albanian people, that is a key in my case as we are a people company.

What needs improvement is certainly the fact that this industry, which employs thousands of workers, is not yet recognized as such: the creation of a national sector labor contract, for example, could lead to greater flexibility for employers or at least to fit better the needs. To have a typical category contracts could also regulate the employment as there are still many companies that operate in a not completely legal manner to the detriment of employees.

What are your impressions of the current business operating environment in Albania? What challenges are you facing?

My industry is facing the worst period ever in terms of easiness to recruit, which by the way is happening almost everywhere in the world but for different reasons than in Albania.

We have been observing for months now an exodus abroad of young people who emigrate to seek conditions that they do not recognize as possible in Albania. This is really a shame for the country because it is depleted of talent and is a deterrent for large groups to invest in the country.

The issue is obviously very complicated and concerns both politics and entrepreneurs, but it should be strongly taken into consideration also because it is not true that these young people find abroad what they did not have in Albania, at least not always. To try to improve the quality of the life in all the sectors is our due for the future of the country.

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Interview with Mr. Roberto Laera, Chairman of Italian Network

August 22, 2022
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FIAA: The Italian Network company is called “a 360-degree consulting Firm” and it is present in the Albanian market for a long time. Could you tell us a bit more about the services of your company and your experience in Albania?

Mr. Laera: Italian Network is a consulting firm for internationalization, tax and labor consultancy, HR Management, which since 2006 has been promoting and offering a 360-degree service to foreign entrepreneurs who want to invest in Albania.

It is a bridge between the Balkans and Europe, having offices in Tirana in Albania and Bari in Italy.

We provide all the advice in the constitution of the company, in Albanian and international taxation, labor law, payroll, etc. necessary for the entrepreneur to evaluate the future investment and make it operational in a very short time.

We also provide for the research, selection and training of personnel with the company “Job in Albania”.

Part of our services is search for the best property for your office, your business or your stay in Albania through the other company of the group: “Albania Immobiliare”.

In partnership with “Albania Investimenti”, we provide advice on the establishment of Trusts and Trust Companies.

Italian Network provides all the necessary advice to foreign entrepreneurs to set up a business in Albania by promoting partnerships with local businesses and investments in the Land of Eagles.

Italian Network also specializes in obtaining residence permits for entrepreneurs, retirees, digital nomads and all other categories who are entitled to it.

We also provide for the tax exemption of the pension and the obtaining of the tax residence certificate for all Italian citizens, and facilitate the start-up of a company, allowing it to be operational in just 24 hours.

I am proud to announce that thanks to the values that distinguish us and the professional work carried out over these 16 years, this year we reached the Worldwide Financial Award as “International Consulting Firm of the Year 2022”, while last year we also reached the final of the prize as the best internationalization company of the “Le Fonti Award”.
I dedicate this result to all my collaborators and customers who work every day and confirm their trust in our services.





How do you find the interest of the Italian companies in Albania? Are there any specific industries and sectors which you find more attractive for growth?

Before starting to illustrate the investment opportunities in Albania and the Balkans, I would like to dispel some myths.

In Albania there is no petty crime, robbery, theft and extortion.

We see this in the data published by Numbeo on the Crime Index 2018, for which in the top ten places in Europe for crime, we find four Italian cities such as Naples, Catania, Turin and Rome, but also Norwegian cities, Paris, Marseille and Birmingham.

Tirana is only in 54th place.

In recent years, the GDP average is over 5% and 2020 stood at 4.1%.

The World Bank has forecasted GDP holding at 4% for the next 4 years.

With the growth of the GDP, there has been a constant and considerable growth in the volume of imports of goods and services, which has seen Italy as the first trading partner of Albania, as well as being the first country for investments, thanks to over 5000 companies with Italian capital present in the land of eagles.

Why invest in Albania?

  1. Great opening towards the European and global market

– Strategically positioned for access to markets in Europe and the Balkan region

– Located in the center of the natural crossroads of major corridors in Europe

– Entrance gate with 4 doors, Durres, Valona, Shengjin, Saranda

  1. Free Market

– The Albanian economy is now characterized by fully liberalized trade

– The most elastic of the economies of South-Eastern Europe, the only economy that has not gone through a period of recession

  1. Favorable environment, conditions and costs

– Tax benefits and incentives in strategic investment sectors

– Online system for tax filing and payments

– The Albanian business legal framework is in compliance with EU legislation

  1. One “Stop Shop” model

– Speed & transparency – granting of commercial licenses, from the National Licensing Center

– Registration of new business in 24 hours

  1. A variety of investment choices

– Rewards investment opportunities with public – private partnerships

– Rewards investment opportunities in areas with stability and sustainable growth sectors: * Renewable energy * Mining * Tourism * Agri-food * Transport and Logistics * Production * ICT services

  1. Legal Support

– No prior government authorization is required and all sectors are open to foreign investors

– No limitations or restrictions for foreign companies

– No limitation on the percentage of foreign participation in companies (even 100% foreign is possible)

– Special state protection for foreign investors; even in the case of a legal – civil conflict with third parties, including private ones

Foreign investors have the right to expatriate all funds and contributions in kind of their Investment

  1. Skilled and highly creative workforce

– Knowledge of foreign languages

(English, Italian and Greek are widely spoken. French and German are included in the education system)

– 57% of the population is under 35 years old:

– More than 1,071,948 young, educated and motivated professionals

– About 116,292 students register annually at the university

  1. Low labor costs

– The lowest minimum wage in Europe (250 euros)


– Corporate tax rate from 0 to 15%

– Personal rate from 0 to 23%

– Favorable tax regime for strategic sectors

– Treaties to avoid double taxation in over 30 countries

– Albanian tax system non-discriminatory towards foreign investors and no distinction is made between foreign and national investors


– New and fast improvement of infrastructures in the transport, telecommunications and energy sectors

– Well developed and low-cost shipping services

– Quick and easy transport routes and direct delivery mechanisms to most EU countries


– 2014 – from the New York Times; Albania is listed fourth out of 52 countries to visit.

– 2012 – Frommer tour guide; Albania is one of the important destinations.

– 2011 – Lonely Planet; The first of the 10 best places to visit

What are your impressions of the current business operating environment in Albania? What challenges are you facing?

To tell the truth, we are experiencing several problems with the e-albania system, especially in the registration of new companies and branches.

These operations that previously took a maximum of 72 hours have now extended to 20 days.

I hope these problems will be solved in a short time, because this is a burden of work and costs for us and a useless waste of time for the customer.

What do you consider as the biggest future challenges in Albania?

I hope that from the Government’s side, there will be strategies for attracting foreign strategic productive investments and a clear and sustainable fiscal policy. Unfortunately, the frequent change in tax legislation creates confusion for investors and for the consultants too, who are unable to plan strategies for attracting investors in the country.

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Mr. Alessandro D’Oria, President of FIAA and CEO at Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania

July 7, 2022
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FIAA: You have been recently elected as President of the Foreign Investors Association of Albania, what is your perspective on the Leadership model and experience that you will share with Foreign Investors Community in Albania?

Mr. D’Oria: First of all I would like to express again my gratitude to all the members who voted me as President of FIAA.

FIAA’s mission is to support the success of its members by promoting a healthy business environment in the country, and to provide high-quality business information and resources. This is a challenging mission in a fast-developing country in terms of legislation and infrastructure and I am happy and excited to have taken up such an important role in the structure of FIAA.

In September it will be a year since I was appointed as CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, whereas other members have been in Albania for longer time periods. In addition, I have a very long (you can say life-time) experience in the Banking Industry, but in FIAA there are many other sectors. For the above reasons, I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by the knowledge and the expertise of the fellow members not only in the local market but also in their own industries, which have a plethora of characteristics and bear non-similar challenges.

The beginning of this journey will therefore provide me with enormous opportunities to conduct research, observe and learn, since I consider myself on the on-boarding phase. The positive outcome is that usually in this phase of “the outsider” you don’t consider that doing business can be done only in the way “as it has always been”, but you are open to change and consider other possibilities.

Last, but not of lesser relevance of importance, I do believe in respect and integrity. I don’t believe in handing out solutions or recipes of success. In my opinion, it is not possible to simply copy paste previous successful experience in other countries and context to achieve the same results. But, we can use some of these experiences creating the proper mix contextualizing them with the needs of the market that we operate in, so that we can be the leading international business association in Albania.

What do you consider as the biggest challenges in Doing Business in Albania and how do you see the role of FIAA towards guaranteeing a sustainable growth of business in the country?

Albania is ranked 82 among 190 economies in the “ease of doing business index”, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. Therefore, I believe that improvements are needed in the regulatory environment to further enhance business operation, including stronger protection of the rule of law and property rights. Albania has been working hard to move higher in this index, especially with the justice reform taking place in the last years, for which FIAA has been a full supporter. However, it is very vital to make more visibility and coherence to promote these improvements outside of the country to potential investors.

In your position as CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, what are the challenges that your sector is facing in the operating environment and in the current global crisis?

The banking system has faced multiple crisis in the last 20 years so they have had the opportunity to proactively build strong capacities to overcome current and future crisis. The regulators are accelerating into the capacity to manage the risk and create a sustainable environment.

But crisis aside, it’s clear that the customer habits and the digitalization will bring the need to improve the service models and define the right combination of technologies and human interaction. I still believe that even with the introduction of the new typology of virtual or automated branches, the personal relationship remains central but must have updated skills.

How do you foresee the development of the Albanian economy in the coming years?

I remain optimist on the development of the Albanian Economy, the speed and the strength will depend on strategies which will be taken.

The Albanian economy is mainly focused on trade and other services activity. Enterprises registered during 2021 in trade activity are 29.9% of total registered enterprises. Trade activity realizes the biggest annual turnover in the economy, with 39.6%. In Albania, agriculture is the most important contributor to the economy with almost 20% of the total. Also, trade, transport, accommodation and food services activities with a weight in structure by 16.17 % , followed by public administration, education, human health that also has a big impact with 12.29 % in the total economy.

I foresee further expansion in the energy and infrastructure sectors with important projects being launched lately, in addition, agriculture and tourism (even the combination agro-tourism) that can be further developed with the support of EU loan instruments and local banks cooperation and surely construction/real estate.

However, the most important development must be in the Human Capital. Thus, the education system shall be more connected with the economy, to attract and keep the youngsters in Albania, with the right salary and matching their academic background and efforts.

In addition, the businesses in the country must increase the level of investments in technology to attract the capital intensive industries.

This combination (the development of the human capital and increased technological investments) will allow a sustainable growth in a Country with excellent chances for the future.


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Mr. Enrico Donati – Executive Chairman at Assist Digital

June 16, 2022
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FIAA: Assist Digital achieved its 5th anniversary in the Albanian market. Could you tell us a bit more about the business of your company and its experience in Albania?

Mr. Donati: First of all, we are very happy to have been working in Albania and we are still following a growth path of our business in this country. We like the country and we like the people we are working with. Assist Digital is providing Customer Experience services to global companies at a pan-European level. This means that we provide a wide range of services related to the relationship between brands and their customers. We provide consulting services, CRM and marketing automating services, UX/UI design services, as well as multilingual customer operation services. Since the beginning of our story, we have been leveraging a lot on digital technologies and ICT technologies blending Artificial Intelligence with Human Intelligence, with the aim to fully satisfy the end users and at the same time our clients. This strategy has been very successful so far giving our company the opportunity to engage with very important clients.

In the last decade the industry of Business Process Outsourcing has developed substantially in Albania. How do you find the labor market here and the existing legal and fiscal framework the country offers for this industry?

As I mentioned in the introduction, we like very much the country and the people of Albania. However, the market has become quite busy during the last few years. Many companies of our industry have selected Albania as a destination to develop their business. Thus, the market has become very competitive and attracting the best talents is every year more difficult. As Assist Digital we are not only looking for multilingual contact center agents, but we are strongly committed to develop an important team of digital and tech experts i.e designers, software engineers, marketing automation experts, and so on.  From this point of view, the capability of the education system to prepare certain kind of profiles is very important and we would be very happy to strengthen the collaboration with local Universities to support their important effort in developing such skills. From the legal and fiscal point of view, considering also the international agreements, both with Italy and Europe, we consider Albania a friendly business environment.

The Pandemic transformed the last two years completely. How did the company cope with “The Smart Working Mode”?

When the pandemic started, we have been one of the first companies to provide the technical and procedural infrastructure to allow our people working remotely. The so-called Smart Working Mode has been very successful so far, both for our people and for the company.  This positive experience will last for the future and we are now working also with our clients to transform this occasional working model in a long-lasting model. Of course, there are also important reasons to meet people periodically at our premises, both for business and organizational needs and also for developing and sharing knowledge through interpersonal relationship. Joining Assist Digital people will find a very open environment where Smart Working will be strongly supported, as well as an inclusive and innovative mindset.

How is the company performing? Are there any plans for further expansion?

At group level, Assist Digital is growing rapidly and continuously since its inception. In 2021 we have increased our revenues by 40% and this year we are targeting another 30% growth. With reference to our investments in Albania, we have already opened two operation centers and we are now working to set up a new fantastic operation center based in the new Business Center “The Urban Limit”. In addition, with the offer of the smart working opportunity, we aim to attract the best talents both in the BPO segment, and in the consulting and technology business.

What are your impressions of the current business operating environment in Albania? What challenges are you facing?

As I said before, the most relevant challenge we are facing today is to attract and retain talents. The market labor mobility is actually very high and Assist Digital will continue to offer the best place to work and the opportunity to collaborate with a very international and high skilled team, including the opportunity to spend some time abroad working in different countries and with great people.  

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Mr. Emil Georgakiev – CEO of ONE TELECOMMUNICATIONS sh.a

February 8, 2022
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20+ years’ milestone in FIAA 

FIAA: ONE Telecommunications is the first mobile telecommunications company in the country launched with the brand AMC, present in Albanian market since 1996. How would you describe the consistent growth and sustainability of your business in Albania as our country has been growing into a more mature market economy?

Mr. Georkaviev: ONE Telecommunications is an operator with 26 years of experience and glorious history. We are the operator who launched the first mobile network in the country, opening widely the door to technology world for Albanians. Of course, since 1996 the market requirements have changed a lot. To adapt with these changes and respond to customer demands we kept our network and services aligned with every new technology trend and innovation with one simple goal, to provide the best quality for our customers and lead the telecom industry in the country. All these years, the company was developing and transforming aiming to respond and satisfy the best on customer’s needs. We tried to predict and offer them what they expect: convenient products, excellent customer service and a trustworthy network. Our promise to them is that we will be better every day and that promise is what drives our daily work. Our growth in the last 3 years is well known and can be seen by anyone. But it didn’t happen by chance, it is a result of a very straightforward strategy and very hard work of the whole One Telecommunications team to implement it. We know that the market “rewards” those who are better than the competitors, that why we work very hard every day to be better.

This company has been Member of FIAA since our early months, first through the AMC (COSMOTE) and after through TELEKOM Albania and continues so through ONE Telecommunications. How do you see this journey/experience with us? 

We are members of Foreign Investors Association in Albania for 20 years. All these years we have been in many discussions and initiatives together. We see FIAA as a reliable partner, as the face and the voice in front of the authorities when it comes to business climate in the country, compliancy with EU and world best practices, legal environment and regulation and many other business and regulation areas. Being part of this Association is giving opportunity to share opinions and have discussions with other business on the topics of public interest.

What do you consider as the biggest future challenges in Albania and how do you see the role of FIAA towards guaranteeing a sustainable growth of your business in the country?

Being a foreign investor in a very strategic industry as telco is, it’s a challenge by itself. The telecommunications market in Albania is highly competitive and is very difficult to sustain a healthy margin to keep up with all innovations and trends. Albania has a small population and severe competition among operators doesn’t bring necessarily benefits to customers. Sometimes is even the opposite because the operators compromise on the quality of service in exchange of a low price. To understand better the customer needs, their behavior, and economical drivers in order to make a good balance between the quality and the price of the service will be a challenge. A different angle on the service cost and competitive environment and regulation, might help.

Another challenge is related to technological progress that it will be unavoidable in the coming years. Although 5G network is not a reality yet, operators like us need to prepare in order to be ready to offer the future technology to our customers. A proper roll out of 5G will require changes in the existing regulatory frame and FIAA can be of help in the discussions with the institutions.

At the end I believe that associations like FIAA are and will remain an important stakeholder in the process of favorable business environment development in Albania. FIAA support in the relations with Governmental Institutions, is crucial and highly appreciated.

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Mr. Luca Busi – President of Coca-Cola Bottling Shqipëria

February 3, 2022
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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.

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Avv. Mario Tonucci – Managing Partner of TONUCCI & PARTNERS Albania

January 31, 2022
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“20+ years’ milestone with FIAA”

FIAA: Tonucci & Partners is the first foreign Law Firm in the country, present in Albania since 1995. How would you describe the development and sustainability of your firm in Albania as our country has been growing into a more mature market economy?

Avv. Tonucci: Tonucci & Partners Albania Law Firm has always been recognized as a leading law firm in Albania able to offer very professional and timely services with excellent quality, in compliance with the highest international standards.

With its presence in Albania, Tonucci & Partners has been a direct witness and active contributor to the continuous growth of the economic, social and regulatory development of Albania with significant results, making possible for the country to be closer to the entry into the European Union.

From the beginning, Tonucci & Partners had the role of legal consultant and coordinator for reforms and the adaptation of economic legislation in Albania as part of the liberalization and opening up of the country towards the Western economies. Furthermore, our firm has provided assistance and contribution in the drafting of the most important Albanian laws, such as the 1998 Constitution and the Albanian Customs Code. Also noteworthy is the drafting of the Business Guide for more than 25 consecutive years, appreciated by the entire community of foreign entrepreneurs in Albania.

These experiences, initiated and sustained during the first years of transformation and modernization of the Country, have allowed the Firm to attain a profound knowledge and experience in the local system which, integrated with the experience in the international field, has made us a point of reference for all, but not limited to, foreign entrepreneurs.

Tonucci & Partners Albania today assists both small and medium-sized enterprises at the first steps in their path of international expansion, also large companies, multinationals, financial institutions, banks, organizations and Government agencies that turn to the Firm to receive legal services and consultancy on their activities in Albania or international transactions.

Albania is now an open economic reality with liberalized trade and guarantees equal treatment between foreign and national investors. The clear European Union prospective, the fiscal and legislative reforms in progress as well as the Government’s strategy for the adoption of new technologies and new business models, ensure that the Country has a much wider appeal towards foreign investors.

Tonucci & Partners has been Member of FIAA since the very early months of the foundation of our organization. How would you describe your journey with us? 

Tonucci & Partners Albania is proud to be an active member of FIAA and collaborate in activities and services in favor of foreign companies and entrepreneurs in Albania.

FIAA has represented since its establishment one of the most important associations of foreign investors operating in Albania, therefore it was more than natural for our firm, leader in providing services to foreign businesses and entrepreneurs, to be an active part of it.

As a historical member of FIAA, Tonucci & Partners Albania can testify to the immense and important work carried out over the years by the Association to ensure a good business environment in the Country which is the basis needed for the business growth of its members.

Tonucci & Partners Albania has always tried to be at the forefront by offering its contribution and experience to support the initiatives of FIAA, to achieve common goals for the benefit of all members of the association.

What do you consider as the biggest future challenges in Albania and how do you see the role of FIAA towards guaranteeing a sustainable growth of business in the country?

In order to increase foreign direct investment, the Albanian Government has intensified its efforts to implement a series of fiscal and legislative reforms to improve the so-called “Business climate” in the Country.

However, there is no shortage of challenges. The Albanian fiscal policy is subject to numerous and continuous interventions by the executive. There are still discretion problems of the public authorities. There is a lack of transparency in public tenders, often violating the principle of free competition. Although known, the problem of a corrupt judicial system, it should be highlighted that a justice reform is currently underway which aims to reduce this phenomenon. Another critical aspect concerns real estate property, in particular the uncertainty about the title of ownership making the transfer of the same difficult and uncertain.

In consideration of the above mentioned challenges, FIAA’s role is fundamental for a common action towards Albanian institutions to achieve solutions that can guarantee a much more favorable climate for business growth, to the benefit of all the parties involved.

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