The Foreign Investors Association of Albania (FIAA) held yesterday its yearly traditional event, a celebration which gathered the Foreign Business Community in Albania, the highest Diplomatic representatives along with key institutions in the country. The Event was greeted by H.E Mr. Silvio Gonzato, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Albania, Mr. Ervin Mete Minister of Finance of Albania, Mrs. Delina Ibrahimaj, State Minister of Entrepreneurship and Business Climate, who addressed their wishes and shared their messages and actions towards the Business and Economic Climate’ improvement in the Country.
FIAA’s President, Mr. Alessandro D’Oria in his remarks stated that 2023 has been a better year for the business community when compared to the previous ones.
“We have seen growth in several sectors, and we have experienced an improvement in the business climate. We have similar expectations also for the year 2024. Foresights by important financial institutions, predict an economic growth of over 3%. An important part of this growth, will be enabled by the activity of FIAA’s member companies. Our organization, is the largest and the only network of foreign businesses in Albania, with 24 years of presence, and it is a driving engine of the Albanian economy and proudly represents over 100 businesses.
Our contribution as FIAA to the improvement of business climate is tangible. Through many round tables and consultations with high representatives of the government of Albania, FIAA has shown to be a very strong voice in support of foreign investors and business in general.
Dear guests, FIAA will continue to work towards an improved business environment. We strongly believe that the path to sustainable growth lies in public policies, shaped through a transparent dialogue between the business community and the policy makers. We highly appreciate the revitalization of the National Economic Council and the involvement of FIAA as well as appreciate the measures the Government plans to undertake in support of the Facon and Exporters in the country. In this spirit, we hope that the Government will continue to engage in open dialogue and timely consultation, and will engage more in proper follow up. We consider this dialogue as fundamental for the sustainable development of Albania’s economy and the flourishing of business.
As FIAA, during 2024, our focus will include attracting new companies by promoting the growth of the renewable energy and fostering the development and implementation of innovative solutions by business. Moreover, we will drive the engagement of companies in support of innovation and digital transformation along with the growth of startups. We will continue to be ambassadors of Albania and promote its potential in tourism and real estate and increase the presence of international brands in this country.” – stated President D’Oria.
In this first occasion to meet the business community, the newly appointed EU ambassador H. E. Silvio Gonzato emphasized the role of the business not only as crucial for Albania’s prosperity but also for its EU integration path. The dialogue with the business will add to EU’s understanding of the practical experience of doing business in Albania and how the EU can work better to achieve its mission in the country.
There are several key criteria for EU accession, including rule of law which by the business is considered to be the first important factor for doing business in Albania. This means among others that businesses need to be protected from corruption practices, or that contracts are implemented, or situations of land ownership that need to be clarified.
While expressing his openness for dialogue with the business on how Albania can improve its business climate so that it can extend its competitive advantage for a sustainable future, Ambassador Gonzato highlighted the specific role of European Union as the most important partner also in terms of foreign investments.
In this context, Ambassador Gonzato shortly presented EU’s Growth Plan for the Western Balkans which includes facilitations for the Western Balkans countries to accelerate the enlargement reforms, so that some of the benefits that come with accession are present already ahead. New opportunities to improve integration in the EU market, assistance for the countries, and support for economic growth come with this plan. In exchange, what is expected from the government of the respective countries is that they accelerate the implementation of rule of law.
In his remarks, Minister Mete engaged in a dialogue with the previous speakers and highlighted some of the key facts related to the situation of Albania’s economy such as the improvement of the situation of the debt, the better ratings that Albania has achieved, and the projections that look good for the mid-term perspectives as well the improvements that are expected for 2024, especially in the tourism sector.
Platforms such as the National Investment Council, the National Economic Council and the expected revitalization of the Tax Council will offer further opportunities for dialogue among the parties.
While concluding, Minister Mete wished for all parties to have a prosperous and more cooperative year.
She emphasized the role of the National Economic Council with the several thematic and sectoral committees that it will host, as the right place where to discuss about how Albania’s business environment should adapt while facing the EU Integration challenge.
Chairman D’Oria finally thanked all the guests and members of FIAA and invited the Board of Directors and the Speakers to toast and take together the event’s photo. The evening continued with a friendly cocktail reception.