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FOLLOWBUSINESS

SPECIAL REPORT

S O L E A T OMars P T25rd I O2016 N ALBANIA

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE The vetting process begins for the judiciary system

STATISTICAL DATA, SURVEY, ANALYSIS, BUSINESS INTERVIEWS, DIPLOMACY, TRAVEL, ART… © Copyright FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA 2017. All rights reserved.

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FEBRUARY

2017


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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA CONTENTS

CONTENTS Under the microscope The highly anticipated judicial reform has finally taken its first step into the metamorphic process of altering the so-called corrupted and incompetent status quo of the judiciary system in Albania: The constitutional reform. Much is expected from the entire process, which in itself has been monitored and partly-developed by international expertise, however the final outcome of the process still depends on many variables – the most important of which is the political willpower and consensus – making the prediction of said outcome almost impossible. In such terms, it is highly important to understand the full impact that this reform could have in the facilitation and development of the business climate in Albania.

PROSPECTS FOR WIDER 8 PROMISING COOPERATION JIANG YU

MACRO ANALYSIS OF 10 AALBANIA’S ECONOMIC SECTORS EDUARD ZALOSHNJA

UNIQA KOSOVA TURNS 13, 18 SIGAL PROUD OF ITS ACHIEVEMENTS 20 MAP OF THE REFORM EXPECT WIZZAIR TO BE A SUCCESS 24 WE BECAUSE OF THE TOURISTIC APPEAL REFORM IN JUDICIARY

AT BOTH ENDS

GEORGE MICHALOPOULOS

COAST RESORT ONSETS 26 GREEN A NEW ERA IN TOURISM ELTON GJIKA

VACUUM OF KOSOVO-ALBANIA 32 THE COOPERATION CANNOT BE FILLED IN BY SERBIA’S ECONOMY SAMIR LLESHI

ENHANCES SUPPORT 36 GERMANY FOR A BETTER ECONOMIC

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PERSPECTIVE FOR ALBANIA DRIVEN TO DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY DANICA PURG

48 VALA MAR, THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS “2017 IS THE BEGINNING 50 BRULE: OF “RENOUVEAU” FOR ALBANIA” MICHEL BRULE

WE KEEP INVESTING IN PEOPLE, 56 DHL: INFRASTRUCTURE, TECHNOLOGY… QIRJAKO KOCOLLARI

IS A COUNTRY THAT SHOWS 62 ALBANIA THINGS CAN BE DIFFERENT YUVAL FISCHER

FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA FBA PUBLISHING © KUMI PRINT Editor: Rudina HOXHA Design: Leart Zajmi WEB: www.FollowBusinessAlbania.com EMAIL: info@followbusinessalbania.com NOTICE The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review. All photos used in the magazine are by Shutterstock unless otherwise credited.

February 2017

WEEKEND IS SPREADING 64 DIFFERENT HOPE IN ALBANIA! ARBËR HAJDARI

AHN: 66 YOUNGJIP “MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE TRADE

70 72 74

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ABSOLUTE MUST FOR ALBANIA 77 AN TO CAMPAIGN FOR GERMAN MARKET ANDUENA STEPHAN

IMF PROGRAM & PRIVATE 80 THE CONSUMPTION IN ALBANIA EDUARD ZALOSHNJA

CERAMICS? A JOURNEY TOWARDS 86 MY AN ENIGMA WHICH I MIGHT NEVER FIND PËLLUMB RIRA

5


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The Chinese Ambassador to Albania, H.E. Jiang Yu and the Trade Counsellor, Mr. Lian Gang during a meeting with AIDA Executive Director, Mr. Genti Beqiri.

FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA DIPLOMACY

Promising Prospects for Wider Cooperation By Jiang Yu*

2016 was the year of development and harvesting for the ChineseAlbanian relations. The pragmatic cooperation between the two countries in the political, economiccommercial, cultural exchange spheres has undergone a constant progress and reaped many fruits.

The mutual high-level visits have been frequent and this has increased the mutual political trust between our two countries. Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, Mr. Ji Bingxuan, the State Councilor of China, Mr. Yang Jing , Deputy Secretary of Central Committee for the Disciplinary Inspection of the Communist Party of China, Mr. Zhao Hongzhu have visited Albania respectively; In the meantime, the Speaker of Parliament of Albania, Mr. Ilir Meta visited China, the Albanian Prime Minister, Mr. Edi Rama met his Chinese counterpart Mr. Li Keqiang in Riga at the annual meeting of the leaders of the " 16+1" Cooperation Initiative; the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Culture, Health, the President of the Albanian High Court, all paid visits to China. During these friendly exchanges and mutual visits, eight agreements in the fields of diplomacy, culture, water resources, twinning of cities, human resources, economy, technology and local exchanges were signed, which have paved the way for all-around, fast and healthy develop-

ment of bilateral relations between China and Albania in the new era. The good political relations between our two countries have laid a solid foundation for further promotion of pragmatic bilateral cooperation in economic-commercial field. In 2016, the Chinese-Albanian economic and trade exchanges have increased steadily, cooperation on big projects between the two countries has marked a breakthrough. After the smooth completion of acquisition of Mother Teresa International Airport and the Bankers Company by Chinese investors, China has become a major investor in Albania, something that will serve as a healthy example and precedent for both sides for the growth of economic and commercial cooperation in the future. At present, talks are under way regarding some projects in which Chinese enterprises are interested. Unprecedented opportunities of development loom in the horizon of the traditional Chinese-Albanian friendship. China will continue to encourage its entrepreneurs to *Ambassador of the Republic of China in Albania

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February 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA DIPLOMACY

invest in Albania under market principles, and especially to cooperate with the Albanian side in the fields of energy, infrastructure, water resources, agriculture, industrial zones, human resources etc. The Chinese side wishes to work together with the Albanian side to build up confidence, seek a greater convergence of interests, tap our potentials, turn the will of cooperation into concrete projects.

During the reception of the National Day of China, a Chinese cook demonstrates how tofu can be sliced into hair-thin shreds.

Undoubtedly, a friendly environment of investment is essential for attracting foreign capital. As we have been informed, a number of Chinese companies are facing difficulties and obstacles when they come to Albania to invest or find possible cooperation opportunities.

On top of all, we hope Albania further improves business environment, implements the signed Agreements between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Albania Concerning the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, resolves the disagreements in cooperation through friendly consultations, protects effectively the legitimate rights and interests of the chinese investments, attracts more chinese enterprises to take part in the Albanian economic construction, so as to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results for the well-being of our two peoples.

Meeting between the Albanian and Chinese pupils in 2015.

China offers assistance to Albania in agricultural machineries mostly to increase the capacity in irrigation and drainage equipment.

February 2017

9


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

A MACRO ANALYSIS OF ALBANIA’S ECONOMIC SECTORS

10

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

Eduard Zaloshnja, PhD After the deep financial and political crisis Albania experienced in 1997, its economy went through a long period of rapid growth, starting from a low base. Between 1998 and 2008, Albania’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an average 6.2% a year. The leading sector during that long period of growth was by far the construction sector – its Gross Value Added (GVA) grew by an average 16% a year. After the global financial crisis of 2008-09, construction stopped being the engine of growth. It was fueled for years by the biggest Albania’s export – its workers. And after the crisis hit the countries where Albanians were working abroad, their remittances abruptly hit the brakes. By 2016, the GDP reached the 10.9 billion Euro level, and the construction sector’s GVA represented only 9.5% of it (Figure1). By comparison, in 2009, the construction sector’s GVA represented a full 15% of the GDP (Table 1). February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

As construction’s share in GDP shrank, the agriculture and fisheries sector has become by far the biggest contributor to Albania’s GDP – its GVA represented a full 20% of the GDP in 2016 (Figure 1). By comparison, in 2009, its GVA represented only 16.8% of GDP (Table 1).

As agriculture and fisheries’ share grew significantly since 2009, the trade, transport, hotel/restaurant sector’s share has experienced a slight decrease – it was 16.7% of GDP in 2009, same as the agriculture and fisheries sector’s at that year (Table1).

Agriculture and fisheries are currently followed by the trade, transport, hotel/restaurant sector, with a 15.7% share of the GDP (Figure 1).

Manufacturing’s share in the GDP has increased since 2009 – from 4.3% to 7.2% - but still remains small compared to other bigger sectors.

Figure 1. The contribution of different sectors to Albania's GDP -2016*

CONSTRUCTION

TAXES ON PRODUCTS/SERVICES

12.5%

MINING, ENERGY & UTILITIES

9.5% 5.2%

PUBLIC SERVICES

ENTERTAINMENT & OTHER ACTIVITIES EDUCATION, SCIENCE & MANAGEMENT

11.2%

20%

2.2%

AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES

5% 6.2%

REAL ESTATE ACTIVITIES

2.5% 2.8%

FINANCE & INSURANCE

7.2%

15.7%

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION

TRADE, TRANSPORT, HOTEL/RESTAURANT

MANUFACTURING

Table 1. The GDP share of each sector, 2009-16

Sectors ConstrucƟon Mining, energy & uƟliƟes Agriculture & Įsheries Trade, transport, hotel/restaurant Manufacturing InformaƟon & ĐŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƟŽŶ Finance & insurance Real estate acƟviƟes EducaƟon, science & management Entertainment & other acƟviƟes Public services Taxes on products/services Total GDP

2014

2015

2016*

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

15.0%

12.9%

12.7%

11.4%

10.3%

8.7%

9.7%

9.5%

5.2%

5.5%

5.7%

4.6%

5.1%

5.3%

5.4%

5.2%

16.8%

18.0%

18.2%

18.8%

19.6%

20.0%

20.3%

20.0%

16.7%

16.5%

16.7%

16.8%

15.8%

15.8%

15.4%

15.7%

4.3%

6.6%

6.1%

6.9%

7.7%

7.5%

6.3%

7.2%

4.7%

3.6%

3.4%

3.1%

2.8%

2.8%

2.9%

2.8%

2.4%

2.4%

2.6%

2.4%

2.2%

2.5%

2.7%

2.5%

6.6%

6.2%

6.0%

6.0%

6.4%

6.2%

6.0%

6.2%

2.9%

2.8%

2.9%

3.9%

4.3%

5.0%

5.7%

5.0%

2.1%

2.5%

2.4%

1.8%

1.9%

2.3%

2.4%

2.2%

9.9%

10.1%

10.3%

10.9%

11.1%

11.1%

11.3%

11.2%

13.5%

13.1%

13.0%

13.4%

12.8%

12.7%

12.0%

12.5%

100%

100%

100%

100.0%

100%

100%

100%

100%

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

12

February 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

In the period 2009-16, Albania’s real GDP grew by a moderate average of 2.5% annual rate. Adjusting for inflation (prices fixed to year 2010), it grew from 8.77 billion Euros to 10.32 billion Euros (1 Euro=136 Leks). As Table 2 demonstrates and as it is illustrated in Figure 2, construction’s contribution to the GDP has dramatically decreased from 1.26 billion Euros in 2009, to 1.07 billion Euros in 2016.

On the other hand, agriculture and fisheries’ contribution has dramatically increased from 1.52 billion euros to 1.89 billion Euros. A significant increase in GVA has experienced the trade, transport, hotel/restaurant sector and the public sector, especially in the last three years.

Table 2. The inflation-adjusted contribution of different sectors to Albania's GDP, 2009-16 (in fixed billion Euros)

^ĞĐƚŽƌƐ ŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ DŝŶŝŶŐ͕ĞŶĞƌŐLJΘƵƟůŝƟĞƐ ŐƌŝĐƵůƚƵƌĞΘĮƐŚĞƌŝĞƐ dƌĂĚĞ͕ƚƌĂŶƐƉŽƌƚ͕ŚŽƚĞůͬƌĞƐƚĂƵƌĂŶƚ DĂŶƵĨĂĐƚƵƌŝŶŐ /ŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶΘĐŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƟŽŶ &ŝŶĂŶĐĞΘŝŶƐƵƌĂŶĐĞ ZĞĂůĞƐƚĂƚĞĂĐƟǀŝƟĞƐ ĚƵĐĂƟŽŶ͕ƐĐŝĞŶĐĞΘŵĂŶĂŐĞŵĞŶƚ ŶƚĞƌƚĂŝŶŵĞŶƚΘŽƚŚĞƌĂĐƟǀŝƟĞƐ WƵďůŝĐƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ dĂdžĞƐŽŶƉƌŽĚƵĐƚƐͬƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ dŽƚĂů'W

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

1.26

1.18

1.21

1.10

1.00

0.88

1.00

1.07

0.47

0.60

0.56

0.61

0.72

0.73

0.71

0.69

1.52

1.64

1.71

1.81

1.83

1.86

1.88

1.89

1.44

1.50

1.56

1.59

1.49

1.52

1.51

1.60

0.45

0.50

0.55

0.46

0.51

0.55

0.58

0.59

0.39

0.33

0.32

0.30

0.27

0.28

0.29

0.30

0.21

0.22

0.24

0.24

0.25

0.25

0.26

0.29

0.56

0.56

0.56

0.57

0.62

0.62

0.63

0.66

0.25

0.25

0.27

0.36

0.40

0.47

0.54

0.56

0.19

0.23

0.22

0.17

0.18

0.23

0.24

0.27

0.88

0.92

0.96

1.03

1.07

1.11

1.14

1.16

1.15

1.19

1.17

1.22

1.22

1.22

1.20

1.24

8.77

9.12

9.35

9.48

9.57

9.74

9.99

10.32

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

Figure 2. The inflation-adjusted contribution of different sectors to Albania's GDP, 2009-16 (in fixed billion Euros)

11.00 TAXES ON PRODUCTS/SERVICES

10.00 PUBLIC SERVICES

9.00 RECREATION & OTHER ACTIVITIES

8.00

EDUCATION, SCIENCE & MANAGEMENT

7.00

REAL ESTATE ACTIVITIES

6.00

FINANCE & INSURANCE

5.00

INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION

4.00

MANUFACTURING

3.00

TRADE, TRANSPORT, HOTEL/RESTAURANT

2.00

AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES

1.00

MINING, ENERGY & UTILITIES

-

CONSTRUCTION 2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

Growth fluctuations for selected sectors The construction sector experienced a deep recession in the period 2010-14. Except for 2012, it shrank by 6.9%-12.4% year after year during that period (Figure 3). However, in the last two years it has experienced growth rates similar to those it experienced during the boom years 19982008.

For example, in 2015, the construction’s GVA increased by 14.1% in real terms, while the GDP grew by a modest 2.6%. The construction growth is fueled lately by big energy projects (like the Devoll hydropower project and TAP) and by increased public spending in urban redevelopment, which are expected to continue in the near future.

Figure 3. Real annual growth in construction

CONSTRUCTION

GDP

14.1%

6.9% 4.0%

2010

2.8% 2.5%

2011

1.4%

2012

2013

- 8.8%

- 9.3%

2014

3.4%

2.6%

1.8%

0.9%

2015

2016*

- 6.9%

- 12.4%

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

The mining, energy & utilities sector experienced a rapid growth in the period 2010-13, due to big investments in oil fields and in ore mines (Figure 4).

14

However, a slump in international demand for oil and minerals has put a halt to this sector’s growth. Further growth in this sector would be dependent on developments in the international markets.

February 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

Figure 4. Real annual growth in mining, energy & utilities

MINING, ENERGY & UTILITIES

GDP

27.2%

18.1%

8.8% 4.0%

2010

2.5%

2011

1.4%

0.9%

2012

2013

2014

3.4%

2.6%

1.4% 1.8%

2015

- 3.2%

2016* - 2.7%

- 5.7%

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

Agriculture & fisheries performed better than the economy as a whole from 2010 to 2012 – its real growth rates were significantly higher than the GDP’s (Figure 5). However, its growth has lagged behind GDP’s growth in the last three years.

Representing currently 20% of the GDP (more than any other sector), it needs better access to internal and external markets to reach growth rates it experienced at the beginning of this decade.

Figure 5. Real annual growth in agriculture & fisheries

AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES

GDP

7.6%

5.4% 4.8% 4.0% 3.4% 2.6%

2.5% 1.4%

2010

2011

2012

2.0% 1.8% 1.1% 0.9%

2013

0.8%

2014

2015

0.4%

2016*

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

The growth rates of the trade, transport, hotel/restaurant sector have closely followed GDP’s rates (Figure 6), with an unusual exception – year 2013. In that year, this sector dramatically shrank by 6.1%.

However, in 2016 it returned to the healthy growth rate of 5.6% in real terms. Its continued growth would depend on investments in transport and tourism infrastructure.

Figure 6. Real annual growth in the trade, transport, hotel/restaurant sector

TRADE, TRANSPORT, HOTEL/RESTAURANT

GDP

5.6% 4.7% 4.0%

3.7%

3.4% 2.5%

1.9%

2.1%

1.4%

2.6% 1.8%

0.9% 0.6%

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

- 2015

2016*

- 6.1%

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SPECIAL REPORT

In the last two years it has experienced tepid growth, which is expected to continue to be modest until external demand and investments in this sector pick up steam.

Manufacturing has experienced dramatic fluctuations during the period 2010-16, due to fluctuations in export markets (Figure 7). Figure 7. Real annual growth in manufacturing

MANUFACTURING

11.6%

10.5%

GDP

9.8% 8.3% 5.0%

4.0% 2.5%

2010

2011

1.4%

2012

2013

2.6%

1.8%

0.9%

2014

2015

3.4% 1.9%

2016*

- 15.7% ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

The real growth in public service has surpassed the GDP’s growth each year since 2010, with exception of 2016.

The government’s commitment to the debt reduction targets, established by the IMF might limit the growth of this sector, in the near future.

Figure 8. Real annual growth in public services

6.8%

PUBLIC SERVICES

GDP

4.7%

4.5% 4.0%

4.0%

3.8%

3.4% 3.0% 2.6%

2.5%

2.0%

1.8% 1.4% 0.9%

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016*

ΎĂƐĞĚŽŶ/D&ĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƐ

February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA STEAL OF MONTH

Mr. Mal Berisha (L) congratulated on his appointment as CEO of SIGAL UNIQA Group AUSTRIA Kosova. He got this post last fall.

SIGAL UNIQA Kosova Turns 13, Proud of its Achievements SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria Kosova Founded - 23 October, 2003 HQ - Prishtina, KOSOVO Key people - Mal Berisha (CEO) Market share - 15.86% in 2015 Paid damages - over Euro 33m in 13 years Paid taxes - Euro 6.5m in 13 years Website - http://sigal-ks.com/

When SIGAL UNIQA Group AUSTRIA Kosova, one of the most well-known insurance companies in Kosovo, came into operation in 2003, it had no capital but, 13 years later, it has reached a capital of 8 million euros while it has opened more than 60 offices all over Kosovo and has employed as many as 250 employees with an average salary of 700 euros per month.

This accomplishment was declared by the CEO of SIGAL UNIQA Group AUSTRIA, Mr. Avni Ponari, during a press conference organized on the 13th anniversary of SIGAL UNIQA Kosova, celebrated on November 1, 2016. He underlined that SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria is ranked among the best 100 companies in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and expressed his satisfaction that the company presently operates with more than 40 products on the market. “We are happy that this company currently has 40 insurance products on the market. All of these products are of European level and standards. Also we are happy that we have a well-prepared staff, able to

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA STEAL OF MONTH

manage, lead and represent one of the best companies of Kosovo,” Ponari told the media. In addition, Ponari used this great opportunity to introduce the new CEO of SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria in Kosovo, Mr. Mal Berisha. In his speech, Mr. Berisha assured everyone that he would continue working to further the success of SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria. "As SIGAL UNIQA has progressed in these 13 years alongside Kosovo, it will keep moving ahead. I have the great honor and pleasure to be part of this big team,” Mr. Berisha said.

View from the grand reception at Swiss Diamond Hotel in Prishtina, Nov. 1, 2016.

behalf of the Premier of the Republic of Kosovo, Prof. Isa Mustafa, the Minister of Education, Prof. Arsim Bajrami, deputy Governor of Central Bank, Mr. Fehmi Mehmeti as well as other personalities, diplomats, artists, partners of the company and others. On the same day, both Ponari and Berisha hosted a grand reception at Swiss Diamond Hotel in Prishtina. Among the participants were the Kosovo Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs. Hykmete Bajrami, who greeted them on

SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria started to operate in Kosovo in the most important historical period when Kosovo, just out of the war, was building its democratic institutions, contributing to the growth of its economy and to the destroyed businesses

while the country was running towards the declaration of independence. It was SIGAL, with a more than 200 years of experience, which brought to Kosovo the first strategic insurance investor, UNIQA GROUP Austria, one of the leaders in the insurance industry in Europe. Nowadays SIGAL UNIQA GROUP Austria operates with life and non-life insurance companies in Kosovo. It also contributes to the cultural, artistic and sportive life of the country. Specifically, it has supported Prishtina’s basketball team, “SIGAL,” with over Euro 1 million. Sigal UNIQA Kosova marked a 15.86 % share of the insurance market in Kosovo in 2015.

Mr. Avni Ponari (L) and Mr. Mal Berisha at the joint press conference organized on 13th anniversary of SIGAL UNIQA Kosova on Nov.1, 2016

February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA REFORM IN JUDICIARY

Map of the reform

AP Y T H E PA R L I A ED B MEN

High Inspector of Justice *

INT

INTS ILD

PO

PO

LIA I N T E D B Y PA R

T

ME

. High Inspector of Justice (ILD) Controls the activity of the Judges, Prosecutors, members of the High Judicial Council, High Council of Prosecution, and the General Prosecutor. The name is proposed by the Council of Judicial Nominations and appointed by the President.

NT

The Council of Judicial Nominations is another institution, whose existing premise is the need and importance of accurate selection and proposal of names for the aforementioned institution. Therefore, the main task of this institution is to propose names and verify candidatures for other institution, more specifically The High Inspector of Justice, and the members of the Constitutional Court.

The Parliament

APPO

More practically speaking, the main changes applied are as follows: The separation of the previously (not so) functioning institution named High Council of Justice (KLD) into two different institutions, namely High Council of Judiciary, and High Council of Prosecution, thus separating the two. Another addition to the Albanian Constitution was the institution of the High Inspector of Justice, with the role of supervising the legality of the job of the High Council of Judiciary, High Council of Prosecution, and all Courts and Prosecutions of all levels.

AP

The constitutional reform, the most thorough reform to have ever been applied to the Albanian modern constitution, which was originally adopted in 1998, has a clear guiding principle: Separation of power and division of work. The core reason from where this principle derives is undoubtedly the need to avoid corruption and application of conflict of interest, thus ensuring a more democratic and legitimate judiciary system.

EU Commission Grants EUR 90 Million to Albania

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High Council of Prosecution (KLP): Guarantees the independence, accountability, discipline, status, and the career of the Prosecutors. 6 Prosecutor members and 5 non-prosecutor members elected by the Parliament.

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The programme specifically supports the implementation of the Albanian strategy for the fight against corruption and the reform of the judiciary by continuing its technical assistance programme EURALIUS. The programme also supports the transport sector, with a focus on the road maintenance to ensure efficiency in the planning and spending of public resources. Support will also be provided to the environment sector with a focus on implementation of the water supply and waste water strategy, and to agriculture and rural development, in particular for the development of a land cadastre and for improved food safety and veterinary and phytosanitary standards, in view of underpinning agro-food exports as well as to the fishery sector. This will contribute to the economic development of Albania, creating more jobs and prosperity for all its citizens, the press release says. In addition, financial assistance will be provided to civil society and to support Albania's participation in Union programmes and agencies such as such as "Erasmus+", "Horizon 2020" and "Creative Europe", for the direct benefit of the Albanian citizens. Albania also benefits from EU assistance within the IPA II multi-country programme, providing financial support on a regional scale.

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Special Prosecution * (a.k.a SPAK) Special Prosecution (Prokuroria e Posacme): An independent institution from the General Prosecutor, which investigates special criminal acts from special subjects. 10 Prosecutors appointed by the High Council of Prosecution

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The Commission has just adopted the 2016 Programme for Albania granting EUR 89.7 million to support the country on its path to EU accession, a press release of the Delegation of the European Union to Albania confirmed last December. The programme, it said, follows the enlargement policy "fundamentals first" by focusing on the areas of rule of law, fundamental rights, good governance, economic development and competiveness. It builds on the 2014 and 2015 programmes within the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II), which amounts to a total of EUR 649.4 million for Albania over the 2014-2020 period.


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA REFORM IN JUDICIARY

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High Council of Judiciary SCOPE

Ensures the independency, responsibility, and the progress of the judicial.

• A total of 11 Members COMPOSITION • 6 members are elected from judges • 5 non-judge members are elected from the Parliament with a 2/3 majority, after the list has been prepared by a parliamentary commission. If the Parliament fails to elect the members with 2/3 majority within 3 voting procedures, the list submitted by the commission is automatically accepted.

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• Appoints, evaluates, promotes and transfers judges COMPETENCIES • Decides for disciplinary actions against judges • Approves and supervises the rules of judicial ethics. • Directs the work of the judicial administration. • Proposes and administers its own budget as well as the courts’. • Informs the public and the Parliament regarding the status of the judicial. • Other legally determined functions.

High Council of Prosecution

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Guarantees the independency, accountability, discipline, status, and the career of the Prosecutors.

• A Total of 11 members COMPOSITION • 6 members are elected from the Prosecutors • 5 non-prosecutor members are elected from the Parliament with a 2/3 majority, after the list has been prepared by a parliamentary commission. If the Parliament fails to elect the members with 2/3 majority within 3 voting procedures, the list submitted by the commission is automatically accepted • Appoints, evaluates, promotes and transfers prosecutors COMPETENCIES • Decides for disciplinary actions against prosecutors • Approves and supervises the rules of prosecutor’s ethics • Proposes the to the Parliament the candidates for General Prosecutor • Proposes and administers its own and the prosecutor’s budget • Informs the public and the Parliament regarding the status of the prosecution office. • Other legally-determined functions

Council of Judicial Nominations * Council of Judicial Nominations (KED): Proposes to the Parliament, after evaluation and verification, the names of candidates for High Inspector of Justice and Constitutional Court’s members who are elected from the Parliament. 9 lottery-selected members appointed by the President.

High Inspector of Justice SCOPE

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High Council of Judiciary(KLGJ): Ensures the independence, responsibility, and the progress of the judicial. 6 judge members and 5 non-judge members elected by the Parliament.

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• Verifies complaints, investigates at his own initiative breaches of law and initiates the disciplinary proceeding towards judges and prosecutors of all levels, , members of the High Judicial Council, High Council of Prosecution, and the General Prosecutor Verifikon • Is responsible for the institutional inspection of courthouses and prosecutors’ office • Possesses the status of the judge of Supreme Court.

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Constitutional Court

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Courts/Tribunals * newly established bodies

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• Proposes to the Parliament, after evaluation and verification, the names of candidates for High Inspector of Justice and Constitutional Court’s members who are elected from the Parliament. • 9 lottery-selected members from the judges and prosecutors who have never received a disciplinary action. Comprised by two judges from the Constitutional Court, one judge from the Supreme Court, one Prosecutor from General Prosecutor’s office, two judges and two prosecutors from appeal court, and one judge from the administrative court. • The President selects by lottery the members from 1-5 December. If the President does not select them until 5 December, the Chairman of the Parliament selects them by lottery within December 10, while the Ombudsman participates as observer during the lottery and activity of the institution. • The Head is the member from the Supreme Court. • Proposes to the Parliament, after evaluation and verification, the names of candidates for High Inspector of Justice and Constitutional Court’s members who are elected from the Parliament.

Special Prosecution (a.k.a SPAK) SCOPE

February 2017

• Is elected with 3/5 of all of the members of the Parliament for a 9 year mandate, from well-known lawyers with at least 15 years of experience, and who have not held a public function in the past 10 years. • The list with 5 candidates is presented from the High Council of Nominations in the Judiciary. The first ranked candidate is automatically elected if the Parliament does not reach the 3/5 majority for neither of the candidates within 30 days.

Council of Judicial Nominations SCOPE

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• Controls the activity of the Judges, Prosecutors, members of the High Judicial Council, High Council of Prosecution, and the General Prosecutor

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• An independent institution from the General Prosecutor, which investigates special crimes from special subjects. • At least 10 prosecutors appointed by the High Council of Prosecution for a 9 year mandate, without the right for reappointment. • The Head of the General Prosecution is selected from the prosecutors of this prosecution with the majority of the members of the High Council of Prosecution, for 3 years, without the right of reappointment, according to the law. • Pursues the criminal prosecution and represent the accuse before the special courts and the Supreme Court. • According to the material competencies of the special court, the Special Prosecution pursues criminal prosecution for and represents the accuse for the criminal acts of corruption and organized crime, as well as criminal charges against the President, Chairman of the Parliament, Prime minister member of the council of Ministers, judge of Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, General Prosecutor, High Inspector of Justice, Mayor, deputy, vice minister, member of the High Judicial Council and Prosecution Council, as well as directors of central or independent institutions determined in the Constitution or in law, as well as charges against ex-functionaries of the aforementioned.

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We Expect WizzAir to be a Success because of the Touristic Appeal at Both Ends By Rudina HOXHA

Wizz Air Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. George Michalopoulos explains in an exclusive interview with Follow Business Albania how both countries worked the way up to April 5th when the first direct flight between Tirana and Budapest will take place. According to him, Albania and Hungary attract each other. “On one hand, Tirana and the breathtaking Albanian coastline. On the other Budapest, with its beautiful architecture and historical heritage,”said Michalopoulos who is married with an Albanian from Kosovo.

Albanians are looking forward to start flying directly from Tirana to Budapest. Wizz Air will make this possible starting from April 2017. What should they know about this? What are your expectations about this new milestone for both countries? Wizz Air’s new route connecting Tirana to Hungary’s beautiful historic capital, Budapest, further enhances our commitment to our customers and our intention to improve connectivity and create more travel opportunities across Europe. The direct service stimulates inbound tourism to Albania’s vibrant capital as well as to the country’s beautiful coastline. Underlining our commitment to the region, we look forward to starting a fruitful partnership with Tirana International Airport and 24

remain committed to bring even more opportunities and further stimulate tourism and hospitality industries and strengthen business relations between the countries. Wizz Air’s Budapest network with 59 destinations to 28 countries will also serve as a gateway to those who wish to self-connect to other destinations across Europe. The new route furthermore establishes an important link for trade and business between Hungary and Albania.

Talking about "behind the scenes": what was the biggest challenge you faced until reaching this agreement? And what was the deciding factor? The main challenge we have faced is the very high airport charges at Tirana Interna-

tional Airport. In this specific case we participated in the Hungarian government’s public procurement process, as Hungary was keen to build relations to the region. Wizz Air applied for the tender and has been awarded a four-year concession resulting in five new routes from Budapest: Tirana, Prishtina, Podgorica, Sarajevo and Skopje all of which start in April.

It sounds this connection goes deeper than just a business partnership. Both countries share an early common past. Do you think this will be a sound basis for making this enterprise successful? We expect this route to be a success because of the touristic appeal at both ends. On one hand, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Tirana and the breathFebruary 2017


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taking Albanian coastline. On the other Budapest, with its beautiful architecture and historical heritage.

How can you describe the Wizz Air experience? Wizz Air is a value-oriented airline focusing on innovation throughout customer journey. Our customers book online either on their desktop or mobile and check-in online ensuring minimum time spent in long queues at the airport. We offer both bundled and unbundled fares. If our customers select unbundled fares, they can always add services such as bags and allocated seats during the booking process. As for the onboard experience, we have almost 3000 dedicated professionals committed to passengers’ safety and ensuring that they have as enjoyable a travel experience as possible.

Do you have a success strategy or is this a risk-taking enterprise? The key to our success are our people and our low cost business model. We operate a very efficient fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft (average age 4 years – making it the youngest in Europe). We now offer more than 500 low-fare routes to 136 destinations in 40 countries around Europe and Middle East. WIZZ success story would not have been possible without our dedicated staff delivering high standard services across 27 bases in 14 countries. Wizz Air’s February 2017

continuous development and excellent service have been recognized with prestigious global awards, WIZZ was named 2016 Value Airline of The Year by Air Transport World (ATW), one of the largest multimedia information and services providers for the global airline market and Low Cost Airline of the Year by Center for Aviation (CAPA), a leading provider of independent aviation market intelligence.

What are Wizz Air plans for this year regarding Albania? Our current focus is on ensuring that the Tirana-Budapest route will be a success. We will be present in the market with advertising and Albanian customers will be sure to find low fares on wizzair.com!

With Albania,Wizz Air covers the whole region. How important is that to your map? It is very important to us. We cherish the opportunity to serve the Albanian market directly. Currently we have a significant number of Albanian passengers who travel on our services to Podgorica, Ohrid and Skopje. We look forward to serving them from Tirana starting the month of April!

What do you know about Albania and Albanians? Have you visited our country? Also it would be nice to know a bit about you and your hobbies besides planes of course. I am married to an Albanian from Kosovo! We actually visit Albania at least once or twice a year with our son. What can I say… Albanian hospitality is second none! In terms of hobbies, I most enjoy sports, especially football – both watching and playing. 25


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TOURISM

CEO of Green Coast Resort, Elton Gjika

Green Coast Resort Onsets a New Era in Tourism By Rudina HOXHA

Green Coast Resort is a mega project in the field of tourism which is contributing to a new image of Albania around the world. “Our main objective is to change the mentality and standards in tourism, and to implement new property management and investment schemes. These schemes are very popular in the most well-known resorts in Europe and almost unknown in Albania,� said the CEO of Green Coast Resort, Elton Gjika, in an exclusive interview with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA. According to Gjika, the Green Coast Resort has acquired the status "Strategic Investor with a special procedure", not only because of the high value of the investment by Balfin Group, which exceeds the value of 52'000'000 euros, but also because of the impact this investment will have on tourism and the economy. 26

February 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TOURISM

What is unique about Green Coast Resort? Can you make a glimpse of it? Green Coast Resort is the only high end luxury resort located on Palasa Beach. This is where the Mediterranean and Ionian See meet, creating a breathtaking seaside landscape as a prime destination in Albania. Palasa region is one of the rare places that preserved the nature and heritage of ancient cities and civilizations, continuing to astonish the visitors. The resort itself, contains different types of buildings, from elite villas to apartments for sale and a five star hotel is part of the project as well. These spacious and stylized villas and apartments offer exceptional views from the hillside location among trees and flowers. The architecture is inspired by the buildings of the region, two floor houses blended harmoniously into the green with a seaside view. The resort is turning into a destination, not only because its exquisite beauty and the standard it offers, but also because of new management programs we are implementing for our clients.

February 2017

What is the philosophy of this mega project? The philosophy of the project is mainly to change the mentality in tourism. That would mean to raise the standard in tourism and services offered. An important part has also the professional property management and developing the new investment programs, which ensure short term return of investment. What authentic local experiences will guests have access to the Green Coast Resort? The resort is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Region, which is also highly appreciated from "Lonely Planet", "The Huffington Post" etc. It is close to Vlora, DhÍrmi, Himara, Saranda, the ancient city of Butrint and other villages where traditional crafts are still practiced. So it is worthwhile to explore the region’s exquisite natural beauty and its vivid history. Tour guides will be part of each week so everyone has the possibility to explore the area and enjoy its beauty.

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How important is sustainability to this project? Sustainability is the most important part of any business of BALFIN Group and it is somehow the key to success. Green Coast has acquired the status "Strategic Investor with a special procedure", not only because of the high value of the investment by Balfin Group, which exceeds the value of 52'000'000 euros, but also because of the impact this investment will have on tourism and the economy.

The positioning of Green Coast Resort itself offers a large variety of activities. Outdoor activities include sailing, swimming, canoeing, parachuting, diving, excursions, marine tours, diving, paragliding, and exploring the seaside caves of Karaburun by boat. It also includes indoor activities which vary from water sports to beach volley, tennis, included at the Waterfront Promenade Project that will offer its services starting this summer.

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What types of guests does Green Coast attract? Currently in Green Coast we have different profiles of customers, who come from different countries like Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sweden, Germany etc. and different professions like architects, engineers, accountants, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs etc. We can proudly say that Green Coast has become a “host� of different cultures and so far seems to have gone well.

Currently we have the Development Permit and the Construction Permit for all the project area and in the end the residents will be provided with a certificate of ownership to their property. To what extent, in your view, is the Green Coast Resort contributing to the image of tourism in Albania? Green Coast, as one of the best resorts in the region, attaches great importance to the offered standard and the quality of services.

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Our focus is to provide what is missing in the Albanian tourism, high – standard services and professional property management, under the schemes and examples known in the 5-star resorts in Europe.

February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA KOSOVO PERSPECTIVE

The Vacuum of Kosovo-Albania Cooperation Cannot Be Filled in by Serbia’s Economy By Rudina HOXHA

Samir Lleshi, Regional Director of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, appeals on an exclusive interview with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA that it is time for Albania and Kosovo not to consider themselves competitive markets any more but instead complementary and stimulating to each other. “Because it is time not to think any more that the vacuum of Kosovo-Albania cooperation can be filled in by the economy of Serbia,” he said. Lleshi appreciates the engagement of Kosovo and Albania businesses in different projects while underlined that the two countries must start thinking about their own economic cooperation and their future.

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Please can you make a balance sheet of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce for 2016? What was its major achievement? The Kosovo Chamber of Commerce (KCC) represents the leading institution of the businesses in Kosovo. It was founded in 1962 by the Kosovo Parliament. This year, it will celebrate its 55th anniversary. Our primary goal is to support and represent the interests of its members in the best way possible and in particular, to promote the investments and the development of Kosovo’s economy. The KCC has achieved important results in the internationalization of Kosovo businesses through becoming members of Eurochambers, ICC and other international business instituFebruary 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA KOSOVO PERSPECTIVE

tions. The KCC has also given an important contribution in representing the interests of the business community in the Government, ministry and economy sector, Social Economic Council, National Council of Economic Development, Consultative Council and in the organization and participation in round tables and seminars, organized by KCC and other institutions. In addition, the KCC has given a precious contribution in training its members to carry out a series of activities ensuring the necessary national and international licensing.

What are KCC’s relations with Albania and the Albanian businessmen? What remains to be done more in this respect? The relations between the Kosovo and Albanian businesses are excellent and brotherly. The bilateral cooperation is driven by the national interest to further progress the political interaction as well as by the economic interest in order to advance the process of production capacity building by contemporary technology, so our local markets can be consolidated and competent with the third market, i.e. the European Union. There does exist concrete common initiatives at different levels of the bilateral business communities which positively influence on the increase of market capacity and consequently of offer/demand ratio.

Are Kosovo and Albania exchanging expertise to resolve the pending issues as well as to intensify the mutual trade contacts? In order to prevent and eliminate the problems between our businesses, the KCC and the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Tirana have founded the Business Cooperation Office whose mission is to carefully analyze the problems pertaining to the private enterprises and the lack of economic cooperation between our two countries as well as to address the problems the businesses of both countries may face. This Office will serve to the businesses of both countries. In addition, I feel to underline the importance of the simplification of customs procedures or the opening of Kosovo customs office in the city of Durres. Another important step of our both governments is the mutual recognition on Food & Non-Food Product Certifications. But measures need to be taken for a concrete resolution of these problems within a short time.

Are you succeeding in attracting the foreign investors? The foreign direct investments (FDI) represent one of the most important components of Kosovo’s economic growth and other new financial resources in the country.

So, Albania and Kosovo should not be considered as competitive markets but complementary and stimulating to each other. We should be focused on our economic cooperation. It is time to make our future. February 2017

From this point, Kosovo has a number of significant resources such as a low-cost labor force comparing to other countries in the region. This might serve as an advantage to stimulate competition and create viable sectors. Also the untapped natural resources, a good arable land and a smart approach to the regional and EU markets are other priorities. The climate business in the Republic of Kosovo is becoming one of the most competitive in the region. The created advantages namely the tax regime, the natural resources, the transparent laws related to the foreign investments and others make Kosovo an attractive and favorable environment. I think there is still room for improvements. A greater sense of seriousness is needed to analyze the addressed issues by the foreign investors as well as take measures for their resolution in order to create a favorable climate business for the foreign investors.

Kosovo is a magnet for the companies which intend to invest in a country with low costs and an easy approach

Because it is time not to think any more that the vacuum of Kosovo-Albania cooperation can be filled in by the economy of Serbia. The representatives of Kosovo and Albania businesses are engaged in projects about the liberalization and simplification of the fiscal, tax and customs procedures as well as about the harmonization of the tax systems in both countries.

creating a successful export sector.

to EU, the Central Europe and the regional markets. Over the years, Kosovo’s economy has reported a satisfactory FDI influx which has averagely made up for 7-8 % of GDP. Kosovo enjoys a considerable potential to embrace a stable growth and job creation, driven by the private sector providing it overcomes its challenges. Kosovo has some important comparative advantages when it comes to attracting the local and foreign investments and

Referring to “Doing Business 2016”, Kosovo ranks the 60th in the world, thus confirming the big progress of this country towards the implementation of reforms and the improvement of “Doing business” climate. The FDI-s has continuously showed fluctuations due to the last developments in the Eurozone which poses the main source of FDI in Kosovo. 33


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©GIZ

Cultivation of herbs - Photo Jutta Benzenberg

Germany Enhances Support for a Better Economic Perspective for Albania By Rudina HOXHA

The country director of GIZ Albania, Hans-Juergen Cassens delcares that the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implemented projects of around 8-9 million Euros in Albania last year. “This sum is expected to increase in 2017 given that we intend to add more support related to the economic growth and perspectives of the country,” Cassens told FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA as he makes a picture of GIZ’s major projects in Albania. He highlights that the GIZ’s projects are commissioned by the German government, namely the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, while its perspective is mostly on economic cooperation and development, environment and climate change, water, and energy, etc. “The funds for Albania, as one of the SEE countries, have been increased over the years. As one of the biggest migration sources, Albania continues to receive a high amount of funds,” he said. 36

Which has been one of the most influential projects for the community implemented by GIZ? In fact, we have many. But first of all, I think it is important to mention that our projects are commissioned by the German government and they are carried out on its behalf. We also get co-funding, for example by the European Union or Denmark. For the moment, 60 percent of our funds come from the German government and 40 percent from other commissioning parties. Many of our projects have a string impact. I would like to mention here two projects that are implemented in the agricultural sector. As you may be aware it remains one of the key economic sectors in Albania as it is the generator of job places in rural areas of the country. Just recently we concluded a three- year project co-financed by the European Union in agriculture. GIZ helped with the impleFebruary 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ECONOMIC COOPERATION

©GIZ

Supporting agriculture - Photo Jutta Benzenberg

standards. Laws are changing and we are contributing to procedures helping the accession negotiations.

There are also projects contributing to rural tourism?

mentation of an IPARD-like grant scheme co-financed by the EU and the Albanian government. 78 farms and agro-processing manufactures have benefited directly, from it. Thanks to these investments Albanian agricultural and farming products are more marketable and more competitive. At the same time agro-processing manufactures grow and create new job places. Many small farmers benefit indirectly. They have a secure market for their raw products: milk, fruits, vegetables, meat, herbal and aromatic plants, etc. The same project assisted the Albanian government to manage EU funds (especially IPA funds). Public administration officials of the Agency for Rural Development and Agriculture were trained on how subsidies are paid to the farmers in line with EU standards on increased productivity. As a result of this project, from 2017 and on, Albania will be able to manage more than 70 million euros - IPA money-. Farmers will have access to these funds as subsidies for increased productivity. This way, we are enabling the Albanian farmers to receive a direct payment and this has a huge impact. This is an effort towards the reforming of the agriculture and towards the EU integration. The IPA funds are allocated by the EU; just the accreditation has to happen and we help this process to get on the way.

Only between 2015 and 2016 around 2,800 farmers have been reached out with training and information about procedures on how to benefit from the SARED grant-scheme. 1,000 agro-processors have been directly supported with business development services. Up to date 184 applications for grants have been approved with a total grant amount of Euro 2,456,422. It is with pleasure that we hear farmers say that through this support, they have boosted their productivity and secure their livestock. So they don’t emigrate but contribute to the farms.

Yes, indeed. Thethi is one of the examples where rural tourism was promoted. Today ten times more visitors than eight years ago are coming to this place. But there are many success stories like this. I can mention a project on the rural tourism in the south. One of the support measures is tourism promotion. In this context we have created brochures for 15 villages in the south such as Pilur, Borsh, Vuno, Curraj, Qeparo, Kuc and others. They are an introduction and a real tease for the tourists, so that they become curious about these villages. It has helped already. These brochures will be for sale soon.

Whose idea was that?

It was my personal idea. I visited the south and I was wondering why there are not many tourists visiting such splendid villages. Then the initial idea was about a guide on the South. But then we thought There are other projects whose impact is that there are so many guides on the not shown immediately but with time. We market. In the end, I got the idea about are working on the harmonization of these nice brochures which drive Albania’s economic legislation with the EU attention to each of the specific villages. ©GIZ

Theth - Photo Jutta Benzenberg

Another influential project in the sphere of agriculture is the one, cofounded by the government of Denmark. Similarly many smaller farmers in remote areas in Korca, Elbasan, Shkodra, Diber, etc., have benefited from subsidies through a facility grant-scheme implemented by this project, so they can buy any kind of equipment helpful to increase productivity. February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ECONOMIC COOPERATION

Supporting Vocational Training - Photo Jutta Benzenberg

sources, Albania continues to receive a high amount of funds.

How do you make sure that the funds GIZ is entrusted to implement go to the right destinations? As I mentioned above, it takes 8-9 months for a project to start once the money is allocated by the German Federal Government. We use this period to plan in details the interventions and measures in cooperation with the partner. The purpose is to understand the partner’s needs, identify the proper way to intervene to meet such needs sustainably.

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Youth is a great consideration of the projects implemented by GIZ. What is your message for the youngsters? One of the messages would be “be realistic with the perspectives and the expectations”. I know there are huge challenges on the labor market, especially for the youngsters. Still people need to reflect about realistic expectations over the incomes. I don’t think it is conducive that many young people seem to think that they should be rich in five years or by the age of 25, they can have a brand new car. Nobody does it in Germany or in other countries. Cars driven in Germany are smaller than in Albania (laughing). We are definitely looking into youth. One of the projects we are supporting is on vocational education and training in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, and in the vocational school in Kamza. We have helped to transform into a multifunctional center offering a variety of courses, long and short term. The big challenge there remains to bring the industry, the private sector, closer to the education. Kamza is a success story. We can notice that the percentage of graduates from Kamza School,who get full-time job positions in their profession after their graduation, is 38 percent or much higher than the national average that is 22 percent. If you refer to the 38

part-time job positions, the figures are even higher. So, the vocational school in Kamza is also ahead of the other schools. We will continue working on vocational education and training because the German government is interested in the economic perspective of the youngsters in their own country rather than encouraging them to emigrate.

What was the total money GIZ implemented during 2016 in Albania? Around 8-9 million euros. This sum is expected to increase in 2017 given that the German government intend to add more support related to the economic growth and perspectives of the country. Every two years, both governments, the Albanian and German ones, discuss their future cooperation. Of course, it is not a secret that the German government has its own priorities to support. The German government perspective is mostly on economic cooperation and development, environment and climate change, water, and energy, etc. After the negotiations, money is allocated. After the projects are designed, 8-9 months later, their implementation starts. Very often, a number of German missions come to Albania to discuss certain projects. The funds for Albania, as one of the SEE countries, have been increased over the years. As one of the biggest migration

Besides internal mechanisms, part of the measures related to the implementation of GIZ projects include also anti-corruption interventions, which focus on increased transparency and accountability. Last year the German Development Cooperation in Albania and partner institutions gathered together to discuss openly about concrete steps that can be undertaken to minimize corruption threats and increase transparency. In many cases, through small interventions, GIZ has supported partners to put anti-corruption mechanisms in place.

What is helping you mostly in this job? Mostly it is the environment. I have worked in many countries and cultures so far, in South East Asia, in Africa, Germany etc. This has shaped what is called the intercultural understanding. What has helped me in Albania are the people, their dynamism. Despite the obstacles, the Albanians have a clear agenda: they want to move forward. They are eager to work. When I travel to the Albanian countryside over weekends, I always see people working in the fields, building houses etc. You don’t see that often in other countries. Albanians are used to do hard work. That helps a lot despite the historical difficulties that still reflects in today’s life, the still abundant corruption, institutional weaknesses etc. Definitely here the environment helps a lot.

Working with great partners like the ones in Albania is not always the case in other countries. February 2017


Fasada Schüco FWS 60 CV

Gjenerata e re e dritareve klasike dhe atyre me shirita tavan-dysheme me një gamë të gjerë aplikimesh - duke përfshirë transparencë maksimale, konture mjaft elegante dhe funksionalitet ekstremisht të lartë.

ALU KÖNIG STAHL d.o.o. M: +355 68 20 50 919 E: a.hasani@alukoenigstahl.com www.alukoenigstahl.com


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IEDC- Bled School from above

About IEDC–Bled School of Management The IEDC–Bled School of Management, founded 30 years ago as the first business school of its type in Central and Eastern Europe, is one of the leading international management development institutions in Europe. It is a place where leaders come to learn and reflect, an international centre of excellence in management development, a business meeting point, and a unique place where works of art complement a creative environment for creative leadership. The total number of participants since the establishment until today stands at more than 80,000 from 85 countries. In 2009, the IEDC was the only institution from Central and Eastern Europe to be named among the 100 top business schools worldwide in the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes ranking, for having demonstrated significant leadership in integrating social, environmental and ethical issues into its MBA program. IEDC Alumni network currently associates 5,149 members from 74 countries, among which 1,334 MBA Alumni; and counts 15 clubs in 15 countries.

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The IEDC–Bled School of Management is the headquarters of the international association for Management Development in dynamic societies, CEEMAN, associating 215 business schools from 54 countries, the European Leadership Centre, Coca-Cola chair for sustainable development, and the UN Global Compact Slovenia. The IEDC is also a recognized innovator in custom made programs for corporate clients, among them: Achmea, Netherlands;Anadolu Group, Turkey; AstraZeneca, Russia; Austrian Post; BAE Systems, Great Britain; Medtronic EMEA; BD (Becton Dickinson), CE; Erste Bank, Austria;Erdemir Group, Turkey; Generali Holding,CEE; Henkel, Austria; OBI, Germany; UNIQA, Austria; Vienna Insurance Group, Austria; Vimpelcom, Russia and others. The IEDC–Bled School of Management is an award-winning school. In 2016, IEDC won the AMBA Milestone Award, which is given annually for recognising the on-going success of accredited business schools worldwide by The Association of MBAs (AMBA), the international authority on postgraduate business education, established in 1967.

February 2017


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IEDC President, Prof. Danica Purg

Driven to Do Something Good for the Country The Albanian students are extremely motivated, with strong entrepreneurial spirit, but they sometimes lack organisational experience on the global corporate level. “I am leading IEDC-Bled School of Management as its Founding President for already 30 years and I must admit I am still inspired by my work every single day!” This sentence by the Dean of IEDC-Bled School of Management, Danica Purg, echoes the formula for time-resisting success. The top lady has built a top-brand in Europe: IEDC- Bled School of Management is a place where leaders come to learn and reflect, an international centre of excellence in management development, a business meeting point, and a unique place where works of art complement a creative environment for creative leadership. So far, this school has welcomed 100 Albanian students. In the following exclusive interview with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA, Purg explains the challenges of the world business schools in today’s competitive environment, the IEDC’s approaches and policies given the new international fora, the effect of technology on the business schools and whether a full-time MBA degree is still as popular as before.

February 2017

How many years as dean of IEDC and what does it mean for you to take the reins of a recognized business school? The idea for establishing the school was of the President of the local Chamber of Commerce, Marko Bulc, who was positive that Slovenian managers were in need of more skills and knowledge to be able to compete on the global market. Knowing that I was ambitious and fluent in foreign languages, I was asked to found this school in 1986. I accepted this challenge, because I wanted to do something good for my country. So, I am leading IEDC-Bled School of Management as its Founding President for already 30 years and I must admit I am still inspired by my work every single day! IEDC succeeded to build a top-brand in Europe – by being recognized internationally as a place where leaders come to learn and reflect, an international centre of excellence in management development, a business meeting point, and a unique place where works of art complement a creative environment for creative leadership. IEDC-Bled School of Management is located in Bled (Slovenia), near one of the most

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beautiful lakes in the world. The architecture of the buildings is unique and the school looks like a gallery. Since 1986 about 82.000 managers from 85 countries participated in IEDC educational programs. Our school has the reputation of being a trusted, innovative and award-winning educational partner, not only for Executive MBA, but also for the Doctoral program, customized programs for corporate partners, short executive seminars for top management, and a wide range of general management programs including a five-week General Management Program and international summer schools for young managers.

Comparing IEDC-Bled School of Management to its top peer schools, what are the key advantages of your school?

From the beginning we are internationally oriented, thriving for the highest quality of management and leadership development, led by (my) provocative statement ‘Give us the best (professors, education) from the West and leave the rest’. The three main pillars of the educational process at the IEDC-Bled School of Management are: art and leadership, ethics and corporate governance, and sustainable development. Our slogan is ‘Creative Environment for Creative Leadership’. The campus itself is a stunning architectural space made by a prize winning Slovene architect Vojteh Ravnikar, with beautiful views to the alpine surroundings of lake Bled. When people enter the school they truly enter an art gallery where in each room they can see prominent art from internationally acclaimed local artists, there is even

a piano in one of our main classrooms. This enlivens the learning and working space of IEDC, creating an inspiring environment for students, staff and faculty. Our school is conceived as a place where managers will come not only to learn but also for inspiration. We develop competent and responsible leaders and addresses organizations' complex leadership issues. We do this by bringing together the best faculty from around the world, providing a creative environment for creative leadership, leveraging its stunning location in beautiful Bled, Slovenia. We strive for education with impact!

Your approach is to inspire managers by art. How far has this approach gone for IEDC and its students? What makes IEDC special, is that we have embraced arts-based learning more than

View from a HR Forum at IEDC-Bled School, Oct. 2016

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any other management school, as it is the internal part of learning process and not only by showing the parallels between art and leadership. .) Nine years ago, I initiated a new MBA course, Art and Leadership, one of the first of its kind in the world. This isn't just a nice creative add-on, but a central, integrated part of the story. In eight full days of the curriculum, our members of Art and leadership faculty use visual arts, music, choral conducting, theater and film, to take students on an ‘experimental journey’. Exactly because of this approach, our Executive MBA Program was awarded with The MBA Innovation Award for being one of the four most innovative in the world. I firmly believe that using art in leadership development as a tool for reflection and to develop senses, to make leaders better observers, better listeners and more emphatic in general. The integration of art and art experience in educational processes has been a focus of our school from its beginnings, but especially for the last ten years. The inspiration for this unique approach to leadership development is a deep rooted belief that art helps us to, as the celebrated professor Edgar Schein, Doctor Honoris Causa of our school, said: “Art is helping us to see more, hear more, and to feel more.” When you combine research and teaching with the art of leadership in the February 2017

educational process, it is very powerful. It is important to stress that our inspiration for the MBA program is constantly renewing. The conversations and experiences of our great faculty and guest artists we work with, constantly inspire us with new ideas and new approaches.

Business and entrepreneurship education are still in high demand, but the competition is larger than ever. How does your degree program differ from other schools?

Prof. Purg is a member of the International Advisory Board of the School of Management, Zhejiang University.

Challenges of tomorrow can only be overcome by people who are motivated, broad in their mindsets and forward looking. This is exactly what we offer: first rate skills in finance, accounting, or marketing, combined with soft skills, which create ethical, socially responsible and innovative change leaders for the future. 43


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Our Executive MBA programs offer a learning process that stretches the mind, expands the managerial repertoire, and prepares managers for future business opportunities. We are driven by a vision that successful management is not only affected by one’s own company and the business world, but also the society that surrounds it. We aim to promote ethical, socially responsible and creative leadership and, as a whole, create an environment that offers you: exceptional learning process,

More than 50 renowned visiting professors from the best European and North American business schools closely cooperate with numerous local and international management consultants to successfully link the interaction of contemporary management theory and practice. However, IEDC purposely keeps its Faculty and Staff relatively small. This means that the borderline between functions is flexible and that everybody has an opportunity to be involved in new IEDC-Bled School has won the 2016 AMBA Milestone Award.

companies/organizations and organizing international fora, for business leaders and human resource managers.

Do you have Albanian students attending IEDC? What are your impressions about them? So far, we had about 100 students from Albania, 15 of them finished our EMBA. I would say that they are extremely motivated, with strong entrepreneurial spirit, but they sometimes lack organisational experience on the global corporate level.

What impact will technology ultimately have on business schools and how that will look in five years? Almost every university is going online or trying to offer online degree programs. What is your business school doing in the online space and how do you set yourself apart? We are not neglecting the challenges of digital transformation. In 2013, for example our faculty team developed an educational invention 'MOOCs with Accelerator Studios' – a unique blended-learning project where the alumni come together at IEDC to build and expand the online learning.

innovative curriculum renowned worldwide, a life-changing experience, a network for life etc. We believe that executive development is a process of transformation, both professional and personal. To make this change happen, our full attention is focused on our students. From approachable staff members to inviting buildings, from personal library support to small class sizes, our ideas, resources, and attention are there to make your transformation meaningful, dynamic, and real.

Teaching international relations has taken a special importance given the new realities all over the world. What new approaches or policies have you embraced in this respect? 44

ventures. We are aware how important it is to have direct and frequent relations with your customers, business and individuals – on the global scale.

I can hardly imagine pure on-line leadership and management education to be truly transformative.

This is guaranteed by the ownership of the school, shared by more than 30 businesses, the international and diverse composition of Supervisory and Advisory Board and by regularly researching for the needs of the business leaders and managers by visiting

February 2017


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The end of Young Managers Program, Jul. 2016

That however goes in line with global trends.

Our participants value the face-to-face communication, as a thirst for new knowledge and experience is usually born when you sit to each other and 'feel each other'. In the next five years IEDC shall develop on-line offer with the human touch.

Do you see the full-time MBA degree becoming more or less popular in the coming years (and why)? Management education and development is not getting less important nowadays, even though what you have mentioned is quite true – in the past few years we are witnessing (and the same goes for many business school worldwide) a slightly smaller number of participants in the Executive MBA class. February 2017

This is a consequence of the tense situation in the global economy (question of budget and time constraints). Executives are looking for shorter, more intense and perhaps more targeted forms of education, so our school records higher demand in this segment (f.e. in-company seminars, short open seminars etc.) 45


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINANCE & ECONOMICS

Italian art Masterpieces of the 1900s The first major exhibition in Tirana! Over 100 works of most important artists of the Italian art. 16.01 - 02.04.2017

Every day from 10 am to 7 pm info: 04 2226033 www.galeriakombetare.gov.al

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February 2017


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The road heading to Hamallaj village, Durrës, just 40 km from Tirana, is very smooth and nice. The car is at full speed. It is a Saturday sunny morning and from the car window, you can spot here and there still images from the small village which is waking up from the building of Vala Mar Residences, one of the many conspicuous construction projects of Mane TCI, part of BALFIN Group.

Vala Mar, the Home of Your Dreams By Rudina HOXHA

Vala Mar Residences is a recreational destination for individuals and families who want to enjoy the nature, as well as seek security, construction quality and infrastructure. The residences of the community, including villas and apartments of various types, are located amidst the characteristic greenery of the area, and they face the golden coast of Lalzit Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Riviera. The community provides a variety of services, facilities and entertainment alternatives that ensure a pleasant stay. Also, the location of the community near the main cities in Albania, ensures the access to the main living facilities and commodities.

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Vala Mar Residences, developed on the basis of a masterplan, approved by the Albanian government, is being built over a 18 ha pristine land by the Adriatic Sea in Lalzit Bay. Spanning over just 310 meters in the Adriatic Sea, Lalzit Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Adriatic Riviera because it remains untouched by the massive tourism and has a smooth sand. Vala Mar is a result of combining two names: vala means “wave” in Albanian and Mar comes from Latin meaning “sea”, i.e. a wave sea. That shows so clearly that your home is by the sea. Also, the villas are all named after the different shades of the blue color of the sea at different seasons: Celeste, Azurre, Ultramarine, Sapphire and Iris. February 2017


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Vala Mar Residences will provide 168 villas and 450 apartments of various typologies for the touristic and residential clients. They will be all surrounded by pines, sea views, fruit gardens, abundant public spaces and spacous avenue 11 m wide (and a bike lane) where people can walk and enjoy the sea beauty. In addition, it encompasses a bar restaurant, health center, recreation center, a kid-zone, a supermarket etc. As a strategic investment, Vala Mar Residences is a community located 38 km from the only international airport of Albania - Mother Teresa, a great asset to the visiting foreigners, 26 km from the center and the port of Durres city, 268 km from Prishtina, Kosovo via Morina border, 101 km from Ulqin, Montenegro, via Muriqan and 300 km from Skopje via Qafë-Thana mountain pass. "The project has shown a great care to nature and it maintains a level of exclusivity and privacy that is unparalleled in the area. Each villa and apartment is designed with the client-inspired architecture in mind, has a quick and easy access to the sea and is surrounded by lush pine trees,” says Igla Gjoka, Head of Marketing at ManeTCI. The villas and apartments have unique designs but come standard when it comes to the number of floors - villas are all two-storied and they are 13-15 meters away from one another while the apartments are three-storied. “The whole area has been a barren land. Everything has been built from the scratch” said Emon Sila, Head of Sales at

ManeTCI. He highlights that this resort embodies the best experience, professionalism and contemporary methodologies in construction to serve to the client in the best way possible. “The quality of construction in this area is the best ever. Sacrifices have been made to keep the existing greenish areas intact while investments are being made on planting new pines and other trees,” Sila said. He gathers that the project has taken care of the eventual problems with humidity. The foundations of the villas and apartments have all been ventilated, so they are built above the sea level. Demands on buying and renting the villas and the apartments are high. “There is a high demand on the villas. In six months, all the villas were sold out,” Sila revealed. In total, there are 163 villas while at Mane TCI area, some 29 villas and they are all sold out. According to him, the functionality, the favorable location, the competitive project and the brand are the main reasons why these villas and apartments are sold within a short time. The prices vary from a number of factors: the distance from the sea, the surface, the floor. However, for the unfurnished apartments the prices vary from a

minimum of 66,000 euros, including a free parking lot. Buyers are free to ask for an offer if they want the apartments furnished. “Prices are negotiable and we try to suit to the client’s demands,” he said. When it comes to the buying process, ManeTCI offers financial counselling to the buyers, i.e. it helps the buyers to select the best offer among the ones, presented by a number of banks. Sila underlines that quite in fashion is even the renting of the villas on daily basis or over a weekend for the families. “The prices are competitive: an average of 100 euro per day for the villas which are only 100 meters away from the sea and an average of 50 euro per day for the apartments,” he said. The buyers are mostly Albanians from Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro while interest has been shown by the Italians, Poles and other European citizens. So, if you want a home to be indulged by the sun for 300 days a year, to use it not only in the summer, generous amenities and stylish residential features which create a feeling of peace and relaxation, but the real appeal is its location, Vala Mar Residences is what you are looking for.

• Security and Maintenance 24H • Safe Investment • Financing up to 70% www.valamarresidences.al sales@manetci.al +355 666054036

February 2017

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Tirana Ring Center, not only a Shopping Center Tirana Ring Center, a project of “MSA Konstruksion”, is the biggest shopping center in Tirana. RING offers to its customers the pleasure of shopping and entertainment with an innovative concept which brings a new shopping experience referring the European standards. Tirana Ring Center has a strategic position, only 5 min from “Skënderbej” Square, at roundabout of “Zogu I Zi”. Tirana Ring Center includes a total building construction of 51 000 m2, with 24 000 m2 shopping center surface. Tirana Ring Center brings to the Albanian consumers a wide range of over 70 brands, hypermarket, entertainment spaces, adorable restaurants & coffee bars and high comfort, food court, 4 parking floors (with over 500 parking spaces), 4,000 m2 offices, 50 apartments and 2 villas over the center. 50

February 2017


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For how many years is Tirana Ring Center operating in Tirana and please what's its story? Tirana Ring Center (TRC) has been open for two years now and it has taken its speed faster than expected. It is estimated that this success is beyond our expectations both commercially and financially. TRC was decided to be built following a market study that showed us that other malls are too far from Tirana and do not offer a selection of store that matches the expectations of customers interested in a mall. It is true that the risk was limited: 600 meters from Skanderbeg and located on the most important crossroads of the city –moreover before the other centres, located on this axis.

The success was guaranteed and the reality is better than we hope. Can you tell us how it is going on? It is a voluntary choice that we made. We have mixed high and economic brands for all targets groups. Indeed a study on the offer merchandise for women was obvious niches. The results prove it and we have many requests pending for new stores. Nevertheless we are not against a little more diversification in terms of "women's world".Our project is also to develop leisure in the undeveloped areas in Tirana, which would be welcomed in this economic period of tension.

Brule: “2017 is the beginning of “Renouveau” for Albania” The French businessman, Michel Brule, who has been heavily involved in the establishment of Tirana Ring Center (TRC), narrates in the following interview with Follow Business Albania the way this Centre is doing and how he looks its near future.

We have registered new contracts during the first three month of 2016 with two Italian franchising brands; Primadonna and Piazza Italia. These are two economic brands that satisfy needs of our clients. But we plan to expand and open new stores in few months and few shops will be free for rent.I think TRC will be 100 % full in 6 months because many international brands required to be present in this Centre: (1 Austrian - 1 US - 3 Italian - 2 French - 2 Sweden – 2 from Montenegro brands etc.

Brule is very optimistic about the TRC’s results given that he envisions a Albania's development in a matter of some years. “It is estimated that TRC’s success is beyond our expectations both commercially and financially,” the French man says, revealing that “TRC is already operating at 90%. New activities and great events will be launched in 2017.” According to him, TRC plans to expand and open new stores in few months and few shops will be free for rent. “I think TRC will be 100 % full in a matter of months because many international companies have already extended their requests (1 Austrian - 1 US - 3 Italian - 2 French –2 Sweden - 2 from Montenegro.),” he said.

February 2017

We estimate TRC to be ranked the second in terms of turnover within 2 years to the maximum. This type of investment needs minimum 3 years of activity to be profitable - it's like that all around the word. The investment has been made by two Albanian investors and with the involvement of one bank. We did not ask for any loan to European Bank for Reconstruction 51


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and Development, Albanian-American Enterprise Fund, World Bank, or other international bank - we have no equity. All finances have been providing by this small group of investors.

Do you have any plans to expand your business in Albania in, 2016, 2017 and further? May be some new business? I do not want to create yet other activities in Albania. My two companies are developing normally. Maybe I'll still invest in the purchase of more land in Kukes area for large plantings ofherbs for the production of essential oils. The French company in Switzerland and especially in this area lack very essence of various plants. In other ways, we are just now ready to import French fresh food products from International market. Last week, I watched the movie “War Dogs” in New York. It was a very good movie but we have to stoppromoting this bad image of Albania, and instead contribute to a less corrupt country. This image of corruption on Albania exists in other western countries and in the US and this is not good at for doing business with Albania.

What about e-commerce? E-commerce - not scoop - will develop in Albania and elsewhere. The country is small. It is easy to save on shipping methods which so far have been very penalizing.I have developed a B2B website in Egypt for a similar household appliances company and the development forecasts of sales are estimated at + 70%. I strongly believe in the B2B for the development of the Albanian economy. The e-commerce is already well developed. Think the biggest turnover of custom duty is the tax on import for Victoria Secret’s underwear.

How do you project TRC's future? Like all recent Shopping Malls even the TRC will make its own way and find new niches. It is not impossible to envisage the creation ofa group of eight or ten franchises of French and Italian brands (economy of scale, manageability with common software, onlythe prices hinder this initiative to date. But this concept will be created. Furthermore,TRC is already operating at 90 %. New activities and great events will be launched in the last months of 2016 and 2017. TRC will be the favourite shopping mall of Tirana inhabitants because you can go there by foot - a lot of parking area and 5 bus lines. Soon, a railways station will be added. As I say when I give some courses of management “Be the first always, the first win”!!!The same for RING Centre - The first with this concept and we will be the best and biggest in 3 / 4 years.

You live in France. How does it feel to manage a business from the distance? First of all, I have at least 5 days every

two monthsto to visit Tirana. Furthermore, I haveaoffice with a sales director with whom I Skype every 3 /4 days. Accounting is followed by the same firm for 6 years. Furthermore, I have a mandate for improvement/development management for the company by EBRD, the European Development Bank in Egypt and Morocco and now Tajikistan which forces me to have a fixed office in France. Of course my COO in Albania has my signature to manage the daily business. I am always interested to sell stores and franchising.

How do you see Albania nowadays? If I found a radical change, say 65% between 2004 and 2009, it is not the same since 2009 because Albania suffered the crisis curiously bitter one year elsewhere.The situation is very critical of banks with defaults at 30% unofficially - what about the reality / thoughts from some banks or sell. The 2017 situation is the beginning of “renouveau” for Albania. Otherwise the low cost of labour should be a real opportunity for the country. It is not a coincidence that companies such

RING offers to its customers the pleasure of shopping and entertainment with an innovative concept.

One project is to create a stock exchange for agriculture products’ prices. The farm has no idea of the selling prices of its products and thus, it loses money. This project, under the agriculture ministry, was to regulate the production and find some export options. A lot of application can be open between purchasers and producers or manufactures.Negotiations are running with a Kosovo partner and the state. 52

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Michel Brule: As a Man and as an Entrepreneur, Married&two children. He works for a LVMH, Carrefour French Cies, Italian: Bulgari, SPG…Swiss in Geneva and US company NY. His daughter has created extensive stables and ranches which acquire a good success.

as ZARA, H & M started to produce in Berat, Durres and elsewhere. The major asset of this country is the joy of living of its inhabitants and resourcefulness to find solutions - even if they are not always tackle by the state. The only big downside is the intensive growing of marijuana. There are 10 years in Albania were seen flying over brown fields or fallow. To date the green surrounding villages and valleys is not green peas or potatoes. It must be stopped for at least the country's image. The state must begin new state project to improve the agriculture and help manufacture. The state must keep a stand in all Textile - agriculture, tourism international showrooms / exhibitions. Nobody know our country (I am since 2 years an Albanian citizen now) and I am sure all countries will be interested to produce in Albania. No problem of sanitary, no problem of aggression; no problem of religion not expensive work cost. Let see in Bulgaria some Swiss investors bought cows and give them to Bulgarian farmer, same for cereal field of thousands of hectares - The final cost of production is cheap and the selling of this products generate a good profit. Bulgarian farmers are also very February 2017

Passions Michel has travelled so far in over 134 countries. He contracted the“virus” of travelling in 1968 when he travelled in the Middle East to Afghanistan in Renault 4L. Then, he went from Laos / Cambodia and Vietnam two months ago and Cuba 5 month He planned to go Argentina and Chili in 3 months. In addition, he likes diving AND participates in international car rallies such as WRC RAC in Great Britain and Rally of Portugal. He remains fond of economic journals and historic books. Michel has one of the world collection of beetles, more 150 boxes. As an entrepreneur: ESCP graduate in Paris and IAE (MBA University) to be involved later in the largest economic group of distribution and services (Dior, Boussac, Conforma, Korwett, LVMH Jalla etc). Then he continued as general manager for 40 years in different groups in France such as Agache, Carrefour, Italy (Bulgari), USA (Korwett), Switzerland (Manor). Later he created his management consulting and business development firm: Talents & Associates reg/Tirana/Geneva. In Albania, he created the first chain of hypermarkets ‘Euromax’, then QTU alongside with the conspicuous Albanian investor, Samir Mane. He served as consultant for City Park and created COIN in ABA Tower (Italian department store). He has acted as adviser of the Albanian Minister of Tourism. Tirana Ring Center is his latest project. Actually he manages virtually two other companies. In 1998 he created the Cabinet of Management Consulting: “Talents & Associates” working for Albania, Egypt, Swiss, Morocco, and France. 53


With us you will find everything related to the furnishing decor, lighting, carpets, decoration accessories, etc .. These products are available in Showroom

“Casa Docle Casa” brings in Albania exclusivities from some of the most prestigious factories and Italian companies.

www.cdc.al

Mobileria “Casa Docle Casa” Qendra: Mobileria “Casa Dolce Casa” Rruga Perlat Rexhepi, P 11 1001, Tirana, Albania


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS

DHL: We keep investing in people, infrastructure, technology… Today's local market requires new approaches to adapt to the new developments. In an exclusive interview with Follow Business Albania, Qirjako Kocollari, General Manager of DHL International (Albania) Ltd. explains what DHL International Albania is doing to keep the track.

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How is the DHL’s trend going over the last years? DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. If we see the developments and results of DHL globally I can put it as impressive, both in growth and quality of service. DHL is truly the most international company in the world, operates in more than 220 countries and territories, more international than United Nations which has 193 member states. It is strongly positioned in each country with an unparalleled international network. DHL Albania is a strong and dynamic part of DHL network. It has achieved high quality of service and is still progressing and growing. The growth we have experienced is very much linked with unparalleled quality of service provided by our strong network and DHL Albania, as well as with country general progress, country business development, investments, and modernization of country infrastructure. The trend has been generally positive and I have to point out 2016 as a good year with double digit percentage growth.

What have you done in Albania to achieve high quality of service? Continuous investments in people, infrastructure, technology. Focus on customer in everything we do. They want us to deliver fast, to solve all complexity of international business, to have peace of mind, to be efficient, to use less internal resources. Shortly to make them successful in the complexity of a competitive and changing business environment. Being large, medium, or small business, our focus is to work closely with them, so they fully benefit. In more concrete terms in Albania we have developed operation infrastructure which make possible on time shipment delivery. We are the only company in Albania that operates with its dedicated cargo aircraft daily, operation terminal in Tirana with bonded warehouse, our clearance team, and DHL standard operation facility insuring fast shipments handling for pick-up and delivery. We have a ground distribution fleet of vehicles which makes possible pick-up and delivery on time. In all we do, we keep investing and developing in technology to achieve speed, shipments visibility in real time, applications which insure fast clearance, automated billing and invoicing, simplification in import express making it as easy as exporting, and especially last years we have a distinct increased usage of DHL e-com tools from our customers in Albania. Customers benefit the e-com tools through which they book their shipments, trace the shipments, look at different reports for their shipments, i.e. customers have full visibility and control.

What do you mean when you say you continue to invest in people? I believe that what differentiates us are the people that work at DHL. In spite of position you have in the company, February 2017

being a manager or a courier, it is important to be professional and motivated. I want to cite the DHL Europe CEO that to serve to the customers, we must have knowledgeable, helpful and polite people. Customers want to talk with people who know well what they do, dedicated, and happy to talk with. DHL Albania is part of a unique program that DHL has worldwide, Certified International Specialist (CIS). All our staff participates in this program happily and successfully. in this program. CIS is our Learning and Development platform which enables staff empowerment through knowledge and provides development opportunities for all 100,000 Express employees around the world. Our staff is provided with the specialized knowledge they need to do their job competently and confidently - and 57


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that's very good news for both employees and customers. This program which is continuing for many years now, since 2010, has brought the company to new levels.

More and more we hear in Albania about internet buying and internet selling. How is DHL positioned in this internet shopping? Internet shopping is growing fast. Businesses or private people are more connected globally, have more opportunities to buy in spite of distances, and sell as well in new markets. This is really an opportunity for the business to grow also in Albania. It is good to say that there are some good start ups also in Albania. In this business, good logistics is key in the success, and DHL is exactly the enabler. These customers need to have good consultants how to trade internationally, simple processes, ship fast, to have full control of the shipments from start to end, and solve any issues in due time. Many businesses fail as they do not find the proper logistic solution. They do not know exactly how to trade internationally in terms of customs, costs, they lose shipments control and make unhappy customers due to delays or lost shipments, unable to solve returns and keep costs under control. We are happy to say that we are serving in this direction and our customers are very satisfied. I believe that there will be more and more companies that will exploit the benefits of trading internationally. It is more profitable than trading only domestically, and especially in our case that the market is small and there is huge opportunity to find new markets internationally. We also have a high number of Albanians living abroad and it is also an opportunity to sell Albanian products that Albanians abroad will like to have due to good quality, price, or link them emotionally with Albania. Also literature, art and sport successes in Albania support the business. We have had a growing number of books shipped, and especially football shirts of our national team. Actually there are quality products produced in Albania in manufacturing,

shoes and clothes, and businesses need to focus on creating great brands and sell internationally.

You said that growth is related also with modernization of country infrastructure. What do you mean by this? Everyone in the business speaks about efficiency, ease of doing business, be competitive in the country, in the area, or broader. We ourselves as DHL are important part of business infrastructure as we provide logistics solutions for the businesses; we help businesses to have efficiency by speed, simplicity, ease of use, resource management, etc. Concerning and very important is how country infrastructure facilitates the business, to make it more efficient, the economy more productive, products and services less costly. Here we talk about physical infrastructure, communication, and many others, but what I want to focus

here are customs and legal framework. Customs need to modernize in technology and mentality. We all know that customs priority in Albania is to collect duties and taxes in order to make possible to have stronger finances, for investing for the benefit of the public. We all want it and are happy when investments are correctly prioritized, support economy and people wellbeing. What is of concern is that customs lack of modernization and attitude cannot hide behind the above. On the contrary modernizing the customs will benefit the country and customs itself. We lose a lot of time probably years, talking about things like preclearance procedures in order to speed up clearance process, simplified procedures, and alike. We lose time talking about avoiding many times misinterpretation of the law, or solving simple issues. Not to mention electronic clearance, customs declaration, that is far from implementation. Working on the above does not mean losing collecting duties and taxes. On the Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

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contrary it will make the processes faster, will make customs itself more productive, will facilitate business growth, and collect all and more duties and taxes. What needs to be done is change of attitude, less strategy and more doing. Change of people mentality.

What three words would you use to describe your philosophy at DHL? Customer focus, service excellence, motivated DHL people.

What are the main challenge facing DHL Albania over the next five years? We want and wish that progresses economically.

Albania

We have strong foundations. We will focus to do better what we do best, providing high quality of services in international express services. We will continue to stay focused with the customers, meet their demands, provide solutions, invest in all areas to the benefit of our customers and our people, and grow together with our customers. Very much believe that country will have much better and attractive environment for investments. It will become closer to EU, and businesses will have a lot more opportunities to trade internationally.

We have overcome challenges due to our strong global network, and our strength locally. We will be so in the years to come. February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ISRAELI INITIATIVES

How would you define the relations between Albania and Israel? The relations between Albania and Israel are excellent. We are bringing Israeli companies to invest in Albania while there are mutual visits of high levels from both countries. Also, my agenda is to strength the issues of Human Rights between our countries, to have and to create cultural activities, promote initiatives with public diplomacy. For example, we displayed at the International Book Fair in Tirana the first time ever of the new Albania-Israel booklet for useful daily life phrases interactions.

As a newly appointed deputy ambassador of Israel to Albania, how do you see our country?

Yuval Fischer (L) during the International Human Rights Film Festival-Albania 2016

Albania is a country that shows things can be different Yuval Fischer, Deputy Ambassador of Israel in Albania, appointed in this position last August, writes poetry, plays violin and is part of the European Choir. But above all, his heart beats for the human rights. In an exclusive interview, Fischer underlines that his mission is to give a boost to the human rights issues between the two countries without leaving aside the culture and public diplomacy. According to him, Albania is a country which shows that things might be different.

Albania is a country that shows things can be different. Both Albania and Israel are countries that are relatively young but with a history that goes back in centuries. We share certain similarities including pride in our national heritage and we both cherish democracy and human dignity. Our friendship is strong and we seek to deepen out cooperation with Albania, sharing our mutual experience and knowledge that we have gained over the years in many areas. Since June 2008, people-to-people contacts between the Albanians and Israelis were given a significant boost with Albanian citizens receiving exemption from entry visas to Israel. This further strengthens bilateral relations by increasing the flow of tourism and business ties.

What are the areas you consider as most important in our bilateral relations? The relations between our two countries are expanding in trade, investments, energy and water. So, it

“We are bringing Israeli companies to invest in Albania while there are mutual visits of high levels from both countries,” Fischer confirms, adding “The relations between our two countries are expanding in trade, investments, energy and water.”

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is clear that our focus is exactly here. In addition, the children are the future of Tomorrow. So, we need to invest in the new generations through scholarships, cultural and education and scientific agreements. We are about to achieve such an agreement this year.

How about innovation and entrepreneurship? How can Israel help Albania in this direction? Israeli culture is also a unique combination of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Israel isn’t just a country, it is a way of thinking and the Israeli policy regarding innovation, research and development as well as serving army are key factors in the growth of our country. The only capital (fortune) we had was the human person and for example, when we found that we are lack of water, we looked for substitutes and we make a way for science and technology. So, our first startup was in agriculture.

Doing Activities for children with disabilities in Tirana, Fier and Durres.

disabilities was born two month ago and after discussing the issues with the Deputy Minister of Welfare, Mrs. Kospiri, I decided to create this amazing week and to bring three experts from Israel, Mr. Michael Arnon, an expert for children, with

We, as a country, put a lot of efforts on the vision. We are a small country, surrounded with threats, so the Army created research and development of its own. Israel is still a small country in territory and population. So, Israel can’t be a large industrial country, so we invest in quality than in quantity.

Human rights seem a big share in the common agenda of both countries. Recently you participated in an event on children with disabilities. Please can you share your thoughts on it?

a well known chef who cooked Israeli food for the children. Those experts made an excellent job with the children. We were in four cities: Tirana, Fier, Durres and Kurbin. In Kurbin I met the Mayor who gave as a warm hospitality and discussed future collaboration on those issues. We also started collaboration with the Minister of Welfare, the World Vision Organization and Down Syndrome Albania.

disabilities concerning education and training, Mrs. Ayala Gerber, an expert for Therapy with Music and Mr. Kobi Mizrachi,

Human rights are part of my agenda. The week for the awareness for children with

How is your work boosted by your personal hobbies? I love culture. Albania is blessed with special artists of all kind. I have met with the new director of the Opera and Ballet House of Tirana, Mrs. Zana Çela, and I’m having a privilege to see the amazing talented dancers, performances and opera singing. I’m playing the violin and write poets and I sing at the European Choir.

Visiting an exhibition dedicated to the children with disabilities.

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MOVERS & SHAKERS

Different Weekend is Spreading Hope in Albania! “Një Fundjavë Ndryshe” (Different Weekend) is a charity enterprise initiated by Arbër Hajdari. He needs no promotion at all because his actions speak louder than anything else. The 22-year old boy founded the Foundation "Fundjavë Ndryshe" on October 27, 2015. Its aim is to make the Albanian society aware of charity. He thinks that Albanians are a poor society, but they make charity. “Albanians are ready to help each other if they are convinced of the transparency,” he said during a talk with “FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA.” He adds that “Albanians are tired of politics, and the fact that we have decided to keep political away has impressed them positively.” The indifference of society for people in need has always impressed me. I think that we can't change our country if we don't solve poverty problems. There are a lot of families in need all around Albania, people in extreme poverty. "Different Weekend" is a charity enterprise that I have initiated in October 2015. It operates in extreme poverty and we are a large team working voluntary in this mission. Every weekend we send a large amount of food and good materials in families in need. We have built new homes for some families that live in uninhabitable conditions. Education is one of the most important parts of Different Weekend. We have done a lot of projects for children in need and we 64

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have spread stationary tools for schools in isolated areas. Health care is a really important part of this mission. We have done an agreement with some hospitals and doctors, helping people who are not able to care for themselves. We also have an agreement with municipalities of the country, so the social service helps us identify families in needs.

3. Different Weekend is an unforgettable and irreplaceable experience for me. There are some little things that I will never forget. a) Some months ago we collected money from supermarkets to make possible the operation of a person who couldn't walk. He was father of three little children and his health was really important for the family. b) A very poor family was living in a very cold cabin in an isolated area. The little girl of the family was only 2 years old and she was in danger of dying from the cold, while her mother pregnant was paralyzed. We achieved to buy a new house for them. c) Another special night of Different Weekend is the coldest night of the year. On this night, the volunteers of the foundation came out to cover the homeless. It was really special.

5. Spreading what you have with the others is something that shines your spirit and keep you away from bad habits. Charity is a humanitarian mission that springs from the soul.

A law firm offers the legal consultancy for people uninformed of their rights and the law. Different Weekend is actually embraced by 2500 youth volunteers and the activities are held all around the country. Different Weekend has offices in New York and we are working to spread this activity in every country where Albanian community lives. Different Weekend is spreading hope in Albania! 2. This initiative development comes from a great coordination of the team, there is a hard work between the principles set in basic of the foundation, and the human mission to see this part of society in better conditions. Some of the most important principles of Different Weekend are the transparency, equality, non discrimination and determination to fulfill this purpose.

Albanians are a poor society, but they make 4. I think that now Different Weekend is part of my life. It’s my way to contribute in regulation of my country. Its the best way to help people being better.

I think that the activity of the foundation is spreading so much because there are a lot of people who want to be part of it. They feel better and united.

Through Different Weekend we connect families in need with other philanthropists. I work every day to spread the activities and the message of charity everywhere.

Different Weekend unites the Albanian in a human purpose. They are tired of politics, and the fact that we have decided to keep political away has impressed them positively.

This is making me happy, I feel completed with Different Weekend. But being an example for the others is really hard, and I must be careful in every step I take.

October 2016 February 2017

charity and love helping each other if they are convinced of the transparency.

This is my biggest motivation! 65


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRADE & ECONOMY

Youngjip Ahn: “More opportunities to enhance trade and investment between our two countries” By Rudina HOXHA

“In the cold war era, Korea and Albania followed different paths and accordingly had no meaningful contacts. However, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991, Korea and Albania have rapidly become close friends and partners in many areas such as people-to-people exchanges, trade, development, culture, education and international fora,” said Ambassador of South Korea, Youngjip Ahn in an exclusive interview with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA. South Korea and Albania reestablished their diplomatic relations 25 years ago. Celebrating this marked anniversary in their bilateral ties, Tirana hosted a series of cultural events from South Korea from Nov 10-12, 2016. The Korean Embassy, which oversees Albania affairs from Greece, is showing a greater interest in consolidating the bilateral relations. Ambassador Youngjip Ahn is optimistic that the door of opportunities is more open than ever. “Some Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor Company, and Kia Motors Corporation show strong presence in Albanian market. Some other companies are also looking for new business opportunities in diverse fields such as public projects, construction works, e-ticketing system and cosmetics,” he said, adding “Given the advantages and potentials of Albanian economy, I believe that more and more Korean companies will have interests in doing business in Albania.”

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First time in Albania? What are your first impressions about our country? This is my second visit to Tirana. This January, I came to Tirana to present my credentials to H.E. Bujar Nishani, President of the Republic of Albania. Before my first visit, my knowledge on Albania was superficial built on old books or journals I read in the past: Albania belonged to the communist block and pursued the purest form of communism. Through my visit, I realized that since the end of the Cold War, Albania has been transformed into a democratic country with a membership of NATO and a status of EU member candidate. Moreover, Albania is a rapidly emerging and developing economy with a lot of potentials.

Albania and South Korea celebrate 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. How have these relations evolved over these years in your view? In the cold war era, Korea and Albania followed different paths and accordingly had no meaningful contacts. However,

For example, Foreign Ministers of the two countries had a constructive discussion to enhance the bilateral relations between our two countries in New York last year. This year alone, the Korean government invited 10 Albanian government officers for various training courses such as intellectual property system, judicial justice, e-government and others. Furthermore, the Korean government officers and experts will visit Tirana to hold an ICT/e-Government workshop on 25 November this year in close cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Innovation and Public Administration.

What are your thoughts about giving a push to the bilateral relations between Albania and South Korea? What are the expected outcomes from this cooperation? From now on into the future, where do you want to see our two countries go? There will be more opportunities to enhance trade and investment between our two countries. Albania is located in the Western Balkans and would be a

Some Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motor Company, and Kia Motors Corporation show strong presence in Albanian market. Some other companies are also looking for new business opportunities in diverse fields such as public projects, construction works, e-ticketing system and cosmetics. Given the advantages and potentials of Albanian economy, I believe that more and more Korean companies will have interests in doing business in Albania. As you may know, the Republic of Korea, the 12th largest economy in the world achieved rapid economic development and mature democracy for a quite short period of time and wishes to share such experience with Albania through close cooperation.

xxxxx

since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991, Korea and Albania have rapidly become close friends and partners in many areas such as peopleto-people exchanges, trade, development, culture, education and international fora. February 2017

gateway to EU. It has a large reserve of decent human resources and labor competitiveness comparing to other neighboring European countries. I believe that if it joins the EU in the near future, Albania will become a more attractive investment destination.

The Korean government regards Albania as one of important partners in development cooperation. As I mentioned earlier, the KOICA (Korean International Cooperation Agency) invites around 10 Albanian government officers for various training programs to share our experience of development every year. Also the cooperation in the field of ICT and e-Government which Korea has competitive edges will be more expanded. It is also important to strengthen cultural exchanges and mutual understanding among people of the two countries. In this regard, our embassy organized the Korean Week in Albania which includes various pubic cultural events such as Korean Film Night on 11 November, Ensemble Korea Concert on 12 November and Ambassador’s Cup Taekwondo 67


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Championship on 13 November to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries. Many Albanian young people came to the Korean Film Night and made very positive comments on Korean movies. I hope that such events will help mutual understanding and cultural exchanges among youths. Our embassy would like to host such events on a regular basis.

Human exchanges seem vital to progress our relations. No visa to visit each other. In what way, can we push ahead in this direction? People-to-people exchanges play important roles in deepening the relations

between Albania and Korea. On the basis of the principle of reciprocity, Albanian tourists can visit Korea for 30 days without visa and vice versa. Recently, more and more Korean tourists are visiting Balkan countries such as Greece and Croatia. An increasing number of Korean tourists came to Albania, too Last year around 6,000 Koreans visited Albania. I expect more and more vibrant people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Availing this opportunity, I would like to introduce a full scholarship program of my government for the post graduate students of foreign countries. This program provides all relevant costs (tuition fees, air tickets, living expenses and etc.) for 3 to 5 years to one Albanian student every year. As Korean universities provide very good quality academic courses in diverse fields, I would like to recommend many Albanian students to pay more attention to this program whose information is available at the following website: https://www.studyinkorea.go.kr/en/mai n.do

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South Korean society has a zero tolerance to drugs. How did it achieve it? What approach did you follow? Korea is considered as a drug-free country. In Korea, there were around 10,000 narcotics-related convicts as of last year. In the past, drug abuse had been seen as largely confined to the criminals, but recently some numbers of salaried workers, housewives, students and farmers are indicted as drug users. Facing drug abuse challenges, the Korean government enforces very strict and tough measures to address these cases. For example, the Act on the Control of Narcotics stipulates the punishment of habitual sellers of banned substances up to death penalty, while simple smuggling itself can carry life imprisonment. Another reason why Korea is a drug-free country has been the tradition of the Korean society to strongly reject drug dealers and suppliers. The Korean society has firmly rejected any suggestion of liberalization of any kinds of substances. I would like to consider the possibility to share our experiences in tackling the problem of drug abuse with Albania. February 2017


Japanese cuisine lovers have the opportunity to experience deliciously ubiquitous Japanese food at Yamato, the first restaurant of this kind in Tirana.

Sushi, sashimi, guncan, yakimono and many other typical dishes of Japan are as pleasant in view as delicious in taste, by also combining nutritional values.

Located in one of the most popular areas of the capital, Yamato has offered expertly crafted traditional Japanese food for 8 years now. Yamato kitchen is a true culinary laboratory, where the Japanese chef brings out the best taste of ingredients.

The restaurant is opened for its guests from 12:00 to 23:00 every day of the week. Free Delivery & Booking, please call: +355 66 600 6905 or +355 4 225 8238 Address: “Ibrahim Rugova�Str, Building No. 24, Floor No. -1 YAMATO TIRANA


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ART & CULTURE

Traditional Costumes Fashion Day Echo Albanian Soul Traditional outfits from all Albania regions and modern costumes with traditional designs, made by the Kruja handicraftswomen were displayed during the Kruja Fashion show last December. This special show was organized by the Association TID (Tourism Improvement District) Kruja. The importance of this event, organized on December 20th, 2016, aimed to bring various colors, designs and forms of our traditional costumes, thus highlighting the vibrant soul of Albanian nation. The costumes, made with lots of love from the handicraftswomen, embody the contemporary trends of fashion. The principal purpose of this project was the creation of a new production line capable to increase the production and diversity of Albanian products. It all started as a project of Association TID Kruja with the great support from AADF(Albanian-American Development Foundation ),which has invested a lot on protection and promotion of cultural values in this town. Olsi Pengili, a tourist expert close to AADF for TID Kruja project, is the initiator and the curator of this event. He cooperated with Albanian costumographer, Gerta Oparaku. Both they choose some of the best masters in artisanry and craft design such as Lindita Herri, Vjollca Haxhiu, Kume Berushi, Lida Cela, Vjollca Dallaku, Deshire Maja and Meleq Herri. The event organizers and collaborators aim to transform this fashion show into an annual national event.

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MY PATH

What makes a hotel outstanding? Quality, personalization and consistency of service is the number one differentiator between hotels. Any hotel can put in an elegant lobby or maintain lush landscaping, however the human component is the more challenging piece.

Where do you like to spend holidays, in the city, on the beach or in the mountains? Albania is an ideal holiday destination combining all three features. When choosing between the one and the other, you find yourself on the horns of a dilemma. You can also easily reach nearby holiday destinations like Greece, Italy, Monte Negro or Macedonia.

Which are your preferred destinations? Austria, because I find it difficult to go skiing elsewhere. However, countries like New Zealand, China, Russia, Brazil or the Maldives are still on my to-do list.

Where was your last trip? Holiday: Albania Business & family: Austria

What is never missing in your luggage? My book “Hoh(l)es Haus” published in 1999 and 2016. It is a satire on the Austrian Parliament ☺

What is your way to combat jetlag? I avoid eating airplane food, since it's generally served on a schedule that's consistent with the time zone I am leaving, not the one I am going to. If I am hungry, I snack lightly until I arrive at my destination, and eat during what would be mealtimes there.

Heinz Habertheuer, Head of the Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation of the Austrian Embassy

A cappuccino “me kafe” for Mr. Heinz Habertheuer What are your favorite hotels? The Hotel Sacher in Vienna provides the highest standard of comfort, superb service and every modern technology and amenity that guests from all around the world need. More than 360,000 Sacher cakes are made every year in Vienna, many of which are shipped all over the world allowing a "taste of Vienna" to be delivered globally. Imagine, you need one employee to crack about 7,000 eggs every day to produce this number of cakes!

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What is the country, which offered you great experience and the worst one? A great experience was travelling for several hours on the roof of a train in Ecuador, from the mountains to the coast. Unfortunately and for obvious reasons, I could not enjoy my stay in Kosovo in 1999 – 2002.

Where should everyone go at least once in their life?

and feel like home. Nevertheless, I don’t think that there is a “must go”.

Your favorite hotel in Albania? The Rogner Hotel Tirana (The Garden Hotel), because the Mediterranean garden is an oasis of tranquility and recreation in the center of bustling Tirana. However, no hotel can compete with the view on the 23 floor of the Plaza Hotel in Tirana and I am looking forward to the opening of the lounge bar on the top of the hotel.

To Austria. The best places to visit are those where you enjoy great hospitality

ties between our countries and the outstanding performance of Albanian musicians and singers.

What do you feel about Albania anytime you visit?

How would you characterize the Albanian experience?

Albania is known for special traditions of good manners. I observed e. g. in the I enjoy the coffee-house culture and the north the youth continues to observe the fact that you have to order a Cappuccino ancient traditions. Nevertheless, Tirana is “me kafe”. The first New Year’s concert a vibrant city and the country’s economic of the Vienna artists together with Shkël- growth will offer great opportunities for zen Doli on 2 January illustrates the close its young generation.

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When did you come to Albania for the first time and why? In 1992. I came out of my curiosity. And I felt like home.

35 years in Vienna. What are you missing most from your birthplace and may be even from Albania? I don’t miss much because I am lucky enough. ☺ I feel very well in Vienna. My real home is in Vienna. In addition, my other luck is that all my Albanian friends from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia come to Vienna, so I don’t miss them much. When I miss something, I come to Tirana. ☺

“Sole”, No Longer a Restaurant but an ‘Institution’ of Artists Business finds its way itself as long as the commitment is sincere. By Rudina HOXHA

How was the road up to “Sole”, one of the most wellknown restaurants and businesses in Vienna?

Much of the culture, arts, food, life is in “Sole”. This is proudly affirmed by Aki Nuredini, the owner of “Sole”, a restaurant located in the heart of Vienna, Austria. The businessman, an ethnic Albanianfrom Macedonia, is well known not only in Austria but internationally for his successful entrepreneurial spirit, arts and philanthropy. “It is not that my restaurant is the most beautiful or where you can find long or short pasta. What is surprising for all is that “Sole” is an institution where all the personalities come together, where life beats, where there is an atmosphere, a spirit. My dear friend – Ismail Kadare – always wonders how come,” says the 60-year old man who has many politicians, diplomats, businesspeople and artists as friends.

I believe this has to do with luck as well. When I contemplated the idea to come to Vienna, it was 1981 and I was running a business in Belgrade. My idea was to go to Vienna and expand my business there as well because I had the feeling that things would not go so well in former-Republic of Yugoslavia. I went to Vienna and my wish was to be around the big theatres and in particular, around the most famous Theatre of Opera in Vienna. Initially I bought a boutique shop which I later transformed it into a restaurant. I promised myself to bring all the famous people here and I made it! I had a restaurant in Belgrade which I called “Fontana” while this one “Sole” (Sun). I think that without water and sun, nothing can be done. I have used Italian names because I love Italy, the mentality, the culture, the art and above all, the gastronomy of this country which is the best in the world.

This restaurant has been designed by the Austrian architect, Johanes Spalt, a friend of Nuredini who has passed away. “He has given to this building a soul, an ambience which can last forever,” the businessman thinks. Recently Nuredini was awarded by Albanian President, Bujar Nishani with the title "Order of Skanderbeg" under the motivation "In appreciation of the valuable contribution for supporting and promoting the culture and the best Albanian values in Austria, for stimulating the cultural and economic exchanges between the Republic of Albania and Austria as well as for the charity acts in support of people or the needy social groups."

“Sole” has received many awards but the most important one is the one, granted by the Italian Ministry of Culture – Academia di Gucchina Italiana – there are 840 members of this Academy which check the restaurants all over the world. “Sole” is the only restaurant which has received this award in Austria.

Do you think an entrepreneur can live without art? The artist can live without business but the businessman cannot live without art.

Who are some of the big art stars who visit “Sole” regularly? Some of them are Inva Mula, Enkeleda Shkoza, Ermonela Jaho,

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like in Italy. Great changes have happened over these years and they deserve only compliments. My biggest joy is when I see such positive changes, even among the people or in the business sphere.

In your view, what is the receipt for success for an enduring business? Luck is always needed. I can mention the maximal commitment, the seriousness, the most sincere respect for the staff which is the same as the biggest respect I have for my family. I express the same respect in every meeting with artists, businesspeople or colleagues and this is how the rest of the day goes.

What is your piece of advice for the Albanian youngsters who would like to start a business or do something in life?

Sajmir Pirgu, Agim Hushi and many other famous instrumentalists and artists. From the international artists, I can mention Placido Domingo and many others. An inexplicable bond has been created between me and these artists. All consider “Sole”not a restaurant but an institution. It is interesting enough to see diplomats, politicians, artists, critics, journalists going along so well with one another only in “Sole.” This is something rare to see.

What is the secret? May be it is me…(Laughing)

How do you see Albania alongside with its developments? I see Albania with a lot of positive sentiments. May be the Albanians don’t notice the changes in their day to day life. But, on our way from the airport to Tirana, my spouse and I had the chance to see gladly that the roads looked the same

My message for them is to commit themselves in the business with the biggest respect possible. If they do that, the business finds its way itself as long as the commitment is sincere.

You are characterized by a philanthropic spirit. Tell us more about this. My passion is art. So, I use that to organize various charity concerts. When I turned 60 years old on November 2, 2016, I brought together 26 artists including Saimir Pirgu and 1700 world personalities, all friends of mine, at the place where the traditional New Year concert is yearly organized in Vienna. Half of the proceeds, around 110,000 Euros went for the children with cancer while the rest for the scholarships for the Diaspora children living in Austria.

You were awarded by President Nishani last November. How would you characterize this act? I was greatly impressed. I have received many awards including Cavaliero Award by the Italian President, Napoletano and many by the Austrian state. But Nishani’s decoration was very emotional given the ceremony as a whole, the national hymn, the high assessment and all the other complementary details. When I read my speech, I was very emotional. Of all my awards, this is the most important one. February 2017

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Albania Got Attention in Stuttgart Fair For the first time, Albania participated in the Stuttgart Fair from January 16-24, 2017 which brought together the largest operators of what is known as “outgoing tourism” from around the world. The Albanian Ministry of Tourism and the National Agency of Tourism made the best to showcase Albania’s tourism potential and maximize profits from this important event. Albanian government allocated a funding of EUR 228 000 to support the country’s participation in this event.

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TOURISM

How do you consider Albania’s first time participation in CMT Stuttgart 2017? Germany is a very special country when it comes to tourism. Together with Great Britain, it is the country with the highest number of outbound tourists. In 2015, Germany counted more than 730 million nights on trips abroad. In this sense, it is an absolute MUST for Albania to raise and run a specifically designed campaign for accessing the German market and making it interested in Albania. Besides, it is important to understand that the effectiveness of the campaign is dependent on the strategy to be followed with regard to the selection of the Federal States. Such states as Hamburg, Meckenburg-Vorpommern normally have a low number of residents and a lot of holiday-making alternatives as they are very close to the North and East Sea. By contrast the other federal states are located far from the sea and hence are more prone to seaside holiday alternatives. NRW for example has the highest population (18 million inhabitants), the highest GDP per capita and hence is an ideal target market. Referring to the Stuttgart Fair (Federal State of Baden-Württemberg, 10 million inhabitants), this is one of the 65 most important fairs in Germany concerning tourism and travel. This fair targets keen tourists on camping, cruises, bike-riding or on holiday packages. The presence of Albania in this fair was very important. Although there are still no absolute conditions available for this type of

An Absolute MUST for Albania to Campaign for German Market German Tourist is Attracted by Transparency

Following the CMT Stuttgart 2017, Anduena Stephan, Honorary Consul of Albania to Germany (Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia) tells to FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA why Albania urgently needs to draw out a tailor-made travel and leisure strategy for the German market.

holidays, it is important to position the country and make it known to the German public at large. Further, this should be followed by a structured presence in other important events in Germany. The European Travel Congress for example with all the most important EU representatives in the travel market present will be taking place in Essen (residence of the Honorary Consulate, NRW) by the end of February!

What do you expect to be of interest for the German public at large and for the travel and leisure companies present or visiting? The affluent German tourist is curious and willing to explore in “safe waters”. Albania is close and an unexplored spot for 98% of them with an excellent ranking when it comes to natural beauty. Albania should try to get the attention capitalising on the above and present its infrastructure as it is. It is much easier for a German tourist to accept an environment, which has been made transparent to him/her through brochures, catalogues etc then to experience disappointment. If the later happens, Albania has not only lost this tourist, it has lost also the interest of the travel agencies and other German institutions. Negative feedback is very unhealthy, especially in view of the strong competition as I said from Croatia and Greece.

February 2017

Anduena Stephan, Honorary Consul of Albania to Germany (Federal State of NRW)

In your view, how has evolved the tourism profile of Albania in Germany? Do you think a new branding of the country is needed? Albania has participated 6-7 times at the ITB in Berlin, the first time now in Stuttgart and several times in our federal state through activities organised by the Honorary Consulate in close cooperation with the Embassy and the respective Albanian authorities. However, we need urgently a tailormade travel and leisure strategy for the German market. Imagine if Albania would succeed to attract only 0,1% of 730 million nights (730.000 nights/year) which translated in economic terms would be multiplied by 100 Euro / night per person (accommodation/food/car, etc) Albania would benefit a minimum of Euro 73 million. Multiplying this by 3 persons per trip as an average and here you go with Euro 220 million additional incomes to the Albanian economy annually. I am not adding here the employment benefits etc, etc. Finally I can not reiterate enough, how important it is to get the Diaspora. If Turkey today has become a tourist destination to Germans, this is only thanks to the marketing of the country through the Turks living and working in Germany. And it took them almost 20 years to get to such numbers as 5.5 million Germans (12% of the total tourists) visiting the country every year. 77


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e-mail: info@netrecruit.al www.netrecruit.al

Through our offices in Tirana, Saranda and Vlora we will be there for you on every step of the way. Our team will be happy to provide our services to you. We can help you get the Albanian property or investment of your dreams. info@albaniapropertygroup.com www.albaniapropertygroup.com

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February 2017

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MACRO/CLOSER LOOK

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Anita Tuladhar, visited Tirana from January 18 to 24, 2016, to conduct discussions on the combined ninth and tenth reviews, under Albania’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) Arrangement.

T h e IMF P r ogram & Private Consumption

in Albania Eduard Zaloshnja, PhD

At the conclusion of the visit, Ms.Tuladhar made an official statement, in which she stressed that the [IMF] program has put the Albanian economy on a path towards sound public finances, financial stability and economic recovery. With the program coming to an end, it will be essential that Albania commits to maintaining its momentum of economic reforms. These reforms are crucial to boost confidence, spur investment, and strengthen growth prospects”. Looking ahead, Ms.Tuladhar declared that “The Fund team sees the economy strengthening. GDP growth is expected to have reached 3.4 percent in 2016, and is projected to accelerate to around 4 percent over the medium term, driven by large energy-related foreign direct investment and a pickup in domestic demand. Average inflation has reached 1.3 percent last year, in line with rising domestic demand, and is expected to continue increasing gradually until reaching the target rate of 3 percent by 2018”. It is obvious that the IMF team has detected an increase in consumer demand, which is expected to fuel further GDP growth and inflation increase, up to the healthy levels of 4% and 3%, respectively. In fact, in the 3 years of the IMF program, private

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consumption has shown signs of revival in Albania. In the 3rd quarter of 2013, the nominal private consumption was Lek 262 billion, whereas in the same quarter of 2016, it was Lek 299 billion – a 14.2% increase.

Excluding price fluctuations from these figures, consumption growth in real terms in the three-year period was 7.9%, or 2.6% annually (Figure 1)

Figure 1

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Comparatively, in the three-year period before the IMF program (2010-12), the average annual real growth of private consumption was 1.1%.

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The real growth was especially low (0.13%) in 2012 (Figure 2). This big before-and-after difference in consumption must be the cause of optimism in the IMF’s forecast of consumption growth acceleration.

Figure 2

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1.90 1.63

0.13 2010

February 2017

2011

2012

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Tirana Business Park (TBP) is the largest german real estate, direct private investment in Albania. It is located only 2 minutes away from the International Airport „Mother Teresa“, in an area of 22 ha. By 2022, 17 buildings will be erected, with a total build up area of app. 176,500 m2 and 3600 parking spaces. TBP is divided in two main areas, PDA (Project Development Area) and RA (Resale Area), each of them 110.000m2. PDA will be dedicated for offices, retail space, commercial areas, shops, food, storage, internal and external parking spaces and supportive services while Resale Area will serve to any demand arising, so it is an area to be tailored to the needs of TBP’s customers. This ambitious, 100 million euro project is being implemented by Lindner Group of Germany. The Lindner Group is Europe’s leading company for interior fit-out, facade construction and insulation engineering with 50 years’ experience in ‘Building New Solutions’, the development and implementation of individual, high-quality project solutions, as well as developing successful business parks in Europe, such as, Business Park Sofia, Bulgaria and Galvaniho Business Center, Bratislava, Slovakia. The buildings express an attractive architecture, a new excellent working location; a concept of a city within the city and nearby the airport. It represents a genuine concept of urbanism, architecture, landscape, traffic and infrastructure for a premium business activity. At TBP sustainable architecture blends with nature, by bringing positive impact on users‘ work-life balance; at the same time, high priority is given to the service provided and the premise facilities and flexibilities. The first construction phase includes three buildings with a gross floor area of approx. 39,000 square meters. TBP’s Grand Opening took place on June 30, 2015. TBP is on its way to become one of the hot spots in Southeast Europe, by bringing together industries, enterpreneurial models and creative impulses.


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My Ceramics? A Journey Towards an Enigma Which I Might Never Find Pëllumb Rira - The Albanian artist who has decided to bring ceramics to another level

Pëllumb Rira is an Albanian painter, ceramist and sculptor who comes from a family with traditions in art. He runs an art gallery (P-Rira Art Vizion) and likes to sculpture profiles of females mostly combined with elements of folk costumography. He started everything from the scratch. For the past 10 years, he studied heavily on his passion – ceramics – inspired by his mother and the Egyptian art. “The pyramids learned to me that like them, which are made stone by stone, we, people, as well, can make it. Even if you may be a small stone out of this huge pyramid, you are still part of it,” he said exclusively to Follow Business Albania.

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Pëllumb is from Rrajca, city of Elbasan. There he finished his eighth-grade and secondary school studies. His mother is a tailor. She sews and embroiders the folk costumes. “I was influenced by the way she worked. So, I remember that I had a keen interest in folklore, especially in specific elements of folk costumes,” he recalls.

The portrait of "The Queen"

Some 18 years ago, he moved to Tirana where he had his brothers working in an art studio. He got one of his brothers’ advice to come to Tirana and work with him rather than following his instinct to continue his art studies abroad. “And I did good. At that time, our art studio was located somewhere in the center of Tirana and this was a great magnet to most of the conspicuous professors of the Albanian Academy of Fine Arts. Here I met most of them, specialized in sculpture, painting, and ceramics and in all the other art genres, he said, adding “The studio was an ideal place to materialize the ideas since it provided all the materials needed for the artists. Here I had the chance to study the ceramics techniques. Rather than painting or sculpture, I dedicated myself to ceramics.” By doing so, he started to experiment in ceramics by using colors. He had a big vision and an ultimate goal: to bring ceramics to another dimension by carrying out a complete study which would be the alpha and omega of his profession. Pellumb Rira was commissioned by Dubai authorities to paint the portraits of the two Sheiks.

February 2017

“In my work, I kept recalling my mother’s folk costumes and their unique character.

This was the moment when I promised myself to do my best in order to bring something more than the existing applicative ceramics which was domineering at that time,” Pëllumb said. These were times when no one cared about art or ceramics. People were focused on other things, art was the last thing on their minds. He comprehended that the technique process should be developed in parallel with the creative process. “I realized that besides being good in drawing and in teaching, one needs to explore in depth the technical process which should go in parallel with the creative process. I put this approach into practice. Also I heavily studied the art of folk costumes. So, my focus was like the artist, who had created the traditional folk costume of my native city – Rrajca – I could create a sort of unseen ceramics in concept and idea,” he underlined.

Egyptian art designs his style Besides the experimental and exploring process of ceramics, Pëllumb was keen on Egyptian art, so he decided to study this art in this country. There he saw what art means ranging from the colors, sculpture, ceramics, relief implementation and 87


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ART

others. “Let me illustrate this with an episode. The way a cat would stand on my window sill was the same the sculptures would stand in this country, so it was impossible for an artist not to be attracted by this cat and turn it into a work of art. In itself, the cat, a gift of God on the earth, was a perfection in lines and volumes. The Egyptian art showed me the perfection in architecture for which I studied heavily,” he pinpointed. At the end of my studies, explorations and conclusions in 2005 in Egypt, he found himself inside a pyramid. “I came to the conclusion that here the earth touches the sky when it comes to the art. Visiting the pyramids many times, I was touched by the way the stones were put. So, I decided to distract myself from the existing ceramics and switch to a new one, unseen so far in my own country,” he said. Once back from Egypt, the first work he did was that of “The Queen” implying his mother all the way. This portrait exceeded the conventional ceramics 88

which he had made and seen in Albania. “The Queen” represented a female portrait where a drop of tear was falling from the brain. It embodied psychology. A portrait not so much realistic, dominated by the color of red – mostly the color of the costumes his mother sewed were in red. “Seeing her big sacrifice to follow her passion, her profession, besides the daily engagements, I often detected an interior tear (not a psychological pain but an intellectual one.) I did not intend a simple portrait but one combining all the elements and moreover with a ceramics explored in depth. The first portrait came into this world, followed with other portraits based on a deep analysis (from Alfa to Omega),” Pëllumb said, emphasizing “All what I am doing is a journey towards an enigma which I may never find. But the thirst for work, knowledge and the passion make me go on. So, I managed to do a different ceramics, not seen before in Albania.” February 2017


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Piano Galeri Tirana is a unique space in Tirana and Albania. PGT offers excellent pianos, new and used, with competitive prices which will last for all your life. Since buying a piano is a considerable investment, our initial mission is to give you the correct information in order to take a clear decision as in what is the best choice for a piano. We have in our disposal different piano brands, which adopt to different levels of quality, performance, and budget. PGT has incredible relations with some of the main producers in the world. We have experience in selling the most famous brands and we offer professional service including: tuning, transportation, and rental. All new pianos have 5 years of guarantee term and 2 years of free tuning term. Buying in a gallery with high reputation like Piano Galeri Tirana, we will help you to take care of your instrument in order to provide joy and satisfaction for your family for many years. With our piano and our service we hope to not only win your business, but also your gratitude and respect.

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Follow Business Albania MAGAZINE FEb 2017  

VETTING BEGINS FOR THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM Under the microscope The highly anticipated judicial reform has finally taken its first step into t...

Follow Business Albania MAGAZINE FEb 2017  

VETTING BEGINS FOR THE JUDICIARY SYSTEM Under the microscope The highly anticipated judicial reform has finally taken its first step into t...

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