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Become an Epitech privileged partner! Why and how? Epitech has created a new educational model that brings together the students, school and the business sector. Through the increasingly close partnership with major industry players and prestigious institutions of higher education worldwide, Epitech has earned a reputation for excellence among the leading French schools, recognized as one of the best schools capable to transform passion for IT into an expertise that results in professionals of the highest level. In Albania, as in any other country of the world, Epitech will play an essential role in preparing tomorrow's innovators in all areas of information technology through more appropriate teaching methods. The future graduates of Epitech Albania will become major players in strengthening the potentially growth-oriented digital sector in Albania and around the world. Epitech aims at developing synergies with the business sector in a win / win relationship.

“The Universality Of IT Requires Us To Build A Future In IT And Innovation That Is Both Responsible And Ethical.” – Epitech. Applications have begun for the 2019-2020 academic year.

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The partnerships with enterprises contribute to the development of these young talents as well as the consolidation of the values transmitted by the school and the essential technical skills. The Epitech player is a company that pays the apprenticeship tax to the school thus supporting its development. It is a partner that helps it to bring innovation to the heart of the various economic sectors, at the heart of technologies and societal issues to make IT and digital technology accessible to all and to ensure that they have a positive impact on society. The Player undertakes to be involved in the various actions organized by the school and to promote the integration of students into its teams. In this way, it contributes to enriching the business culture of students and to encourage true vocations in them.

1st place:

2nd place:

Epitech Paris students with their AVM project, a clinical monitoring solution for patients with cystic fibrosis.

Epitech Nancy students with their assistance solution, Vibear, for the deaf and hard of hearing.

April 2019



The cooperation comprises several options among which we would like to emphasize: Internships as part of our curriculum: Our five-year program involves internships of four to six months every year, as an opportunity for our students to test their skills, their know-how as well as integrate themselves in the work environment. We strongly believe that our students would make the best candidates for your projects. “Meet - Up: Transmit your knowledge”: These meet-ups are an opportunity of exchange between you and the students of Epitech. You will be invited to come and share with our students in the form of a seminar or workshop your vision of the market, know-how, digital challenges in your sector as well as to present a cutting-edge technology.

Entrance tests: These consist of: - A face-to-face interview - An English test - A logical test The aim is assessing applicants' abilities and measure their capacity to adapt to the school's particular learning method and values. Application deadlines:

“Shape your Internship”: These meetings, are organized throughout the year. Our students are confronted with the reality of the market today and guided as they prepare their CV as well as their preparation for the interviews. Who can better do that than companies themselves? This approach to supporting students is done over time, it allows Players to broadcast their employer brand, to have a long-term vision and a real pool of future candidates. Through these activities your company will benefit:

To strengthen our collaboration and increase our impact on the digital transformation of society, we invite you to become an Epitech Player.

applications are received from October 2018 to July 2019. They must be completed online as soon as possible on the site.

At the end of their course, our students earn the qualification of Epitech Expert in Information Technology, registered by the French National Commission for Professional Certification, RNCP level I.

Epitech Experience! By spreading your employer brand to students, you will maximize your chances of creating a real long-term relationship with students and build a circle of talents.

By becoming an Epitech Player you will be a privileged partner of the school. Not only will you have the ability to be a true actor at one or more of our annual events, but you will also be able to forge a special relationship with our students by interacting directly with them.

April 2019

On Friday, February 15, 2019, Epitech unveiled to the public the best of innovation through the demonstration of 102 projects by fifth-year students. "Learning by doing is the purpose of Epitech Innovative projects (EIP), the final year projects on which Epitech students work in groups for 3 years". At Epitech Experience, a jury of professionals elected the winners of the 2019 EIP Awards! The great winners of this edition received support from Epitech’s partner incubators: The Family, Schoolab, Creative Valley and IONIS 361. 1st place: Epitech Paris students with their AVM project, a clinical monitoring solution for patients with cystic fibrosis

3rd place:

Jury's favorite:

Epitech Strasbourg students with their project BackingTrackLive, a real-time musical accompaniment generator.

The Relieve project run by Epitech Lille students, which aims to help associations that work with the homeless.




38 Shell Wants to Assist Build a Thriving Energy Industry Together with Albanian Government. Rohan D’Souza, Chairman, Shell Companies in Albania, sits with FOLLOW BUSINESS...

FBA PUBLISHING © KUMI PRINT Editor in Chief: Rudina Hoxha Lead Design: Leart Zajmi Contributing and Producing Team: E. Zaloshnja M. Sheta M. Hasani

22 The Number of Years Needed to Repay Public Debt with Full Budget revenues.

K. Prifti S. Lleshi B. Leone A. Halilaj

A common used metric to measure...




E. Hasanbelliu

Hyatt Will Not Only Offer Our Guests New Destinations, but Should Open up Opportunities for People

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Hyatt opened its first hotel in the region in 1990, with Hyatt Regency Belgrade, which makes us one of the most...

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Lufthansa Overnight Flight in Tirana


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All the IC’s Efforts on Improving Policy Dialogue on Country’s Investment Climate –Main Challenges and Key Priorities


Wellbeing in the Center of Every Policy Discussion: Health Sector


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JP’s Keys to a Successful Hotel Opening

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Population Aging and the Financial Strain on Social Security...

EasyPay to Bring Very Exciting Projects in 2019

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Education and Leadership Program

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All the IC’s Efforts on Improving Policy Dialogue on Country’s Investment Climate –Main Challenges and Key Priorities By Rudina HOXHA


iana Leka (Angoni), Head of Investment Council Secretariat, supported by EBRD and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), makes an overview of the situation of investments in Albania while talks on 2019s challenges.

Overview of the investment climate and business environment in the country, key priorities and challenges: After completion of the major privatization which initially have been a major attraction to foreign investments especially in service sector, the current strategy of the Albanian Government to attract foreign direct investments has shifted toward new sectors as well improving business environment/ease doing business.


April 2019



View from the first meeting of Investment Council for 2019 "On inspections", chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Mrs. Anila Denaj, Jan. 29, 2019

With regard to economic development during 2015-2018, Albania has shown a positive trend in private investment after 2015; while FDIs and public investment have slowly taken off and entered in a positive cycle. More on: The negative impact of debt crises on the macro stability of the economy and its economic growth are neutralized, the positive growth path is recovered in 2018, macroeconomic situation is stable and resilient to potential risks that can emerge from increased public spending during an election year. The economic growth is being

reflected to more employment, while sectors as tourism and energy are emerging as strong contributors to growth and employment.

The structural adjustment of the economy toward a higher productive one has to continue and be supported by policy measures that attract more direct foreign investment in capital, business model and know how/technology as well. Improving the business environment by formalizing the economic activity, fighting corruption, enforce land ownership and improve access to finance are important


In Mio Euro












Public Investment (in Mio EUR) Private Investment (in Mio EUR) Foreign Investment (in Mio EUR)

April 2019




priorities for the Government of Albania as part of Economic Reform Program 2018-2020. We believe that key priorities remain consolidation of the deregulation reform to continue reduction of administrative burden to businesses, reduce informality and improve access to finance are also priority areas of interventions. The secretariat of IC performs a business survey every year to gather business concerns regarding investment climate, interesting data from the 2018’s survey suggest that Government should mainly focus on informality, access to finance and lack of skills as bottlenecks to improve investment climate.

II. Main trends in the business environment, what is getting better, what are the main remaining issues - The recent fiscal measures such as lower tax on dividend has been a continued business concern related to the high tax on capital due to the double taxation(profit and dividend).Obviously, it was expected to know more on the expected outcome from the reduction of the taxation on dividend and potentials to be re-invested. - Recovery of business and consumers’confidence, due to improved economic growth and employability - Progress in justice reform and recovery of public trust on the system - Improvement of government payments/arrears to businesses - Reduce of business burden through e-services such as e-permission, businesses registration, electronic declarations of tax/accounts, e-Albania, e-inspections (16% of inspection are online) - Tax Administration relation with businesses have improved - tax controls are implemented after notification, communication businesses - tax authorities have improved, the mechanism of appealing administrative for tax purposes has reduce the number of court cases, No. Days to receive VAT reimbursement for RPA has been reduced but its systemic implementation remain a challenge - Support with fiscal policies of strategic investments and strategic sectors have been implemented (6%/ agro-tourism)

Remaining issues: In principle, a weak judiciary, insufficient enforcement of property rights and burdensome administrative procedures are institutional weaknesses that have been only partially addressed so far. - Stability of laws, coherent policies that has as a priority law enforcement and improvement of legal Investment framework, land reform and property titles. These should be followed by prior 14

consultation with business community - Maintain the achievements (a slight increase in no days for VAT reimbursement is observed in 2018 vs. 2017) through ongoing training of public administration and investment in IT infrastructures. - Skills remain a challenge, and so does informal economy impact on competitiveness ”informality bring informality” and consolidate the inspection reform o How did the reforms supported by the project fit with Governments priorities at the time of preparation: The project was set up in 2015 with the support of EBRD and Government of Albania and was fully aligned with the Government Agenda. While currently (2019-2021), it is supported also by SECO, The Investment Council has been an effective platform between government and business community and has acquired good visibility and reputation by accelerating some policies on investment, relevant to the sectors considered as potentials for job creation or new investment, influencing Government’s agenda on the importance of quality of skills & labour market and potentials for investment, administrative appealing etc o What about AIC ‘s contribution and business community AIC’s agenda and its recommendations were in compliance with business needs and concerns, especially reduction of business administrative burden, improvement of communication with tax administration, timely execution of payments/debts and VAT from government to businesses, improvement of for appealing process of tax administration, transparency on incestives to investment etc o What were the challenges and hardest reforms to implement Some of the challenges raised through IC business consultations have to do with institutionalization of communication among parties which was not exhaustive and sometime became a reason for unnecessary resistance from business community to different interventions. Businesses do claim that reforms are not properly transmitted through the administrative chains, preparation and technical skills of public servants are not always to the standards needed, causing lower efficiency of the expected impacts of different reforms. The most difficult reforms to be implemented to our perception remains the ones tackling informal economy and skills formation. April 2019



Dr. Diana Leka – Head of Secretariat Dr Diana Leka is an expert with a long experience in trade and foreign direct investment. She has worked for over 20 years in the public and private sector as well as in projects (EU, IFC, UNDP, GIZ) focused in the areas of regional trade, FDIs, public advocacy on business competitiveness, SMEs and exports, monitoring of public policies etc. She is a licensed auditor from Moody International (2005) and a licensed European Manager of QMS from the German Institute of Quality.

What follow up to the supported reforms has happened since, and what are the plans going forward? The Economic Reform Program 2018-2020, ensures that reform agenda continues to progress, following on the achievements reached so far, reflecting challenges and problems. However it is noted that full impact assessment of reforms are not performed/or not yet made public. Impact assessment documents of mid-term specter would help the policy decision on the way forward. On a special note, actions to reduce the informal economy are not yet specified as a reform measure, but they are described in the ERP programme 2018-2020 and should contribute to improving the business environment. Investment Council follows a methodology of engagement with the public administration and business community that allows follow up of recommendations prepared and endorsed by the government. That mechanism allows us to follow up on recommendations implementation and impact on business community, which voice remains the most important one for our work.

How much has the investments index improved since the launching of the investments secretariat in 2015, a project of EBRD?

As an independent consultant, she delivered consultancy services in setting up quality management system (ISO, HACCP) to private and public companies as well as independent EU Evaluator contracted by EUD in Albania in relation to the evaluation of the offers for IPA 2007 on supporting SMEs to become more competitive in the EU market.

With regard to the progress on Albania’s international ranking, there have been some considerate improvements since 2015, including recent improvement by 2 positions in DB 2018/2019 report. However, Albania still ranks the lowest in the area of dealing with construction permits, energy, fiscal procedures and property registration (IC Secretariat, “Albania Economic Outlook,” December 2018). There is some improvement in the indicators of energy, enforcing contracts and registration of properties. Albania ranks best in indicators related to the financial system.

She has published several articles in the Albanian print media on issues related to the investment climate in the country, including challenges of the Albanian companies while integrating into the EU and regional markets, as well as incentives to investment in Albania, compared to the region. She has been the national coordinator of the Albanian Investment Report (UNDP/UNCTAD, BoA, INSTAT, etc) for 2010 and 2011. Ms. Leka holds a university degree in Economy from the University of Tirana, a Master Degree in Economy and Financial Management from the University of Aix – Marseille No. 2, France, and a PhD Degree on the “Challenges of Albanian companies in the process of EU integration” from the University of Tirana. In addition, since 1998, she has delivered lectures on Operation Management, Quality Management at public and private universities in Albania. Following her recent experience as Adviser to the Minister of Finances 2013-2014, Ms. Leka joined the IC Secretariat as Director, leading the work on the identification of the main impediments to investment in key sectors of the economy, facilitating the consultation process with the private sector in the elaboration of main obstacles and relevant recommendations of doing business and organizing the work of the Investment Council.

Diana Dicitura: Leka Diana (Angoni), Leka (Angoni), Head of Albanian Head of Albanian Investment Council Secretariat.

April 2019


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Hyatt Will Not Only Offer Our Guests New Destinations, but Should Open up Opportunities for People By Rudina HOXHA

rom the inception of first Hyatt F Hotel in 1957 to date when the latest management agreement happened in Albania, what can you say about the development of this prestigious brand and its expansion plans in Albania and in Balkans? Hyatt opened its first hotel in the region in 1990, with Hyatt Regency Belgrade, which makes us one of the most experienced international hotel management companies in the Balkans. This was followed by properties in Thessaloniki and Istanbul. More recently, we opened Grand Hyatt Athens last year and we expect to open Hyatt Regency Sofia later this year. Our growth in the region has been steady if not very fast. Takuya Aoyama Vice President Acquisitions & Development Russia & CIS and Central & Eastern Europe Hyatt Hotels Corporation


While hotel development is inevitably opportunity driven, we put lots of thoughts into when and to which market

we take our brands and with whom we work. It is important that we grow in a meaningful way so that we can best serve our guests, owners, associates and other stakeholders. We are interested in expanding our presence in the region, particularly in those destinations where Hyatt is not yet present, but we would pursue our growth carefully. With regards to Albania, once Hyatt Regency Tirana is open, we’d then be in a position to do some meaningful work outside the capital. Here again, we need to always be mindful of the impact we (and the industry as a whole) have on the local community and we have to strive to do the right thing. Our growth in Albania should not only offer our guests new destinations, but should open up opportunities for people here – some would come to work as our associates or some would grow their businesses as suppliers.

April 2019



Out of your many brands, which of them you think can fit Albanian coastal areas? Deciding which brand is most suited to a specific area depends on many factors such as location, size, positioning etc., of each project. Having said this, our full-service brand, Hyatt Regency, would work well for coastal resorts in Albania. Speaking of the coast. The focus of policymakers and local stakeholders with regards to the coastal tourism should be conservation and sustainability, and not so much promotion. People should study the experience of Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Montenegro and learn from their mistakes and best practices. On the other hand, both public and private sectors should work together, and work hard, to promote and develop inland tourism – in my opinion this should be the most important strategic priority for Albanian tourism.

Is Hyatt ready to concede franchise operations or vacation ownership in Albania, Balkans or further? We’d franchise when and where we see the right opportunities which make sense

under specific circumstances. As a general statement, however, we’d be very careful about franchising. Big part of Hyatt’s reputation rests on the superior quality of our service and consistency of our properties, and we have to be very selective when we decide to let third parties operate hotels for us. Vacation ownership requires business model and infrastructure set up which is significantly different from those of the hotel operation, and it would be difficult to just transplant the idea to destinations where the infrastructure is missing. Just check where most vacation ownership resorts operate – they are in the Americas where the industry has extensive knowledge and experience and where consumers understand the product.

Is Hyatt corporation willing to co-own any property in Albania? Probably not in the foreseeable future – but “never say never.” In case you are not aware Hyatt is the first ever international hotel management company which actually invested in a property in Baku, Azerbaijan, back in late ‘90’s!

Since you are keen on Central Eastern Europe, which is your next hot spot for Hyatt after Albania? The entire CEE is very interesting, as the region has some of the fast growing economies in Europe and hotel markets there are showing robust growth. Developing Hyatt’s footprint in Warsaw, Prague, Bucharest and Zagreb is a high priority for us. We’re also looking for opportunities to bring Hyatt’s brands to resort destinations in the region, such as the Adriatic or Ionian coasts or to the Mediterranean islands.

Another, and no less important, priority is to bring more associates from CEE, the Balkans, and Russia/CIS into Hyatt. To illustrate the point, we have some Serbian nationals in leadership positions within the company and this has a lot to do with the fact that Hyatt has been operating in Belgrade for a long time – it would be exciting to see this happen with Albanians, Greeks, Russians, Latvians, Poles, Romanians etc

Mak Albania Hotel

April 2019


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The Number of Years Needed to Repay Public Debt with Full Budget revenues

By Eduard Zaloshnja, PhD Research Scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Washington DC


April 2019




common used metric to measure the burden of public debt on an economy is the ratio of public debt to GDP.

Figure 1 - Albania's public debt (% of GDP)


It’s a metric widely used in mass media and understood by the public in general. However, in public finance circles a less known metrics is used in addition to that metric. It is the ratio of public debt to budget revenues.




71.8% 70.8%

71.7% 69.2% 66.30%

65.5% 63.2%

The resulting number tells how many years are needed to repay public debt, using all budget revenues for only this purpose. In other words, this metric serves to measure the debt repayment ability of a country. 2013




Last year, this ratio was 2.6 in Albania, which means that 2.6 years are needed

2017 Actual

to repay Albania’s public debt, using all budget revenues for only this purpose. Albania’s ratio is the highest among southwestern Balkans countries (Figure 1), which means that Albania has the lowest debt repayment ability among its comparable neighbors.

2018 IMF projections

In that scenario, the ratio of public debt to budget revenues would have been 2.3 instead of 2.6. Furthermore, this ratio would fall below 2 by 2019, if the Albanian government had followed IMF’s projections.

Whereas Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia have the lowest ratios (i.e, the highest debt repayment ability)

When IMF started a loan program in 2013, to help Albania pay budget arrears left by the previous government, it projected that public debt would fall to 63.2% of GDP by 2018.

However, the government has not been able to follow those projections, as Figure 2 clearly illustrates. The main culprit for this failure has been the weak tax collection – budget revenues have remained mired to around 28% of GDP, well below Albania’s northern neighbors

Figure 2 - Number of years needed to repay public debt with full budget revenues 2.6

1.8 1.5


1.4 1.1


April 2019







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Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers where Mr. Jose Pinto started his international career (Year 1978)

JP’s Keys to a Successful Hotel Opening “Always Consider an Unexpected Hiccup to Handle” By Jose PINTO*

In 1987, I opened the first Sheraton Hotel in Bays of Huatulco – Oaxaca Mexico as GM.

Being taken into a newly mapped and underdeveloped site and prepare a smooth opening and have the hotel up and running with SHERATON INTERNATIONAL standards as it was well known at the time, following the successful openings of the Brand in Cancun, Ixtapa, Acapulco, the Mexican National Tourism and the all Tourism Authorities had once again entrusted us with this new destination after the successful developments of some years before.

Upon my arrival at the new property grounds, I wondered how could we “Sheraton” come to the international attention and beckon the first guests to enjoy such state-of-the-art guestrooms, fantastic ocean, great and ancient villages, infinite green untouchable tropical forests, alongside with all the problems and opportunities as well that are in front of you, 24 hours a day .

How could we solve the “puzzle” and put up the hotel running without letting guests and customers see or feel the problems that occurred during the construction, design etc in a new property in such a remote under developed area?

sometimes like “how to move an army through the Alps during winter.”

Of course, like with any newly constructed property, there are bound to face issues.

There are construction, design and many other factors and timelines to follow, staff members to hire, sales and marketing campaigns to launch, and almost always, an unexpected hiccup to handle.

Any general manager or property owner will tell you that a hotel opening invariably comes with a unique set of challenges,

Huatulco Sheraton wasn’t the only new hotel opening to me. Prior I had partici

Sheraton Huatulco Hotel which Mr. Pinto opened from the foundation. Year: 1987 *Founder of JP HOSPITALITY & Business Partners


April 2019



pated in a few others in different countries in 5 Continents, which gave me a good perspective on the tasks and responsibilities that needed to be tackled in order to open a hotel smoothly and on time.

hotel opening may be complicated, the experience it provides several clear objectives to set you on the path to a well-executed launching.

Hire the Right People with Right Attitude The top priority when opening a property, is hiring good attitude and talented staff. Latest equipment, great pieces of art, and up-to-date technology is great, but without attitude and talented staff to provide excellent service, the dream is not going to be successful,” I would say, “We consider our staff magicians and artists.

services requires much involvement from different sources and human touches. Well-trained staff to serve “people” from different culture needs and expectations is as difficult as “making a hole in a hard stone with water“

Push the Standards Opening or reopening a renovated hotel property, an owner or general manager must have strong communication skillswhether they’re dealing with corporate headquarters, construction crews, the managerial team, or the media.

They need to understand and love in the hospitality. We can teach them the technical skills they need, but we can’t teach attitude and personality.” The Director of Human Resources, (Recommend to hire 6-8 months prior opening) shortly after starting he or she oversee hiring as the first priority. They must look “outside the box”, expanding their search beyond employees with exclusive hotel experience and focusing instead on people with humbleness and great passion.

You become a taskmaster and make the hard tasks a success after success. Organization and anticipation is really important. I had the pleasure to work, learn and live with several industry veterans who, like me after these years, have experience in hotel openings and know by now the Hotel development, starting with construcsecrets of their success. While the road to a tion and design all the way to pre-opening

“COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS ” “Daily briefings with the teams, not only with the construction, but also the operational teams. ” Is a must

A successful Hotel means a successful Team. Always together

April 2019




Lock in the Timelines

During the construction phase of Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers in 1977

About JP HOSPITALITY.EU Jose Pinto is the Founder of JP Hospitality. EU has more than 45 years career working with 5 star and luxury branded hotels at Sheraton Hotels and Marriott International Hotels Worldwide. A Cornell University alumni with a Master Certificate in Hospitality Essentials and several other complementary trainings and courses in Six sigma, Hotel Administration at Insead, Cornell , Awarded with the ITT Harold’s Genin Award for the Most Creative & Innovative Management, as well as the Middle East Grand Winner President Award for Sheraton Hotels International. Jose Pinto has worked in 5 continents for and with multi-cultural Managers, Owners, and Board of Directors from high net worth Individuals, to Governments, Ministers, Board of Directors, Private and Multi Equity Owners, Investors, Developers, Architects and multi-international associates.

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For a new property, standards circle back to talent acquisition. “It’s making sure you’ve got the right people who understand the brand and the promise that it is putting out to customers,” is all about being refreshingly local so we need team members who have a passion for their neighborhoods and can help bring the experience of being from there to life.” To find the right candidates, based on the service behaviors of each brand is not an easy task today. The toolkits for customizing each brand, must contain useful and detailed materials from job descriptions, to detailed service, cleaning, hygiene, safety & security standards, including recruiting ads, and interview guidelines and many other materials designed to induct and customize several services. “It’s really about making sure that our owners and management companies are bringing in that talent that’s really going to make the hotel come to life and make the difference from the other competitors”

Good communication is critical when managing the construction and design timelines, another key component of a successful opening. For starters, any delays can increase expenditures that can severely effect budgets and cash flows, and in the end, delay the opening datewhich if groups and guests are already booked, can cost further sums to the owning / investors companies

Since so many different players are involved in the construction design and other processes, detailing expectations and enforcing deadlines are critical responsibilities of the owner project coordinator and general manager.

We only need one company to be late and suddenly it throws off the whole schedule “One company may not understand the impact they have on all the other companies.” To keep everyone on track, morning and evening briefings with construction crews are important to detail what is needed to be done on that day and on the next, so the schedule is followed rigorously. “You need a detailed schedule of what needs to be done,” it’s highly recommended. It’s the Owners important task that when contracting designers, decorators, and contractors, important to stress that no April 2019



“Those relationships and the sales strategy take time to cultivate.” At minimum, I say by experience, the Director of Sales and General Manager should be in place 10 or so months before opening or even earlier depending of the City and Country demographics.

the key strengths. Pics and “likes” for the installations and for one or two key strengths that the hotel will offer must bring positive tweets “It’s one of the best marketing tools that you have. And it’s free. If you treat your client base right, they market it for you.” It just requires a team fully dedicated to it.

delays are accepted. Severe penalties must be clearly defined in contracts in order that delivered agreed times are met. Having started in the industry very young, I recall a particular instance of an opening when all materials were printed, advertising done, PR and Media Thought and all getting geared to open , we were set and happy looking for the ‘D’ Day but certainly a contractor informed us that they cannot make it with a few critical equipment. All planning and efforts were gone like “smoke into the sky” What a waste of time, money and image due to poor follow up on scheduled deliveries and start ups!

Invest in Sales/Marketing and Social Media Even if a building is perfectly constructed and the guestrooms, restaurants, bar and areas perfectly designed, a new property is a failure if it doesn’t have guests or customers from opening day. Bringing a sales and marketing team on, early in the game is important since their success relies so heavily on building relationships. Sales team, must be HIRED and in place early enough to make sure they are able to understand the market so they can bring in the right business at the right time,”.

The coin with the image of the U.A.E. Founder of Dubai, Shaikh Rashid, given to all the invitees during the opening of Dubai Sheraton Hotel in 1978

At new properties in competitive market environments, a quickly established sharp sales team that sizes up to the market is important, so that they could start securing bookings early on. They meet with the local Airlines, Travel Agents, Tourism developers, Corporate Companies, Chambers of Commerce to line up business and corporate accounts. The sales staff must be fully aware of all the property can offer and also the key strengths of the hotel vs competitors. The hotel must gain attention with the help of social media, a platform that shouldn’t be undervalued in this day and age. Some 4- to 6 months prior to the opening, the Social Media, bloggers, freelance writers, local and nearby online Magazines must be “bombarded” in abundance with the news of the forthcoming Hotel and Brand as well as

Everything again and again All the hard work bringing those first guests in the door is for naught if the TV doesn’t work or the bed is uncomfortable. “Everything in our guestroom is tested by us early enough. The Executive team personally sampled with stays before opening “I don’t know of an opening where someone didn’t discover something that wasn’t working,”. “That can create a lot of problems for the guest experience.”

Expect the unexpected Of course, in planning for the grand opening, hotel Owners and Manager must prepare themselves for things to go wrong. “Sometimes you have to adjust,”. “Some decisions are made and sometimes they work out well and sometimes you have to adapt.” Its recommended that both teams must be fully empowered to take immediate and agile decisions.

In the end, successfully opening a hotel requires ability to handle whatever comes your way, be it water supply, construction deadlines, or Mother Nature. “You have to keep your cool, readapt the plan every day if necessary to be successful.” Be ready and anticipate all times. Regional team nights in Sheraton Huatuko in 1988.

April 2019

Good Luck! 29



Kliton Ikonomi, MRICS

Time to Increase RICS’ Presence in Albania Follow Business Albania sat with Kliton Ikonomi MRICS, who is one of the three RICS members in Albania. RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is the world's leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction. RICS sets globally recognized standards for professional members and RICS regulated firms to follow when conducting their work. “Applying RICS standards, we will have a more professional legal and professional framework, best standards in the field of construction, better, cleaner and greener cities, fight against informality and fiscal evasion, better professionals as well as in my personal opinion, will mark the start of market opening as well as the end of pseudo professionals who currently operate in the Albanian market without any ethical and professional principles,” Ikonomi told Follow Business Albania Magazine. He says that Bosnia & Herzegovina numbers 6 RICS members, Montenegro, 6 members and Serbia over 40 members. Full interview below:

Can you explain what is RICS and what services it offers? Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, RICS, is the global professional body promoting and enforcing the highest 30

international standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. The Surveyors Club was formed as far back as 1792. However, the foundations of the

current organization started to properly take shape when 20 surveyors met at the Westminster Palace Hotel. Under the chairmanship of John Clutton, they appointed a sub-committee to draw up resolutions, bye-laws and regulations. This was done in order to establish a professional association to represent surveyors and the growing property profession. This group, which had expanded to 49 members by 1868, met again at the Westminster Palace Hotel on 15 June 1868 to approve the resolutions and elect the first Council.

John Clutton was elected the first president of the Institution of Surveyors. In 1881 the institution received a Royal Charter as The Surveyors' Institution from Queen Victoria, before becoming the Chartered Surveyors’ Institution in 1930. In 1946, George VI granted the title ‘Royal’ and in 1947 the professional body became the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

April 2019



How is RICS contributing to the international standards of real estate?

and indirectly lead to the improvement of the legal and professional framework in the Albanian real estate market.

RICS works at a cross-governmental level, deliveringinternational standards to support a safe and vibrant marketplace in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure, for the benefit of all. With offices covering the major political and financial centers of the world, RICS’s market presence means they are ideally placed to influence policy and embed standards at a national level. They are viewed by major financial institutions and world governments as the 'gold standard' when it comes to professional regulation in the property sector. From 150 years now, RICS professionals have worked to ensure that, while unlocking the inherent value held within the world's physical assets and developing its potential, we don't spoil the planet for future generations.

What are RICS’s standards? RICS sets globally recognized behavioral and technical standards for professional members and RICS regulated firms to follow when conducting their work. RICS ensures these are upheld by the profession through their system of independently led regulation. We can mention the: Standards of Conduct 1. The Rules of Conduct demonstrate to clients, consumers and the public the high professional standards that RICS professionals and firms work to. Being able to show that you are a qualified RICS professional or that your firm is regulated by RICS provides independent external confidence 2. Ethics, Behaving ethically is at the heart of what it means to be a professional; it distinguishes professionals from others in the marketplace. RICS professionals demonstrate their commitment to ethical behavior by adhering to five global professional and ethical standards. 3. Conflicts of interest, The global professional statement on conflicts of interest provides clear rules for RICS members and regulated firms to identify and manage potential conflicts of interest. Effective identification and management of conflicts of interest is an essential component of professionalism. The professional statement provides confidence to clients and consumers that RICS members and regulated firms are operating to the highest ethical standards. April 2019

MRICS demonstrates to colleagues, clients and peers that you have a chartered qualification and work to the highest industry standards. To enrol as a Chartered candidate, your local RICS office will advise you which assessment and pathway is best represented by your experience and qualifications.

4. AML, Bribery & Corruption The risks of bribery and corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing cut across our profession, regardless of geography or industry specialism. To help the profession identify and manage these risks, we have published a professional statement on Countering Bribery and Corruption, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.

Applying RICS standards, we will have a more advanced legal and professional framework, best standards in the field of construction, better, cleaner and greener cities, fight against informality, fiscal evasion, and money laundering, better professionals as well as in my personal opinion, will mark the start of market opening as well as the end of pseudo professionals who currently operate in the Albanian market without any ethical and professional principles. At the end, in order to create an idea about the region, the situation of the real estate market in Albania and the need to increase RICS presence in Albania, I want to present two facts;

Sector standards - Building surveying - Construction - Dispute resolution - Land - Real estate - Valuation

1. In Albania there are only 3 RICS members, while in the countries of the region that can be compared with us like, Bosnia & Herzegovina where there are 6 members, Montenegro with 6 members and Serbia with over 40 members.

How can Albania benefit on this aspect?

2. Also, almost all major international firms that offer excellent services in the real estate market are not present in Albania while there is an increased presence in countries such as Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia that looks already too far away for Albania

The RICS designation is a mark of professionalism, RICS status and standards give you a competitive advantage. Despite that, it is a pity that RICS is almost unknown in Albania while in other countries it is impossible for anyone in the banking system, in the real estate market and in the field of finance to not recognize the RICS brand. Given the current market conditions of professionals and real estate services in Albania, increasing the presence of RICS is an obligation, is a MUST. Increasing RICS's presence, through increased number of members from Albania, would make it possible to apply higher ethical and professional standards which would directly


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Population Aging and the Financial Strain on Social Security By Eduard Zaloshnja, PhD Research Scientist at Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Washington DC


April 2019



The Albanian population is aging quickly.

By comparison, the latter is the current median age for the whole Europe.

The median age (the age where half of the population is younger and the other half is older) was 26.5 ten years ago, whereas now stands at 31.4. According to INSTAT projections it would reach 42.1 in year 2031 (Figure 1).

INSTAT identifies slowing birth rates and youth emigration as the main causes of the aging of the population. It does not predict a significant increase in life expectancy in the next eleven years.

Figure 1. Median age projection 42.1

31.4 26.5




With the aging of population changes also the ratio of pension age population vs. working age population.

Currently in Albania there are 20.5 pension aged persons for every 100 working aged persons. In 2031 this ratio will reach the 35 per 100 level. Thus, the burden on the working population has to be increased, in order to cover the Social Security pensions for the older population. In fact, the Social Security fund is already in financial difficulties. Last year only 90% of the fund layouts were covered by Social Security taxes.

This level of Social Security deficit has been more or less persistent in the last thirty years. Its cause can be found in the low tax collection abilities of the Albanian state, whose revenue from Social Security taxes is as much as 5.1% of GDP. With similar tax rates, Montenegroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s revenue from Social Security taxes is as much as 10.5% of GDP.

With the rate of population aging it is experiencing, Albania should find ways to emulate its northern neighbor sooner rather than laterâ&#x20AC;Ś

April 2019



Leading Law Firm in


Partner of Yingke Law Firm China




April 2019



Full interview : What are Shell's projects portfolio in Albania and what investments are you planning this year?

Shell Wants to Assist Build a Thriving Energy Industry Together with Albanian Government By Rudina HOXHA

to people. These are principles we also apply in our work with the government of Albania and I am looking forward to progressing further our working relationship in the future.

Shell is currently appraising an oil and gas prospect called Shpirag near the city of Berat. We operate under a contract with the Albanian government. As a part of that, Shell puts significant amounts of dollars upfront to fund the exploration and development – with significant risk to Shell as it is exploration after all. In the chance that we are successful, the benefit is then significantly shared with the Albanian Government.

How do you consider the energy reform in Albania and how Shell is impacting on energy transition, using mostly lower carbon energy? Shell’s latest scenario, called Sky, looked at the scale of change the world might need to make if it were to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. This scenario includes a tripling of energy efficiency, an end to deforestation and substantial technological advances to solve challenges like largescale battery storage. It includes a massive expansion of wind and solar power generation.

I would like to emphasize that we also speak to other foreign investors. As an Anglo-Dutch company we in particular talk to other British and Dutch companies who are thinking about investing in Albania and who see our example of how contracts and business can be successfully progressed. We hope that this example encourages further investment in country.

What is Shell doing in support of the communities where Shell operates? Across our operations we invest in projects that benefit communities. We aim to make our social investment projects beneficial to the nearby society in measurable ways and to be sustainable beyond Shell’s involvement.

This is a change on a scale that can only happen with a huge, coordinated, global effort backed by deep reserves of social and political willpower. Rohan D’Souza, Chairman, Shell Companies in Albania, sits with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA to talk of its projects in Albania, its latest scenario “Sky”, its partnership with Albanian government which is “more than just a sharing profits in a successful exploration effort”, the example Shell is giving to other foreign investors to come and invest in Albania and other topics. Rohan D’Souza, an Australian, was appointed as Country Chairman of Shell in Albania in early 2018 and is resident in Tirana. He is an oil and gas professional who has worked for Shell in Albania, Nigeria, Singapore and Australia in a variety of project development, commercial and operational roles across Shell’s businesses in Downstream, Integrated Gas and Upstream.

April 2019

I encourage people to go to Shell’s website to find out more details on this scenario.

Has Shell prepared a strategy to help Albania realise its untapped potential in oil and mineral wealth? We are delighted by the very close partnership we have with the government and the support the government gives to our development. Our partnership however is more than just sharing profits in a successful exploration effort. We as Shell want to assist build a thriving energy industry in partnership with the government.

How important is transparency and sustainability to Shell and how have you realized them in Albania environment? Wherever we do business our guiding values are: honesty, integrity and respect

Where possible, and when it makes economic sense, we buy goods and services from local suppliers and provide support to develop local businesses and skills.

In Albania, we focus on four main things: Education and Vocational training, Road Safety, Health and Support for developing SME businesses. We are thankful of the warm welcome we get from our local communities and look forward to continuing to grow together




EasyPay to Bring Very Exciting Projects in 2019 By Rudina HOXHA

Linda Shomo, Founder and CEO of Easy Pay is enthusiastic about what 2019 has in store for her company because after all she cares to give the best to the customers. Happy that the range of the successful digital payment platform services will increase, she told to Follow Business Albania that in 2019 EasyPay will expand and enter into the insurance sector for which the demand has continued to be high and into the microfinance sector.” She also commented on new payment law (PSD2 (Payment Service Directive 2), due to be implemented in Albania soon like in all the EU countries. “Following its future implementation in Albania, we will be able to be more competitive with the banks and face fewer struggles as everything will be more open and transparent. The aim of PSD2 at its core is to bring more innovation in such sector, bringing more competition as well as partnership opportunities between traditional banks and FinTechs such as EasyPay,” she told Follow Business Albania.

Can you describe EasyPay in one paragraph? We are an inclusive digital payment platform that allows people to make payments for a large portfolio of local services, saving time, money and reducing discomfort. Customers can credit their EasyPay e-wallet either with cash or cashless from their mobile phone or at one of our 350 agents all over Albania. By providing safe and inclusive top up alternatives, both the banked and the unbanked can have access to digital financial services and make real-time online/mobile payments. EasyPay works with various private and public institutions to make people’s lives easier and to increase the number of services they can benefit from. Our portfolio of services can also be accessed physically at any of our 350+ agents across Albania, even in the most rural areas. One of our biggest international partners is Ria Money Transfer, one of the top three money transfer operators globally with which we offer remittances to Albania from all over the world with cheapest costs in the market.

How does 2019 look like for EasyPay? Should people expect any new service for 2019? 2019 for sure will bring some very exciting projects. Before I start talking about 2019, I would like to go through a quick 2018 review, where we put an extra focus on the events’ sector which proved to be very successful. Linda Shomo


Some of the main events we would like to mention from 2018: April 2019



Alban Skenderaj Concert, Diva Show, Colour Day Festival, Daddy Yankee Concert, Sunny Hill Festival, TEDx Tirana 2018, Tirana Marathon, AllWeb Digital Marketing Conference, Turtle Fest etc. Following the big interest from last year, we gave our promise to continue our commitment to the realization of many other similar projects in 2019. Some of the events that we expect for 2019 are: Lenny Kravitz, Sting and Eros Ramazzotti concerts in Skopje, Unum Festival, Kala Festival etc. This year, we will also expand and enter into the insurance sector for which the demand has continued to be high and into the microfinance sector; a very important service we launched in 2018. We expect to extend the features of the microloan services for our customers; so far we have offered mobile payments for microloan installments for the first time in Albania through our EasyPay mobile application, loan disbursements through our agents’ network and soon we will introduce applications for microloans through our channels as well.

Who are your target customers? Unbanked people - about 60% of the Albanian Population according to World Bank. We target them through our inclusive ewallet solution. Even though they're unbanked, they can still make online and mobile transactions by topping-up their ewallet with cash at 350+ EasyPay agents across Albania, then we convert the cash to electronic money in real-time. April 2019

rules that are completely redefining how payments are made. PSD2, or the Second Payment Services Directive is a new batch of rules which aims to regulate payment services throughout the EU, building up on the First Payment Services Directive, introduced in 2009. Albania is expected to follow the same path likewise the EU countries as part of the reforms as a EU candidate member.

Millennials - both banked and unbanked. They are scared of banks and heavy smartphone users, which makes them very adaptable for our product. Even though some of them might have a bank account, a small percentage owns a credit or debit card and even less use their cards for activities other than ATM transactions. By offering them a friendlier and easier product, they start using digital financial services without consuming their time waiting in queues in various conventional offices.

We’ve often heard EasyPay representatives talk about the new payment law due to be implemented in Albania soon. Could you please tell us a bit more on this new law and how EasyPay will be impacted following its implementation?

For now, we are still waiting for PSD2 to be implemented in Albania but we are already witnessing the huge impact it is having in the EU countries. Following its future implementation in Albania, we will be able to be more competitive with the banks and face fewer struggles as everything will be more open and transparent. The aim of PSD2 at its core is to bring more innovation in such sector, bringing more competition as well as partnership opportunities between traditional banks and FinTechs such as EasyPay, this way shifting the power balance from corporates over to consumers and giving us more freedom to offer innovative products and services that are beneficial and convenient to our audience, fully based on customer experience

Over a year ago, the banking and financial system in Europe was hit by a big change. We’re talking about the PSD2 (Payment Service Directive 2), the new European payment -directive implemented in January 2018 in all EU countries which introduced a set of new game-changing 41

WAT World Academy of Tirana

A gate to the world’s top universities Univeristy offers 2019 received by WAT’s students

World Academy of Tirana (WAT), –Š‡Ƥ”•– –‡”ƒ–‹‘ƒŽƒ……ƒŽƒ—”‡ƒ–‡ȋ ȌW‘”Ž†…Š‘‘Ž‹Ž„ƒ‹ƒ•‹…‡͖͔͕͗ǡ ƒ—–Š‘”‹•‡†–‘’”‘˜‹†‡ƒŽŽ–Š”‡‡ ’”‘‰”ƒ‡•ǣǡƒ†

World Academy of Tirana Rr. E Rezervave, Lundër, Tiranë, ALBANIA,

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Young people are three times as likely to be unemployed than the adults. Data show that poorly educated men live nearly 8 years less on average than those who have been to university. Migrant household incomes are on average 25 % lower than for the native-born ...With that being said, are we waiting for the positive change to go from a gallop to a crawl?

Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Growth: The Pace of the Progress As Jeffery Sachs, director of SDSN says: “We operate in a range of uncertainties. We won’t stop doing anything. We must take certain action because there are big uncertainties we want to ensure against.” Everything is evolving rapidly and it has become very difficult to realize how and what to measure. Thus the need for sustainability is deemed of high importance for the future prospect of the world. Since their release Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are serving as a strategic signpost for governments, societies and businesses worldwide. In brief, let’s have a look at the progress recorded by UNDP data.

#10yearschallenge: The Time for “Reflection” is UP

From MDGs to SDGs

The need for Sustainability is deemed at high importance By Morena SHETA

Few weeks ago #10yearschallenge went viral on social media, where celebrities along with other participants inserted a dose of truth of the reality we as population have created and are currently creating. Differently named #HowHardDidAgingHitYou challenge demonstrated how much it has happened in a decade and how much they’ve “glowed up”. To correlate it with a much more important cause, some articles brought on focus that humans create an illusion that their personal history has just come to an end, that they became the people they were always meant to be and will be for the rest of their lives. As psychologist Dan Gilbert says, human beings are work in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. It’s easy for them to remember, but difficult to image how will they transform in a decade. Because it’s hard to image the change in 10, 20 or 100 years… is it unlikely to happen?

Let’s have a look at some facts that for sure reveal the current state we were not wishing to be. The real challenge

Last year was proved to be the warmest year on record and according to Business Insider, 2019 could be decisive for the planet. Waters are warming up 40% more quickly than previously. 44

Poverty has dramatically fallen: 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, down from 36% in 1990. Globally one person in every ten is extremely poor. • According to VNR (Voluntary National Report) 2018, for Albania this SDG remains on track. Number of undernourished people dropped by half in the past two decades. Additional 2 billion people expected to be undernourished by 2050. Globally one in 9 people is undernourished, and it counted 815 million in 2016. • Progress on SDG 2 in Albania remains stagnant Maternal mortality has fallen by 37% since 2000. 17,000 fewer children die each day than in 1990, but more than five million children still die before their fifth birthday each year. 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air. • Progress on SDG 3 in Albania is moderately increasing. The worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. Still, 57 million primary-aged children remain out of school and 617 million youth worldwide lack basic mathematics and literacy skills April 2019



• Progress on SDG 4 in Albania is moderately increasing. Women now make up to 41% of paid workers outside of agriculture, compared to 35% in 1990. Only 24% of national parliamentarians were women as of November 2018, a slow increase from 11.3% in 1995. • Progress on SDG 5 in Albania is moderately increasing. 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without. More than 2.3 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation services and 892 million people continue to practice open defecation. • Progress on SDG 6 in Albania is impossible to judge. 2000-2016, the number of people with electricity increased from 78 to 87%, and the number of people without electricity dipped to just below one billion. Energy it produces around 60% of greenhouse gases. • Progress on SDG 7 in Albania appears on track. The global unemployment rate in 2017 was 5.6%, down from 6.4% in 2000. 70 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labor market between 2016 and 2030. • Progress on SDG 8 in Albania remains stagnant. The global share of manufacturing value added in GDP increased from 15.2% in 2005 to 16.3% in 2017. • Progress on SDG 9 in Albania remains on track. On average, income inequality increased by 11% in developing countries between 1990 and 2010. The richest 10% earn up to 40% of total global income. World Economic Forum says it will take 217 years to close the gender gap in employment opportunities and pay. • Progress on SDG 10 in Albania is impossible to judge. In 1990, there were ten mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. In 2014, there were 28 mega-cities, home to a total 453 million people. Cities account for 60- 80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. • Progress on SDG 11 in Albania remains stagnant. If the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), and humans are using it faster than nature can replenish it. If people worldwide switched to energy efficient lightbulbs, the world would save US$120 billion annually. • Progress on SDG 12 in Albania is impossible to judge. Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50% since 1990. From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C. • Progress on SDG 13 in Albania appears on April 2019

track. The ocean absorbs about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. 2014 overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems stands at 13 billion dollars each year. • Progress on SDG 14 in Albania remains stagnant. Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. • Progress on SDG 15 in Albania is moderately increasing. Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion cost some US $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year; this amount of money could be used to lift those who are living on less than $1.25 a day above $1.25 for at least six years. • Progress on SDG 16 in Albania remains stagnant (UNCTAD) says achieving SDGs will require US$5 trillion to $7 trillion in annual investment. The debt burden on developing countries remains stable at about 3% of export revenue. • Progress on SDG 17 in Albania is impossible to judge.

Country Performance: Albania OVERALL PERFORMANCE Index score

Regional average score


















25 SDG



14 Albania


Better Business, Better World Second after the government, companies are perceived as most influential, then investors and academics to make sure the goals are met. Expecting business to place sustainable development goals in the core of every business strategy, operation and output it requires from them moving towards an uncharted territory. Surprisingly serving the Global Goals provides a 12 $ trillion investment opportunity in 2030 according to one Forbes article. Thus the companies should be highly interested. This would mean not only avoiding creating ‘harming effects’ such as avoiding pollution, limiting waste, respecting labor laws but also delivering value to SDGs, adopting new business models, driving sustainable innovation, fostering cross-industry partnerships, diversifying portfolios, linking business to future needs. The only doubt relies on the willingness and preparation of the businesses to set it further. Surprisingly latest report among 1,542 business professionals revealed that 75% of respondents stated their CEO is convinced of the value of sustainability. As an interesting fact, Paul Polman and Elon Musk are ranked as top two individual executives leading the way in sustainability. Meanwhile Unilever, Patagonia, Tesla, Marks & Spencer, IKEA and Google are ranked as top 6 companies that are leading the way in terms of sustainable innovation

















According to 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report, Albania has an index score of 68.9 and regional average score 69.9 Positioned 62nd, Croatia 21st, Italy 29th, Serbia 40th, Greece 48th,Macedonia 61st, Montenegro 69th, BiH 781st among 156 countries. Even though the progress is clear in some areas, the pace or the rate of the progress isn’t sufficient to meet the targets.

To conclude, it is a tough and high stake progress, but it relies all on the cooperation of government, civil society, and businesses to lead the way towards a better state and make sure leave no one behind. The only #10yearschallenge we need to care about is actually a long one. It is work in progress!


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Education and Leadership Program “If you want to see where Albania will be 20–30 years from now, look at how education is provided today to its new generation” Michael Granoff Chairman of the Board

After featuring Entrepreneurship, based on the 2017 AADF Annual Report, Follow Business Albania focuses in this issue on another direction into which Albanian American Development Fund (AADF) invests with eagerness and passion - Education and Leadership Program. Following is the Education and Leadership Program, taken from the same Report.

AADF’s Education and Leadership program aims at surgical interventions in the education sector in Albania by providing capacity building opportunities for teachers and students, facilitating policy change and increasing opportunities for competitiveness and employability. The program contributes to strengthening the role of education for improved economic growth and stimulates the creation of a transparent and creative learning process. The focus of the program is on curricula development that has wide reaching impact, as well as providing unique opportunities for a limited number of excellent performers.

48 48



LEAD Fellows

Exams graded

Curricula Reforms

Advising government decisions

by AADF’s CleanScore project

Currently in process with the Goverment of Albania

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April 2019



Highlighted Projects LEAD Albania LEAD Albania is modeled after the White House Fellows Program. It aims to provide gifted young Albanian professionals with first-hand experience in the process of governing Albania. Fellows are assigned, each year, to the offices of Albania’s policy makers within the most important public institutions of the country to serve in advisory roles.

During the ceremony of the 2018 Lead Albania participants at Prime Minister Office.


Junior Achievement of Albania

CleanScore is designed to improve transparency and remove potential bias in university exam scoring by introducing automatized multiplechoice question models, thus enhancing trust and transparency in the higher education system.

During the past five years, Junior Achievement of Albania has contributed to creating and developing better education standards and practices by delivering entrepreneurial knowhow to students of all ages, from kindergarten through the end of high school, throughout the entire Albanian education system.

CleanScore provides exam grades in a quick and transparent way while also saving teachers and universities valuable time and resources. The technology also provides quantitative data in a timely fashion, that helps to better analyze student performance.

By designing new programs and successfully implementing them, involving private and public partners in many of the afterschool activities, conducting teacher’s training and sharing best practices, Junior Achievement has significantly contributed to increased education opportunities for students all over the country.

The Fellowship experience is enriched by an educational component where Fellows participate in seminars on topics related to governing and leadership.

MIP Master’s and Internship Program AADF’s “Master’s and Internship Program” was established in 2017 as a means to empower Albanian professionals, from public and private sectors, and provide them with the opportunity to study and work abroad at the top of their respective fields. The program’s goal is to contribute to the advancement of the Albanian society by investing in increased professional and educational capacities of professionals that will affect key decisions and processes in the country’s future

Source: 2017 AADF Report

April 2019




Sweden Glad to Share Its Long Tradition of Innovation with Albania H.E. Johan Ndisi, Ambassador of Sweden to Albania on EU Innovation Project

Why Sweden, the number one donor of Albania in bilateral assistance, decided to join forces with other key partners like EU and Germany in this ambitious project on EU Innovation project? Sweden has a long tradition of innovation and of recognizing creative minds and solutions. We have developed a world-class start-up scene, made possible due to conducive conditions for entrepreneurs, and we are glad to share our knowledge and experiences with Albania. At the same time, Sweden has a strong commitment to Albaniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s EU-integration process. This project, funded by the European Union, is a good example of two EU member states, Sweden and Germany, joining forces and providing know-how and resources to people in this country with a strong idea that can make a difference in the whole of Albania 50

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April 2019

"Gjergj Fishta" Boulevard, Building, No.146, Entrance No.2, Alpas Center, Tirana, Albania

Tel: +355 (0) 42 270 936 Email:



A Proper Functioning Arbitration Act May Help to Attract Foreign Investors

“A proper functioning arbitration act may not only give the parties a real alternative to court litigation, it may also be beneficial to the Albanian economy.” This was the assessment Dr. Niek Peters exclusively shared with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA after a lecture he gave on arbitration law in Tirana on February 28, 2019. Dr. Peters, a seasoned Dutch expert of international arbitration, encourages Albanian authorities to have an independent arbitration law given all its benefits. According to him, a missing proper functioning arbitration act creates a legal vacuum and the arbitration proceedings may be jeopardized by legal uncertainty. Also, he said that “if a proper functioning arbitration act is missing, foreign investors may think twice before they make the investment.” Full interview below:

By Rudina HOXHA

For those unfamiliar with international arbitration, can you briefly describe your current work as an arbitrator and an advisor to clients involved in international arbitration? I am a partner of Cleber N.V. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and specialize in international arbitration. I am and have been counsel and arbitrator in numerous national and international (institutional as well as ad hoc) arbitrations, governed by various procedural and substantive laws, relating to diverse legal issues and sectors, for example the energy, transport, construction and engineering sectors.

I am a partner of Cleber N.V. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands and specialize in international arbitration. 52

In addition, I act as counsel in proceedings before the State courts, including proceedings for the enforcement and the annulment of arbitral awards. I have published many articles and books on (international) arbitration and speak regularly at international conferences.

Albania lacks an arbitration law. How important is for a country to have an independent arbitration law? When a proper functioning arbitration act is lacking, there may be a legal vacuum and the arbitration proceedings may be jeopardized by legal uncertainty. In such case, it is not uncommon that the parties opt for another form of dispute resolution or for arbitration in another State. As an alternative to arbitration the parties usually consider court litigation. However, in an international context this is usually not the preferred solution. After all, most parties do not like to be confronted with judges with the same nationality as the other party and a legal system they are not familiar with, whilst most parties also find it inconvenient if the legal proceedings were to take place in a language they do not understand. April 2019



In addition, it may be difficult to have a judgment from a local court recognized and enforced in another State. If for example a party would like to enforce a foreign judgment in Albania or an Albanian judgment abroad, this may prove difficult. In the worst case scenario, the dispute must be litigated all over again in the State where recognition and enforcement of the court judgment is sought, with all its adverse consequences. In contrast to this, the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards is generally governed by the 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, to which 159 States are a party. Due to this Convention, an arbitral award could in theory easily be recognized and enforced in another State than where the arbitral award was issued. Besides, it is generally accepted that arbitration may also provide economic benefits, such as income for local arbitration institutions, income for local lawyers who assist the parties or advise in relation to the proceedings and income for the local economy of the city where the hearing(s) take place. It is also for this reason that many States want to be seen as arbitration friendly.

April 2019

For that purpose States constantly innovate their arbitration laws and perceived obstacles to the use of arbitration are removed. If on the other hand a proper arbitration act is missing and the parties choose for arbitration in another State, the local economy will not benefit from this choice. Therefore, a proper functioning arbitration act may not only give the parties a real alternative to court litigation, it may also be beneficial to the Albanian economy.

How does this law impacts on the foreign investments? Foreign investors benefit from a stable legal environment and a predictable judiciary. At the same time, foreign investors are usually not eager to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the local courts. Therefore, foreign investors may prefer arbitration to resolve disputes that may

arise, but if a proper functioning arbitration act is missing, foreign investors may think twice before they make the investment, in particular if the local party is not willing to agree to arbitration in another State. In other words, a proper functioning arbitration act may help to attract foreign investors.

From your experience, what are some of the challenges and problems that countries without the arbitration law face? In many countries the local courts have to deal with all kind of disputes, including disputes where specific (technical or legal) knowledge is required. However, many judges are generalists, not specialists. When it comes to specific (technical or legal) issues, courts may therefore be inclined to appoint experts. As a consequence, the proceedings may take longer and become more expensive, which is often not appreciated by the parties. If the parties, on the other hand, have a realistic and attractive alternative, where persons with specific (technical or legal) knowledge could decide the issues, this may enhance the rule of law. In addition, this could have positive consequences for the caseload of the courts, with positive consequences for the average processing time of court proceedings




Italia Square, Tirana,Albania E: T: +355 (0)4 2274707 F: +355 (0)4 2274711

Facebook: @makalbaniahotel Instagram: @makalbaniahotel LinkedIn: @makalbaniahotel Twitter: @makalbaniahotel W:




April 2019



Lufthansa Overnight Flight in Tirana

NEW: LH1454 - Frankfurt-Tirana 20:40-22:45 NEW: LH1455 - Tirana-Frankfurt 06:05-08:25

Lufthansa is further expending its network in Southeastern Europe by increasing the number of weekly flights from Frankfurt to Tirana according to Summer Timetable 2019. With this double daily flight from Frankfurt, our passengers will have more possibilities for late connections from European destinations to Tirana and this new flight also gives ideal daily connection between 2 cities especially for business people.

destinations in Germany, Europe and around the world. Frankfurt Airport is the central Lufthansa hub and offers a dense Lufthansa network with optimal connecting flights. Munich Airport is the secondlargest and most convenient Lufthansa hub.

With this new frequency Lufthansa will increase total number of direct flights from Tirana to it biggest hub Frankfurt to 14 nonstop flights weekly.

Enjoy fourteen Lufthansa lounges distributed throughout all the terminal areas, as well as the exclusive Lufthansa First Class Terminal, invite you to relax, freshen up or simply make yourself at home at Frankfurt Airport.

Frankfurt is an important destination for many Albanians as business and family links are strong between Albania and the Rhein Main area in Germany.

In additional this flight is improving and increasing connections for Albanian customers to USA & Canada as well as to to/from Scandinavia and the rest of the world. Via our Frankfurt and Munich hubs, we offer business and leisure travelers excellent connections to and from all the important business centers and vacation April 2019

We are happy to announce that Lufthansa will have an additional flight with overnight in Tirana as of 31 March 2019.

Lufthansa has its own terminal there which was designed especially for transfer passengers.

In over 70 Lufthansa lounges around the world, passengers experience exceptional services and amenities. Each space features comfortable arm chairs, complimentary Wi-Fi for business or personal needs, and various culinary works. Select lounges offer passengers showers, cigar lounges, office units, limousine services, first class spas, and more. Lufthansa is dedicated to making the travel experience streamlined and efficient. Passengers can send work-related emails, chat with family, or surf the internet â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with FlyNetÂŽ they enjoy broadband Internet on flight within Europe and long-haul flights. Stay connected with the latest news from Lufthansa Group, at or register for Lufthansa Newsletter 57



Good Connections Are Always Better On the move worldwide with the Lufthansa Group airlines

2018/2019 winter schedule


EUROPE 157 destinations in 44 countries

NORTH AMERICA 23 destinations in 2 countries

SOUTH AMERICA 12 destinations in 9 countries

ASIA 24 destinations in 11 countries

THE MIDDLE EAST 13 destinations in 10 countries

AFRICA 41 destinations in 29 countries

The Lufthansa Group airlines consist of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings. Together offering more than 11,000* flights per week worldwide via their hubs in Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.

Passengers therefore benefit from a large choice of destinations and many combination options. The Lufthansa Group airlines stand for high-quality products and services. With more than 700 aircraft, they have one of the largest and, above all, most modern fleets in the world.

On December 12, 2017, Ambassador Pyykkö extended a reception in Tirana to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence.

• Austria’s flagship carrier with its hub in Vienna • Over 85 destinations worldwide with a focus on Central and Eastern Europe • Travel classes: Business, Premium Economy, Economy Class • Unique service with Austrian charm • 2018 “Best Airline Staff in Europe” and “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” (Skytrax World Airline Awards) • High quality Business Class meals served by “Flying Chefs”

• Belgium’s leading airline with a hub in Brussels • Over 85 destinations worldwide • Experts for connections to Africa • Travel classes: Business, Economy Privilege, Economy Class • Culinary creations by award-winning top Belgian chefs

• Germany’s largest airline and Europe’s first and only 5-star airline • More than 200 destinations worldwide via the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich • Travel classes: First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Class • Outstanding service and product quality • High-quality digital services, including: Lufthansa App, FlyNet® broadband internet and eJournals • Highest level of comfort in the world’s most modern passenger aircraft, A350 and A380

• Switzerland’s national airline • Over 100 destinations worldwide through our hub in Zürich • Travel classes: First, Business, Economy Class • Recognized as “Europe’s Leading Airline” by the World Travel Award for First Class and Economy Class • Traditional Swiss product quality and service quality • Award-winning “Taste of Switzerland” culinary concept

• Designated the best low-cost airline in Germany • Expansive and growing offer of quality flights at affordable prices • Over 90 destinations worldwide through different hubs across Europe

More information at:


April 2019




Deluxe services and comforts, worldwide

In over 70 Lufthansa lounges around the world, passengers experience exceptional services and amenities. Each space features comfortable arm chairs, complimentary Wi-Fi for business or personal needs, and various culinary works. Select lounges offer passengers showers, cigar lounges, office units, limousine services, first class spas, and more.

AT-A-GLANCE Welcome to Europe’s first 5-Star airline

Hub Benefits


Over 5,000 flights a week to more than 200 destinations worldwide


A modern fleet with over 350 aircraft, including the Airbus A380 and A350

Among the most punctual and efficient in Europe

In over 70 Lufthansa lounges around the world, passengers experience exceptional services and amenities. Each space features comfortable arm chairs, complimentary Wi-Fi for business or personal needs, and various culinary works. Select lounges offer passengers showers, cigar lounges, office units, limousine services, first class spas, and more.


First Class Premier luxury, personalized service • Ergonomic seats which convert into a 6.6 ft (2 meters) full-flat bed • Cuisine of a Michelin-star standard • Laptop power connection at every seat, no adapter required • Access to Lufthansa First Class Terminal and lounges

Deluxe services and comforts, worldwide Lufthansa is dedicated to making the travel experience streamlined and efficient. Passengers can send work-related emails, chat with family, or surf the internet – with FlyNet® they enjoy broadband Internet on long-haul flights.

Business Class Work, rest and sleep in complete comfort • Seats convert into a fully-flat bed that is almost 6.5 ft long • Large, fold out work table, multiple power sources, built-in reading light • Selection of on-demand video and audio programs • Access to Lufthansa Business Lounges worldwide, plus Lufthansa Welcome Lounge in Frankfurt

Miles & More and Star Alliance

As Europe’s leading frequent flyer program, Miles & More allows passengers to earn valuable miles and redeem them for awards and status customers enjoy additional exclusive privileges. Lufthansa is also a member of Star Alliance, the world‘s leading airline alliance, with

Premium Economy Class More comfort, more room to relax • Up to 50% more personal space • Two free checked bags, each up to 23 kg (50 lbs) • Larger 11 or 12 in screen, and 13 in on the A350 • Access to Lufthansa lounges, for a fee • Amenity kit with useful travel accessories • Water bottle at each seat, and a welcome drink served

Economy Class Sit back and enjoy the flight • Comfortable, ergonomic seats with cupholders and adjustable headrests • Inflight entertainment at each seat • Complimentary selection of food, beverage and cocktails • Games and toys for children

April 2019

Among the most punctual and efficient in Europe

28 member airlines.

Virtual Reality

Among the most punctual and efficient in Europe Experience the airlines of the Lufthansa Group in 360° with the Virtual Reality App. Enjoy a private tour through the cabins of Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings, plus a close-up look at some of the newest aircraft. Available for download in the App Store




Wellbeing in the Center of Every Policy Discussion: Health Sector By Morena SHETA


elated to Sustainable Development Goals, health is brought on focus globally and nationally to reach over 50 health- related targets set on SDG 3. Along with that, there are at least 10 other goals that explicit focus on health too. Different reports state that remarkable progress has been made on some fronts, but still huge spectrum of health challenges persist and need to be properly addressed. Over the past decades, special efforts are made to reduce maternal and child mortality, combating noncommunicable diseases, improving nutrition and treating mental health. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus on four fronts to seize the progress made on health sector globally and locally.

62 62

Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health Data show that in 2015 an estimated 303 000 women worldwide died due to maternal causes. This is a shocking number taking into consideration that 99% of deaths happened in the low and middle income countries. Still too many pregnant women suffer due to poor quality before, during and after childbirth. Such care would reduce the potential risk of any kind of complications for women and newborns. - In the past decades, maternal mortality rate has decreased from 22.7 in 1990 to 11.8 in 2013. In the recent report WHO 2018 maternal mortality ratio in Albania is 29 deaths per 100, 000 life birth. Special focus has been given to assisted deliveries where proportion of institutional deliveries did increase to 99% in 2017-18. Meanwhile home deliveries decreased from 3% in 2008-09 to 0.4% in 2017-18. The gap is considerable where in high income countries Lorem 90 %ipsum of alldolor births are sit amet assisted by skilled health personnel, meanwhile in low and middle income countries barely half of all birth are assisted by a doctor or nurse. - According to Demographic and Health December April 20182019



Survey for Albania 2017-2018, 9 out of 10 (88%) age 15-49 with a live birth in the past 5 years received antenatal care from a skilled provider (obstetrician or gynecologist, family doctor, nurse or midwife) during their pregnancy Meanwhile the proportion of mothers who received a postnatal care has increased from 59% in 2008-09 to 76% in 2017-18. Number of early child birthing has been reduced, even though the latest data record 44 births per 1000 adolescence girl of age 15- 19. - Adolescent birth rate was 18,9 per 1000 women age 15-19 in 2016 in Albania . Child mortality has fallen compared to 93 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 41 per 1000 live births in 2016. The main causes of child mortality in early weeks after birth are prematurity, birth trauma, acute respiratory infections, malaria, diarrhea and mainly from preventable causes - In Albania, child mortality rate decreased more than the infant mortality rate in the last decade (from 20.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2002 to 13.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016)

Prevalence of wasting and of overweight among children under five years old is recorded high, respectively 51 million children and 38 million children globally in 2017. - In Albania, 11% of children age 6-59 months are stunted, 2% are wasted, 16% are overweight and 2% are underweight.

Causes of death in children under 5 years of age, 2016: Worldwide Neonatal (0â&#x20AC;&#x201C;27 days) Postneonatal (1â&#x20AC;&#x201C;59 months) Under-fives

Infectious diseases Remarkable progress has been seen in the decline of the HIV incident from 0.40 per 1000 uninfected population in 2005 to 0.26 in 2016. 2016 counted 1 million deaths due to HIV, a shocking score, but still declining from 1.9 million deaths due to HIV in 2005.

Progress made has reduced TB incidents by 19 % over the time span of 16 years. 2016 recorded 1.3 million TB deaths among HIV-negative people and an additional 374 000 deaths among HIV positive people.

Persistent gap relies on drug- resistant TB, which presents a real threating risk.

Prematurity Acute respiratory infections

- Data show that in 2016, number of new HIV infection was 0.08 per 1000 uninfected population. Meanwhile as of the end of 2017, Albania was still considered a low HIV prevalence country.

Birth asphyxia and birth trauma Other communicable, perinatal and nutritional conditions Congenital anomalies Diarrhoea Neonatal sepsis Injuries

In the past decades, malaria cases have been under control even though the progress has been stagnant. On global rank, 2016 recorded 216 million cases of malaria compared with 237 million cases of malaria in 2010.

Malaria Other noncommunicable diseases Meningitis/encephalitis Measles HIV/AIDS Tetanus

l 0

April 2019

l l l 5 10 15 Percentage of total under-five deaths

- In Albania malaria incidents have been very rare.

- Latest report in 2016, recorded 16 TB incident per 100,000 population. Cases of identifies people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C has declined. Main concern for such cases relies on the timespan between identifying and treating the infection. Usually these kind of infections are taken before the age of five. Hepatitis B prevalence in the general population decreased from 4.3% to 3.5%. - Hepatitis B prevalence among children under five years old appeared 1.29 % in 2015. 63



Noncommunicable diseases and mental health

Adults in low and middle income countries face the highest risk to die from noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes. 71 % of total deaths occurred in 2016, were due to NCDs, mostly from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

- Probability of dying from one of NCDs between 30-70 is recorded 17 % in 2016 in Albania. In the latest survey about demographic and health in Albania, it was revealed that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 6 men age 15-59 have been diagnosed with at least one noncommunicable disease. The most common NCD experienced is hypertension, reported by 22% of women and 4% of men age 50-59. Diabetes is also frequently reported (7% of women and 3% of men age 50-59). Heart disease affects 6% of women and 2% of men age 50-59, while thyroid problems are reported by 3% of women. Worldwide level of consumption has remained stable since 2010. Meanwhile

Median age at first birth by education Median age at first birth among women age 30-49



No education/ primary 4-year

Primary 8-year



Trends in age-specific fertility Births per 1,000 women 140

Between the timespan of 2000-2016, the risk of dying between ages 30-70 from one of NCDs decreased from 22% to 18%. To meet the target by 2030 would require extra attention on the main risk factors for NCDs such as reducing polluted air, unhealthy diet, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, physical inactivity and encourage regular checkups and treatment. 64

120 100 80

2008-09 ADHS 2017-18 ADHS

Secondary/ University professional/ and posttechnical graduate


40 20 0 15-19 20-24 25-29 30-34 35-39 40-44 45-49 Age group

tobacco use has been increased. In 2016, globally more than 1.1 billion people aged 15 years or older smoked tobacco (34% of all males and 6% of all females in this age group). April 2019



- In Albania, overall, 5% of women and 36% of men age 15-49 smoke cigarettes. More than 1 in 4 women (28%) and 6 in 10 men (60%) age 15-49 have consumed alcohol in the past 12 months 800,000 global suicide deaths were recorded in 2016. A high percentage of suicided occurred at men and this in adolescence and adults of all ages.

- According to World Health Statistics 2018, domestic general government health expenditure weights 9.5% of general government expenditure in Albania. To have a functioning health system, it requires qualified and accessible health workforce. On the other hand, it is required to have the quality and quantity of the essential medicine (for pain management and to alleviate care). Unfortunately a high percentage of public sector in low and middle income countries stock the essential medicine.

- Latest report in 2016, recorded suicide mortality rate of 6.3 % in Albania.

- In Albania it is critically low the density of physicians and of nursing and midwifery personnel per population.

UHC and health systems Globally, the average portion of total government spending on health sector was 11.7 % in 2014.

Percentage of women age 15 -49 2008-09 DHS

To reach the target is important to work on the coverage of essential services in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, NCDs, infectious disease control and service capacity and access. Half of the world’s population do not have full access and coverage to health services. In 2010, 11.7 % of the world’s population spent on average 10 % of their household income to pay on their own for health services.

Global coverage of levels of recommended vaccines are below the average.

Trends in cigarette smoking 2017-18 DHS

43 35


4 Women


Especially for middle income countries, that lag behind in the introduction and the usage of new vaccines due to high costs. In the past decades special focus is given to research and development for new products and processes, but the problem remain in the mismanagement of these funds that are poorly aligned with global public health needs. - Latest data for Albania show that 98 % of total population is covered by all vaccines included in the national program.

To bring back the attention, government, health institutions, health organizations, businesses, academicians and above all the society with an holistic approach and commitment need to set “Wellbeing” as priority and in the center of every policy discussion

April 2019




The KFC store at ex-Bllok area

KFC Albania Grabs "2018 Breakthrough Performance" Award. Yearly Revenues Increase by 50% By Rudina HOXHA

How is KFC Albania going on? KFC Albania Area Manager, Mr. Arber UKA told FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA how happy he is that his team performance won the Award of the Year. Ceremony was held in Moscow in a grandiose event of 1500 attendees. Since 2016, the two KFC stores in Albania continuously increased revenues thanks to the professional management, disciplined team and most of all product quality.

KFC, also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the world's second-largest restaurant chain after McDonald's, with 22,621 locations globally in 136 countries as of December 2018. 68

KFC started its own activity in 2016. Albania was seen as an interesting market due to its economic developments, mostly in the aspect of its economy formalization. Therefore a long-term investment was made in Albania. Initially two KFC stores were opened, respectively in Tirana East Gate (TEG) and ex-Bllok area. Now the focus is to further develop this brand by turning it into the major one in its own industry. Nowadays KFC Albaniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s financial success has been recognized. The brand is well-known in the Albanian market while it is a model in the aspect of management process.

Demand for KFC products is very high by all age categories. What do attribute such success to? Well, Colonel Sanders founded the brand in 1939 so KFC has been in the market for 90 April 2019



years already. The original recipe has brought the expansion of the brand worldwide. The main priority is to represent KFC through consistent product quality. For this purpose the company has developed a successful system of standards which aim to guide all management aspects of operations. As a result we have been able to deliver a product that our customers love and they show it in the feedback. We are all proud of such results.

brand. The employees, who work here, can work even in the other KFC branches abroad. The company also has room for qualified people in the fields of economy, finance, informatics. Personally I have studied for management abroad. I was trained in Cyprus, Greece since KFC was not yet opened in Albania at that time. And gradually I worked hard until I took the post of Managing Director of KFC Albania.

How did you make it?

The consistency of the product quality is another important aspect. KFC has as part of its policy to give the chance to the clients to report about the product in case it is not good enough. In such a case, the product is immediately replaced with another one. So, we are always at the disposal of the clients and we always offer to them a product which is the best, in my view, on Albanian market. Can you make a factsheet of KFC? Actually, the company has two stores opened in Tirana and they comprise some 50 employees. The incomes have increased from year to year, in fact from month to month. Over the last two years, the revenues have been increased by 40-50 %. Our performance has been recognized by the mother company in UK which awarded KFC Albania with the 2018 Performance Award. This was a great and important appreciation for us given that this company includes the whole market of Central Europe

and Balkans, i.e. countries with 10 years of experience in this field with 15 to 20 shops whereas we have just two. On this occasion, a big ceremony was organized in Moscow where there is the KFC Headquarters in the region. We received this prize in front of a big audience of 1500 people.

Do you do catering? For the moment, we do not provide this kind of service. Because of the strict standards for the product delivery. So, people can consume the product in the store or as a takeaway. For the moment, we provide no catering in order to guarantee the highest quality standards of the product.

What is next for KFC Albania? Do you intend to expand the company in the region like in Kosovo and elsewhere? The region is under the control of the mother company in the UK. For the moment, we intend to further consolidate our presence in Albania. We will open two new stores this year and two others in 2020. The next store will be in Tirana given the big demands for our product. At the same time, the coastal cities are seen as great potential for our product. So, the company will be expanded offering great career opportunities for the employees since this is an international

The road has not been easy in the very beginning. Working for an international company of such strict and disciplined standards is something new to Albania. I have not had such an experience with the institutions or companies I have worked before. I was impressed with the level of discipline, strictness, security, control such a company provides. So I became part of a new managerial culture. I personally think that working for such companies is really an extraordinary experience for the Albanian market. I affirm this from my experience but even from the other employeesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; who already work at KFC Albania. Your performance is based on the achieved results. Personally working for KFC has been a challenge which I took with all my heart. This challenge is being rewarded to me now. I am treated like a foreign employee trained in many countries. It is a new managerial network which I hope it will grow in Albania.

How important is market formalization for such companies? The market formalization for such businesses like KFC is necessary. Because it would be an unfair competition for a company which brings so many high standards and strict procedures to face unfair equality with other companies which do not apply such standards and procedures. So I think the new spirit of formalizing the market is the stimulus which has brought such companies in Albania and it is functioning quite well. a

Every system would agree with such companies that bring a new managerial culture, high standards, rewards for the staff and other benefits. The market formalization will go hand in hand with the facilitations for these 25 companies in order to create a better work culture in Albania where the youngsters cannot leave the country. Instead they can say that their rights at work are completely respected. This is a great advantage which such companies with such standards bring to Albania April 2019


Be recognised RICS is the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Becoming an RICS professional provides a gateway to job and career opportunities globally. Be recognised. Promote professional and ethical standards, and make a difference. Join RICS in Central & Eastern Europe. For further information about RICS, contact Anna Orcsik, Regional Manager, Central & Eastern Europe (excl. Poland) at or visit our website. April 2019




The legal framework determines the obligation of registration for the following entities • natural persons (Individual Entrepreneurs), who exercise an economic activity or are independent professionals; • simple companies; • commercial companies; general partnership companies limited partnership companies limited liability companies joint stock companies • branches of foreign companies; • representation offices of Albanian and foreign companies; • saving and credit companies and their unions • mutual cooperation companies; • agricultural cooperatives. Other categories of entities may have the obligation to register if that is set forth by specific laws.

Entities Required to Register with the NBC Commercial Register The economic system of the Republic of Albania is based in the market economy and in the freedom of economic activity. The Albanian legislation promotes and protects the economic activity. However, the legislation provides for the obligation to register for entities that exercise economic and commercial activity. The registration of legal entities aims toward the identification and registration of business, as well as relates to the implementation of tax obligations, employment and social and health insurance scheme. Based on provisions of the legislation on tax procedures natural and legal persons can exercise economic activity only upon registration with the commercial register held by the National Business Center.


As a general rule, entities that register as a legal person gain their legal personality by registering with the commercial register. Meanwhile for some entities like natural persons, branches and representation offices of foreign companies, simple companies and others entities that according to the legislation in force do not gain legal personality by way of registration, said registration with the commercial registry has solely a declarative effect.

Entities with the obligation to register at the commercial register of the NBC Natural persons Commercial companies Representation offices of albanian and foreign companies Saving and credit companies and their unions

ENTITIES REQUIRED TO REGISTER AT NBC Simple companies Mutual cooperation companies

These include but are not limited to the following: i. non - profit organizations; ii. tax representatives of non-resident taxpayers; iii. self-employed as traveling salesmen; iv. farmers; v. heads of families that employ individuals as housekeepers, caretakers; vi. national or local public entities; vii. embassies consular offices, representatives of foreign offices ; viii. special project implementation units; ix. international organizations exempted by special laws.

Entities with no obligation to register at the commercial register of the NBC Non - profit organizations Heads of families that employ individuals as housekeepers, caretakersheads of families that employ individuals as housekeepers, caretakers Diplomatic bodies Public entities

ENTITIES WITH NO OBLIGATION TO REGISTER AT THE NBC Tax representatives of non-resident taxpayers International organizations exempted by special laws Special project implementation units The above entities are required to register with the tax administration. Upon registration with the tax administration the above entities are provided with a unique identification number (NUIS) serving as their tax identification number for national and local taxes. Whilst as regards NGO’s, they have to firstly register with the competent court. Modalities for the registration with tax authorities and necessary documents are determined here below:

Agricultural cooperatives


Branches of foreign companies

Non-profit organizations (NGO), such as associations, centers and foundations, as well as branches of foreign NGO’s should firstly register with in the court and then with Albanian tax authorities. NGO’s gain their legal personality after they are established and registered with the Albanian court, in accordance with the terms and procedures set forth by the Law no. 8789,

Entities with no obligation to register Due to applicable exemptions or the implementation of special legal provisions, some categories of entities are not required to register with the commercial registry.

April 2019



date 7.5.2001, “On the registration of Non Profit Organizations”. The legal framework regarding NGO’s is completed by provisions of the Law no.8788, date 7.5.2001 “On non-profit organizations” and by the Albanian Civil Code. The NGO’s register is established at Tirana District Court. Documents required for NGO’s registration with the court are the following; • Request for registration; • Articles of Association; • Statute; • Authorization for the representative who shall perform the registration The above documents need to be certified by the Public Notary. NGO’s Articles of Association and Statute should also contain information and data related to the: • full name, the logo and the special symbol (if any) of the NGO; • legal seat; • identification data for the founders, board members and the executive director; • determination of the purpose and the activity of the NGO. After the registration with the court, NGO should perform the declaration of employees with the labor inspectorate and register with the respective regional tax directorate. The registration with tax authorities is performed at the Regional Tax Department pertaining to the territorial jurisdiction. Documents required for registration with the tax administration include:

• the completed registration request form; • Agreement of Parties (representative party– represented party); • NUIS and extract of the registration with the NBC for the natural or legal person assigned as the tax representative; • certificate of registration of a foreign company issued by the tax authority of the origin country; • copy of the identification document for the legal representative of the entity’s representative; • power of attorney for the tax representative; All the documents are required to be submitted in original or certified copies, while documents issued by authorities of foreign countries must be apostilled or legalized, and translated in Albanian language.

Self-employed as travelling salesmen It is considered a travelling salesman a seller who has no fixed place of business and cannot exercise any activity in more than one commercial unit. Self-employed entrepreneurs such as traveling salesmen submit to the tax administration: • completed registration form; • copy of the identity document; • permit of the Municipality to trade in predetermined public places; The tax administration issues the registration certificate and NUIS with the inscription "Travelling salesmen". Upon registration as per above, the travelling salesmen are required to pay the respective social and health insurance.

As regards other categories of entities that are not required to register with the NBC the registration is performed by the tax authorities following submission of the following documents:

Tax representatives for non-resident taxpayers The registration procedure is performed at the Taxpayer Service Department. The following documents are required to be submitted:

• a written request; • copy of the identity document of the Head of the Family; • copy of the work agreement signed by the parties.

National or local public entities National or local public entities register by submitting the following: • the completed registration form; • a description of legal basis relevant to their establishment; • the document for their appointment and the copy of the identification document of the legal representative; • information regarding the ownership or the use of the legal seat (lease or ownership contract).

Diplomatic corps, such as embassies, consulates, representatives of foreign offices and; For registration with the tax office diplomatic corps submit: • copy of the identification document of their representative; • authorization for the applicant that will present the request for registration; • a completed registration form.

Special project implementation units Projects implementation units are registered by submitting the following:

• the Court Decision for registering; • the request for registration • the Articles of Association; • Statute; • Statement of the Executive Director on non-profit-purposes for tax exemptions; • employee list approved by labor inspectorate. At the moment of registration, the regional tax office issues the registration certificate, which contains also the unique identification number (NUIS) of the NGO.

housekeepers or caretakers present the following documents to register these persons with tax authorities:


• the completed registration form; • a description of the legal basis relevant to their establishment; • the document of their appointment and a copy of the identification document of the legal representative; • information on the ownership or the use of the legal seat (lease or ownership contract).

For registration with the tax administration and being issued with a NUIS number farmers must provide the following data: • identification document; • residence address and contact information for that person; • place where the farming activity will be exercised; • areas of the agricultural production activity; • farmer’s specimen of signature.

Head of the family employing individuals as housekeepers or caretakers Heads of the family employing persons as

International organizations exempted by special laws Exceptional specific provisions in place for these types of organizations (if any) are governed by conventions, international agreements or special laws adopted by the Republic of Albania Source: Business Guide Registration & Licensing. This Guide is prepared with the financial support of the German Government, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

April 2019


Amazing apartments, Enjoyable stays.



Enjoy Albania Apartments – The Art of Turning Ordinary Apartments into Perfect Oasis for Travelers By Rudina HOXHA


wo Italian Brothers, Paolo and Nikki Ricciardelli stay behind Enjoy Albania Apartments . For three years now, they rent apartments in Tirana and transform them into enjoyable experiences for the travelers who stay in Albania. “Three years ago we decided to bet on the growth of the tourism in Albania and today we can surely say that it was the right choice. Although we still are a small company, we are widely satisfied with the results achieved and we are looking forward to growing together with this country,” Paolo told Follow Business Albania. They are aware that short rental market in Albania is becoming more and more competitive, especially in Tirana but for them, offering a quality service will make the difference.


April 2019



Please can you tell us more about the concept of Enjoy Albania Apartments? Our company was born by the union of two strong souls. One of them deals with property management and interior design and talks to real estate owners and investors. The other one deals with hosting and tourism and aims to give to travelers the most enjoyable experience during their stay in Albania, according to the traditional welcoming spirit of its people. We take ordinary apartments and try to turn them into perfect places to spend time away from home. But it’s even more than that…

Why did you choose Albania for your project? Are you seeing strong returns on investment? Albania is currently considered the last European hidden gem. Living here for a few years before starting this project, we had to opportunity to see, through our own experience, how exciting

April 2019

it was to discover, day by day, every side of this amazing country.

Although we still are a small company, we are widely satisfied with the results achieved and we are looking forward to growing together with this country.

Three years ago we decided to bet on the growth of the tourism in Albania and today we can surely say that it was the right choice.

What are you doing to build the services 'muscle' you need to manage and fulfill the growing demands of the customers? Besides increasing the number of apartments managed, we are building solid partnerships with other local companies to offer several other services (such as 24h airport shuttle, car and bike rental, trip advising and itinerary planning) and to let our guests live Albania at its best, through authentic local experiences mostly related to the history and culture of the country, the beauty of its nature and its culinary traditions.

What challenges are you facing in the home rental landscape? Do you find the Albanian market very competitive? Short rental market in Albania is becoming more and more competitive, especially in Tirana. Many “improvised” hosts are at their first experience, but many others are doing a very good job. Anyway this gives us the right motivation to keep our standards extremely high. At the same time, with the growing demand, the challenge we are facing now is to do our best to stand out from the mass and to let people know us for our unique kind of offer.

Is the rental tech helping you to move ahead? The answer is definitely “yes”. Nowadays, about 90% of our first time customers comes from the e-booking platforms, our website and social media profiles. These same tools also allow us to keep an eye on the market developments, to keep our pricing strategy constantly updated and to keep in touch with our guests before, during and even after their stay


Rruga e Barrikadave 1001, Tirana, Albania

Vlerat që na bashkojnë.

Tel: +355 42 54 764 Mob: +355 68 20 52 744


ALBSIG was established in 2004 as part of Kastrati Group, one of the biggest investment groups in Albania and Balkan region. The company provides life insurance, reinsurance solutions and non-life insurance products to various large, small and medium-sized enterprises and to indiviual clients in Albania. ALBSIG serves its customers through a network of 22 branches all over Albania and 400 agencies and has more than 280 employees. ALBSIG is offering more than 25 insurance products. ALBSIG has a varied product portfolio that allows it to cater to a large customer base. Products and services are distributed through an extensive network of own sales staff, agents and exclusive partners throughout the Albanian territory. ALBSIG is one of the leading insurance companies in Albanian insurance market. Customer confidence in our ability to meet our liabilities at any time, forms the basis of our success. Dynamism describes ALBSIG in terms of client service. ALBSIG has been working continuously on making all of its customer processes more efficient and faster, including the modernisation and optimisation of all procceses, and also by providing very high-quality services.





























For more information please visit








April 2019



Saddest Truth About Doing Business in Shqiperia By Vusal Gambarov, PHD


hen I was invited by Epoka University I put 3 main targets for myself here: 3. To bring atmosphere of marketing in the university and as much as I can to the country 2. To get into to Albania business environment and to learn as much local cases as possible 1. To train at least one local to substitute me after I leave

As this is not personal report paper, I`ll not talk about the results. You see from the list that support to the human resources of the country stood and stands at the top of all targets for me. It`s not just about lecturing and teaching students, but general philosophy on management. During these 6 years I was lucky to meet precious young people full of potential. Train them properly they would and will and did become great professionals. But as the years passed very negative and destructive tendency for the whole country raised and raised. And finally couple of month ago from a research done by European Commission all we learned that 4 of every 5 Albanian young boy or girl wish to escape Albania. 79 percent is highest in the region. I am even wondering why we do not see this 1 of 5, as any person around looking for opportunity abroad.

there will be some so-called failures and mistakes, but it is about focus. - Treat them accordingly: Management is simply about how you keep relationship with people. Every person needs a specific type of treat, and success is in managing this process accordingly. It doesn`t mean only to be nice to people. Use all tools on time and on occasions accordingly. - Provide their professional development: Every business, every project is subject to growth. Not growing means dead. And people affiliated must grow together with the organization. Only internal experience probably will not be enough. Good organizations are those who understand real meaning of education, aka professional development.

Now when to check these steps for even visionary business owners of our country, we cannot feel happy for them. General atmosphere pushing young people to dream their future abroad creating huge challenge for businesses. They are with a big question marks in their mind when they hire anyone. And of course, this question mark is limiting their generosity on professional development.

There are plenty studies done by state or dependent organizations on the issue. All are evidencing the same reality. For example, Germany captured 17K nurses last year. Any nurse certified is looking for being among them. What will hospitals do then? Same question actually to all businesses. In discussions with some entrepreneurs operating business in Albania I listened to their complains about hardness of finding “proper people”. Main issue is even not to find but keep. At first opportunity they run away abroad.

So after years spent with businesses, marketing and teaching I have simplified doing business for myself. It is just about 3 points: - Find proper people to hire: Hire very attentively. Spend even months on finding proper people. But then never fire. Of course, April 2019

Still, I believe that to follow these 3 steps, to show care is the only way for companies for future. With Albanian market projected not to continue growth of last years, and even some declines expected, businesses will have challenges expanding every year. Only way to survive will be quality human resources, which, still at least at the level of “uncovered potential” Albania must be proud of. Maybe it is time for businesses to take over the challenge: to uncover hidden potentials of youth 81



There is so much excitement about it and we hear it every day and almost everywhere over the media and tech platforms, but what is 5G? It is indeed very exciting times that we are living. We are living in the era of the 4th industrial revolution where the introduction of 5G technology will radically revolutionise the way in which the content is enabled and delivered by the providers and in which it is consumed by the consumers. 5G is the fifth generation of mobile broadband, enabling much faster data download and upload speed, a wider and denser coverage and much more stable connections. 5G will augment exponentially the current 4G (LTE) connection and the time it takes the devices to communicate with each other wireless network (latency) will drastically decrease. 1G brought us analogue voice calling which was expensive and unreliable, 2G brought us digital voice service with a wider access by the consumers, 3G brought us data resulting in wider usage of internet and creation of apps, 4G brought us faster data speeds allowing a huge transformation on the way we live, we work, and we entertain ourselves. Due to 4G we have smartphones and we have such impactful social media, streaming of voice and audio, we have new business models like Facebook, Instagram, Airbnb etc. So, what is 5G bringing us?

The Transformational Change of 5G

From a userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, 5G is not only a significant change to faster wireless internet, it will fundamentally change how connectivity, applications and content are consumed whereas from a provider's perspective, 5G grants massive opportunities for innovative services, efficiencies in network through 'network slicing' allowing traditional network architectures to be portioned into virtual elements that can be linked. 5G operates in 3 different spectrum bands and it will have a dramatic change on our everyday use. Just to name a few, we will be able to see our cars drive autonomously, or we will see a doctor perform a surgery by using and managing the surgery tools from another city or country, although not being physically present in the surgery room through augmented reality and so many other examples that since few years ago we could only guess and see in science fiction movies.

After working for Vodafone for more than 10 years, Elona Ganaj is based now in Luxembourg where she has been working for more than one year as General Counsel and Company Secretary of Play Communications S.A. which is the holding company for Play Group. Its subsidiary P4 sp. z o.o. manages the Play brand. Play is a consumer-focused mobile network operator in Poland with over 15 million subscribers as of December 31, 2018. It provides mobile voice, messaging, data and video services for both consumers and businesses (in particular SMEs) on a contract and prepaid basis under the umbrella brand Play. Its modern and cost-efficient 2G/3G/4G LTE telecommunications network together with long-term network sharing agreements cover 99% of the Polish population. Since commercial launch in 2007 Play has grown from an early challenger position to become #1 in the mobile Polish market in 2017.

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Based on her experience and from her perspective, Ganaj extends her vision on 5G and its effect on almost all industries and thus in the consumerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life.


April 2019



When are we going to see it and experience it? There is so much buzz about 5G in the technology arena, but not limited to, however, no matter how exciting and fancy it looks, it will take some time before 5G services will go mainstream. It took nearly a decade to develop and roll-out 4G and there were plenty of challenges to overcome, starting from clean and available spectrum, net-neutrality, loss of network efficiencies etc. Roll-out of 5G networks and development of 5G services is an ongoing project, where there are plenty of regulatory and commercial challenges to overcome. Consumers can expect the first 5G services to be live end of 2019-beginning of 2020, when spectrum clearance and allocation, compatible networks and equipment, as well as services development which are the building blocks for 5G will be fully developed.

It goes without saying that there will be industries like healthcare, education, auto, manufacturing, emergency services, distribution, retail etc. which will be heavily impacted by 5G. Apart from technical and engineering challenges, there are legal and regulatory challenges as well. So, I may say these are truly very exciting times to live for telco lawyers and public policy experts. It is quite important for the consumer to benefit the 5G services as quickly as possible and for the providers to roll-out them as widely as possible. What should regulatory authority do? Currently all major operators are developing the use cases and sourcing investment to enable the next generation 5G services. We saw big mobile network operators smashing the expectations of the regulatory authorities by digging deep into their pockets and splashing out enormous figures to secure the bandwidth by paying billions of euros in Italy, UK, Australia, South Korea etc. Debates are taking place almost everywhere between regulators and operators which proves how difficult it is for any regulatory authority to settle on the best approach for enabling 5G services to the market. It is remarkable to see the impressive developApril 2019

ments, the great attention and the massive involvement of big operators in the 5G licensing process, which shows the transformational impact that 5G will have on almost all industries and thus in the consumer’s life. 5G entails a chain of regulatory challenges for several jurisdictions such as clearing and auctioning appropriate spectrum in low, mid-range and high frequency bands, or allowing site access and sharing for 5G purposes. 5G services require higher frequency spectrum facilitating greater bandwidth and speed, but it becomes less effective over distance and in pass through structures. Therefore, great number of mobile base stations and small cells are required to enable the network. It is important that the regulatory authorities are aware of the 5G challenges and genuinely address them. It is impressive to see the great developments in Albania and the big steps done towards 5G. 800MHz spectrum has been already auctioned and awarded and in a highly competitive telecommunications market such as the Albanian market, one would expect aggressiveness in their network build and 5G services deployment.

Why the times we are living are considered as a brave new world? Because everything is getting smarter. You have a smart phone, a smart TV, a smart watch, a smart luggage, a smart car, a smart office, a smart home. You want to know how the weather is going to be tomorrow? Simply ask Alexa. Want to find a cooking recipe? Alexa, Siri and Google assistant can immediately jump in and load you with dozens of recipes from all over the world. It is like Alexa, Siri and Google assistant will be our new family members. As I mentioned above, science fiction movies are coming into life. An avalanche of data is coming through 5G as artificial intelligence is taking over by seeping its way into our lives affecting how we live, work and entertain ourselves. Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with Internet of Things (IoT) will offer some appealing benefits. Not only people are connected, but devices will be connected as well thus enabling artificial intelligence to collect more and more data

about our daily pattern and take advantages of it. For instance, how will it impact the health industry? It took decades and centuries to medical researchers to track how a certain phenomenon, pattern, lifestyle or location affects on a long-term health. Currently, many people wear smart health wearables where all those events are tracked and aggregated for the purpose of creating a pattern or a behaviour necessary to determine the long-term health. One can easily determine the diagnosis of disease and the location if collecting all these data and analysing them, thus making the right recommendations for treatment much earlier than before the symptoms appear. AI and IoT will never stop impressing us. It is astonishing to see that in the European Patent Office there is an increasing number of patent applications related to “smart connected devices” which shows the related and yet unknown inventions expected to arrive before 5G even becomes available.

Are there any side effects? It is very important for the developers to ensure that Artificial Intelligence respects fundamental rights and have an ethical purpose so that the benefits will outweigh the risks. There are several initiatives at European level working on applicable regulation to protect core principles and how this technology can be made technically robust and reliable. It goes without saying that with this intrusion of machines and avalanche of data we will all feel fragile and vulnerable to the misuse of our sensitive and personal data. We need to trust these machines and we need to know that our privacy is respected in order to accept them. European Commission is working in shaping artificial intelligence’s "intrusion" into our lives, by aligning it with our core values and upholding fundamental rights. Same time, it is very important for these regulations to allow innovative companies develop and offer cutting-edge technology to support their business, and new ways of doing things to give them an edge over their competitors and bring value to consumers 83



AZ Consulting’s Edona Bilali: Risi Albania made me think out of the box and come up with a great product benefiting the agribusiness industry E

dona Bilali is a young entrepreneur currently running one the most successful consulting companies in Albania – “AZ Consulting”. She graduated in Business Administration at the Faculty of Economy, University of Tirana. After accumulating vast experience working for many years in both public administration and private sector, she decided to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and has not stopped since.


What motivated you to get into consulting? I remember that during my time as a student, I understood that I had the capability of being systematic and getting things done timely. In fact, I was always respecting project deadlines and prepared myself regularly during the semester for the final exam. In this context, the exam season was more of a rehearsal-time than actual preparation-time. Later on, working in Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet different capacities in both public and private sector continuous improvement was my driver. I believe that in any organization there is always room to do things better, and at that time I was not aware of it April 2019



but this is what I was doing: besides my actual job responsibilities, I was contributing in “making life easier” to my colleagues by spontaneously designing more efficient work processes. In a nutshell, this sense of helping companies to become better and improve continuously, is what motivated me to get into consulting.

When I started this path (six years ago), there were professionals with 15 or 20 years of experience operating in the consulting market in Albania. However, this fact encouraged me even more as I strongly believe in the values of continuous improvement (at a personal level). I knew that going this road will present many challenges but somehow, I was also very intrigued. I thought it is a great opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. Indeed, I am happy to say that most of those professionals have become colleagues from whom I have learned a lot.

investments in the long-term will add value to the country. Given that Albania is a developing country, and as such has restricted resources, we need to invest smart to create competitive advantages and differentiate ourselves in the region.

You have recently expanded your portfolio of activities in the agribusiness sector, reaching out to more clients. How was this possible? Many entrepreneurs sometimes miss new developments in the market as they focus more to improve their operations internally.

This is what we call a “traditional company”. In a way, our company was also following this rhythm as we were oriented towards continuous improvement of services and staff qualification. However, since working with Risi Albania (a program financed by the Swiss Government) we learned a completely different way how to update our business model. They stimulated us to think out of the box and come up with a great product benefit-

How do you view the current market trends of the consulting sector in Albania? The application of consulting services has lately notably increased especially in the agriculture industry. More concretely, there is a need in the market for expertise that facilitates the management of investments in farms as well as similar initiatives in agro-processing and agrotourism. Strategically speaking, I personally think that these

ing the agriculture industry targeting rural areas and farmers. This product is very successful and has increased our client base.

What do you recommend to other consulting businesses in Albania that are thinking of providing services in the agribusiness sector? I would give two friendly advices. First, be prepared to collaborate with all stakeholders. There are currently many different programs and schemes that enable SMEs to access different grants and investment opportunities. At the same time, there is a gap in the market for missing expertise. While consultants will always be needed, they must adapt their working culture to fit that of all actors involved. Second, keep an open mind for innovative ideas that add business value. As in our case, we adopted a new way to make business that ultimately boosted our performance

April 2019




Can Second Hand Clothes Become Hidden Gem for Tirana? Vusal Gambarov, PHD together with Sindi Taçe, Mariola Muçi and Edra Sota

Tourism is trendy. We all love travelling. Even though it is expensive, even though it is tiring, even though it is challenging… But, we don`t want to be mainstream traveler. We want to have pictures with most popular attractions, it`s right, same time we are always looking for “something special”. One of rising “specialties” is so called Hidden Gems. Travelers around the world try to instruct each other to these not so popular, but worth to visit attractions. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Albania has plenty of them. Even there are articles and blog posts on the issue. Study made by our students Sindi, Edra and Mariola made me to consider one social phenomenon of Albania as an opportunity… as you see from the title… Pse jo?


April 2019



Snapshot Of course, this flow of second-hand clothes to the country is related somehow with the poverty. Quality of Life Survey which was conducted by European Commission uncovered not that convenient truth for us: 62% of Albanians fail to afford the purchase of new clothing, which is unfortunately the highest percentage in Europe.

According to INSTAT 2 years ago total import of second-hand clothes was valued at 24 million Euros, which is estimated to be realized inside country at 70 million Euros. So, it means that there is quite high margin in the category. Half of this merchandise arrives from Italy, and the rest from China, Germany, Turkey etc.

History Our ladies found out that second-hand clothes visit to the country was not initiated after liberalization. Even in communist regime times people found ways to buy clothes without tags from neighbor countries. And not surprisingly, even at its used form clothing from Italy, Greece or Yugoslavia was accepted as the sign of prestige. But of course, it became a market just after 1991. And as in every kind of commodity second-hand clothes started its journey in

the country from borders cities. In this case Korça, Saranda and Gjirokastra pioneered import from Greece, Shkodra dominated import from Yugoslavia. It is estimated that first massive pieces entered in 1990 to Shkodra. It`s said that it was under the title of “Karitasi”, through churches. Even now it is known that many secondhand clothes are collected through churches activities. Korça “Gypsy pazar” was one of first commercial establishments on the issue. There are very large markets around the country, with majority underground. As we see Tirana became main market for the second-hand clothing with a bit of delay, estimated at 1995.

It`s not cheap, it`s a deal… even an addiction It`s irony of life that poor people buying second-hand clothes are labelled as buyers of cheap, but same behavior from reach and especially from celebrities we see as a sign of humble, or even smartness. In the world, and Albania, there are several celebrities pioneering these practices. Sarah Jessica Parker proudly sharing here pictures from second-hand clothes markets. Sindi, Edra and Mariola reached to the fact there are more here in our country: Oni Pustina likes how they offer more diversity; Eliona Pitarka declaring that “prices and qualities better sometimes”; Armina Mevlani stated a year ago that she still buys occasionally at “Gabi”, considering as a place where she can find clothes and accessories to complete her style but in her opinion years ago these clothes had better quality.

But for me, what Kosovar singer Flaka Krelani said is quite interesting. As a guest at “Pse jo” Tv show by Roza Lati, Flaka declared that she comes from Kosovo in Tirana specifically to buy second hand clothes at “Gabi“ here. She claims that they’re cheaper than in stores although not as cheap as Gabi used to be.

Other celebrities “caught” buying second hand clothes are Luana Vjollca, Kida, Adelina Tahiri, Linda Jarani and Orgesa Zaimi. In June 2018 Top Channel New did a report on how buying clothes at ‘Gabi’ has become an addiction for a lot of women in Albania lately. Most of them have a stable economy. Psychiatrist Valentina Asabella says that when repetitive unnecessary buying behavior begins, it can be seen as a sign of the addiction approaching. Within a month she treats more than 10 patients with addiction to second hand clothes purchases. The treatments are considered the same as in a drug, gambling or alcohol case.

It`s our business It`s very pretty to see that second-hand clothes purchase is not associated only with the poverty. It`s cool, it`s fashionable, it`s smart. Of course, still the main market will be those as we call “Gabi”. But, there is a good opportunity for retailers and fashion designers to bring it to “Hidden Gem of Albania” point. Sindi, Edra and Mariola also captured foreigner living or travelling here and enjoying deals from “Gabi”. Now it is time for entrepreneurs to seize this opportunity. It was interesting to find complaint from a tourist visiting Tirana about one shop, “Vendi Sekret”. This secret place is selling vintage products was labelled as “hard to recognize that it is a shop” by a travel blogger, Wendy.

I believe that, offering second hand clothes as it is or reshaped in cozy manner may bring good business opportunities. Just it`s time to uncover new hidden gem for Albania April 2019









Über ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Albania ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA mit einem weltweiten Netz von rund 100 Stützpunkten in über 70 Ländern bietet österreichischen Unternehmen und deren internationalen Geschäftspartnern ein umfangreiches Serviceangebot. Insgesamt rund 800 Mitarbeiter und 35 Konsulenten unterstützen Sie dabei die richtigen Lieferanten und Geschäftspartner aus Österreich zu finden. Wir organisieren jährlich rund 1.200 Veranstaltungen zur Herstellung von Geschäftskontakten. Weitere ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Services reichen von der Kontaktherstellung zu österreichischen Unternehmen auf der Suche nach Importeuren, Distributoren und Handelsvertretern bis zu detaillierter Information über den Wirtschaftsstandort und den Markteintritt in Österreich. ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Albania ist die offizielle Vertretung der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich in Albanien. Seit vielen Jahren unterstützen wir österreichische Unternehmen, die Interesse

During the presentation of Quality Austria

am albanischen Markt haben, aber auch Firmen die bereits in Albanien tätig sind und unseren Support als Vermittler für verschiedene Anliegen brauchen. Die österreichische Präsenz in Albanien war bis Anfang 2004, verglichen mit der in anderen Staaten auf dem Balkan, noch sehr gering. Dies änderte sich grundlegend mit der Übernahme der größten albanischen Bank, der bis dahin staatlichen Savings Bank, durch die Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich im Wege der Raiffeisen International Holding GmbH. Hervorzuheben sind bei den österreichischen Investitionen noch das Rogner Hotel in Tirana, Strabag als österreichische Baufirma vor Ort, Uniqa Group Austria, Vienna Insurance Group und Wiener Städtische im Versicherungsbereich; EVN, Verbund und ENSO als Großinvestoren im Energiebereich. Auch im Dienstleistungsbereich wie Steuerberatung, Anwaltskanzleien u. Consulting gibt es einige bekannte österreichische Firmen

Marlinda Zotaj und Michael Otter, CEO AUSSENWIRTSCHAFT AUSTRIA

April 2019



ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Albania: Österreichs Wirtschaft in Albanien Die Leiterin von Advantage Austria Albania, Frau Marlinda Zotaj, teilt mit Follow Business Albania ihre Bemühungen, Albanien unter den österreichischen Unternehmen zu fördern.

Erzählen Sie uns bitte über Ihre Arbeit bei Advantage Austria Albania und wie Sie Albanien an österreichische Unternehmen promoten und näherbringen. Unsere tägliche Arbeit besteht darin, verschiedene Albanienbezogene Anfragen von österreichischen Unternehmen im Ausland bzw. Österreich zu beantworten. Zusätzlich organisieren wir mehrmals im Jahr Wirtschaftsmissionen nach Albanien; das sind Firmendelegationen, die sich den albanischen Markt näher ansehen möchten und albanische Partner und Projekte suchen. Eine sehr wichtige Aufgabe für mich bzw. uns als Institution ist auch die Unterstützung von österreichischen Unternehmen/Investoren vor Ort, die für verschiedene Anliegen und Probleme unsere Intervention bei albanischen Behörden brauchen.

Wie hat die Gründung von Advantage Austria Albania bei der Weiterentwicklung der Handelstätigkeiten zwischen Österreich und Albanien geholfen?

Veranstaltungsplan Albanien 2019 21. - 23.03.2019

Katalogausstellung bei TEKNO HOTEL EXPO 2019


Viennese Ball

23. - 25.04.2019

Wirtschaftsmission IT & Software Services Albanien

03. - 06.06.2019

Wirtschaftsmission Landwirtschaft in Albanien und Kosovo

16. - 18.09.2019

Wirtschaftsmission Tourismusdestination Albanien

21. - 24.10.2019

Österreich Lebensmittelwoche in Tirana

18. - 20.11.2019

Wirtschaftsmission Geschäftschancen in Albanien

23. - 26.11.2019 April 2019

Katalogausstellung bei Klik Ekspo Tirana 2019

Ich denke, dass unsere vielfältigen Veranstaltungen mit B2B-Terminen zwischen albanischen und österreichischen Firmen, sowie die Organisation von Geschäftsreisen österreichischer Firmen nach Albanien, einen guten Beitrag bei der Entwicklung der wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen Österreich und Albanien leisten.

Was sind die starken Bereiche, die Österreich in Albanien bieten kann? Welche Sektoren sind interessant für österreichische Investitionen? Aufgrund des großen Nachholbedarfs der albanischen Wirtschaft, gibt es für österreichische Unternehmen in den bekannten Stärkefeldern Transport, Bau & Infrastruktur, Umwelt- und Wassertechnologie, Energie, IT-Dienstleistungen und Lebensmittel die größten Chancen. Eine längerfristige Perspektive bietet auch der Tourismus.

Wie sind die Prognosen für 2019 für Advantage Austria Albania? Im letzten Jahr hatten wie einige erfolgreiche Veranstaltungen im Bereich Landwirtschaft, IT und Tourismus, die wir auch im 2019 wieder organisieren werden. Zusätzlich werden wir zum ersten Mal eine österreichische Lebensmittelwoche im Oktober organisieren. Ich hoffe und glaube, dass 2019 ein gutes Jahr für Advantage Austria und die österreichischen Unternehmen und Investitionen sein wird.

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Follow Business Albania April 2019