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ALBANIA

FINLAND TO ALBANIA: LET'S MAKE A CIRCULAR ECONOMY ROADMAP

Initially, Finland's circular economy will grow from the following five areas.

1

Sustainable food system

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Forest-based loops

3

Technical loops

4

Transport and logistics

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Common action

Finland Ready to Approach Albania with the Latest Circular Economy Solutions - page 12

Consumers choose food that has been produced through the wiser use of raw materials that starts in primary agricultural production. Emissions and resource consumption will be lower.

Finland is a circular bioeconomy leader because of its forestry and forest industry. Global competitiveness will increase with new commercial products, services, co-operation models and digital technology.

Minimising the use of virgin raw materials creates a competitive edge. At the same time, we will maximise the length of material and product life cycles and opportunities for reuse.

Transport will develop into a seamless, smart system that uses fossil-free fuels. Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the sharing economy and optimised and clean transport will take mobility to a new level.

Use The product should be used for as long as possible, it must be serviced and repaired and parts changed when necessary. At the end of its life cycle, the parts or material can be reused in the life cycle of some other product.

Legislators, companies, universities and research institutes, consumers and citizens, and vibrant regions are all needed to achieve systemic change. Communication and diverse interaction are particularly important when implementing joint action.

Primary sector The raw materials are capital for the primary sector. Sustainable solutions are dependent on the protection of raw materials. The aim of a circular economy is to keep Finland vibrant for people and nature.

Consumer Demand creates a supply of sustainable products and commodities. Every consumption decision either takes us towards or away from a circular economy.

From company to company Material processing

Companies will procure and require their subcontractors to provide parts and components that can be easily repaired – instead of fixed and single-use parts. They will also provide maintenance services for the products they sell.

Process planning will decrease the energy need for processing huge amounts of raw materials and the amount of surplus material. The use of side streams will be taken into consideration in, for example, environmental impact assessments and environmental permit processes.

Manufacturing industry

Retail Retailers will sell more services instead of goods and inform customers about maintenance and repair services, environmental impacts, materials and further use in the final phase of the life cycle.

Distribution Transport co-ordinated between different sectors, renewable fuels and jointly owned transport equipment will provide a more sustainable basis for the transfer of products and materials.

STATISTICAL DATA, SURVEY, ANALYSIS, BUSINESS INTERVIEWS, DIPLOMACY, TRAVEL, ART… © Copyright FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA 2018. All rights reserved.

Industry will receive accurate information about the materials it uses, so that they can be identified and separated at the end of the product’s life cycle. Long-term products that can be repaired and maintained will be brought onto the market.

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MAY

2018


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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA CONTENTS

CONTENTS

IN THIS ISSUE, we visited one of the Northern European Countries, Finland which celebrated 100 years of independence with numerous events in Albania and Worldwide. The Finns achieved independence on December 6, 1917. Visiting Finland made us realize that this country continues to work as a group putting efforts in the areas that they very much need to be leaders such as in Education and Technology among other industries. The theme of Finland100 was "Together" meaning the Finns and their friends all over the world. We delved into some of the main aspects of this nation like circular economy, educational system, startups, support to EU and its enlargement, tourism and other themes. We left Helsinki thinking how can Albania benefit from them

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

May 2018

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WANT TO SEE FINNISH KNOW-HOW FINDING ITS WAY TO ALBANIA

10

“WE ARE HERE TO IDENTIFY WHERE AND HOW WE COULD BEST ASSIST ALBANIA IN ITS EUROPEAN ASPIRATIONS”

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FINLAND READY TO APPROACH ALBANIA WITH THE LATEST CIRCULAR ECONOMY SOLUTIONS

14 16

FINNISH SCHOOL OF TIRANA TO KICK OFF THIS YEAR JP HOSPITALITY EU FOUNDER: “I BELIEVE IN ALBANIA, THIS IS THE RIGHT TIME TO INVEST”

18 28 32

ICTS, THE ONLY INTERNATIONAL TOP SECURITY PROVIDER IN THE COUNTRY

34 36 38 40 46 50 52 54

HUNGARIAN HERITAGE IN ALBANIA

56 60 64 72 74 76 80 82 83 83

KOSOVO ENTREPRENEUR TRIES TO ATTRACT FINNS

84 86

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS THIS?

HERITAGE MEETS THE FUTURE ANILA FURERAJ: STOCK EXCHANGE, A PIONEER IN IMPACTING OTHER ASPECTS OF ECONOMY POSITIVELY

THE ECONOMIC COST OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS NEVES: ALBANIA AND BRAZIL - TRYING TO LINK THE OCEANS BUSINESS UPDATE RENT YOUR OFFICE NOW! $20 BILLION GONE IN 20 YEARS KOSOVARS’ HOSPITALITY GETS TOURISTS BY SURPRISE ALBANIA SEEN WITH A LOT OF INTEREST IN DANISH TRAVEL SHOW

FINNS KEEN ON NEW DESTINATIONS, ALBANIA ONE OF THEM 100 UNIQUE ART HIGHLIGHTS IN ALBANIA AND IN AUSTRIA SCRIPTED REALITY OF STREET ECONOMY IN ALBANIA A SCOTTISH DREAM WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ALBANIA’S ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS? ALBANIA HAS HUGE POTENTIAL FOR EXPORT TO UKRAINE “THERE IS A LOT OF UNUSED POTENTIAL IN FRONT OF US” FINNS HAVE ALREADY FOUND ALBANIA AN INTERESTING TRAVEL DESTINATION VILLE CANTELL - DIRECTOR, EUROPE AND NEIGHBORING AREAS, DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS AT MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF FINLAND

SOLARIS: “TIRANA HAS A GREAT CHANCE TO BE THE FIRST CAPITAL IN THE REGION WITH E-BUS SYSTEM” 7


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND SPECIAL ISSUE

Want to See Finnish Know-How Finding its Way to Albania The Ambassador of the Republic of Finland, Juha Pyykkรถ to Greece and Albania, appointed in this post in November 2017, has emerged dynamic and enthusiastic about the cooperation with Albania. He sits with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA to highlight that Finnish companies have a lot to offer to Albania within the realm of sustainable development, innovation and world-class technologies.

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May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND SPECIAL ISSUE

Finland is a key international player in many fields with mutual interest with Albania as well, say relations between our two countries. With innovation/technology or education. increased visits and encounters between What might be the Finnish our two countries at various levels, I hope contribution in this respect?

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

Mr. Ambassador, what is the significance of Finland 100 to you and what sort of impact/changes will it have on your work? I think the celebration of Finland 100, that is, the centenary of the independence of the Republic of Finland, throughout the year 2017, has been a milestone in the lives of all Finnish people. It was celebrated both officially and privately which shows that independence is a highly valued thing for us Finns. For me, it has been an absolute pleasure and honor to be able to celebrate Finland100 as Ambassador of Finland to Albania. I hope that with the increased visibility of Finland through the Finland100 celebration, we have an ever more strengthened foundation for further development of relations between Finland and Albania.

What do you plan to achieve in the coming three years, in relation to Albania and the Balkans? Do you have a message to the business community in Albania and the region? As said, I hope to be able to facilitate further development of the bilateral May 2018

to see more policy level cooperation as well as business connections. Overall, I think it is important for non-EU countries in the Balkans to continue their reform processes and with that, the EU integration process. In terms of business, I would like to underline the importance of improving and simplifying the business and investment environment in the region in order to attract foreign investment. With that, I hope to be able to facilitate more business amongst Finnish and Albanian and other Balkan companies.

Please, tell us which kinds of business opportunities Finnish companies would look for in Albania and vice-versa? I would like to see Finnish know-how and expertise in various sectors finding its way to Albania to be part of the strong development and reform process that Albanian society and economy are going through at the moment. In general, I think Finnish companies have a lot to offer within the realm of sustainable development, innovation and world-class technologies.

In order to co-create concrete policy and business connections between our two countries, I think it is important to carefully analyze the situation and on that basis focus on some limited areas of cooperation based on demand.

What's your impression of Albanians in comparison with Finns? Are there any similarities or differences? My encounters with Albanians are very limited so far. My first expressions are very positive: You are open and warm, interested in your own country and culture but in the outside world at the same time. Overall, I think there are many similarities among Finns and Albanians – both being rather small nations. In any case we Finns appreciate the skill of joy of life that you in Southern Europe cherish and express more freely than we Finns

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND

“We Are Here to Identify Where and How We Could Best Assist Albania in its European Aspirations” Secretary of State of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Peter Stenlund tells Follow Business Albania that “Today, besides supporting Albania’s cause on its path towards the EU, the Finnish diplomacy can benefit Albania in numerous ways.”

Finland has expressed its readiness to support Albania’s integration to EU. In what way, is this country showing it? We are proponents of Albania’s EU integration and believe that the place for all Western Balkan countries is within our European family. We show our support both through political and more practical means. The core purpose of my last visit to Tirana last February, for instance, was to discuss Albania’s EU integration and to encourage Albania to continue its good work with societal reforms. We are also here to identify where and how we could best assist Albania in its European aspirations. On a more practical level, the Finnish authorities have – as a preparation for Albania’s European integration–helped their Albanian counterparts in renewing the state institutions and provided training for the public administration on spot. 10

May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND

From your perspective, how are the relations between Finland and Albania going? What can the Balkan region benefit more from the Finnish diplomacy? Finnish-Albanian relations are excellent with ample room for further development. Hopefully we can bring more concrete content into to these good relations in the years to come.

Martti Ahtisaari

Both being small nations has laid the foundation for our friendly bilateral relations – the existence of an Association of Friends of Finland in Albania and the Friends of Albania in Finland prove the point!

The Finnish Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, has been the best known face for Finnish diplomacy in Albania thanks to his work in Kosovo. Today, besides supporting Albania’s cause on its path towards the EU, the Finnish diplomacy can benefit Albania in numerous ways. For instance, business and trade between Finland and Albania is not exactly blooming yet but diplomats on both sides are working hard to facilitate the exploration of opportunities and open doors for Finnish and Albanian companies in view of more mutual business. We know that Albania could offer diverse opportunities for Finnish companies in the field of tourism, energy and agriculture, to name a few. The Nordic Association for Trade and Business Development, recently opened in Tirana, is an important platform for us in this regard. A fruitful area of collaboration between our countries has been the capacity building that Finnish experts have provided to Albanian authorities in the form of concrete projects and knowledge transfer, relating,

for instance, to the Albanian justice sector reform. We are happy to make our knowhow available also in the future, for example in anti-corruption measures, good governance, statistics and education (we top quite many international rankings in these themes!). When it comes to the education system, it would be useful to look into the potential of organising more student and research exchanges between Finland and Albania. Celebration of the centenary of the independence of the Republic of Finland last year was an important milestone, and I am happy to note that our Ambassador to Albania, Mr. Juha Pyykkö, celebrated this in Tirana, as well, on 12 December 2017 with President Meta in attendance.

I hope that with this increased visibility of Finland in Albania and through my visit we can facilitate increasing interaction between our two countries

Mr. Stenlund talking with the Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ditmir Bushati. February 19, 2018 (Courtesy of Albanian Foreign Ministry)

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND

Finland Ready to Approach Albania with the Latest Circular Economy Solutions By Rudina HOXHA, FROM HELSINKI, FINLAND

Finland leads the way when it comes to circular economy. This term, quite in fashion in the world today, means how to create much more value and much less waste out of the resources we use in our daily life. Or in other words, circular economy is as much about creating value, profits and jobs. In Finland, SITRA is in the front of circular economy promotion and development. And Kari Herlevi is the director of this project . He is also a multi-skilled circular economy expert. Acccording to SITRA data, a circular economy could bring estimated net savings of €600bn (£523bn) to European companies. In Finland alone circular solutions could provide €2bn-3bn (£1.7bn-2.6bn) added value annually. In order to reap such advantages, the Finnish government set a strategic target to become a forerunner in circular economy. In 2016, Finland adopted a national circular economy roadmap. The outcome is a solid plan with an ambitious vision, concrete projects and clear responsibilities. Given all this experience, SITRA’s Herlevi confirms his readiness to help Albania build good circular economy solutions. “SITRA can share experiences of building a national roadmap if Albania is interested of circular economy in a transformative level,” he says in an exclusive interview with FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA

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Kari Herlevi, Director of SITRA's Project. He also led the Green Growth programme at Tekes, which was associated with the circular economy and had a financing volume of more than 100 million euros.

How is Finland (SITRA ) Advancing with Respect to Circular Economy? SITRA advances circular through many ways.

economy

SITRA collaborates with partners from different sectors to research, trial and implement bold new circular economy ideas that shape the future of the country. It started to build a circular economy in Finland by first creating the world’s first National Road Map for the Circular Economy 2016-2025, a plan of action that consists of numerous key and pilot projects. Finland, famous for its comprehensive education system, is also leading the way in including the circular economy in education, again with the support of SITRA. Circular economy education will now be offered to tens of thousands of students from all age groups, ranging from primary schools to universities. The future fund is also working with businesses on their transformation to a circular economy in which they reuse and recycle their materials and minimise waste. SITRA has also compiled a list of almost a hundred case studies detailing the most interesting circular economy companies in Finland. May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND

The future fund has also promoted global networking and sharing of ideas related to the circular economy by organising the world’s first World Circular Economy Forum in 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The event gathered over 1,600 key business representatives, policymakers and experts on the circular economy from almost 100 countries to share their best solutions and practices. In 2018 the World Circular Economy Forum will be co-hosted by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Sitra in Yokohama, Japan, between 22 and 24 October. In 2019, the World Circular Economy Forum will be held again in Helsinki.

In what way, Finland (SITRA ) can contribute or help Albania towards developing Circular economy? Can you mention any example? Sitra can share experiences of building a national roadmap if Albania is interested of circular economy in a transformative level. Sitra’s representative could e.g speak at some of the events relevant to the topic

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FINLAND

Finnish School of Tirana to Kick Off This Year The Principal Tuovi Ronkainen, and her Deputy, Hanna Lenkola, will start the first Finnish School in Tirana. This will happen thanks to the initiative of Alejtin Berisha, a Kosovo serial entrepreneur, educator, investor and Executive Chairman of Finnish Schools International.

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Working on this project for three years now, Berisha intends to extend the project all over the Balkans and further. Initially two Finnish schools will start, one in Tirana and another one in Kosovo. “The School will follow the Finnish curricula and its core is a holistic approach towards the kid,” Ronkainen told to Follow Business Albania. She said that the school is based on a number of key competences but the main one is how to think critically. In the very end, the ultimate goal of the school is “the development as a human being and as a citizen” May 2018


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What does JP Company Stand for? It can offer an individual solution for each new project or ongoing operation supported by two fundamental principles: Transparency and respect for all the partners, customers and society.

Contact details: JP Hospitality Eu jose.pinto@jphospitality.eu www.jphospitality.eu Tirana, Albania Mr. José Pinto

JP Hospitality EU Founder: “I Believe in Albania, This is the RIGHT Time to Invest” Coming off a high profile, with 45 years of experience in the field of hospitality, you seem not to be afraid to think differently. Your company, JP Hospitality EU has an uncommon mission. What is it? I was never afraid to think differently throughout my professional and personal 16

The Portuguese seasoned expert in the field of tourism, Mr. José Pinto, related to Sheraton Brand for 45 years, knows he’s got something special with Albania and so, he has decided to open his new company in this country. In an exclusive interview with Follow Business Albania, Mr. Pinto reveals why he chose Albania.

May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LET’S TALK ABOUT TOURISM

life. I love to be different and constantly innovative. I never got attached to anything. Challenges get me going. Without them, I feel useless; therefore I’m constantly “looking outside the BOX.” The mission of J.P. Hospitality EU is very simple – We are an active, independent company with an attitude that stands out for differentiation; defining the strategic alignment for each project and strive to achieve exceptional results. We can offer an individual solution for each project or ongoing operation supported by two fundamental principles:

Transparency and respect for all the partners, customers and society. The famous Clock Tour of Dubai, symbol of the Good old times and full of remembrances, since daily Mr. Pinto had to take the side to go home at Garden City Area

That’s where Mr. Pinto started his international Career, Sheraton Dubai Creek in 1978

Awarded to Mr. Jose Pinto by the Grand Father and visionary of today Dubai, H.E Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed al Maktoum

A new hospitality approach for new times. Your continuation as the CEO of a new company in the hospitality sector has stirred a lot of interest. Even more interesting is the location you chose to open the company - Albania. Why? I'm fascinated with Albania, its people, culture, attitude and potential to invest. Doing business in Albania needs patience, tenancy, trust and confidence, and despite all negative exterior comments about Albania, I believe on this country and I'm confident of my investment. This is the RIGHT time to invest. I encourage everyone to do so! Mr. Pinto's First GM Position started here at Bays of Huatulco - Oaxaca - Mexico in 1987

One of Mr. Pinto's speech in le Meridian Jeddah KSA back in 2014

Besides locally, what regions are you looking at in terms of expanding internationally?

Mexico City – My pre opening office for Sheraton Huatulco Resort

My Market? It is the Balkans. But my primary concentration is in "My Albania." I trust the Vision of our Leaders. It seems your company embodies a story to inspire the youngsters of Today and Tomorrow especially in the hospitality sector but not only. I stand for diversification, fair competition and constant innovation in every business, I always recommend to the youngsters to start listening to their hearts, work hard and trust your own country. You don't know what your country offers to you until you discover it. Albania is a jewel and has all the potential to be a great country like any other. View of Sheraton Cancun Resort & Towers, 952 rooms and suites

May 2018

Trust, positive attitude and hard work are needed by all of us 17


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SECURITY

ICTS, the only international top security provider in the country Panagiotis Fistedis, Administrator & Managing Director, Albania & Cyprus ICTS EUROPE Group SAS sits with Follow Business Albania to talk about ICTS Albania from A to Z.

the following: Health, Food, Security, Warmth, Clothing, Communication and Emotional Excitement. Opinions can apparently differ in the previous chain needs as per the alternative perception of people, yet more or less this would be the main concept.

By Rudina HOXHA

You’ve always had a perchant for security? My career has not been always in security sector. My international background academic path and previous business ventures have been in Economics & Marketing, M&As and Consulting, Energy Trade and Management. Being a Strategist, an Economist, a Management Consultant or a Commercial and Business Development Director, I had always had the sensor of safety but not to the absolute of its entire extent and life risks underlying.

Panagiotis Fistedis

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When I joined ICTS Europe many years ago, while pursuing to learn about our Group's history and solutions, I discovered one of the dimensions of life which rules our life among others. Prioritizing the basic needs of humans we could result to

Chart of needs prioritization

You may figure out at a moment of selfconsideration, that Security is the only need of all that people ignore it till an incident happens to their life or to their environment. If a plane or a train crashes, if a terrorist attacks a shopping mall, a hospital or an industrial site, if an intruder enters your private or business premises, if your people's life or property gets in jeopardy, only then people call upon enhanced security measures. A number of incidents in the past have raised the alerts across the globe for higher security measures; however this should be moderated in optimum ways May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SECURITY

over 13.000 people (making together with SOFINORD a Group power of 21.000 people) and controls over 28 subsidiaries in America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Its clientele includes - just to mention a few of them, the airports of Paris among 14 airports in total that ICTS operates in France, London, Dublin and other 9 airports all over UK, Frankfurt and other 5 German airports at the moment, Toronto, NY, Rome, Brussels and Athens, international airliners such as DELTA, American Airlines, United, Emirates, Qatar, AirFrance and Ryanair, the Ports of Cales in France, Barcelona in Spain and Piraeus in Greece among 28 European ports in total. In corporate security, ICTS is entrusted as well by AMAZON all over Europe, European Space Agency (ESA), American Express and Barclays and many Luxury brands such Louis Vuitton, Channel and YSL.

taking into consideration the quality of daily life without depriving the customer care of people around us.

What do you believe it is about icts europe group that is uinque and what is it that adds value to those who use it? What are the services and major clients of icts? The sector of private security is one of the most fragmented in the world. With the years many companies were founded and keep springing up mostly by individually private owned interests in an effort to gain a share of the market, either we refer to big markets such as US, Canada, China, Germany, France, Italy or smaller ones such as Southeastern Europe countries such as Albania and Cyprus. Worldwide there are only a couple of international security conglomerates in the world among which ICTS EUROPE is world recognized as the leader in Transport Security and Top Quality Standards. Being present in almost all countries of the world, ICTS provides manned security services to over 300 international major airports, airlines, ports and industrial locations and also provides Technology solutions and Consulting to Asia and Africa. What ICTS is singled out, is for bringing May 2018

the best international practice and leveraging its continuously developed know how across all the global markets it operates. When an international corporation manages the aviation security of major leading airports and airlines for over three and half decades stores invaluable experience and expertise and is able to excel its training and managing methodology towards its people.

Touching on your valuable comment about the unique selling point of ICTS, I could mention a few examples; Increase of PAX traffic in Tirana International Airport from 2005 till 2017 is 3700% up - why? Cause more and more International Airlines trusted TIA for a number of reasons and among many other great advantages that the concession of the

Originated back in 1980s, ICTS has been providing till today all kinds of private security services and solutions majorly via its skilled experienced manpower and its innovative in-house developed technology as well. ICTS EUROPE is owned by the 8.000 people French leading Group SOFINORD which specializes in front of desk, welcoming, concierge, HR, Call Center and reception services. ICTS today employs alone 19


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SECURITY

airport brought, but also for its compliant and upper level security standards. No airline decides to land in an airport if first won't conduct a successful security audit at the airport - that means ICTS must be always ready to be audited and demonstrate readiness and full compliance at its operations by not only the airport authorities and regulators but by the airports' clients - the airlines as well. Incidents in our clients have decreased by far after they trusted their security to ICTS while their CEOs became more relaxed when they receive full report by ICTS ops team about the overall situation, actions done and additional constant consultation for further improvement where is needed. Moreover, ICTS has vastly assisted the commercial aspect of its customers. Numerous times ours clients would congratulate us for the pilferage decrease at their assets when our teams controlled transparently their purchase orders or their ticketing process, or in many times helping a port or an airport manage better the passengers queues with our in- house developed methods and patterns, while saving more time for them at the duty free. In other words when someone works with ICTS, he/she has access to a global library of international info and best know how, making him feel confident for his overall security system. 20

How has ICTS Albania obtained its top position in this increasingly tight market? Leveraging the global footprint of ICTS Group, ICTS has developed in Albania since 2004 as the only international security provider in the country which has top standards and absolute respect to local regulations. ICTS in Albania is one of the 28 members of the ICTS Group and applies exactly the same methods and practices as ICTS does in UK, in France in US or in Cyprus.

producers would always cooperate with ICTS for their ad-hoc security needs. Considering that, as mentioned before, this is a massively fragmented market, ICTS manages to excel based on its

The new private airport operated by Tirana International Airport SHPK in 2005 trusted the know- how and international experience of ICTS. In short time we worked together with all relevant factors including Albanian Civil Aviation Authority and police contributing even at the creation of manuals and procedures which today are the fundamentals of the regulatory framework, while we managed to recruit, train and mobilize Human Resources within 6 months for a service that was unknown before. With the years, we have been entrusted by major brands and retained contracts till today such as ex SHERATON Hotel today MAK TIRANA hotel and other resorts as well, the Swiss SGS, Tirana Business Park, French, Israeli other embassies, port and marina facilities all over Albania, while important events May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SECURITY

During the visit of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel in Albania in 2015

international culture, high standards and loyalty to them for years, best know how which channels into the Albanian market, its compliance to the local directives of the Albanian regulators and Ministry of Labor and its benefit policy towards its employees which is always above the average of the market. Client centric mentality of our company and all our people have been taught everyday at the operational and training sites of the company, alertness and customers' requirements embedded constantly to our SOPs, internal quality review and day to day practice, dedicated supervision and management at all operational check points, consistency with our Company Internal Procedures, attention to quality protocols and international organizations directives, frequent top management review meeting,

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA SECURITY

Kosovo is also a target market for us with lots of potentials.

I would like to mention that in 2008 we were requested to send a specialized team of aviation security expert officers from Tirana International Airport to Pristina Airport to securitize high risk charter flights to New York, while recently the UK Embassy requested us to assist them in some special assignments that they have in Pristina with members of our Albanian security team.

What is one of your big accomplishments and why you are proud of it?

A Family photo of ICTS Albania

Customer Satisfaction feedback to evaluate performance and identify areas of improvement and the pinnacle of our HR policy - the 330+ Employees Feedback and Career Path are among the reasons that constitute ICTS a Security company to rely on.

ICTS participates in Associations, events and conferences, is member of most important Chambers of Commerce, assists diplomatic agencies to formulate opinion about the market needs, collaborates with counter parties and state authorities in several Forums and Investing in CCTV Control and monitoring sponsors significant events of the systems all over Albania, Emergency country. Response Team and Expert Technical Management team, hiring 15% more employees every year, investing annually Certainly ICTS is interested on several resources in the International airport of Tirana and listening to what the in having new market and our employees say, the collaborations with the company is always able to improve itself. I share a comment of a Police Chief that I had the honor to meet recently which made me really proud; "we are surprised to see many local security SHPSF companies copying the style of ICTS... ICTS although a foreign international firm, managed to become one of the biggest companies in Albania".

Ports of Albania where we could offer our international know how. It envisages to collaborate with more foreign contractors in the country,

What are the ICTS priorities? Plans to expand regionally?

investors and Albanian

Major priority always remains to advance further day by day the common understanding in our industry embracing mutual values and goals. This requires always to join forces with the industry such as our Clients, bilateral Chambers of Commerce, the regulators, aspiring mutual perception about the market needs and practices required.

Tourism, Transport and

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firms. Among many sectors,

I believe the most important in Albania was to inspire and instrument the establishment of a magnificent outstanding team of managers with well embedded inside them the elements of Professionalism, Teamwork spirit, Responsibility and Commitment, Ambition and Innovation. The fundamentals of success in all aspects of our life either is business, family or other personal ventures is the team. The creation of a strong team in ICTS Albania was also necessary as I manage another ICTS company in Cyprus the same time and my time is shared. ICTS management has developed a core of skills and productivity generators in every field of our corporation - Human Resources, Training & Operations Excellence, FInancial Control, Quality Assurance, Procurements, Information Technology - which gives a boost for growth and problem solving. Apparently these values have to be embraced by the entire pool of our people in every site of Albania where ICTS has operations.

Energy are major arenas of the future advancement of Albania and there is where ICTS can contribute as well.

The management team's responsibility is absolutely this. To pass the values of ICTS to all its people and to make them feel inspired in ICTS and a top employer. The most important emotion in a company is a Proud Team May 2018


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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LUFTHANSA GROUP

Heritage meets the future Lufthansa will reveal its new, modernized brand image to customers and employees at two major events at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs on Wednesday, the 7th of February. The most visible change is the new aircraft livery. In front of more than 3,000 guests in Frankfurt and Munich, Lufthansa will officially present a Boeing 7478 and an Airbus A321 with the new design. In the previous week, individual details created interactive discussions, especially on social media. The response to the new appearance was predominantly positive, although some people missed the traditional yellow tone; nevertheless, it will receive a specific function to serve as a means of orientation and differentiation. The color will be found in the future, on every boarding pass and at every Lufthansa counter at the airport, among other things.

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Lufthansa presents a new brand design. • Dark blue becomes the leading brand color – yellow accentuates • Lufthansa fleet receives new livery after almost 30 years • New design as the most visible sign of Lufthansa's modernization “Lufthansa has changed and is more modern and successful than ever. From now on, this will also be visible to the public through a new design”, says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “The crane has always been with us and clearly stands for the promising performance from Lufthansa. To this day, it still stands as a symbol of highest quality, excellent service, flying expertise, reliability, innovative spirit; and it stands for trust.” Against the backdrop of digitalization and changing customer requirements,

Lufthansa recognized that the company needed to modernize the aircraft appearance in order to remain up to date. The Group invests two billion euros a year in new, fuel efficient aircraft. The premium on board and ground services meet individual customer requirements. Lufthansa was awarded the Platinum Award by the International Air Transport Association IATA for its new digital services and was the only and first airline in Europe to be awarded the 5th star by Skytrax. The introduction of a new business class with the new Boeing 777-9 in two years is an example of how the path to modernization will be consistently pursued in the future.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the crane, every detail of the design was reworked – to meet requirements of the digital age.

The new Lufthansa appearance gives the individual elements a new, modern quality to sharpen their impact. The designers found great importance in taking up the unique design tradition of the Lufthansa brand and leading it into the future. May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LUFTHANSA GROUP

combination of Lufthansa will also be retained – but the use of these primary colors will be redefined. The blue specially developed for Lufthansa is somewhat darker, more elegant and is becoming the leading brand color. It stands for reliability, clarity and value.

Heritage meets the future “The modernization of Lufthansa is only possible thanks to the commitment of our employees, who are the best in the industry. They are the actual face of the brand “, Carsten Spohr continues. The crane, designed exactly 100 years ago by graphic artist Otto Firle, a distinctive icon in the sky, remains the airline's iconic symbol. In the future, it will be slimmer and fit for the digital world. A thinner ring makes the crane look more elegant, bringing it into the foreground and granting it more space. All in all, the trademark will gain lightness and elegance. The familiar blue-yellow color

After 30 years, Lufthansa's aircraft are gradually being given a new livery. The design was developed in a complex process with numerous experts. After intensive preliminary studies, more than 800 designs and own color developments in the laboratory, the new aircraft design was completed. In keeping with the airline's claim to be premium, the blue color of the livery will dominate the sky and the world's airports for the next few decades. In the cabin, guests will encounter the modernized design within the crew's uniform in the form of new – and often yellow – accessories. On-board articles such as tableware, amenity kits, blankets or pillowcases will carry the new design in future. Around 160 million items will be exchanged over the next two years. An important challenge in revising the design was to meet the requirements of today's and tomorrow's digital world. In addition to optimizing the crane for new technical requirements, Lufthansa has developed its own typeface, which is particularly easy to read on mobile devices or Smartwatches.

New brand campaign Openness and curiosity – the launch of the new Lufthansa brand launch marks the start of the new #SayYesToTheWorld brand campaign. It questions familiar ways of thinking and habits. Lufthansa opens up the world to all explorers. With style,

ambition and quality. With empathy for each individual. Reliable and trustworthy.

New design also for the Lufthansa Group The Lufthansa Group's brand image has also been modernized. The new logo no longer bears the crane and is written completely in capital letters. This will take into account the great variety of brands in the Group, offering optical neutrality for all companies. The newly developed Lufthansa Corporate typeface is timeless and independent. The use of capitals is a characteristic of the new Group design. The new Lufthansa blue is the Lufthansa Group's main color. White ensures lightness and an independent appearance. Yellow complements the color palette. Carsten Spohr says: “We are the proud drivers of globalization and are honored to bring this abstract concept to life! All this drives us forward and makes our work so valuable and fulfilling.”

Further information can also be found online at www.explorethenew.com Photo and video material is available at http://ti.lh.com/fPrw (Publication date: 07/02/2018)

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA STOCK EXCHANGE

Anila Fureraj, PhD Capital Market Expert, Former CEO, Tirana Stock Exchange Investment Advisor (licensed by AFSA) Broker in Securities (licensed by AFSA) Board of Management, Aksioner International Brokerage sha Lecturer, European University of Tirana

Anila Fureraj: Stock Exchange, a Pioneer in Impacting Other Aspects of Economy Positively

Capital Market Expert and Former CEO, Tirana Stock Exchange, Anila Fureraj, told FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA that “the Albanian capital market is still in early stages of development, thus putting in place concrete projects is necessary to boost its further development. One of the major reasons for doing so is the expectation that the capital market might efficiently provide more funds to the economy and help Albanian economy prosper.” She underlined that to ensure the growth of the Albanian capital markets, it is necessary to have an external support. “In this regard, I would like to remind that Tirana Stock Exchange signed the Platform for Joint Action with the other Stock Exchange in the SEE countries on March 2012, and on May 2013 signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Borsa Istanbul, to receive know-how and expertise and starting learning from experience through knowledge sharing.”

Please can you tell us more about the efforts to establish the Stock Exchange Albania? How it will impact on the Albanian market? Capital markets facilitate the investment environment through fair, transparent and efficient price discovery. Albania faces considerable challenges in its economic development, one of them being the development of a capital market. Achievements in the financial sector are equally important for the development of the Albanian economy which has a potential to be utilized to create a sound capital market in Albania. The favorable investment environment is vital for attracting large-scale international investors and boosting productivity. Investors in developed markets are increasingly becoming convinced of the merits of investing in emerging markets. 32

As a part of general trends towards liberalization, deregulation, privatization, the diminution of the role of State and enhancement of that of the market, an important feature of the development of the financial sector in many developing economies is the very fast growth of their stock-market. Companies listed in stock exchange are more visible for large investors, and in the other hand, without efficiently capital markets, investors have limited means to diversify their portfolios. Companies, with the additional capital raised through capital market, would be able to enhance their operations, carry out further investments, do more research and hire more people. The development of Albanian securities markets can help banks to better manage their risk exposures, by facilitating hedging activities through the use of derivatives

and by reducing their vulnerability to liquidity risks through bond issuance. The Albanian capital market is still in early stages of development, thus putting in place concrete projects is necessary to boost its further development. One of the major reasons for doing so is the expectation that the capital market might efficiently provide more funds to the economy and help Albanian economy prosper.

The Stock Exchange embodies an important three-part strategy: promote corporate governance; improve fundraising channels for SMEs; and encourage long-term savings. Could you tell us more about each of these three directions? Corporate Governance is a topic of great interest in today’s financial world and another channel through which financial development may influence economic growth is by improving corporate governance. The main direct contribution of stock exchanges to corporate governance has been listing and disclosure standards and monitoring compliance. The value of the securities, the price investors will pay for a corporation’s securities, depends directly on the quality of the corporate governance system. Bond and equity investment requires good corporate governance, and good corporate governance requires the capacity to make credible disclosure of financial results. Effective corporate governance also requires ownership transparency. Stock markets could improve corporate governance by alleviating the principal-agent problem between the owners and managers. The effective corporate governance is a prerequisite to capital market. Corporate governance at its core involves the monitoring of the corporation’s performance and the monitor’s capacity to respond to poor performance; the ability to observe and the ability to act. Transparency goes directly to the capital market’s ability to observe a corporation’s performance. Most information concerning a corporation’s performance is uniquely available from the corporation, and without effective disclosure of financial performance, investors cannot evaluate management’s performance, cannot forecast the corporation’s future cash flow. SMEs are the engine of an economy, the main source of employment in developed May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA STOCK EXCHANGE

and developing countries. Innovative SMEs with high growth potential, many of them in high-technology sectors, need financial support and if SMEs cannot find the financing, brilliant ideas may fall by the wayside and this represents a loss in potential growth for the economy. One of the key roles the capital markets can play is to improve fundraising channels for SMEs. Stock Exchange could create different level of listing requirements for SMEs, with lighten listing requirements regarding to the number of years of operation and minimum free float, revenue, market capitalization, paid up capital and profitability requirements. In this context, SMEs would benefit from the implementation of differentiated financial reporting standards. I would like to underline the importance and the responsibility for review the prospectuses of those companies admission to SME markets, by the specialized market operator.

What’s your long-term vision for the exchange? The world today faces three trends. The first is the trend of the increasing use of information and communication technologies in the field of finance. ICT is shaping the way financial services are provided, it enhances innovation and lowers the costs. The second trend is that of shifting focus from “product oriented strategies” to “customer oriented strategies”. The organizational forms of service providers change with innovation, and the structure of financial service providers becomes more fluid. The third trend is that the importance of distance has diminished. Human capital is a competitive advantage, and not only customers but competitors as well can arise from any part of the globe. The challenges are to encourage innovation and accept global trends.

Stock Exchanges can become pioneer in bringing positive impacts on other aspects of the economy. The development path of Albanian capital markets can be classified as the short, medium and long term. Within this context, in line with analysis and experience in global markets, at first public debt instruments market should be put in place in the short-term. Increasing the use of government securities can contribute for the development of an efficient and liquid secondary market. Albanian businesses need access to capital and liquidity, Albanian citizens need more diverse investment options in addition to local treasury bills and deposits. A new debt securities market within SE shall provide beneficial outcomes for Albanian government, Albanian financial institutions as well as retail investors. By having a competent secondary market where price discovery of the instruments is efficient, Albanian government can decrease its cost of funding through internal borrowing. Financial institutions, mainly banks, can use secondary debt securities market as a tool for liquidity management rather than portfolio management. This will give them more flexibility in their balance sheets in terms of efficiency and profitability. Considering higher returns of government debt securities (compared to bank deposit rates), retail investors can gain more out of their savings. Along with increasing financial literacy in Albania, a secondary market where retail investors have easy access will accelerate household savingsgovernment investment relation. In terms of instruments to be traded in Stock Exchange, starting with government debt securities, the investors will see the real market and will trade the corporate debt securities issued. Stock exchange can become a leader in bringing positive impacts on the other aspects of the economy, especially today is this the present in terms of technical and IT innovation. After creating an efficient bond market, the future challenge of the Albanian Capital Market is participation in SEE-Link. The common trading platform, the network that link Stock Exchange in South East Europe, has the potential to attract a large number of potential investors to an integrated capital market, and comparison with other integrated Stock Exchange, SEE-Link allows Stock

May 2018

Exchanges to remain independent and to develop local market. Development of capital market in Albania through the linkage will secure better visibility, fast and easy access, facilitate cross-border investments, possibility for investors to diversify their portfolios. The cooperation with other stock exchanges in the region will bring GDP growth, the positive impact and influence in industrial production and trade balance. The development of Albanian capital market play a significant and positive impact on prosperity, innovation, building up of intellectual capital and entrepreneurship.

The regional cooperation should contribute to the improvement of the corporate governance practices. The common trading platform for those markets would be market pressure for companies to implement best practices of corporate governance.

To ensure the growth of the Albanian capital markets, it is necessary to have an external support. In this regard, I would like to remind that Tirana Stock Exchange signed the Platform for Joint Action with the other Stock Exchange in the SEE countries on March 2012, and on May 2013 signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Borsa Istanbul, to receive know-how and expertise and starting learning from experience through knowledge sharing 33


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA CHARITY

HUNGARIAN HERITAGE IN ALBANIA The Ka2al Project started in Hungary in 2010 with two pilot projects. In 2011 Jenő Buzánszky, the legendary right back of the Hungarian National Golden Football Team established the Kindergarten-Sport Public Benefit Foundation for the sake of countrywide implementation. The unique feature of the Ka2al Project is not only the pitch, but also the supplies set and the special metholdology created for the kids of kindergarten age. For each sport art, a separated education booklet is created. That's why Ka2al kinderpitch is not just for football, it's multifunctional. But how Ka2al relates to Albania? Thanks to Lorik Cana and to the Lorik Cana 5 Foundation. Albania’s most famous football player of all times, who played for Paris Saint-German, Sunderland, Galatasaray, Lazio, FC Nantes and captained Olimpique Marseille just like the Albanian national team who retired after participating on Albania's first major tournament, the UEFA EURO in 2016. Following his retirement he was seeking a Project with which he can give the most to the children. While establishing a Foundation, he is seeking to extended the Ka2al initiative to Albania and Kosovo. By installing 2 kinderpitches in the Albanian capital, the Ka2al Project became reality in Tirana in 2017. The Project is also supported by to Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana who is seeking to extend this initiative to more kindergartens in Tirana

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRANSPORTATION

THE ECONOMIC COST OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS Alternatively, it can be said that while the number of accidents rose, the number of severe accidents fell.

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

However, it cannot be determined with clarity whether Albania has experienced

February INSTAT data showed an increase of 7.3 % in the number of traffic accidents, compared to the same month a year ago. Based on this figure alone, it seems that Albania’s roads have become more dangerous since last year. However, going deeper, we see that the number of fatalities in the accidents has fallen by 17.2% and the number of injured has fallen by 1.3%. Furthermore, while the number of severe injuries fell, the number of minor injuries increased.

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an improvement or deterioration with respect to traffic accidents. Furthermore, it cannot be said anything about the causes of the change. Most of the countries use economic costs of traffic accidents as a metric for analyzing changes over time. In addition to pain and suffering, traffic accidents represent an enormous economic burden to the society.

Accidents cost the society because the police cars should drive to the accident scene, the injured should be transported to the nearest hospital with emergency vehicles or helicopters, the hospital costs for the injured are substantial, the costs for repairing or replacing damaged vehicles are significant, accident-induced traffic delays cost time and fuel, accidentMay 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRANSPORTATION

induced disability is a major burden to the Social Security system and families involved. Because of a lack of detailed data, it is impossible to accurately estimate the economic cost of traffic accidents in Albania. And perhaps it will take years until such data could be readily available. However a proximate estimate can be calculated by adjusting costs in other countries, in order to make them comparable to Albania’s. For example, a study conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the economic costs of traffic accidents in the U.S.A.* can be used as a starting point. That study estimated that the average economic cost of an accident was around $87 thousand in year 2010. In order to make this figure comparable to Albania’s conditions, some adjustments are required. First of all, these adjustments should account for differences in the ratio of fatalities vs. severe injuries vs. minor injuries vs. uninjured in traffic accidents. Unfortunately, in Albania, this ratio weighs more on the fatality/severe injury side. Second, the adjustments should account for differences in medical cost related to injuries. In the U.S. these costs are around 8 times higher than in Albania. Third, the adjustments should account for differences in the cost of repairing or replacing damaged vehicles. In the U.S. these costs are around 4 times higher than in Albania. Finally, in order to convert the value of goods and services not produced because of injured people disability or traffic delays related to accidents, the adjustments should account for differences in labor productivity.

$2.2 million in February – around $100 thousand less than a year ago. To a lay person it may be difficult to understand how hard should an economist work to arrive at these estimates, but not difficult to understand the meaning of them. In a poor country like Albania, everybody can understand what $2.2 million a month mean… Having said that, it is instructive to explore ways these costs can be reduced. There are two nonexclusive approaches for reducing traffic accident costs. First, it can be worked for lowering the number of accidents and second it can be worked for reducing the severity of injury from accidents.

After making these adjustments, it results that, in average, a traffic accident in February has cost the Albanian society around $12 thousand (the exchange rate of year 2010 was used in calculations).

The first approach requires the improvement of roads and traffic signs, enforcement of traffic laws, and reduction of drunk-driving. The second approach requires the increase of belt and car seat use, as well as refurbishment of old cars with airbags.

A year ago in February, the cost was around $13 thousand. In total, the economic cost of traffic accidents was

Among these interventions, some are very expensive, but others are very cheap. For example, if all vehicle

May 2018

occupants use safety belt/seats, the number of fatalities would be reduced by 45% and the number of severe injuries would be reduced by 28%. Translated in economic terms, these reductions would lower the total economic cost of traffic accidents in Albania by around 35%.

Similarly, if the average driving speed is lowered by 5 Km/hour, the total economic cost of traffic accidents in Albania would be around 25% lower. Furthermore, if the number of drunk-driving episodes were cut in half, the cost would be reduced by an additional 25%. In order to achieve these meaningful saving to society, the Albanian government has to incur only modest costs related to traffic law enforcement and public awareness campaigns. On the other side, improving all the roads and bringing them to European standards would require billions and billions of dollars *

Blincoe, L., Miller, T.R., Zaloshnja, E., & Lawrence, B. (2015). The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010, DOT HS 812 013, Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRADE FORUM

Thomas A. Amaral Neves (L) with the President of Brazil, Michel Tremer

Neves: Albania and Brazil - Trying to Link the Oceans By Rudina HOXHA

Upon the invitation of the President of Albania, Ilir Meta on the occasion of Albania’s Independence Day, the Honorary Consul of Albania in Sao Paulo and Parana -Brazil, Mr. Thomas A. Amaral Neves visited Albania. He used this possibility to further expand the scope of his efforts to stimulate the trade exchanges between the two countries. Introduced to me by Mr. José Pinto, Mr. Neves underlined in an exclusive interview with Follow Business Albania that his objective is not easy to be attained but he continues to spread the word on Albania in every meeting or event he organizes in this function. Neves said that his vision is to initiate AGRO business between Albania and the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, distinguished in agro-business sector. “The goods from THIS REGION can be exported by Amazon River instead of crossing the country. This way, the transportation costs are cheaper. Mato Grosso is one of the states of Brazil known for soya beans, corn, animal products etc. This approach remains a great possibility to make business with Albania and other regional countries. Albania is a great hub to enter the Balkans and beyond,” he stated.

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What made you interested to become the Honorary Consul of Albania in São Paulo and Paranã? My dedication to Albania. I am trying hard to present Albania to the Brazilians and the possibilities the respective countries possess to stimulate trade between one another. This is the most important objective for me.

How have the contacts between the two countries progressed so far? In 2000, I met Mr. Edmond Trako (Ambassador of Albania to BRAZIL who, at that time, was Dean of the Diplomatic Corp in Buenos Aires, for Central and East European Countries. He proposed me to be the Honorary Consul of Albania in Brazil. In 2001 I was nominated. Some 16 years later, I see the two countries trying to find ways to come closer despite the geographical distance. It is not easy because the geographical distance involves very high transport costs. But we still keep trying.

What do Brazilians know about Albania? Albania is not very well-known in Brazil. We are trying to show the best of Albania in Brazil via any event or occasion that I’m present or I presided. There is no need for visa for the Albanians to visit Brazil. This is an important advantage. Brazil is a nice country, not expensive but is far from Albania. This way, we need to make the best to bring the two countries closer in other ways. May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRADE FORUM

Albania knows more about Brazil through soap operas, football or music but not enough of the real culture treasures of the country. Thus, both countries need to move forward in this respect to get to know one another.

Do you have a plan or a strategy to make this happen? Yes, in every meeting I organize, I spread the word about Albania. My vision is to initiate business between Albania and the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, distinguished in agro-business sector. The goods from this city can be exported by Amazon River instead of crossing the country. This way, the transportation costs are cheaper. Mato Grosso is one of the states of Brazil known for soya beans, corn, animal products etc. This approach remains a great possibility to make business with Albania and other regional countries.

Albania is a great hub to enter the Balkans and beyond.

What about the meetings you had in Albania with the governmental leaders? I had meeting with Mr. Arqile Sota, Director of the Department of Consular Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Republic of Albania. I also had meeting with Mr. Guri Selmani, Minister Conselor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I briefed with Ambassador Trako. I also discussed at length with Jose Pinto, who is so much well-informed of Albania and its possibilities for development. As a lover of Albania, Jose Pinto and Mr. Thomas are planning in how to link the oceans. In addition, I met with owners of shoes factories in Tirana and Fier to explore and see the exportation potential of Albania. To know what are the products that can compete in the Brazilian market and vice-versa. Shoes, textile , table Wines and agriculture seem fields of interest for Brazil. The latter can export to Albania tropical fruits, vegetables etc.

How do you find the Albanian market? I think Albania is progressing. I saw so many new constructions and development areas. From my last visit to Albania in 2012, I have seen a lot of progress happening. I see in Brazil a big exportation market for Albania. Consequently I see many possibilities of business between us. I talked with

During his last visit to Albania last November, Mr. Neves met with Mr. Jose Pinto, Founder of JP Hospitality company.

Jose Pinto about the possibilities of exporting wines to Brazil because there the wines are very expensive. During this visit, I tried the Albanian wines and they are wonderful. I consider the possibility of selling Albanian wines in Brazil. Not only Brazil in fact. Brazil has signed commercial agreements with many countries like Paraguay, Argentina and others. So, Brazil is a member of Mercosur and is the biggest country after USA, together Brazil and other countries that are members of Mercosur we are more than 200 million people altogether. So, there is a very big market and the Balkan region can export there and vice versa.

How do you promote Albania in different events? The last event, that of a dinner with the consular corps, was held on Nov. 22, 2017. That dinner was a commemoration on Albania’s National Day. I organize such a prestigious dinner two times per year, in June and in November.

I strongly believe in my humble dedication to Albania. With this in mind and heart, I will keep trying alongside with the Brazilian and Albanian authorities and dear friends and tourism experts like JosĂŠ Pinto to do the best in a near future Mr. Neves' boat has "Albania" written on it

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA BUSINESS UPDATE

Switzerland Presents New Cooperation Strategy for 2018-2021 The document, launched on March 7, unveiled how Swiss government’s official assistance budget for Albania of approximately 90 million Euros will be spend over the next four years. During a launching event at Rogner Hotel, representatives from the Swiss and Albanian governments presented a new strategy to support Albania over the period 2018-2021 in the presence of the Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, who paid an official visit in Albania on March 6, 2018. Prior to the event, the State Secretary Ineichen-Fleisch met with President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Minister of Finance and Economy Arben Ahmetaj. “The cooperation strategy we are presenting today encompasses several projects that directly or indirectly contribute to improvements in the investment climate in Albania”, said Ms. Ineichen--

STATKRAFT’s Tom Kristian Larsen Elected FIAA’s New Chairman On March 9, 2018, the Foreign Investor Association in Albania (FIAA) held the Assembly Meeting of its Members, during which three new Board members were elected representing the main foreign companies in the country such as STATKRAFT, SHELL and ANTEA Cement. The Assembly voted also for the election of the FIAA new Chairman, Mr. Tom Kristian Larsen, who is the Chief Executive Officer of STATKRAFT in Albania, according to FIAA’s press release. ‘FIAA is the most reputable institution representing the business community in Albania, it has a high standing among business, government institutions and foreign missions and is working effortlessly in its mission to improve business climate in the country. Statkraft is a leader

The Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch

Fleisch. She mentioned that the new strategy is ‘a token of the importance of our relationship with Albania’. Swiss Ambassador Christoph Graf stated: “The new strategy stresses results and applies a performance-based approach. Swiss support functions where there is in business conduct, anti-corruption policies and integrity values and has practical, hands-on experience in its implementation. Having the honour of being elected as the President of FIAA for the next mandate, I will work towards spreading the message of integrity and proper business conduct in FIAA, among its members and the broader business community. Albania has a great potential to attract foreign investments, but it has to fight corruption and strengthen its reputation and quality of its institutions to make it happen. I look forward to represent FIAA on this journey’. – stated Tom Kristian Larsen. Foreign Investors Association in Albania with a presence of 18 years, has been and continues to be an important partner in the development and economic integration of the country

Gjiknuri: Vlora Airport Has Stirred the well as serve as an important entry gate Interest of Serious Companies for the constant growing number of the “The Vlora Airport will not serve only to Vlora city but to the entire country. It will be an international airport, and not simply a tourist airport. It aims to reach a big share of the market in Albania as 86 40

tourists who are visiting Albania,” Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Damian Gjiknuri said last January in front of the Parliamentary Committee for Productive Activity, Trade and Environment.

action and response. We are convinced that such approach helps to improve the sustainability of our assistance. Switzerland will support Albania on its path towards European integration by contributing to a functioning democracy, improved public services and to an inclusive, competitive market economy”.

Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Damian Gjiknuri

Referring to the increasing number of the air passengers, Minister Gjiknuri stated that there is a 10.5 % yearly average increase of the passengers’ number moving from Rinas Airport as the only international airport in Abania. The Rinas Airport, he added, has reached the quota of circa 2.7 million passengers and normally it is going towards its limit capacity. Secondly, the number of charters, which have started to use the Rinas Airport, is extraordinary high. “Since 2013, there is a 62 percent raise in the charters’ number using Rinas Airport especially in tourist season and the demand is further growing! So, the scope of tourism is growing,” Gjiknuri said. This airport is the missing part of the connectivity and infrastructure panorama. The Vlora Airport will serve not only to May 2018


tourism but even to the movement of people throughout the year, Gjiknuri underlined. According to him, the feasibility study of this project has been made by one of the most serious international US companies. “The airport will be built in the area of Akërnia, area of Novosela, Vlora Municipality. This area used to have a military airport. It does not suffer serious infrastructure problems, according to Gjiknuri. He said that this project will create at least 1000 job positions in the construction stage but even in various services connected with the airport functions. Minister Gjiknuri expressed his confidence of having to do with a serious project and that the companies which have proposed it are very serious ones with high financial and technical capacities.

Bushati : Albanian Government Offers Fiscal Facilitations for the foreign investors The economic diplomacy was the buzzword of the Francophone Economic forum, which brought more than 50 French companies in Tirana on March 9, 2018. Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, present in this Forum, declared that the French entrepreneurs were informed of the deep structural economic reforms, embraced by the Albanian government and the chances to invest in Albania. "France is present in some sectors in Albania and the trend of investments in important strategic sectors is up," Bushati said. On the other hand, the deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Albana Shkurta underlined that the Albanian government is working to create free economic zones. This will be followed by the application of fiscal facilitations for the foreign investors. The French entrepreneurs expressed their interest in the development of economic exchanges with Albanian enterprises and others from the region. The Forum was greeted by the French Ambassador to Albania, H.E. Christina Vasak, who stated that this event will be followed by others aiming to give a push to the French investments in Albania. May 2018

EBRD strengthens cooperation with Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania The EBRD is expanding its cooperation and strengthening its support to Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania(ISBA) through its unfunded risk sharing facility. The product is designed to allow the EBRD to share the risk on individual projects across all sectors of the Albanian economy by guaranteeing part of ISBA's exposures, according to a press release of EBRD Office in Tirana. The agreement, signed at the EBRD’s Headquarters in London on February 26, on the sidelines of the third Western Balkans Investment Summit, includes an increase in the existing risk sharing facility from €10 million to €50 million and its extension by an additional three years. To date, the EBRD has risk shared on three projects with ISBA. ISBA, a fully-owned subsidiary of Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo Spa, is the fourth largest bank in Albania by total assets. The bank is a long-standing partner of the EBRD, including in the Women in Business programme and the Albanian Agribusiness Support Facility. Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD Managing Director, central and south-eastern Europe, said: “We are happy to strengthen our collaboration with and support for Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania. The expanded risk sharing facility will enable ISBA to step up its lending to the local economy and boost access to finance for local small businesses which are the main engine of sustainable economic growth." Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, added: “Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, part of one of the leading banking groups in Europe, has always seized opportunities to be a leader of the banking industry in terms of cooperation enhancement with important development stakeholders, focusing on innovation and lending in sectors with primary importance to economic development. In recent years we have made continuous efforts in the fields of energy, infrastructure, tourism and agro investments, and in every category of the real economy including small businesses, SMEs and corporates by offering services and products to European standards.” To date, the EBRD has invested over €1 billion in over 80 projects in Albania.

Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati talking at Francophone Economic Forum in Tirana last March

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA BUSINESS UPDATE

Albanian Students’ Hungary on Rise

Number

in

Since 2015, the number of Albanian students studying in Hungary has been increasing. According to the Higher Education Information System of the Educational Authority in Hungary, 19 Albanian students were studying in Hungary in 2015 while two years later, the number of the students raised to 29 due to the education cooperation agreement signed between Albania and Hungary in 2016. On the other hand, Albania has been a member country of the Stipendium Hungaricum Programme since 2017. The Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme was launched in 2013 by the Hungarian Government in support of the Opening to the East and the South policy to reinforce the international relations of the Hungarian scientific elite, to increase the diversity of Hungarian higher education institutions and to promote the competitive Hungarian higher education in the world. The programme is based on bilateral educational cooperation agreements signed between the ministries responsible for education in the sending countries/territories and Hungary or

Ambassador Norman Congratulate the Six Finalists of UK-Albania Tech Hub On March 20, the UK-Albania Tech Hub celebrated the successful completion of the programme’s pilot phase. The program was first launched in August 2017 and invited Albania’s top tech entrepreneurs to join its’ journey to build a sustainable start-up ecosystem in the country.

Hungarian Ambassador to Albania, Lorant Balla during the presentation of Stipendium Hungaricum Programme to Albanian students

between higher education institutions. Currently more than 60 Sending Partners are engaged in the programme in 4 continents. Full study programmes are available for Albanian applicants in the field of Agriculture, Engineering, Economics, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences in bachelor’s and master’s level. PhD studies are available in any field of insterest. Albanian students also have the possibility to apply for partial studies in any field of interest. Despite the fact that that 2017 was the first year when Albanian applicants applied to the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme, 48 Albanian students submitted their applications in our online system, 11

benefit from a sustainable of start-up eco-system and urged Albania’s young technology entrepreneurs to participate in the program. Based on the tried and tested model of the UK Israel Tech Hub, the British Embassy in Tirana and the British Council Albania implemented a three steps programme to support tech startups.

scholarship holders started their education in September 2017. Currently more than 5300 foreign students have an active student status in the framework of the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme. Each year the available study programmes in the Stipendium Hungaricum Programme are expanding and the presence of the foreign students are continuously increasing, that is why we expect that this year the number of the Albanian applicants will raise even more. Albania and Hungary have a historical connection dating back to the alliance of John Hunyadi and Skanderbeg in the 15th century.

This consists of: 1) An eight-week workshop series on market access for international and UK business in the tech sector. 2) An in depth acceleration programme strengthening local digital businesses and equipping them with international skill-sets. 3) A delegation of the programmes’ top entrepreneurs to the UK for an immersive trip to meet investors, partners and clients

The British Ambassador to Albania, Duncan Norman opened the event by congratulating the six finalists and discussed the hubs’ desire to support a successful digital sector in Albania and promote links between our two countries. He said: ‘Albania has a young dynamic and English speaking population that is set to benefit from such initiatives’. Haim Shani, the CEO of UK-Israel Tech Hub, which the UK-Albanian Tech Hub is mirrored on, discussed how cities can 42

May 2018


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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRANSPORT

RENT YOUR OFFICE NOW! Be part of Tirana Business Park community All the Business Parks in the world‌. are outside the city offering the same services as the offices in the city, without the hustle, bustle and pollution.

Those offices in such spaces are mostly accompanied with noise disturb of the neighbors,

hensive cluster in the greatest location, right next to airport, near to the port and in the heart of the Balkan Region.

low standard fit out, lack of the parking and greenery area, city center chaos, traffic, air and acoustic pollution and many more.

The park is located around a shared square functions as a local meeting place with its surrounding shared facilities such as cafes, restaurants, venues, meeting center, different companies, airport hotel, universities and more.

Business Environment in Albania...

Why you haven’t chosen Tirana Business Park, yet?

located in the city center and not only offer apartment buildings which are transformed into offices.

The main purpose of a Business Park is to contribute in the creation of a compre-

We as TBP call it a city within a city

CITY

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TBP

May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TRANSPORT

Why in Tirana Business Park? The home of a real business environment! Reasons to be in a Business Park (TBP) Business Parks were initially seen as an environment for technology based companies but today appeals broader occupier. All of them benefits from a larger floor plates which are much more difficult to find in town. Therefore our question is – Why do you still waste your time being in the center and spending money on your time. For SME’s, business parks are the best location to be in. Inside a park the process of moving from one desk position to a larger space is just a point of your finger. The maintenance is offered 24/7 inside and outside the park, cleaning facilities, reception services, transportation, according to German Standards. Strategic location, easy access to Kosovo, Greece, Montenegro, Durres Port and to the world through Tirana International Airport Mother Theresa which is just 5 minutes distance from our Park. In 2020 the new railway project founded by Berlin Process and EBRD, Tirana – Rinas – Durres will give to the park the vitality and the excellent infrastructure making it as the perfect business place to be in.

The only concern is who will be the first to get the best spots and prices in our park? Rent your office now!

May 2018

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EAL-Electrify Albania is taking the initiative to implement the infrastructure of charging towers network within the country. Now we are expanding

AutoYou offers passenger cars, heavy equipment, communication platforms & devices, RFID management construction site for workers, vehicles and equipments.Aiming to replace combustion engine cars with electric vehicles, particularly in taxi business, we are the

charging station installed in Fier.

cars among other facilities that Saytaxi can deliver to our customers using Saytaxi App and the toll free number 08002407. In this phase of the project which we call it the electric year, we are working to electrify also the light and medium transportation which includes Cargo Truck up to 3.5T, Passenger Van and Bus Public Transportation.

info@autoyou.eu www.autoyou.eu

info@saytaxi.al www.saytaxi.al

Visit Tirana Last Mile Gallery at Tirana Business Park to test drive our electric cars and bright your knowledge on electromobility. We are glad to guide you through a sustainable lifestyle, increasing the value of your invesment and saving your lungs.

Tirana Last Mile project is open for collaborations with other partners or investors.

info@electrify.al www.electrify.al

info@2407.al www.2407.al

THE ELECTRIC YEAR

Drive like it’s 2018!

We are proud to present Tirana Last Mile, an ambitious project developed since 2014 through 3 companies: AutoYou, EAL-Electrify Albania and Saytaxi.


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MAGNIFY MONEY

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

$20 BILLION GONE IN 20 YEARS In a previous article, I estimated that if tax evasion in Albania were at the same level as in Montenegro (not Denmark), revenues for the Albanian Treasury would be 22% higher. On the other hand, a study of the World Bank on public expenditures in developing countries has found that, in average, 11% of the public money spent in these countries is wasted due to incompetency, irresponsibility, or graft.

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May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MAGNIFY MONEY

The $7 billion of budget expenditures that have been wasted can be divided into two major parts. One part is comprised of money that is wasted due to incompetency or irresponsibility of politicians and civil servants. For example, a highway or a tunnel can be built without conducting beforehand a good feasibility study, and as a result, its costs are not well estimated in advance or a noneconomic alternative may be chosen. Or the government may finance a project for the development of fruticulture, but the wrong trees may be subsidized. Plenty of similar examples can be found in the last 20 years in Albania.

In total, it can be said that $20 billion from the public money has gone in 20 years, with an average of $1 billion a year. In order to make the magnitude of these numbers tangible, I analyze in this article the last 20 years in Albania, during which four of the most powerful Albanian politicians of the last two decades, Nano, Meta, Berisha and Rama, have governed. In the last 20 years, Montenegro has been able to collect revenue for its Treasury at a higher rate than Albania (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product). And this has happened while the two neighboring countries have very similar tax codes, economies, geographies and histories. Alternatively, it can be said that Albania has had a higher tax evasion than Montenegro.

Translated into dollars, if Albania had the same level of tax evasion as Montenegro, in the last 20 years the Albanian Treasury would have collected $13 billion more than it has collected. On the other side, even the money that has been collected has not been used properly – part of it has gone to the pockets of corrupted politicians and civil servants, as well as the pockets of their corruptors. Another part has gone to the wrong projects or has been simply wasted due to inefficiencies. If we use the aforementioned average for the developing countries, it can be estimated that, in the last 20 years, $7 billion from the money spent by the Albanian Treasury have been wasted. May 2018

But where have gone these $20 billion? A part of the $13 billion that was not collected by the Treasury has gone to the pockets of big business owners that have not paid taxes at the level they are supposed to do. On the other side, a part has gone to the pocket of corrupted politicians and tax officials that have allowed this tax evasion. Medium and small businesses are also involved in tax evasion by not reporting correctly their payrolls and their sales. And obviously, the taxmen that have allowed the evasion have received their cut. Another part of the aforementioned $13 billion has gone to the businessmen that privatized important state assets like OSSHE, ARMO, etc. or to whom the government has provided preferential tax treatment. On the other side, a part has gone to the pockets of corrupted politicians and civil servants that have enabled these schemes.

However, most of the $7 billion of budget expenditures that have been wasted has gone to the pockets of corrupted politicians and civil servants, as well as to the pockets of their corruptors, mostly during the bidding process for government contracts on infrastructure construction/maintenance, concessions, and supplies. Waste and graft of budget expenditures can be found also in everyday small payments for official travel and phone expenses, disability and unemployment, etc.

What could have been done with $20 billion? With $20 billion could have been built all the highways built in the last 20 years in Albania, while the public debt would had been reduced to zero (currently the Albanian public debt has reached $10 billion).

In addition, all pensioners and state employees could have received double their pay during all those 20 years

$20 BILLION GONE IN 20 YEARS TAX EVASION

$13 BILLION

WASTED PUBLIC EXPENDITURE AND GRAFT

$7 BILLION

TOTAL

$20 BILLION

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MY PATH

Kosovars’ Hospitality Gets Tourists by Surprise What is your favorite hotel? Should it be related to art? No, it doesn’t need to be necessarily related to art. The only thing important to me is the calm and a soft bed, but it would be a welcoming environment for me if it would have art in there.

What makes a good hotel? Delicious & Good food, aesthetics of environment in general, good service.

Where do you want to spend holidays? Combination between beach and the mountains, but it depends from the mood. For example. Usually I’d like to precast the movie roles in the mountains before pre-filming.

What are your favorite destinations? India, Egypt, Paris, Venice, Machu Pichu , Bermuda Islands

Where did you last had your holidays? Last holidays I had in Albania and Montenegro.

Fatlume Bunjaku is an actress from Prishtina, Kosovo.

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May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA MY PATH

Film shooting...

What is never missing in your luggage?

What do you think about tourism in Kosovo?

My mom’s scarf. It represents luck and makes me feel her close to me.

Despite the fact that we are a small country, overcoming the time of war, even though we don’t have a seaside, I think that we have a developed tourism.

What is the country which everyone should visit once in a lifetime?

And in Albania, have you been often? What hotels or kind of experience have you had?

Louvre, Paris.

For example we have The Rugova and Sharr mountains, we have the bifurcation which is the second in the whole world, also Gadima Cave all in natural aspect. But we also have cities like Pristina and Prizren which organize their respective cultural festivals. They bring tourists and people from different countries. For example: PRI FILM FEST in cinematographic aspect, which had a lot of success and it did create the circumstances for different tourists, artists, actors , singers to come here. On the other hand, we have Prizren –an ancient, multi-cultural city of Kosovo which hosts DokuFest festival. Besides the artistic program of the festival, visitors have a lot of possibilities to explore the pure beauty of the city. May 2018

But overall, the only thing that characterizes tourism in Kosovo is the good hospitality of the Kosovars towards the foreigners and the tourists who always get surprised.

Yes, I’ve been very often for two reasons. First I’m a fan of seafood and the second, lately I had to go there because of the development of my work as an actress there. I’ve had different experience from different hotels, starting from the modest ones to the luxuriest ones. In the tourism aspect, Albania has beautiful places but what I think is that Albanian people who lives there should know more about the value of those places and to work more in their development because trurly the world should know about all of these

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Albania Seen with a Lot of Interest in Danish Travel Show The fair was visited by the Albanian Embassy in Denmark, along with Amfiteatri Boutique Hotel from Durres. These two were the only participants from Albania in the show. Danish Travel Show is Scandinavia's largest consumer holiday fair and has been taking place every year since 1998. The fair has become the preferred meeting place for the Danish Travel Trade. This year, the show featured 1,215 exhibitors with everything from camping and golf to city breaks and charter trips, and was visited by 60,665 people – a visit rate of 1,522 compared with 2017. The fair was visited by the Albanian Embassy in Denmark, along with Amfiteatri Boutique Hotel from Durres. These two were the only participants from Albania in the show. Representatives of Amfiteatri Boutique Hotel said that: ‘Interest for Albania is huge, even though we only found two agencies that included Albania in their tours. We spoke with over 50 exhibitors and most of them are aware of Albania, showing enthusiasm and optimism for potential collaborations between us next year.’ One of the speakers and tourism Ambassadors during the opening of the Travel Show this year was Pilou Asbaek, the renowned Danish actor from the TV Series Game of Thrones and Borgen. Even though he introduced himself as Ambassador of Mallorca, given that this year’s official partner was Spain, Pilou kindly accepted to meet with Amfiteatri Boutique Hotel from Durres and was invited to visit Albania. Perhaps next year, he decides to become a tourism Ambassador of Albania

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May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TOURISM

May 2018

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA NORDIC TOURISM – FINLAND

Kosovo Entrepreneur Tries to Attract Finns Lulzim Voca is an entrepreneur from Kosovo. He is living in Finland with his own family for more than 20 years. Together with his daughter, he is making his best efforts to establish Alb-Voca travel agency to bring Nordic travellers to Prishtina and Albania and vice-versa.

What inspired you and your daughter to start Alb-Voca travel agency? When my daughter Albina Voca was graduated from tourism school, it was a dream to start a travel agency. When Norwegian airlines start direct flights from Helsinki to Prishtina, we saw our dream becomes a reality.

How did you manage to agree with the Norwegian airline on this project? We are just starting to make contacts with

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Norwegian airlines management.

What do you wish foreign tourists know about Alb-Voca travel agency? Alb-Voca travel agency is a serious family company. We want to develop tourism in Kosovo and in Albania and also to bring Albanian tourists to Finland and vice versa. We want to become a linking bridge between Albania, Kosovo and Finland May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA TIRANA- LUXEMBOUG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

A Chamber of Commerce for Albania and Luxembourg The Chamber of Commerce AlbaniaLuxembourg, officially established on February 8, 2018 in Pallcenter in Oberpallen in Luxembourg, is expected to give a boost to the links between Albania and Luxembourg. An event was organized on this occasion by the Board of Directors of this Chamber under the auspices of the Ambassador of Albania to Luxembourg, H.E. Ms. Suela Janina, Ambassador of Luxembourg to Albania, H.E. Ms. Nadia Ernzer, Luxembourg’s State Secretary for the Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Mr. Camille Gira and the Director of the Trade Center, Pallcenter, S.A. Ms. Christiane Wickler.

May 2018

Representatives and members of companies, public and civic authorities from both countries took part in the event. The inauguration ceremony was opened by Mr. Artan Vigani, President of Albania-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, who stated that the aim and the vision off this Chamber is to bring the two countries closer through building bridges of cooperation in order to to boost the businesses and the mutual exchanges in human and natural resources and in expertise. In addition, Janina, Ernzer and Gira greeted the establishment of this Chamber and stressed the importance of mutual trade relations between the two countries. They also said that both governments support this initiative which is expected to develop the business ties between Albania and Luxembourg. Ms. Besmira Uruci, Deputy President of this Chamber said that the establishment of this Chamber comes in a moment of a special importance for Albania which is

part of the EU Strategy on a confident enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans countries.

The event host, Ms. Christiane Wickler, who represents the first strategic member of this Chamber, declared that Albania and Luxembourg are two small countries of a big potential each. If the two countries step up their efforts, she added, they will bring benefits for the businesses and the citizens of both countries. This inauguration proceeded with the presentation of a display with Albanian organic products at Pall Center S.A. in Oberpallen, Luxemboug. Fresh products such as saffron, olive oil, honey, various sweets, wine, cognac and others from Albanian producers such as Subashi, Shkalla, Belba, Safran&Co, Berat Olive, Skenderbeu Cognac, Alb Kalustyan and others highlighted the display 57


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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA NORDIC TOURISM – FINLAND

Finns Keen on New Destinations, Albania One of Them By Jose Pinto* Heli Maki-Franti-Uro

In order to give the possibility to the Nordic tourists to visit Albania, Mrs. Heli Maki-Franti-Uro, Managing Director of The Association of Finnish Travel Agents (SMAL / AFTA), a consortium of about 170 travel agencies, tour operators and incoming agencies, proposes the organization of an Albania workshop in Helsinki, where Albanian hoteliers, DMC´s and the national tourism authority are present. She told Follow Business Albania that there are at least four AFTA members, who are doing tailor-made tours to Albania and those are THE-Tours, Kon-Tiki Tours, Lomalinja and YouTravel. Also one tour operator, Apollomatkat, has package holidays to Albania, but they are flying to Corfu and taking their clients to Albania by ferry. Founder of JP Hospitality EU

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May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA NORDIC TOURISM – FINLAND

Please can you share some interesting facts about SMAL? The Association of Finnish Travel Agents (SMAL / AFTA) is a consortium of about 170 travel agencies, tour operators and incoming agencies that drives its members’ interests in relations with public authorities, legislators as well as in the field of domestic and international organizations. Total sales of SMAL / AFTA member companies in 2017 was amounted to nearly 2,0 billion EUR, which is about 95 % of the sector’s total sales in Finland. SMAL / AFTA members employ at home and abroad a total of about 2500 people.

What do you propose to make groups of Nordic tourists visit Albania and vice versa? One good idea is to organise an Albania workshop in Helsinki, where Albanian hoteliers, DMC´s and the national tourism authority are present. An efficient way to present a destination to tour operators is to organize a study trip to Albania

Founded in 1940, the trade association’s international member network now includes more than 100 other travel and tourism companies and entities such as transport companies, accommodation providers, domestic and foreign tourism offices, travel and tourism industry educational institutes, travel consultants, travel media and technology companies. MATKA Nordic Travel Fair, Northern Europe’s largest travel and tourism event and Finnish Travel Gala, travel trades own awards are commissioned by AFTA. AFTA also organises Rail & Road Show -workshop event every year in 3-4 cities around Finland. Rail & Road Show is a B2B event where AFTAs member companies can present their services and products to their current and potential new partners and agents.

Have you noticed any Finnish interest on Albania on the part of the Finnish travel agents or even Finnair? Yes, Finnish tour operators and travel agencies are always looking for new destinations. And of course that is what the customers do as well. There are already some AFTA members, who are doing tailor-made and charter tours to Albania. And many members are interested in seeing how the market develops in Albania. Therefore improvement of the travel infrastructure of a destination is important. View from city of Berat

May 2018

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Address: Pedonale, Tamare , Albania. For reservation, please contact: 0697207077 58

December 2017


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LIVING ART

View from the world recognized architectural site of Apolonia

100 Unique Art Highlights in Albania and in Austria By Rudina HOXHA

Austrian Ambassador to Albania, Johann Sattler reveals to FOLLOW BUSINESS ALBANIA how 2018 will be for the two countries’ art stages thanks to “Let’s Rediscover What Unites Us”, the motto of this cultural year for Albania and Austria.

The cultural year Austria – Albania 2018 was organized with the motto “Let’s Rediscover What Unites Us”. What was the primary incentive for creating this event? Is this the first time? Who are the people behind it? 64

Culture is an important part of the Austrian foreign policy - every year a country is chosen which is particularly relevant for Austria’s foreign relations. The cultural year is the best proof of the fact that Albania is in the focus of Austrian foreign policy. The Cultural Year AustriaAlbania 2018 aims to enhance and strengthen the relations between our two countries through art and culture and hopes to develop concepts, new input and ideas for fruitful collaboration in the future in the field of culture, but not only. The decision of organizing the Cultural Year Austria- Albania in 2018 was taken May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LIVING ART

by both our governments by defining a range of projects for the year. We will have over 100 events - concerts, theatre and dance performances as well as film screenings, exhibitions and media projects – which will take place in both countries.

When we say “Let’s Rediscover What Unites Us” what do you think Albanian and Austrian cultures have in common? You would be surprised by how much we have in common. We have a long history of excellent relations and great cooperation between our two countries. These relations started 260 years ago with the first Austrian consulate in Durrës. An important moment during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was when Johann Georg von Hahn was transferred to the Austrian Consulate in Joanina, from where he covered also the Albanian territory. This small land sparked his interest; he began learning Albanian and absorbed virtually everything on Albanian

May 2018

history, philology and folklore. He is considered the one who created the scientific branch of Albanology, a tradition which is to this day being proudly continued by Austrian Albanologists. Austrian archaeological research in Albania at the beginning of the 20th century was also very important due to the close ties of the Austrian- Hungarian monarchy with the Albanian lands. Austrian archaeologists, for example Camillo Praschniker or Carl Patsch were leading the exploration of Apollonia, one of the most important Albanian archaeological sites and are considered as part of the godfathers of Albanian archeology. And the cooperation continues to this day. I would like to mention here the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) who on behalf of the Austrian government plans, organizes and finances development programs and projects in Albania since 1992. KulturKontakt Austria

is another very important institution for our cooperation. It works on school projects and cultural education activities. In close cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, the Ministry of Education, the Agency for Vocational Training and other Albanian educational institutions, KKA supports projects in the areas of VET, gender equality in schools and the introduction of competence-based learning. A good example is the Austrian school in Shkodra with its focus on technology and IT, which is not only a proof of our excellent cooperation, but also a qualitative step forward in vocational education in Albania. Through all these hundreds of years of cooperation, Austrians left something of their culture here and took something from your culture with them. These are exactly the things we have in common, products of a long tradition of respect and passion for our cultures and values.

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LIVING ART

Can you reveal some of the most interesting moments of the program organized on this occasion? We already had a big highlight, the official opening of the cultural year. We organized the gala concert “Vienna Salutes Tirana” at the Palace of Congress. It was a unique evening with great artists like Inva Mula, Genc Tukiçi, the Austrian concert master Benjamin Ziervogel, the Bariton from Wiener Staatsoper Thomas Tatzl, the Mezzo Soprano Vikena Kamenica, the extraordinary ballet masters Enada Hoxha und Gerd Vaso and the world famous tenor Ramon Vargas, who amazed the audience. At the end of March we will have Johann Strauss´ grandiose operetta “Die Fledermaus – The Bat” on stage in Tirana and Shkodra. This will be a charming musical message staged by the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet, directed by Renato Zanella from the State Opera of Vienna and conducted by László Gyükér. 66

Another highlight of the cultural year will be the Viennese Ball in April. On that evening we will bring to Tirana the best of Vienna - waltz, classical ballet pieces, opera and Austrian culinary delicacies. In summer there will be an Opera film festival at Skanderbeg square, inspired by the traditional film festival at Rathausplatz in Vienna. We will have contemporary art exhibitions including artists and famous curators from both countries, theatre masterpieces, reading clubs of Austrian literature with the participation of some great authors. A high-level conference in May in Tirana on the coexistence

of religions in a dynamically changing Europe is another event of particular relevance. It is difficult for me to point out just a few highlights. As such the cultural year is a great highlight in itself and each activity is unique. Come and check it out for yourself on Facebook/Instagram.

Art and culture have always been seen as a way to deepen the commonalities between countries. How have you seen this trend in the case of our two countries? Yes, art and culture have the ability to connect people. There are so many artists commuting between Austria and May 2018


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA LIVING ART

Albania. Let me just mention a few: the ballet dancer Eno Peçi, the violinist Shkëlzen Doli, the Austrian writer Andrea Grill, the baritone Sokolin Asllani, and many others who genuinely contribute to this mutual enrichment. In the framework of the cultural year we are going to intensify this exchange on different levels, both in the artistic and scientific field, which will increase the impact on the Albanian society also at an institutional level. Cooperation begins by becoming aware of what we have in common, and the best bridge to each other is culture.

Do you think the Albanian youth will benefit from this important cultural momentum? That’s my sincere hope. There is a cliché concerning Austrian culture, relating it

mostly with classical music, operas and operettas. But Austria has excellent and famous artists coming from the contemporary art scene, outstanding visual artists, talented authors, film and theatre directors, fantastic jazz and contemporary musicians. Some of these artists will share their experience with Albanian students in workshops and masterclasses during this year. Others will have the chance to participate in our exchange programs which are very useful for the personal career development. Art has a lot to offer to young people because art&culture are also a window to the future. Through its subtle action it can change people’s point of view leading to new creative ideas and inspirations. This year for example we have planned some workshops by Christian Ubl, an Austrian contemporary dancer and choreographer during the Cloud Festival at the end of May with students of the Art University of Tirana. Furthermore, there will be a contemporary art exhibition linking young and upcoming artists from Austria and Albania with exhibitions both in Tirana and Vienna.

You've served as ambassador to Albania since 2016. Which aspect of Albanian culture, food, customs or art has had the most impression on you? There have been a lot of things which impressed me during my stay here, wonderful occurrences and sights in Tirana and other cities, as well as the serenity and tranquility among shepherds in Permet or the amazing nature on Korab or Jezerca mountains. I was impressed by my pilgrimage on the Tomorr Mountain with Baba Mondi, a unique experience of praying, celebrating and sacrificing sheep – definitely nothing for the fainthearted. Another exciting experience was a visit to the Logu i Bjeshkëve festival, a place and a gathering up in the Kelmend Mountains steeped in ancient tradition. I also need to mention my first visit to the Valbona valley. I admired the simplicity of life there and the proverbial hospitality despite living in difficult circumstances. I was offered a simple plate of local organic food. There was fresh onion and garlic, tomatoes, self-made bread and some cheese.

It was delicious, impossible to top at any of Tirana’s food temples. In other words: Bukë, kripë e zemër. Simplicity is unbeatable. And so is Albanian hospitality

May 2018

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Scripted Reality of Street Economy in Albania By Morena SHETA

About Su Tomesen Words may come out poorly to describe artistically her beautiful soul, open mindedness, unique talent and art perspective, but the first impression about her work is undoubtedly recalled vividly. Su Tomesen is a Dutch visual artist based in Amsterdam and Jogjakarta. She got her MA in Cultural History, University of Utrecht and in Fine Art at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. She has been artist-inresidence in Belgrade, Amman, Johannesburg, Medellín and Tirana. Her past records consisting mostly of video projects, solo and group exhibitions, installations, films series are attribute to her rare eye for talent and vibrant lifestyle. What was meant earlier with “vibrant lifestyle” is that Su loves traveling but not only. During her travels she always encounters situations and makes entrances at her art work. The output is meaningful! That is how she challenges her ideas, questions her position, and indulges herself in the beauty of exploring new places and revealing new realities. Smoothly shifting from inside-out, Su has found the formula of enriching her art work and learning how to give back at the same time.

neurs in public domain, in four cities on four continents; Jogjakarta “Jalan”, Tirana “Rruga”, Medellín “Calle”, Johannesburg “Street”. The film series traces street traders’ micro economy, primarily initiated as means of survival, caught as examples of creative, original, funny, wonderful, miraculous interventions in urban spaces.

“Sometimes I feel like a cross culture ambassador, I show Cuba in Indonesia, Indonesia in Netherlands and Albania in Albania. It’s nice to show Albania in Albania, to get a different angle of street life in your own city”.

In September “Rruga” was premiered in Tirana.

Happy to reveal that Su has left an unremarkable contribution to our art community and given back too much to Albania and its people.

Got intrigued to read more about Su’s meaningful project in Albania?

Street Economy on Lenses of an Artist It’s no doubt that there is a connection between art and economy, many great writings try to demonstrate it from various points of view. Right after the meaningful interview with Su, I enrolled myself in these two different concentrations, art and economics. I could feel how immediate her art’s reaction was and perfectly 72

understood her hidden statements throughout the whole film series about street economy. But I strongly believe that lenses of an artist do not simply capture, but also predict something. Critics say that Grant Wood with “American Gothic” in 1930 pictured the economic slowdown, stock market crush in ’30s, before others would see it economically… Su is making a four episode film series about micro economy of small entrepre-

Interesting enough according to her, the series resembles global similarities and local differences in urban space and in how people tend to solve their problems in doing business in developing countries. As a clear evidence and claim in emerging economies, the middle class becomes bigger and bigger and also trash problems become bigger and bigger. Because middle class is overdoing with consumption. Meanwhile for people who act out of economic scarcity, if government control is not that strong they try to benefit as much to build and rebuild their creative interventions in street. It’s inspiring how Su combined her May 2018


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documentary approach in a way that raised questions. As an artist she provided that angle of perspective that would make everyone question: what they could learn from the micro enterprise. And when people ask her if this is real, clearly the answer is: nothing is staged…IT’S ALL REAL!

Highlights of the Interview about “Rruga” A fictional day in 30 minutes, which perfectly describes the daily survival routine of street sellers of Tirana. To reshape decisions and adjust attitude towards the phenomena of micro economy in the streets of Tirana, here are extracted some of the highlights of the interview with Su.

What has been your first touchpoint with Albania? Albania has been on my list since kid, like one of a kind. One of a kind in history, language. Because of Albania being isolated from the rest, it has always been a bit of mystery and I remember when I was in Corfu in 1994 and could see Albania from the island and feel a connection. Since 2007 I’ve

done lots of traveling, also in Balkan

. When I arrived in Albania I noticed differences between former Yugoslavia and Albania. Albania being way more Italian because of the center of Tirana having the buildings by Italians in 30’s. After that I came back again four times. What caught your attention at “Rruga”? What I like in “Rruga” is that is not only interesting within an art context but also in an architectural context. This perspective is clear in the incorporation of architectural interventions like balconies being transformed as an extra shop room, or above windows putting something to sell. Within that perspective of “Rruga” was also showed at “Polis” University.

It was hard at the beginning, because the Albanian government started controlling these informal economies, wiping the streets and people said they didn’t want to be filmed. But I managed to do that, with the help of one street seller and the domino effect started. And kinda I used my then 2 year old daughter in the process to smoothen the situation. (Laughs).

What would be your claim after the output of “Rruga” documentation? My film is already historical. I filmed in May-June 2016. When I came back in September, the blue kiosk of shoe repair was destroyed and removed. The kiosk disappeared. Things are changing rapidly in this economy. This will change, it will change… and that’s a fact. I do hope that the differences between poor and rich won’t get bigger. Already the contrast is so big. Remember the popcorn seller and a big car Jeep passing him? All that money goes into cars and there is this 86 years old popcorn seller who makes a living with that.

Does “Rruga” reflect pieces of informal economy?

Don’t forget them. Don’t forget these people who have a right of living. Don’t overdo it with consumption. It’s piteous. It’s only facade.

In a conversation I had with the lady of a kiosk with toys, she said that is not informal, she is micro and pays taxes. People in the film confess they are legal not informal, but there are also informal ones.

Su shares promising future plans and I hope only the best with other two film series in Medellín and Johannesburg. Albania will be waiting her back to premier all the four film documentaries http://jalanthemovie.com/

As the flow of the article follows the rhythm of the fictional day in “Rruga”, it leaves us with the opportunity of using this angle of perspective provided by art. Wondering… If taken into its art context, would “Rruga” redefine the way people see street economy?

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ALBANIANS STUDYING ABROAD

A SCOTTISH DREAM By Flavia KOLA

My experience as a student at the University of Edinburgh and living at the Scottish Capital was an inspiring, yet challenging one. However, now I feel independent, empowered and fulfilled. I couldn’t recognise the real dimension of what I had lived in Edinburgh until I returned to Albania and had the time to reflect on what I had learned and felt over the time there.

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Being part of the Chevening scholarships programme helped me to network with other international students from all over the world who introduced me to cultures and traditions I had known only through cinematography and books. I travelled to Edinburgh by late September due to visa issues, when the introduction week had already finished. Nevertheless, the Student Association organized a lot of events which would turn into the perfect venue to meet new

friends who would always be by my side to make the whole adaption process into the British student life very smoothly. The way the classes were organized and the marking system were different from the classes I had attended during my bachelor studies in Albania. Course assessment was based only on essays and therefore I had to gain new organizational and research skills. I believe that this approach towards political theories helped me improve an independent critical thinking towards certain dialogues between theorists May 2018


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about how states behave in the international arena.

On cold days, the coffee shops were always a sweet escape from the loneliness. In Edinburgh, every corner hides a beautiful surprise. On a random walk, I would encounter tiny museums located on old mansions, local shops with amazing souvenirs, street singers and personal libraries where I found several famous manuscripts.

The days as a student were hectic and the months would pass in a heartbeat. The excitement about being part of an institution that has been the forefront of knowledge for centuries, soon made room for the curiosity to explore the city. The University of Edinburgh is located in the heart of the capital, a city that looks like it has escaped time and preserves the past fanatically.

I am confident that studying at the University of Edinburgh and living alone has helped me explore my limits, boosted my self-esteem and ensure myself that I can make it even in the darkest times. I have learned, I have explored, I have made new friends. So, thank you Chevening

This was the first time I was living abroad, in such a big city on my own, but everything was so well organized and the locals were very friendly.

During my studies in Scotland, I travelled very often on my own and I have realized what a tiny place I occupy in this world and that I cannot belong to one country only. Traveling has helped me get rid of any nationalist identity and inspired me to evolve a global citizen mind-set. I have visited islands and the high peak of Arthur’s Seat. I have travelled from the very North of United Kingdom to the south edge in West Sussex to attend an international conference and I never felt the pressure of travelling alone in a foreign country. I loved travelling by train and the system was coordinated in such a way that I never missed a train, I was able to enjoy every trip. May 2018

Flavia Kola is a 22 years old who holds a Bachelor Degree in Political Journalism from the University of Tirana and a Master of Science Degree in International Political Theory from the University of Edinburgh. She is a recipient of the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, class of 2017. Besides her experiences as a journalist, Flavia has worked as an independent expert in research, monitoring and advocacy projects for several international donors and organizations. 75


FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS

Overview of Albania’s Key Indicators Albania records a population of 2.9 million and GDP per capita scores 4,203.4 $. Directly Albania is categorized as a LowerMiddle- Income Country which falls in the rank of 1,320 – 5,999$ GDP per capita, explained earlier in the section “Stages of Development”. From these two main indicators such as GDP and Population, it is captured a metrics of economic growth and development which derives sub indicators such as: GDP per capita in Albania is 4,203.4 $ and it is ranked after Italy 33,705 $, Greece 22,648 $, Croatia 13,807 $, Bulgaria 7,502 $, Serbia 5.659 $ and Macedonia FYR 5,094 $. While observing the trend, GDP per capita in Albania has been experiencing enhancement by 2.1%. Generally the progress is better compared with other countries mentioned above. Labor productivity which goes higher as wages increase on macro understanding. Labor productivity in Albania is 25,423 $. In ranking Albania is positioned after Italy 87,013 $, Greece 72,824 $, Croatia 53,602 $, Bulgaria 40,287 $, Macedonia FYR 37,128 $ and Serbia 26,574 $. While observing the trend, labor productivity has been experiencing growth by 1.3%.

What is happening to Albania’s economic competitiveness? By Morena SHETA

Albania is considered as Lower-Middle Income country based on IDI (inclusive development index) in a category with 31 other countries among 109 reported in the study for “ The Inclusive Growth and Development Report” for 2017. Countries in the lower-middle income category have sufficient income to lift much of the population above subsistence level, but only some countries have managed to do so – in many cases, inequality of wealth and income remains a significant challenge. These countries must work both on enhancing productivity to create conditions for growth, and on ensuring that growth is broad-based and inclusive. In this stage of development is important to understand the reasons why Albania is categorized as lower-middle income country and which sectors are most promising to invest.

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Employment which reflects the progress of economic opportunities and family security goes up with the increase of investment and economic recovering. Employment in Albania is 46.3% of capable workforce and it is ranked after Bulgaria 47.2 % and before Italy 43.1%, Croatia 42.7%, Serbia 40.9%, Macedonia FYR 39.9% and Greece 39.1%. While observing the trend employment in Albania has recede by 1 %. In general all other countries have been not performing well in this indicator. Healthy-life expectancy is perceived as a measure of the quality of life. In Albania life expectancy is 68.8 year and it is ranked after Italy 72.8 years, Greece 71.9 years, Croatia 69.4 years and before Serbia 67.7 years, Macedonia FYR 67.5 years and Bulgaria 66.4 years. While observing the trend healthy- life expectancy has been risen by 1 year. May 2018


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How competitive is Albania?

Figure 1: Global Competitiveness Index

According to World Economic Forum, competitiveness is perceived as the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of an economy, which in turn sets the level of prosperity that the economy can achieve. This concept is built upon Klaus Schwab’s original work. The GCI (Global Competitiveness Index) combines in total 114 indicators that capture concepts that matter for productivity and long-term prosperity. These indicators are grouped into 12 pillars, in turn these pillars are organized into three sub-indexes. Depending on the classification of economies by stage of development, the three sub-indexes are given different weights in the calculation of the overall Index. Pillars: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation. Sub-indexes: basic requirements, efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication factors. Figure 1: Global Competitiveness Index Albania is ranked 75th among 137 economies for national performance based on GCI. From 2012 it has shown progress while facing financial crisis. Based on two criteria mentioned in the above section, Albania is considered as an EfficiencyDriven economy allocated on the second stage among 30 other economies.

infrastructure and investing in innovation, but in the long- run focusing on human capital, stability of macroeconomic environment would bring competitiveness for Albania. Global Competitiveness Forum suggests to leverage the momentum of the current recovery to strengthen the fundamental drivers of competitiveness.

- Increasing capacities for innovation by fostering university-business collaborations. - Renew trust in public and private institutions - Target distortions that affect market efficiency. - Adding securities to maintain free flow of goods, capital and people. - Upgrading ICT infrastructure and increasing ICT.

Suggested actions would be: - Having inflation and government deficit under control to bring macro stability. - Higher quality research and better trained scientist and engineers. - Educated workforce that would improve conversion rate of doing business.

Overall, according to international Albania holds lots of potentials. Better focus, politics and management would be required to uplift this country to reach its full competitiveness

Figure 2: Performance Overview 2017

Based on the latest report, Albania’s competitiveness is determined by performance in: Pillar 4: Health and primary education Pillar 5: Higher education and training Pillar 3: Macroeconomic environment Pillar 6: Goods market efficiency. Figure 2: Performance Overview 2017 Short-term strategy would be to focus on enhancing trust on institutions, improving May 2018

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A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts Richard Branson

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FOLLOWBUSINESSALBANIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS

Albania Has Huge Potential for Export to Ukraine Europe's second largest country, Ukraine is a land of wide, fertile agricultural plains, with large regions of heavy industry in the east. Ukraine is 603,628 square kilometers, stretching from Russia in the east to Poland in the west. Ukraine has two seas – Black Sea and Azov Sea. Within Ukraine is the geographical centre of Europe in the small town of Rakhiv in western Ukraine. Population of Ukraine is about 44 million.

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There have been no active relations between Albania and Ukraine till last 2-3 years. Economic relations come usually after established diplomatic contacts. On November 4, 2016, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin paid an official visit to the Republic of Albania. Issues of bilateral cooperation, including the implementation of priority projects in trade and economic cooperation, were discussed. Also an Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of May 2018


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Albania on mutual abolition of visa requirements was signed, so now there is a free visa regime between both countries. This was really very important step to open the road for business cooperation. In April 2017 Albanian Export Center organized first for last 26 years Albanian – Ukrainian business forum. Ukrainian business delegation included governmental officials, who negotiated with Albanian Ministry of economy for perspectives of Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Albania.

Free trade agreements (FTA) are arrangements in which countries give each other preferential treatment in trade, such as eliminating tariffs and other barriers on goods. FTAs lead to the creation of new markets for businesses, facilitate the production of high-quality goods and enhance economic growth. Albania obviously needs new markets and new export opportunities. International trade is always a driving force behind economic growth of any country. In this regard Ukraine could be considered as good potential market for Albanian producers. It is obvious, that Albania has huge potential for export to Ukraine of fruits, vegetables, olives and olive oil, wine. There are no barriers for export now, so FTA with eliminating tariff barriers will increase competitiveness of Albanian products. There is also big potential for Albanian dairy products – especially goat cheese. But Albania should negotiate under FTA for mutual recognition of veterinary standards in order to open road for export of Albanian dairy products to Ukraine.

Elvira Sevostianenko, General Secretary of Albanian Export Center and President of Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Statistics data show, that Ukraine imported from the world in 2016 vegetables on amount of 43 353 thousand USD, but from Albania – only around 80 thousand USD, olives –amount of 41 752 thousand USD from the world, but almost zero – from Albania. At the same time Albania brings almost 30% of the whole import of fertilizers from Ukraine with customs duty rate of 2%; Ukrainian sugar makes 10% of the whole import with the customs duty rate 10%. Albania also import from Ukraine sunflower oil, animal feed, eggs, wheat flour – and all these products have customs duty around 10%. Free Trade Agreement can give preferences and provide 0% customs duties, which means at the end of a day reduce of the costs for final consumer. Modern world is getting smaller with every day, countries – closer to each other. The main trend in trade is liberalization and free movement of goods. And in case of Albania and Ukraine relations the role of businesses, role of private sector is very important – businesses demand on changes, businesses want to trade openly and without barriers. Albania Export Center as the voice of Albanian exporters is doing big efforts in order to move further this process and open new market for national producers

Prepared by Albanian Export Center

May 2018

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Kristiina Volmari Head of Information and Analysis at Finnish National Agency for Education

“There is a Lot of Unused Potential in Front of Us” I don’t think we have any concrete project with Albania at the moment. But we can create a cooperation through Erasmus +. At the beginning of 2017, the Finnish National Board of Education and Center for International Mobility (CIMO) merged creating the Finnish National Agency for Education. CIMO channeled out the Erasmus + and to my knowledge Albania is part of Erasmus Program. So through the CIMO, perhaps there is some cooperation between Finland and Albania. I think there is a lot of unused potential in front of us. We have to take the possibility to bring things together. Albania will join EU and so, the Albanians need to know more about it and Finland can help in this sector too.

Rudina Hoxha posing with Mrs. Kristiina Volmari

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were doing 10 years ago, but we are still ranked the first or the second in Europe. We cannot really compete with the Asian countries like Korea or Japan where the attitude towards the children and education is completely different from us. The biggest difference between the Asian countries and the Nordic ones including Finland is that we do not encourage competition among the children. To us, the most important thing is to have happy children because we think that happy children learn the best. We are having a curriculum reform and one of the leading things there is to bring back the joy of learning, to make learning more motivating because somehow the boys need to be more motivated than the girls.

There is a very high level of local autonomy in Finland. The schools are very free to do a lot of things, to experiment. The philosophy is that everyone has the right to have their potential maximized.

Finland has a very well educated population. Throughout their lives, the Finns Also I believe that a lot of help can be have considered the education as the benefited from the European Trading only ladder to climb up socially. So, if you Foundation (ETF) which is an European aimed to earn well and gain a position, funded institution in charge of helping in you had to go to school and to university. the education systems in the developing We share the vision that all are equal and countries. We are not doing as well as we enjoy the same opportunities May 2018


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Albania Has the Chance to Walk the EU Path Ville CANTELL - Director, Europe and Neighboring Areas, Department for Communications at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland Finland is ranked very high on the agenda with the respect to press freedom. Also equality in women participation in the society and focus on education are some of the main factors greatly impacting Finland. Emphasis on education and especially on basic education rather than on higher education or universities is a key factor for our country. Despite the social background or where he or she lives, every Finnish enjoys an equal right to education. So when many people wonder why Finland is on top, I think the answer is that there is education for everyone in this country and is not about having elite schools. We are a country of 100 years of independence but even during the time that Finland was part of Russian Empire, there

was a lot of focus on institutions, local institutions like municipalities. Thus the long tradition of running a government and the trust in the state and in the officials, which has always been high in Finland, for example the trust in police is very high here, are other great factors behind today's progress of Finland. On the other hand, Finland has a strong engagement in the whole region, in the Western Balkans and traditionally in the European Union and a strong supporter of its enlargement. The EU has proved to be a success story with its very successful peace project. The enlargement has had the exact effect that it was supposed to have increasing the stability and the prosperity in the region. As we know, in the recent years, the EU has been faced with many challenges and its further enlargement has been an issue. But Finland has seen the perspective of EU enlargement and has kept supporting an EU which is open to enlargement on condition that the EU aspiring countries the Eestern Balkans including Albania meet

the certain criteria. We know that this is not an easy process and challenges do exist within the EU. For Finland, joining the EU in 1995 was a conscious step. To Finns, EU is an important guaranty of all our anchors to the Western integration. Albania, too, has the possibility to walk this path because it is dangerous if the alternative is to have that door closed. Of course this is not the scenario for Albania and Finland is here to support It and boost in every step of its integration process.

Finns Have Already Found Albania an Interesting Travel Destination “Helsinki has a strategic goal to be the most functional city in the world. This means we want our city to be good to live to its citizens and good place to visit for tourists. Our schools have been ranked top of the world and Helsinki welcomes yearly dozens of international groups who want learn of Finnish schooling system. Helsinki has strengthened its international activities with a special focus on digitalization and on combating climate change – two factors that are among the strongest global change factors and that unite all leading cities today. We welcome all the co-operation between the cities to tackle the

challenges we are facing throughout Europe. As a Deputy Mayor of Culture and Leisure I hope that Finland and Albania can have good cultural co-operation and bring best of both countries to each other.

Finnish people have already found Albania an interesting travel destination. What Helsinki and Tirana have in common, is that you can easily combine the city destination to amazing nature which is very nearby the city. I warmly welcome Albanians to visit Helsinki!”

Nasima Razmyar, Deputy Mayor of Culture/Leisure of Helsinki, Photo credit: Pertti Nisonen / Helsinki City

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Whose Responsibility is This? By Vusal GAMBAROV, PHD

When I had my job interview at one of the biggest companies in Azerbaijan, major food producer at the end they I asked from me to criticize them. Of course, all we know that this kind of request are very sensitive, especially if we talk about job interview. Stake is huge – to be hired or not. I was not there for joy ride, so I knew that my answer will define my pathway. To be very diplomatic and complementing, same time, would not be a good idea. But, I went around all these strategies and was straightforward. I needed to speak out the stuff which was always gnowing me inside: “Yes, maybe Azerbaijan market and consumer is not that of elite. Yes, maybe with your current activities you are doing great and ruling the market. But why not to be more aesthetic at commercials, more beautiful at productions, more creative at copywriting? I don`t talk about other stuff. Just Advertising. Why not to offer to the market more than it needs and this way to increase the level? At the end of the day companies large like you have to take the responsibility to take marketing activities in the market to the next level.”

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If to be honest, reactions were surprising. They didn`t just admit. Their body language literally was saying to each other: “You see, the guy is telling the same which we always discuss”. For the sake of fairness, I must say that company changed their approach to marketing communications a lot. Even all other parts of business. No, it was not my reaction inspiring them. Just I hit the bingo with the observation, they were just in the edge of important changes. Luckily, I was also part of this change, added value there. May 2018


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have no threats from the market still is not thinking about total improvement of the ecosystem, why these people who barely survive has to be focused on something eminent? We know the drivers of the market, we know how hard it is to make money, to survive independently with own expertise, we know how harsh big companies are in bargaining… It is not fair to expect from small people to think about high achievement, when you as a big player just see the numbers in your bank account. Sure, the company that I refer, also some others here in Albania, they are changing. But, this also true that market is forcing them to change. Tendencies in the market is pushing all the parties. Even large and established ones. Same time, if to observe their pace of change, there is a need for speeding up, obviously.

What is the solution? Of course, it is a total process with all it`s dimensions for improvement. To be bases on measures, to be human-centric, to rely on science rather than gut feelings, to respect all players of the market… List can be lasted. But, especially for that particular complaint I believe there is a great treatment – To spend money in the ecosystem with no expectation of return. In other words of literature: Corporate Social Responsibility. I don`t like to narrow down this important issue to one tool. But CSR is not just a tool. It is a total approach to business. Of course, when company holds it

When one of my friends quoted the owner of one of the biggest companies in Albania, I immediately recalled my experience. Imagine one of the most popular and powerful companies in Albania and it`s owner complaining of third parties – agencies, consultants etc. The matter of complaint is the attitude of this people.

properly. The nature of CSR is about spending part of money you make with no expectation of return. That`s why CSR activities publicized are irritating. Of course, if the case needs some public awareness, to spend some money on media placement makes sense. One of last interesting cases in Albania was project of World Vision called Tungjatjeta. Issue needs to be communicated to publics, also WV is very professional with the execution. What I liked most was value addition of some businesses in the project. Maybe even many do not know about Vodafone or Balfin Group supporting the project. These are good news for Albanian market. But when we observed the environment it was sad to see that majority of funds of this kind of non-profit organizations come from grants. Where are the businesses? Ongoing study by one of our students shows that mainly companies do not like the idea of supporting NGO`s. Even if they have any kind of CSR activities, they prefer to apply it in-house. The concern is TRUST.

For the moment, he is simply thrilled working to enhance the hotel top and bottom lines along with and creating is next professional adventure, and you know what, it will be in Albania and for the Albanians. Trust between all parties – business to third parties, employee to employer and vice versa, consumer to businesses, and even government in this equation – is scarce and this creates a lot of barriers. In this condition ones who have to take the responsibility, obviously are government and large companies

They are just focused on making money, not brining value to the company. I thought, “just a minute, I know this company and they are also interested just in making money”. What is the point? If company making multi-millions, strongly established in the country, which for sure May 2018

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Solaris: “Tirana has a great chance to be the first capital in the region with e-bus system” By Rudina HOXHA

Adam Zieliński, Business Development Director at Polish company, “Solaris Bus&Coach S.A.” (a multinational bus, coach, trolleybus and tram manufacturer, based in Bolechowo, Poznan in Poland), states that “whoever will supply the first buses to Tirana, will gain in the same time a privilege to be a part of development of your beautiful city. Moreover, it will be an important reference point to the neighbors.” By the end of 2017, Solaris had already sold over 2000 buses with electric powertrains, while next year the envisaged number of electric buses produced reaches 300. That is why the company is continuously developing its portfolio. Zieliński told Follow Business Albania that Solaris is waiting for announcement of public tender procedures regarding Albania. “Our company has been invited to the technical dialogue. We share with Albanian authorities our best knowledge and experience about e-mobility. Now we are looking forward for tendering procedures. For sure many other manufacturers are going to participate in this tender. As Solaris we are ready to face this challenge and be a part of e-mobility development in Albania,” he said.

Please can you make a short presentation of Solaris company? Solaris is a Polish based leading European manufacturer of innovative public transportation vehicles, such as buses, trolleybuses and urban rail vehicles. The family business, founded by Solange and Krzysztof Olszewski, has supplied almost 16,000 vehicles to customers in 32 countries since production started in 1996. Solaris specialises in state-of-the-art city and intercity buses and offers the world’s largest range of diesel-electric and hybrid buses. Trolleybuses and electric buses provide public transport that is emission-free at the point of operation. The Solaris Tramino May 2018

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low-floor tram is built for attractive urban rail services. Since the start of production, almost 16,000 buses have been built at this plant. Initially, the success was achieved on the home market. Export activities of Solaris buses started in year 2000 and have since significantly contributed to the dynamic growth of the company. Solaris buses are operated in 32 countries, such as Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates. The company’s development demonstrates continuity, dynamism and permanent enlargement of the product range by adding innovative vehicles. The current product range centres on the Urbino family of urban and suburban low floor and low entry buses. A range of the Trollino trolleybuses offers zero-emission propulsion. In 2006, Solaris presented Europe’s first hybrid diesel-electric bus based on volume--

production technology. In 2011, Urbino electric – first Polish battery bus was officially presented. Since that time, Solaris became a European leader in e-mobility offering a wide range of battery buses with different types of batteries and charging options.

Why the Polish-built Solaris vehicles are so well known all over the continent? The company made its steps on European market as early as in the year 2000 with the contract to Ostrava, Czech Republic, but what has really lead to the company global success and its popularity worldwide was winning the order for 260 buses to BVG in Berlin (the biggest tender of its kind in Europe) in 2004. Now Solaris vehicles move on European roads in 32 countries – a number of which is dynamically growing. Throughout this time, polish buses demonstrated high quality and an equally high degree of technical performance.

2017 brought about a record contract for 360 InterUrbino buses for Italy’s Cotral, as well as the delivery of 97 buses (77 diesel + 20 electric buses) to Cracow operator MPK and finally almost 1400 units sold. Needless to say, company backlog grows not only thanks to large contracts but also as a result of smaller orders. Solaris always treats each customer with the same care and attention, irrespective of whether that customer orders one or one hundred buses. This is one of our undeniable market advantages which, at the same time, creates huge challenges for us in terms of design and production. Custom-built buses are our specialty.

What are the advantages of the Solaris e-buses? The “direction e-mobility” has been a key area of development for Solaris in the past years. This is evidenced by a growing number of supplied and ordered battery vehicles. The first electric bus by Solaris premiered in 2011. Six years later the new Solaris Urbino 12 electric became the first battery vehicle to win the title of Bus of the Year 2017. By the end of 2017, Solaris had already sold over 2000 buses with electric powertrains, while next year the envisaged number of electric buses produced reaches 300. That is why the company is continuously developing its portfolio.

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What is the cost of one bus?

Basic benefits resulting from Solaris e-buses are lower operating costs (as electric power is cheaper than diesel), high efficiency of electric drive, zero emissions at the point of operations of the vehicle and lower noise level. Out of concern for the health and safety of drivers and passengers alike, Solaris strives to minimize emissions of both noise and vibrations inside and outside its buses. This is particularly successful with electric buses and their characteristic lower noise emissions and vibration levels compared to buses with conventional combustion engines. Solaris as a producer offers different solutions of charging systems (plug-in, pantograph, inductive or fuel cell). Furthermore, each customer receives individual feasibility study from Solaris R&D department with a standard ”route profiles” based on customer’s requirements. Feasibility studies take into account early temperature range in order to estimate energy consumption in standard as well as in extreme conditions. May 2018

What are your expectations about the cooperation with Albania over e-bus system application? What is needed to make this project happen soon in our country too? Solaris as the EU leader of e-mobility in public transport has also the role of popularizer of the innovative solutions and transport means. We do not see any differences between Amsterdam, London, Paris or Tirana from the point of view of the needs for clean and efficient transport. The local authorities and central government clearly expressed their full support for e-transport initiative.

It depends from different factors and the trend, observed recently in European tenders for 12 meter electric buses, is showing the tendency, that the budget is set up on the level minimum 500 thousands € per single bus.

How important is for Albania to be part of this new bus system? As said, Tirana has a great chance to be the first capital in the region with e-bus system. So whoever will supply the first buses, will gain in the same time a privilege to be a part of development of your beautiful city. Moreover, it will be important reference point to the neighbors.

Our company has been invited to the technical dialogue. We share with authorities our best knowledge and experience about e-mobility. Now we are looking forward for tendering procedures.

What are the next steps to be taken?

For sure many other manufacturers are going to participate in this tender. Tirana will be the first capital in the region with e-buses implemented to a daily operation. Winning this tender can give strong references for future co-operation.

This question should be addressed to the public transport authorities of Tirana. We are waiting for announcement of public tender procedures. As Solaris we are ready to face this challenge and be a part of e-mobility development in Albania 89


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