Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and the Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Erik Berglof, will discuss the outlook for the Albanian economy at a conference on 4 April in Tirana to launch the EBRD’s latest annual economic report.
A presentation of the EBRD’s Transition Report 2013: Stuck in Transition? by Dr. Berglof will be followed by a discussion on the economic potential of Albania and further opportunities for cooperation between Albania and the EBRD.
The 2013 Transition Report says structural reforms in most transition countries have stalled since the mid-2000s, reducing their long-term growth potential. It asks what can be done rekindle the reform process and to put countries back on a path to growth and convergence with the more advanced economies of western Europe.
The report examines the factors that support long-term growth potential: development of political and democratic institutions; economic reform and the relationship between political and economic institutions; accumulation of human capital; and the equitable distribution of economic opportunities across society.
It investigates the drivers of democracy in the transition region, and asks if anything can be done to improve economic institutions even in less democratic political systems. It also explores why some countries managed to seize opportunities to improve both political and economic institutions but not others. It undertakes a comprehensive assessment of the quality of human capital in the transition region.
Finally, it contains an innovative assessment of the inclusiveness of economic institutions – the extent to which societies provide economic opportunities to its members regardless of circumstances at birth – and compare them with Western European benchmarks.
Albania has made a steady progress with structural reforms over the past two decades, despite having to overcome serious institutional weaknesses.
Economic growth has remained steady: the EBRD’s latest forecasts see expansion of 1.7 per cent in 2014 after 1.5 per cent last year.
However, more needs to be done to further develop a competitive private sector and stronger financial sector.
The EBRD underscored its support for the reform process in Albania with the signing earlier this year of a Memorandum of Understanding aimed improving the climate in the country for both foreign and domestic investors.
The agreement will help to strengthen Albania’s legal framework, tackle corruption and raise standards of transparency in the corporate and banking sectors.
Since the beginning of its operations in Albania the EBRD has invested over €700 million in broad sectors of the country’s economy, mobilising additional investments of over €1.65 billion.