The EBRD’s Investment Climate and Governance Initiative (ICGI) is reaching a milestone today with the launch of Albania’s Investment Council, an institution with the goal of enhancing public private dialogue and spurring concrete action to strengthen the business climate in the country.
The launch at a high-profile event in the Albanian capital Tirana is gathering key decision-makers from the business community, as well as government officials and representatives of international financial institutions, to tackle impediments to investment and to foster both domestic and foreign investment in Albania.
The first meeting of the Council will be followed by a press briefing and a special address by the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. The event will be attended by the Chair of the Investment Council and Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Arben Ahmetaj, the Head of the Secretariat of the Investment Council, Diana Leka, EBRD Managing Director for External Relations and Partnerships, Alan Rousso, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, Holger Muent, the Head of the EBRD Tirana Office, Christoph Denk and EBRD Senior Counsellor for Investment Climate and Governance, Franklin Steves amongst others.
The Council is a platform set up by the Albanian authorities with support from the EBRD to intensify the dialogue between the government and the private sector, improve the business climate and promote good governance. The work of the Council is supported by a Secretariat, an independent body of professionals selected and contracted by the EBRD to directly engage with the business community. The initial funding for the Secretariat is provided by Italy.
Ahead of the launch, the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, called the event an important milestone for Albania. The Council will serve as a bridge between the business community and the government and will become a catalyst, helping to create the right business environment for investments. He also expressed confidence that with EBRD’s help Albania will make rapid progress towards economic prosperity.
“This is a landmark moment in our cooperation with the EBRD. Creating the right investment conditions is a critical task and we are confident that we will make further progress through the work of the Investment Council. We are convinced that strengthening the investment climate and enhancing governance will increase Albania’s attractiveness to investors,” added Albania’s Minister of Economic Development, Arben Ahmetaj.
“We are proud to support the launch of the Investment Council. This is an important step forward and we are happy to see the Albanian authorities tackle head-on the challenges that the country faces. Improving the business environment is one of the priorities of the EBRD’s work in Albania and it is an integral part of everything we do,” said Christoph Denk, Head of the EBRD Office in Tirana.
“This is an important moment for Albania. We are proud to be one of the pioneering countries in the Western Balkans to step up efforts to improve the business environment. Thanks to our cooperation with the EBRD Albania is taking another step towards unleashing its full economic potential,” said the Head of the Secretariat of the Investment Council of Albania, Diana Leka.
“This step shows the Albanian authorities’ strong commitment to the reform agenda. We are pleased to see our Investment Climate and Governance Initiative deliver results as economic growth can be re-energised only through the process of change and adoption of market-friendly reforms,” said EBRD Managing Director for External Relations and Partnerships, Alan Rousso.
The independent Investment Council plays an important role in the implementation of objectives set in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama in February 2014.
Albania was the first country to sign up to the ICGI. Since then, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine have joined the Initiative.
Since the start of its operations in Albania, the EBRD has invested almost €1 billion in some 70 projects in various sectors of the economy.