Our Free Market

Albania lies on the Balkan coast of the Adriatic an Ionian Seas opposite southern Italy. It shares land borders to the north with the Republic of Montenegro, to the east with Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, and to the south with the EU-member state Greece. Albania has strong affinities with Italy and Greece and most Albanians speak either or both of these languages with fluency.

The country is rich in natural resources including petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromium, copper, iron ore, nickel, limestone, salt, timber, and hydro-electric power.

Albania’s macroeconomic performance has been impressive since 1998. During the last 8 years the economy has enjoyed virtually uninterrupted rapid growth in a low inflation environment. In recent years the growth rate has averaged close to 6%: the provisional figure for 2005 is 5.5%. Economic growth over this period took place in a climate of growing macroeconomic equilibrium, evidenced by stable monetary indicators, low and stable inflation rates and the reduction of the budget deficit and public debt.

The inflation rate during the past three years has been anchored within the 2% – 4% target range. During this period, the rate of Albania’s economic growth has been higher than that of other SE European countries.

Local spending power is growing: per capita GDP rose from US$ 1,086 in 2000 to US$ 2,550 in 2005. The Albanian currency, the Lek (ALL) has been strengthening in value since 2003 against both the US Dollar and the Euro.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy estimates that foreign direct investment in manufacturing will rise from US$ 30 million in 2004 to US$ 130 million in 2006.

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