Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Albania Seeks More Big Name Investors

Medium-sized Italian and Turkish companies are showing most interest in investing in Albania - with tourism and energy seen as the most attractive sectors.

Fatjona Mejdini

Foreign investors are showing increased interest in Albania - but major corporations are still absent, the head of the Albanian Investment Development Agency, AIDA, Genti Beqiri, told BIRN.
Middle-ranking companies from Italy are expressing the highest degree of interest.
"Italian companies are showing most interest in investing in Albania, mainly middle-sized companies or consortiums interested in manufacturing, services, and tourism," Beqiri said.
"We are working with them but still we don't have many requests from big international companies," he complained.
AIDA was formed in 2010 as an investment promotion agency to work as an intermediary between the private and public sectors and investors.
"AIDA is not just a marketing tool but an interface with the bureaucracy, which has the policy tools to influence the business environment," Beqiri explained.
The agency offers foreign and domestic investors comprehensive support for their investment projects and aftercare services after the successful completion of projects.
Tourism is one of the most attractive fields. "We are working with an Italian consortium to bring in an investment of more than 30 million euros on the Adriatic in the north," he explained.
"It will comprise resorts, hotels, and even a tourism school that will form a kind of mini-town," he declared.
Beqiri said that several Arab countries had shown interest in investing in beach resorts in the south.
"We are discussing the creation of a yachting marina in the south and, of course, an airport at Saranda will complement tourism in the south," the director of AIDA said.
Energy is another field luring investors and Beqiri says Turkish businesses have been prompt in showing interest in this area.
"We are working with two Turkish companies eager to invest in solar and wind energy who want to invest 60 million euro together in this field," he continued.
The agency director said Italian investors are also keen to invest in the maritime corridor that will connect Montenegro, Greece and Albania, the so-called Blue Highway, which is currently undergoing a feasibility study financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD.
In January 2016, the new law on strategic investment entered into force, committing Albania to improve facilities in key development sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and energy.
Albania had a total inflow of 869 million euro in 2014 from foreign direct investment, FDI. The extraction industry made up 58 per cent of the sum while transport and telecommunications came second with 13 per cent and energy third with 9 per cent.
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