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Albania is situated in South Eastern Europe, bordered by Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Greece, with a coastline that lies on the shores of the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. The capital city is Triana.

According to the CIA Factbook, Albania covers a total area of 24,748 square kilometres and is the 144th largest country in the world. Estimates in 2010 put the population at 3,639,453 with 95% Albanian, 3% Greek and the remainder a blend of Vlach, Roma, Serb, Macedonian and Bulgarian. The official language of Albania is Albanian, although some Greek, Vlach, Romani and Slavic dialects are also spoken.

The country has a population density of 111/km2 ranking it 63rd versus other countries across the globe.

Adopted by referendum in 1998, Albania’s constitution put in place a democracy in the form of a parliamentary republic that operates separate judicial, executive and legislative branches. Albania has twelve administrative divisions, known as counties or prefectures. Appointed by the Council of Ministers, each county comprises of 36 districts each with its own local administration and governor, who is elected by the District Council. The current chief of state is President Bamir Topi who was elected by the National Assembly in July 2007.

The currency of Albania is the Lek (ALL).

Albania participates in a number of international organisations including The United Nations, WTO, WHO and IMF.


The CIA estimated Albania’s GDP in 2009 at $12.19 billion with a GDP (PPP) of $23.12 billion, ranking it 116th in comparison to the rest of the world.

Albania’s economy has shown signs of real change and growth over the past two decades, making a slow but steady transition from it’s communist past to an open and free market. The national GDP is primarily driven by the services sector (59%), although Industry and Agriculture both play an equally strong role, each providing a 20% share.

The country’s main industries are food processing, textiles and clothing, lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining and hydropower. The nation also contains a rich supply of natural resources such as oil, gas and base metals.

Agriculture continues to play a key role in Albania’s economy with the majority of the population living in rural areas where farming is the main activity. Animal production accounts for the largest share of agricultural production alongside fruits, vegetables, potatoes, dairy products and oil seeds.

Some of Albania’s main commodities include textiles and footwear, asphalt, metals, crude oil, vegetables and fruits and are exported primarily to Italy 59%, Greece 10% and China 6%.

Albania also imports a number of products, primarily machinery and equipment, foodstuffs and chemicals with 30% coming from Italy, 14% Greece, 7% Turkey, 7% Germany and China 5%.


Albania’s infrastructure has undergone a number of positive reforms over recent years, as the government prioritises focus and investment into modernising its transportation, energy and water systems.

The country is primarily connected by a large road network which runs over 18,000 kilometres, but of which only 7,020 kilometres are paved. Heavy investment has been put into a regeneration programme that will improve existing roads and build three new transport corridors to neighbouring countries. The most expensive project to date is the construction of a four lane highway that will link Albania’s Adriatic coast to Kosovo. When complete the project should significantly reduce transport costs, accidents and improve traffic flow.

Albania’s railways stretch for some 896 kilometres and link a number of cities such as Durres, Tirana, Fier and Vlora. Since the considerable increase of private vehicle ownership and buses the railway is no longer the primary mode of transport for local people. In 2009 freight transport was estimated at 25-30,000 tonnes per month.

Albania has five airports across the country, four of which have paved runways. Triana International Airport Nënë Tereza is the largest and only international airport in the region. Located North West of Triana the airport operates flights to over 29 destinations including London, Istanbul, Rome and Munich. The airport has recently undergone expansion which has resulted in increased passenger traffic. In 2009 it was estimated that the airport moved over 1.3 million people and served 44 flight arrivals and departures per day.


The CIA Factbook in 2009 estimated Albania’s labour force at 1.103 million. 53% of the labour force is employed in the agricultural sector that produces large quantities of vegetables, potatoes, diary products, honey, olive oil, livestock and meats. Formally socialized in the form of state run farms, the sector has transformed over the past two decades and is now predominantly privately owned. The service sector has experienced dynamic growth and now employs around 27% of workers in industries such as finance, communications and retail. The remaining 15% of the labour force work in the industry sector producing oil, chemicals, base metals, textiles, clothing and hydropower.

The labour force is predominantly Albanian with only a small proportion of Greek, Vlach, Roma, Serb, Macedonian and Bulgarian people. Most Albanians are fluent in at least two languages, learning Italian or Greek from a young age.

Albania enjoys a high literacy rate of 99.4% as a result of an established education system. Most of the country’s schools are public, but more privately owned facilities have recently opened. It is compulsory for all children aged 6 to 14 years to attend school, after which they can decide to continue into further education (high school). As a result the labour force has an overall younger skew than neighbouring countries. The Higher education system in Albania consists of eight universities, two academies and six non public higher schools.

Official government statistics in 2009 put the unemployment rate at 12.8%

Business Costs

The Albanian tax system has been the subject of much change over recent years. Although there are frequent revisions to the tax laws, reforms have been very positive and taxation is low.

In 2008 Albania’s income taxation, changed from a progressive system to a flat rate of 10%. Corporate taxation in 2008 was also reduced from 20%, and now is also set at a flat rate of 10%.

The standard rate of VAT is set at 20%, although sectors such as health and information technology have reduced rates. Exported goods and related services such as loading and tracking are exempt from VAT.

Labour costs in Albania are comparatively low versus other competitive countries of similar levels. Monthly minimum wage in 2009 was fixed at LEK 18,000, whilst the average monthly salary was estimated by Deloitte to be around EUR 311.
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