Albania had 160,679 active enterprises on its business register at the end of 2016, recording an increase of 5.5% compared with 2015, the Institute of Statistics said in a report. According to statistics, the Albanian economy is mainly concentrated in trade, while new registrations account for 21.6% of trade enterprises in 2016, INSTAT said.
Among all the enterprises, most – about 54.7% – are in the capital Tirana and southeast Albania’s Fier and Korca. The highest number of enterprises was registered in Tirana with 53,405, while the smallest number was in Kukes, north of Albania, with 1,780.
Another element noted in the business register for 2016 was that enterprises with 50 or more employers represent 1.1% of total active enterprises while their contribution on employment is estimated at 48.3% in 2016 from 46.2% in 2015.
Foreign and joint enterprises represent 3.5% of active enterprises, of which 47.2% are from Italy and 9.2% from Greece, INSTAT report showed. Meanwhile, women managed or owned 26.8% of active enterprises, down from 31.3% at the end of 2015.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in June it will assist Albanian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to become internationalized and expand trading opportunities. The EBRD is implementing an advisory project for small businesses in Albania under a bank program funded by the EU. The objective of the project is to help Albanian SMEs build capacity and gain know-how in order to grow and become more competitive by establishing links to local and international consultancy firms.
SMEs represent the backbone of the Albanian economy, and the authorities here have undertaken several initiatives to further support their growth and development.
Under the EBRD’s 2016 to 2019 strategy on Albania, special attention is dedicated to programs aimed at enhancing competitiveness of the private sector along major energy projects. To date, the EBRD has invested one billion euros in 77 projects in Albania where infrastructure and energy are the largest sectors of EBRD investments.
China also looking
In April, China and Albania agreed to enhance cooperation in areas of infrastructure, production capacity, tourism and agriculture under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 mechanism featuring China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries cooperation.
The pledge came as Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli paid a visit to the Balkan country. Hailing the geographic advantage of Albania in southeast Europe, Zhang said Albania is a major country along the Belt and Road. “China is willing to conduct more substantial cooperation with Albania taking the country’s features and actual needs into consideration under the Belt and Road Initiative and the 16+1 mechanism,” Zhang said during his meeting with Albanian President Bujar Nishani.
He encouraged the two countries to speed up the negotiation and signing of an inter-governmental MOU on the Belt and Road initiative to better plan and guide bilateral cooperation so as to yield more fruitful results.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trading routes, leading to mutually beneficial economic outcomes for every nation it reaches.
China would like to take an active part in Albanian major infrastructural and energy projects such as roads, hydro-electric power stations and economic development zones, and strengthen cooperation on cultural and people-to-people exchanges, film-making, education and tourism, the Chinese vice premier said.