About Albania

General Facts

  • Total area: 28,748 sq. km, coastline 362 km
  • Coastline bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas
  • System of government: Parliamentary democracy
  • Head of State: President, elected by parliament every five years
  • Currency: Albanian Lek (ALL)
  • Official Language: Albanian
  • International telephone prefix: + 355
  • Population: 3.64M (est. July, 2009)
  • Median age ~ 30 years
  • Life expectancy at birth 78 years
  • Albanian capital: Tirana with 850K – 900K inhabitants

More Albanians live in:

  • Kosova 
  • Macedonia 
  • Montenegro
  • Total Albanians in the region ~ 7 million

Natural resources:

  • Mining: chromium, copper, iron ore, nickel, bauxite
  • Petroleum, natural gas, coal
  • Limestone, salt, timber
  • Water

Government Strategic Goals

“To be the most attractive country for foreign investment in the region”

Package of measures to encourage investments

“Move quickly towards a more open and liberal model”

Moving Toward European Integration

  • Parliamentary Democracy
  • Member NATO – April-2009
  • Albania to become a member of the EU by 2014-15
  • An agreement was signed in 2006 to enter into the EU Association process, and pending ratification from the 25 member states

Credit insurance rating:

  • Political Risk: 3 (1 = best; 7 = worst),
  • In global financial market: B1, Moody’s classified as a country of “stable outlook”, (Dec., 2009)
  • The enactment rule of law is foundation of free society
  • All new laws are in accordance with western standards
  • Next elections in June 2013

Albanian Hospitality and Culture

Albania is an incredibly hospitable culture and has its own particular traditions of courtesy. They are very closely related to the notion of hospitality, a notion similar to that of the sacred guest from Homer and classical literature. Many Albanian traditions of hospitality come from The Kanun, or “The Code”, a 15th-century text written by the powerful Dukagjin clan, although many of the laws written in the code date from earlier times.

As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table. The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.

It is an Albanian tradition to shake hands when meeting one another, and in many cases, they kiss each other on the cheeks, generally four times. One of the most common gesticulation confusions arises from the fact that Albanians nod their heads up and down to mean “no”, and shake their heads left to right to indicate “yes”. Another specific Albanian gesture that may be confusing to foreigners is when the palm is placed in the chest, it expresses thanks. Also note that it is unacceptable to exhibit yourself topless in the seaside, or worse, naked; of course, there are many isolated places where you can do this in private. Albanians are friendly and very open towards foreigners that visit their country. If you are lucky enough to be invited to visit an Albanian’s home, you will be treated as royalty. As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table.

The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.

Currency

The Albanian monetary unit is called “Leke”. The currency floats freely but is quite stable: at the time of writing exchange is about 130 lek to the euro, about 100 leke to the US dollar. Most boards exhibit the current exchange rate on the right side of the screen. On the rate boards in banks and exchange offices (kambim valuator) the initials ALL are sometimes used instead of the word “leke”. For today’s rate of exchange, please use the rate posted by the American Bank of Albania.

Albanian History

The territories of present day Albania have been inhabited as early back as 100.000 years ago. It was at the turn of the third millennium BC that an Indo – European population settled there. As the result of the mixture, a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula (pelages) was created.

Based on this ancient population, the Illyrian people developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. After its fall in the year 30 B.C. Illyrian came under the control of Roman Empire. With the division of the Roman Empire (395 A.D), Illyrian became a part of the Byzantine Empire.

The country has suffered continuous invasions over the last 1000 years and by the end of the 14th century Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The subsequent efforts and insurrections for independence eventually brought about the proclamation of the independence of Albania in 1912. After 1912 till the end of the First World War, the country was attacked by neighboring countries. After eleven years of monarchy the country was occupied by Mussolini forces in 1939, putting the end of monarchy. In 1943 the armies of Hitler occupies the country.

The resistance against foreign invasion was known as the Anti – Fascist National Liberation front. The Communist party took power in November 1944, when the foreign armies were expelled. Shortly thereafter, a totalitarian regime was established under the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For about 50 years, the regime applied the policy of self-isolation, leaving the country in great economic poverty when it finally emerged from isolation in 1991.

The principle of self-reliance applied by the Communist regime prohibited foreign loans, credits and investment. From 1991 until 1997 The Democratic Party led the country. After the unrests of 1997 due to the failure of pyramidal schemes the Socialist Party with its coalition was in power until 2005. After the last elections on 3 July 2005 The Democratic Party with its coalition is turn back in power. Albanian policy intends to integrate the country into European Community and the Alliance of NATO forces.

Economic Indicators

  •  As of 25.10.2016
    Lek per Foreign Currency
    USD 125.20
    EUR 136.33
    GBP 153.17
    CHF 125.98
    JPY 119.85
  • The budget deficit is fund 87% by domestic financing (Treasury Bills, Bonds, Credit, Privatization receipts) and 13% foreign financing
  • Interest rates on BoA’s Instruments ALL, REPO 5.25%
  • Annual yield for government bonds at the latest auctions are:
  • 1 Y bond, 9.24%
  • 2 Y bond, 9.60% (fix coupon)
  • 3 Y bond, 9.90% (fix coupon)
  • Flow of goods in foreign trade
  • Export (FOB): 103 b lek
  • Import (CIF): 431 b lek
  • Trade balance: -328 b lek, coverage indicator 23.9%

More links about Albania indicators

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