Western Balkan leaders will gather for the EBRD Investment Summit 2020 in London on Monday. Prime ministers Ana Brnabic, Albin Kurti, Dusko Markovic, Edi Rama, Oliver Spasovski and Zoran Tegeltija will attend the summit.
This is the fourth Western Balkan investment Summit held by the EBRD since 2014. It aims to highlight potential investment and business opportunities in the region and to promote regional projects.
“The EBRD sees the Western Balkans as a priority region and our goal is to unlock its potential by supporting a higher rate of sustainable economic growth as well as its regional and its European integration,” EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said ahead of this year’s summit.
Leaders will discuss the overall vision for the region, progress with regional and European integration, as well as opportunities for investment in the Western Balkans. Discussions with policymakers, private sector investors and financiers will follow.
Albania has consistently ranked last in the region in terms of attracting foreign investment, with a “huge gap” between it and other Western Balkan countries. It has also dropped 19 places in “Doing Business 2020”.
The last US State Department report on Albania has found that widespread corruptive practices have created an unwelcoming business environment in Albania for foreign investors. As a result, some investors have faced challenges and/or left the country because of corruption, legal or procedural barriers and government pressure to collaborate with or subcontract certain companies. Albania is also ranking last in the region in the Transparency International’s report is the result of these practices.
Albania is also among the five worst countries in Europe for business according to the last European Chamber report on “Best European Countries for Business 2019”.
The EBRD is one of the largest institutional investors in the region, with close to €13 billion invested to date. It pledged €80 million last week for the Albanian earthquake recovery during a donors’ conference that raised a total of €1.15 billion in donations, grants and loans.