The Albanian government’s package of measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the weakest in the region, according to a report by SeeNews.
Equating to just 2.8% of the GDP, it is lower than most of the packages provided by the governments of its neighbours.
Despite this, the report said that Albania is the best performer among the 11 countries surveyed in the report, in terms of opportunities to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis. This is due to its strong agricultural sector.
The report, entitled ‘COVID-19 AND SEE: The initial prospects to fight off the crisis’ covered Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The analysis is based on 11 key indicators: containment measures, economic measures, GDP recovery, debt risk exposure, industrial output, credit ratings, sectoral risk, GVA boosters, labour market, tax risk and export risk.
The analysis is a current snapshot of the situation and provides a forecasted based on recovery measures taken thus far
Data shows that some countries in the Balkan region have had some advantages when facing an economic crisis. Some with low public debt levels when the pandemic started, were able to implement comprehensive economic measures to support individuals without putting pressure on sovereign debts. In terms of healthcare, most countries acted swiftly by imposing strict lockdown measures.
At the beginning of the pandemic, infection rates were some of the lowest globally but now, most are noting significant spikes in cases.
Neighbouring Kosovo was a medium performer in terms of containment during the initial phase of the pandemic. Economic measures lagged behind other countries in the religion at just 2.8% of the GDP. SEE said they are expected to recover their GDP in 2021, returning to 2019 levels.
North Macedonia was the lowest performer in the region in terms of initial containment. The infection rate was higher than the global average even before spikes in new cases occurred. The country is at a medium risk level in terms of projected losses from sectors most vulnerable to the pandemic.
In Montenegro, the situation is worse. Analysis shows that it’s on course to be the worst hit by the recession in terms of strength and duration. In addition to this, the fiscal stimulus package was low and the lack of interest rate cuts could hamper the recovery of consumption and investment.