Foreign investors consider Albania to be a “difficult place to do business”, citing “corruption, particularly in the judiciary, a lack of transparency in public procurement, and poor enforcement of contracts”, as reasons not to do business here.
This is according to the US Department of State 2020 Investment Climate Statements report.
It goes on to say that reports of corruption in government procurement are commonplace. This coupled with the increasing use of Private-Public Partnerships has reduced opportunities for competition, including by foreign investors. These PPP contracts lack proper cost-benefit analysis and technical expertise, according to the report.
Overall, US investors find corruption and the perpetuation of informal business practices as a barrier. In fact, several US investors have faced commercial disputes in the country, including some that went to international arbitration.
Property rights issues continue to haunt the country. The report notes there are instances where individuals have allegedly manipulated the courts to get illegal land titles. The issue of overlapping titles persists and continues. In terms of compensating citizens for land stolen during communism, the process is “inefficient and inadequate”.
The report also draws on the findings of Transparency International, which saw it designated as one of the two most corrupt countries in the region. It reminds readers that it fell seven places in 2019 in the TI report, and 19 spots in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey.
It also noted challenges such as final versions of laws and regulations not being implemented properly or swiftly, and not addressing comments and concerns.
The report doesn’t hold back on the topic of corruption. It states that corruption is “endemic” and undermines the rule of law while jeopardizing economic development. Progress in tackling the problem has been “slow and unsteady” and the country remains “one of the most corrupt in Europe.”
Despite measures to clean up certain areas of the government and administration, any law enforcement efforts are “jeopardized by a heavily corrupt judicial system.”