The communist regime had rescued the country from the extreme backwardness inherited from its feudal past, carrying out the agrarian reform with the abolition of the large estates and collectivizing the countryside. However, the autarchic policy undertaken by the government at the time followed phases of collaboration first with Yugoslavia, then with the USSR and finally with China. Maoist, had caused a serious technological delay in all sectors. Consequently, with the collapse of the planned economy system in the early nineties and in the face of the need to confront the competition of international markets, a heavy crisis ensued that led to the collapse of production, the arrival of unemployment – non-existent in the communist age – and a general lowering of the standard of living. Within this problematic framework, smuggling and other illegal trafficking managed by organized crime flourished, which had also taken control of the humanitarian aid provided by Western countries, given in an attempt to curb the mass exodus towards their territory, by people without livelihoods. However, the liberalization process of International Monetary Fund. These initiatives have generally been successful in the case of small artisan-run businesses, failing instead in the face of the productive reconversion of industrial plants, obsolete and therefore inadequate to the needs of the markets. Consequently, in the years 1991-92 there was a decline of 43% in industrial production and 22% in agricultural production, with a consequent collapse in exports. Since then, the economic reforms that caused the first useful results and the earnings of the emigrants that partially compensated for the serious deficit were the basis of a five-year recovery that lasted until 1997.
That year, numerous financial companies, which had collected the savings of a new middle class in the process of being formed, have gone bankrupt by volatilizing deposits that amounted to 1.2 billion dollars, equal to 42% of GDP, and compromising the international credibility of the state. Such a collapse occurred due to the excessively fragile foundations of the economy, based mostly on the income from foreign remittances, on international aid, on criminal trafficking and on the activities of the “underground” materialized in an agriculture oriented towards self-consumption and in a small tertiary widespread in urban centers, generally practiced by street vendors. The crisis only returned in 2003, the year in which GDP grew by 6% compared to the previous year. However, the economy is still in precarious conditions, based largely as it is on the earnings of emigrants and on illegal activities such as the exploitation of prostitution, the cultivation and trade in drugs. as well as on smuggling; traffics, these, which fall within the so-called “informal economy”, the extent of which, although difficult to quantify since it could escape the statistics, would have reached 50% of GNP. However, as a country located in Europe according to topschoolsoflaw.com, Albania remains a poor state compared to European parameters, with an income production per capita annual rate of US $ 5,289 (2018). Although the agricultural sector absorbs 38% of the workforce, its contribution to GDP limited to 21% does not even ensure the food sustenance of the population. In fact, after the return of the land of the cooperatives to those who worked it started in 1993, and the slower process of privatization of the state-owned companies, the land ownership was divided into a myriad of very small directly-run companies that were not competitive on the markets and forced to self-consumption production.
In the nineties the situation worsened further by the lack of the traditional Yugoslav market which absorbed part of the Albanian agricultural exports. As a result, a modernization of agricultural plants and structures has proved necessary, in order to ensure a production capable of comparing itself with that of foreign markets. The crops most practiced for domestic consumption are the cereal crops of wheat, rice and maize, while those of the olive, grapevine and citrus fruit are mainly destined for exports. There is also a modest production of industrial plants (sugar beet, tobacco, cotton), although a large part of the proceeds in the primary sector is ensured by the illegal cultivation of marijuana destined for abroad, managed by organized crime. The cattle breeding is practiced in very small production units, in addition to the sheep one for which the mountain pastures are used. Fishing in the Adriatic and lakes ensures over 3500 tons of fish products per year. chromium of which Albania is among the largest producers in the world, nickel, copper, as well as raw materials for energy production such as oil, methane and hard coal. However, these resources are not fully utilized due to economic and financial instability, which especially after the 1997 crisis has kept foreign investors away, the only ones with the resources and technology necessary for an economically competitive exploitation. Even the production of hydroelectric energy, potentially abundant thanks to the numerous lakes and streams, remains limited due to the lack of modern power plants. Industrial production had got off to a good start in the basic textile and food sectors until 1997, benefiting from the capital injection provided by foreign investors.