Albania Politics and Economy

(Republika and Shqipërisë). State of the Balkan Peninsula (28,748 km²). Capital: Tirana. Administrative division: districts (36). Population: 2,862,427 (2019 estimate). Language: Albanian. Religion: Muslims 84.4%, Orthodox 8.7%, Catholics 6.2%, others 0.7%. Monetary unit: lek (100 qindars). Human Development Index: 0.785 (68th place). Borders: Serbia and Montenegro (N and NE), Macedonia (E), Greece (S, SE), Adriatic Sea (W). Member of: CEFTA, Council of Europe, EBRD, NATO, OCI, UN, OSCE and WTO, OAS observer.


Parliamentary republic, established in 1991 in place of the Socialist People’s Republic of 1946. A country before then among the most impervious to relations with the West, as a country located in Europe according to, Albania too suffered the results of the collapse of European communism. The Communist Party in power, later called socialist, managed to win the first multi-party elections of 1991, but the following year had to yield to the overwhelming success of the Democratic Party. However, in the summer of 1997, after the victory in the political elections, the Socialists returned to power, gaining both the leadership of the executive and the presidency of the Republic. With the new Constitution, approved by popular referendum in 1998 which replaced that of 1991, the legislative activity is carried out by a Unicameral National Assembly elected every four years which has the power to appoint and dismiss the executive. The head of state is elected by the National Assembly every five years. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, chaired by the premier. The judiciary, as in most Western democracies, is independent of the executive. The death penalty was abolished in 1999. The limited territorial extension makes Albania a highly centralized state. The internal division, which has only administrative value, is made up of 36 districts, among which only eight in addition to that of the capital have a population exceeding 100,000 residents. The education system provides for a compulsory and free primary school from 7 to 15 years of age. In the field of education the country made great progress between 1945 – when the illiteracy rate was 80% – and 2005 when it is limited to about 14%. and affects only the age groups over 50 years. Secondary education is divided between vocational training and real high school. There is only one university, in Tirana, founded in 1957.

Albania Politics


However, the crisis of that year was not only of a financial nature, but also caused a drop in production itself, which occurred due to the withdrawal of investments from foreign countries and for the contraction of aid from international credit. At the end of the 1990s, however, production resumed and with it the privatizations of small and medium-sized public companies, 450 of which were sold to both local and foreign buyers. The construction sector, on the other hand, has experienced no crisis, which developed in response to the growing demand for urban housing; but this growth took place in a disorderly way and outside any urban planning set according to criteria of rationality, with a consequent accentuation of urban decay and lack of services. Industry today participates with just over 24.3% in the formation of GDP. The area of ​​greatest production concentration is the small conurbation comprising the two poles of Tirana and its port Durres. Due to the severe structural limitations of primary and secondary schools, today’s Albania is a highly outsourced country. This sector, however, does not act as a driving force for the rest of the economy as generally in the advanced West, but rather is made up of micro-entrepreneurship, most of the time “submerged” and therefore able to escape statistics, especially in sectors of food consumption and transport, as they are neglected by large distribution networks and major transport companies. Tourism, despite the availability of hundreds of kilometers of excellent coasts, lakes, of a slightly contaminated nature as well as an excellent historical, artistic and archaeological heritage, is not yet developed due to a lack of accommodation infrastructures suitable for the needs of international customers. Privatizations, cuts in services and a reduction in public employment have contributed to containing the deficit, giving private entrepreneurship the opportunity to enter sectors that in the 1990s were still the responsibility of the state. Not even banks and financial companies were immune to this easing of the public service sector, eliminated or privatized if they had a market value. Despite these radical transformations, the trade deficit is still massive given the need to import consumer goods, food and raw materials for energy production. Indeed, exports do not offset these imports, which are limited as they are to non-energy commodities such as leather goods and textiles for the garment industry.

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