The End of the Beginning

For such a tranquil airport, Tirana Nene Tereza has a dramatic setting. At 7am on a Saturday, awaiting a flight to Athens and on to London, the mountains that encircle the bright, modern terminal take on misty, mysterious quality in the morning sun. It’s the start of another hot summer day in Albania, and the end of an important first chapter in CID’s engagement with the government.

I am at the end of my second monthly visit to the country, visits that will continue over the next year as the Building State Capability program helps the Albanian government’s ‘Black Belt Teams...

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The "Black Belts" of Government Innovation

The Economic Growth in Albania project is focused on establishing mechanisms and practices within the public sector that will improve the government’s ability to develop and implement effective growth strategies. Many of the key growth sectors in Albania require coordination and implementation within and across several ministries, which can lead to delays and bottlenecks. CID has therefore worked with the government to establish “Black Belt Teams” aimed at facilitating problem identification and finding solutions.

The Black Belt Teams (BBTs), modeled after Toyota, are...

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Taking a closer look at Albanian agriculture

From above, Albania is a picturesque scene of patchwork farms framed by mountain ranges, lakes and turquoise seas. Look a little closer and you may see a few greenhouses filling the narrow plots of land, goats being herded down dirt roads and chickens scattered across barnyards. A little closer and you may see a few larger fish farms and barns. However, across the country Albanian farming is predominantly small scale.


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Opening Albania to the World

Just opposite the Italian coast and between the famed beaches of Croatia and Greece, Albania is marketing itself as a unique and undiscovered destination in the Mediterranean. With beautiful coastlines, snow-capped mountains and stone castles steeped in history, this small country has much to offer, but it has yet to make it onto most people’s bucket list.

After 50 years of communist isolation and subsequent political and economic uncertainty, the country is only recently becoming a destination for international travelers. International tourism is a relatively new industry in...

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The building blocks of higher education reform

Albania is a relatively small country, with a population of 2.9 million, yet the country is home to 59 public and private universities. Higher education enrollment rates rose from 33% of the university-aged population in 2009 to 56% in 2012 (Source: World Bank), a high number even for European standards. CID is working with the Ministry of Education to understand what these numbers mean for the quality of the country’s education system, and what can be done to improve higher education going forward.

Education is...

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The Road to Kosovo

Can the building of a highway facilitate regional integration? In the case of Albania and Kosovo, it might. “We hypothesize that the building of the Albania-Kosova highway may have been crucial in expanding Albania’s trade with Kosovo,” explained Maria Qazi, a Harvard master’s student working on the issue of Albania’s integration with Kosovo. And “it is generally accepted that greater regional integration with Kosovo and other neighboring states will help prepare Albania for eventual EU accession.”

Qazi recently joined HKS Professor Robert Lawrence and Research...

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CID Thanked at World Bank Signing Ceremony

With soaring ceilings, bright red walls and large prints of historic Albanian maps, the “Map Room” of the Prime Minister’s office is an impressive sight. It was here that a small ceremony was held on May 30 for the official signing of a US $220 million loan agreement between the World Bank and the Government of Albania. The CID team working in Albania was invited to attend the ceremony along with the Council of Ministers, World Bank, Bank of Albania and representatives from the private sector.

“Today, by signing this agreement another page of a new chapter opens,” stated...

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If you build it, they will come?

Not necessarily… Albania has had designated industrial zones for several years now, but they have yet to attract investors and many remain empty. The CID project in Albania is working to support an increase in the country’s exports, and developing industrial zones is a key strategy in this effort. CID is working with a team of experts from the government to determine why these zones have not attracted development and what measure can be taken to change this.

He (Charlie) Tian, one of the CID interns working in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Entrepreneurship,...

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CID meets Albania

Just off a busy street in the heart of downtown Tirana close to 20 Harvard students, faculty and staff gathered at the historic home of the former Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha, for a welcome reception with H. E. Prime Minister Edi Rama and several Cabinet Ministers.


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