By Ljubica Nedelkoska
For a second year in a row, the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is organizing a 10-week summer internship program as a part of the Economic Growth in Albania project. Today, 13 master’s level students from Harvard University stepped into government and ministry offices in Tirana, Albania to work towards development goals. About half of them will work at the Ministry of Economy and Tourism. The other half will join the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA).
Albania has ample economic issues to address, some of which are structural in nature and others which are driven by the recent developments in the Eurozone. While still struggling to break with its socialist past and build good institutions, the European economic crisis took its toll on Albania. Almost one-third of the Albanian population lives in Greece and Italy today – migration has been a major mechanism through which Albania reduced unemployment, maintained wage growth and alleviated poverty through remittances. The European Union is also Albania’s largest foreign direct investment (FDI) and trading partner, and ultimately, is the community Albania aspires to join in the near future. The long-standing mismanagement of public funds is why the country is now undertaking a major fiscal consolidation. With little room for fiscal maneuvers, the government, supported by CID's project, has turned to a strategy of strengthening the productive capabilities of export-generating industries as well as creating opportunities for FDI investments. Like last year, this year’s internship program will help us advance the implementation of this strategy.
The interns will work on key elements of the growth strategy. They will:
Investigate the needs and means for financing large development projects in Albania, such as tourist destinations or large infrastructure.
Work together with AIDA and help the agency prepare technical and economic development zones for FDI bids.
Engage on the issue of deepening regional integration and others on a strategy for engaging the Albanian Diaspora in the development of the region.
Help the Ministry of Agriculture study the value chains of certain agricultural products such as olive oil in order to learn about their production and market potential as well as hurdles.
- Address issues in the market for electricity and the oil exploration fields.
Most students have a combined background in economics and policy, and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into the program. They come from ten different developed and developing countries spread across four continents.