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The Unknown of the Balkans: Albania and Foreign Investment

By Emmanual Steg

Albania has a two-headed eagle on its flag to symbolize a country that looks both towards the West and the East. However, since the end of the Second World War, Albania has been curled up and unable to open up to a dynamic Europe. During the Cold War it was the most reclusive country in Europe, finding an ally only in the distant People’s Republic of China, and even after the fall of communism, Albania remained an anomaly among its Balkan neighbors who were painfully taking back their place at the heart of Europe. Why would a country just...

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Beyond Remittances: Engaging the Albanian Diaspora in Development

By Sarah Zehner

Since 2001, a growing number of developing countries have established ministries, government departments or other official institutions dedicated to their diasporas. Albania, which has a Diaspora Unit within its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is among this group. This shift worldwide is consistent with the recognition that diasporas can contribute greatly to both economic and social development...

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Energy as a Big Opportunity in Albania

By Juan Domingo Riesco

This year, Albania’s Parliament approved an ambitious new electricity law. With it, the country is trying to complete the unbundling of its electricity generation, transmission and retail; move toward a non-discriminatory competitive market; and integrate more fully with the rest of Europe, both in energy markets and energy priorities. If that sounds complicated and technical, that’s because it is.

Upon the foundation of the law, the Ministry of Energy and Industry is now working to develop specific procedures and regulations...

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European Aspirations in the Balkans

By Ishani Desai

“Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.”

- Robert Schuman, 9 May 1950

In his historic declaration in May 1950, Robert Schuman, the architect of Europe, voiced his determination to merge the economic interests of his region and raise living standards, and to eventually create a more unified Europe. The result—the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which included six Western European countries—...

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Kicking Off the 2015 Summer Internship Program

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...

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2015 Summer Internships with the Economic Growth in Albania Project

The Summer Internship Program of the Economic Growth in Albania Project is now recruiting Master's level students to spend a summer in Albania working in areas that include but are not limited to:

  • Agriculture with the Ministry of Agriculture
  • Diaspora relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Electricity/Energy with the Ministry of Energy and Industry
  • Industrial zones/parks with the Ministry of Economy
  • Textiles with the Ministry of Economy
  • Tourism with the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry...
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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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