Economy of Albania
5000 Lek banknote
|GDP||$32.259 billion (PPP, 2015), $14.520 billion (Nominal, 2015)|
|GDP rank||96th (PPP, 2013 est.)|
|2.6% (Real, 2015 est.)|
GDP per capita
|$11.700 (PPP, 2015 est.) $5.260 (Nominal, 2015)|
GDP by sector
|agriculture: 18.4%, industry: 16.3%, services: 65.3% (2014 est.)|
|2.0% (CPI, 2012 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|1.280 million (2014)|
Labour force by occupation
|Agriculture: 18.4%, Industry: 16.3%, Services: 65.3% (December 2014 est.)|
|Unemployment||17.3% (2015 est.)|
Average gross salary
|385 € / 430 $, monthly (2015)|
|perfumes and cosmetic products, food and tobacco products; textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower|
|Exports||$2.008 billion (2015)|
|textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco|
Main export partners
| Italy 42.8%
United States 7.6%
Spain 4.8% (2015)
|Imports||$4.498 billion (2015)|
|machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals|
Main import partners
| Italy 33.4%
Germany 5.2% (2015)
|$8.782 billion (December 2014)|
|Revenues||$3.3 billion (Budget 2014)|
|Expenses||$4.50 billion (Budget 2014)|
|Economic aid||recipient: ODA: $366 million (top donors were Italy, EU, Germany) (2003 est.)|
|Standard & Poor's:
BB+ (T&C Assessment)
Outlook: Positive 
|$2.825 billion (December 2015)|
The economy of Albania has undergone a transition from its Communist past into an open-market economy since the early 1990s. The country is rich in natural resources, and the economy is mainly bolstered by agriculture, food processing, lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydro power, tourism, textile industry, and petroleum extraction. As of 2014, exports seem to gain momentum and have increased 300% from 2008, although their contribution to the gross domestic product is still moderate (the export of products per capita as of 2014 is around $1,136.
The collapse of communism in Albania came later and was more chaotic than in other Eastern European countries and was marked by a mass exodus of refugees to Italy and Greece in 1991 and 1992. The country attempted to transition to autarky, but this eventually failed badly. Attempts at reform began in earnest in early 1992 after real GDP fell by more than 50% from its peak in 1989. Albania currently suffers from high organised crime and corruption rates.
The democratically elected government that assumed office in April 1992 launched an ambitious economic reform program to halt economic deterioration and put the country on the path toward a market economy. Key elements included price and exchange system liberalization, fiscal consolidation, monetary restraint, and a firm income policy. These were complemented by a comprehensive package of structural reforms including privatization, enterprise, and financial sector reform, and creation of the legal framework for a market economy and private sector activity. Most agriculture, state housing, and small industry were privatized. This trend continued with the privatization of transport, services, and small and medium-sized enterprises. In 1995, the government began privatizing large state enterprises. After reaching a low point in the early 1990s, the economy slowly expanded again, reaching its 1989 level by the end of the decade.
Agriculture in Albania employs 47.8% of the population and about 24.31% of the land is used for agricultural purposes. Agriculture contributes to 18.9% of the country's GDP.
The main agricultural products in Albania are tobacco, figs, olives, wheat, maize, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes, meat, honey, dairy products, and traditional medicine and aromatic plants.
Oil and gas
Albania has the second largest oil deposits in the Balkans (after Romania) and the largest onshore oil reserves in Europe. Albania's crude output amounted to more than 1.2 million tonnes in 2013, including 1.06 million by Canada's Bankers Petroleum, 87,063 tonnes from Canada's Stream Oil and 37,406 tonnes by Albpetrol on its own. Three foreign firms produced the rest.
A large part of Albania's national income comes from tourism. Tourism - as of 2013 - funds 10% of its gross domestical product, and this is expected to increase. The increase in foreign visitors is dramatic but very low compared to other European nation just like its neighbour Greece, with Greece having an estimated 25 million tourists visiting in 2014. For its economy to grow its tourist numbers need to increase. Albania had only 500,000 visitors in 2005, while in 2012 had an estimated 2.2 million tourists, an increase of 540% in only 7 years. In 2014 the number of tourists increased by 20% for 2014 as well. Albania is rich in archaeological heritage from Illyrian, Greek, Roman and Ottoman times, unspoiled beaches, mountainous topography, delicious traditional Albanian cuisine, Cold War era artifacts, unique traditions. Hospitality, low prices, and the wild and peculiar atmosphere of the countryside makes Albania a growing tourism destination for many tourist mainly from Eastern Europe.
Transport in Albania has undergone significant changes in the past two decades, vastly modernizing the country's infrastructure. Improvements to the road infrastructure, rail, urban transport, and airports have all led to a vast improvement in transportation. These upgrades have played a key role in supporting Albania's economy, which in the past decade has come to rely heavily on the construction industry.
This is a chart of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Albania in national currency (million leks) and in US dollars based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) from estimates by the International Monetary Fund.
|Inflation index (2000=100)|
Albania is a middle income country by Western European standards, with GDP per capita greater than the several countries in the region. According to Eurostat, Albania's GDP per capita (expressed in PPS – Purchasing Power Standards) stood at 35 percent of the EU average in 2008. Unemployment rate of 13.3% is considerably lower than many countries in Balkans, For Example, Serbia has an unemployment rate of 24%.
Results of Albania's efforts were initially encouraging. Led by the agricultural sector, real GDP grew by an estimated 11% in 1993, 8% in 1994, and more than 8% in 1995, with most of this growth in the private sector. Annual inflation dropped from 25% in 1991 to single-digit numbers. The Albanian currency, the lek, stabilized. Albania became less dependent on food aid. The speed and vigour of private entrepreneurial response to Albania's opening and liberalizing was better than expected. Beginning in 1995, however, progress stalled, with negligible GDP growth in 1996 and a 9% contraction in 1997. A weakening of government resolve to maintain stabilization policies in the election year of 1996 contributed to renewal of inflationary pressures, spurred by the budget deficit which exceeded 12%. Inflation approached 20% in 1996 and 50% in 1997. The collapse of financial pyramid schemes in early 1997 – which had attracted deposits from a substantial portion of Albania's population – triggered severe social unrest which led to more than 1,500 deaths, widespread destruction of property, and an 8% drop in GDP. The lek initially lost up to half of its value during the 1997 crisis, before rebounding to its January 1998 level of 143 to the dollar. The new government, installed in July 1997, has taken strong measures to restore public order and to revive economic activity and trade.
Albania is currently undergoing an intensive macroeconomic restructuring regime with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The need for reform is profound, encompassing all sectors of the economy. In 2000, the oldest commercial bank, Banka Kombetare Tregtare/BKT was privatized. In 2004, the largest commercial bank in Albania—then the Savings Bank of Albania—was privatised and sold to Raiffeisen Bank of Austria for US$124 million. . Macroeconomic growth has averaged around 5% over the last five years and inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment.
The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to improve transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
Reforms have been taken especially since 2005. In 2009, Albania was the only country in Europe, together with San Marino and Liechtenstein, to have economic growth; Albanian GDP real growth was 3.7%. Year after year, the tourism sector has gained a growing share in the country's GDP.
Data published as of July 2012 by the National Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, show the economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year - a downturn blamed mainly on the eurozone debt crisis.
The informal sector makes up a portion of the economy, although its share remains unclear due to its secretive nature.
However, reforms are constrained by limited administrative capacity and low income levels, which make the population particularly vulnerable to unemployment, price fluctuation, and other variables that negatively affect income. The economy continues to be bolstered by remittances of some 20% of the labour force that works abroad, mostly in Greece and Italy. These remittances supplement GDP and help offset the large foreign trade deficit. Most agricultural land was privatized in 1992, substantially improving peasant incomes. In 1998, Albania recovered the 8% drop in GDP of 1997 and pushed ahead by 7% in 1999. International aid has helped defray the high costs of receiving and returning refugees from the Kosovo conflict. Large-scale investment from outside is still hampered by poor infrastructure; lack of a fully functional banking system; untested or incompletely developed investment, tax, and contract laws; and an enduring mentality that discourages initiative.
GDP (PPP): $32.259 billion (2015)
GDP per capita (PPP): $11.700 (2015)
country comparison to the world: 95
GDP - real growth rate: 3.5% (2011)
country comparison to the world: 109
Inflation: 3.5% (2010)
country comparison to the world: 114
Unemployment: 13.3% (2010 est)
country comparison to the world: 141
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Exports: $3.1 billion (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
Imports: $5.8 billion (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
Remittances: $600 million (2014 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.704 billion (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Foreign exchange reserves: $2.479 billion (2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
Electricity – production: 5.201 billion kWh (2009)
country comparison to the world: 113
Electricity – production by source:
- fossil fuel: 2.9%
- hydro: 97.1%
- other: 0%
- nuclear: 0% (2007)
- Consumption: 6.593 billion kWh (2009)
country comparison to the world: 102
- Exports: 0 kWh (2009)
- Imports: 1.884 billion kWh (2009 est.)
- production: 24.000 barrels per day (3.8157 m3/d) (2014)
country comparison to the world: 94
- consumption: 36,000 barrels per day (5,700 m3/d) (2009)
country comparison to the world: 107
- exports: 748.9 barrels per day (119.07 m3/d) (2005 est.)
- imports: 24,080 barrels per day (3,828 m3/d) (2007 est.)
- proved reserves: 199,100,000 barrels (31,650,000 m3) (January 1, 2008)
- production: 30 million m³ (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
- consumption: 30 million m³ (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
- exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
- imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
- proved reserves: 849.5 million m³ (January 1, 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
- Lekë per US dollar: 79.546 (2008), 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003), 140.155 (2002), 143.485 (2001), 143.709 (2000), 137.691 (1999)
- Agriculture in Albania
- Economy of Europe
- List of Albanian companies
- List of banks in Albania
- Bank of Albania
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- From 2003, This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).
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- Albania Economy Data from Quandl
- Ministry of Finance of Albania Official Website
- Comprehensive Balkanalysis.com 2012 report on Albania oil sector foreign investment
- Ministry of Economy, Trade, Energy, and Tourism of Albania Official Website
- Comprehensive current and historical economic data
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