News Room

31 January

Growth picks up speed in Kosovo - Interview with Ambassador Bernard Nikaj

 Kosovo, located in the Balkans region of Europe, has experienced tremendous economic growth over the last decade and the government is working to strengthen the market economy through a clear European perspective.

FEDRA met with Ambassador Bernard Nikaj, Kosovo’s Ambassador in Brussels, to discuss about regional development, priority sectors and

EU funding opportunities.

 

Overview of Kosovo:

Kosovo is composed of 38 municipalities and is one of the most decentralized country in the Western Balkans. Most of the functions related to the every-day life of the citizens are under the competence of the municipalities. And thus, a lot of work is being done on the professionalization of the municipal administrations so that the foreign investors can easily interact with the local level. A big step towards a more modern administration system has been made when business registration offices were opened in all the municipalities over the past few years. The outcome of this progress is that it is now possible for companies to register a business in only 1 day.

 

Kosovo’s economic growth and business opportunities :

According to Mr. Nikaj, Kosovo has a number of sectors with competitive advantages, with regards to foreign investors, especially since it offers the lowest tax regime in Europe for businesses with only 10% corporate tax. It is service-oriented in areas such as customs and tax administration and it supports a lot of activities linked to local production. Kosovo has also signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) that covers a wide variety of sectors which enables Kosovo to have access to the European market and create trade and investment opportunities.

One of the biggest growing sectors in Kosovo is the IT service sector, due to its very young and technology-oriented population. There is a growing trend because Kosovo has skills, resources and a very competitive workforce to access opportunities in Europe. In this aspect, visa liberalization is of crucial importance, as it would enable young and talented Kosovars to travel and explore possible business ties with the EU. However, having a young population is both a blessing and a curse, as on the one hand it gives competitive advantages in terms of workforce and on the other hand it is very challenging for the government to generate work places and economic development fast enough.

Tourism is also very important for Kosovo’s economic development considering the increasing number of tourists drawn to the region as a result of several tour operators' work. More and more we see backpackers in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, who come to explore Kosovo and taste one of the best macchiato in the world! Kosovo’s standout for being a very well-connected country, as you can easily visit it and then travel to Albania, Montenegro or Greece.

Last but not least, Mr. Nikaj highlighted how Kosovo’s economic growth can be achieve with a closer cooperation with the European Union.  With the help of the EU, tangible results have been already achieved. For example IPA funding has been a useful financial instrument to support the local level in Kosovo. At the central level, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has used it to support businesses and also the Ministry of European integration is working through IPA to educate citizens about the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. It has been recognised as one of the main tools for driving Kosovo’s reforms towards a European future and to face the challenges of European Integration.

If you wish to invest, visit or just have more information about Kosovo, visit the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in Brussels.

 

 Bernard Nikaj

Read 449 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 14:29
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