“To be the most attractive country for foreign investment in the region”
“Move quickly towards a more open and liberal model”
Albania is an incredibly hospitable culture and has its own particular traditions of courtesy. They are very closely related to the notion of hospitality, a notion similar to that of the sacred guest from Homer and classical literature. Many Albanian traditions of hospitality come from The Kanun, or “The Code”, a 15th-century text written by the powerful Dukagjin clan, although many of the laws written in the code date from earlier times.
As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table. The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.
It is an Albanian tradition to shake hands when meeting one another, and in many cases, they kiss each other on the cheeks, generally four times. One of the most common gesticulation confusions arises from the fact that Albanians nod their heads up and down to mean “no”, and shake their heads left to right to indicate “yes”. Another specific Albanian gesture that may be confusing to foreigners is when the palm is placed in the chest, it expresses thanks. Also note that it is unacceptable to exhibit yourself topless in the seaside, or worse, naked; of course, there are many isolated places where you can do this in private. Albanians are friendly and very open towards foreigners that visit their country. If you are lucky enough to be invited to visit an Albanian’s home, you will be treated as royalty. As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table.
The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.
The Albanian monetary unit is called “Leke”. The currency floats freely but is quite stable: at the time of writing exchange is about 130 lek to the euro, about 100 leke to the US dollar. Most boards exhibit the current exchange rate on the right side of the screen. On the rate boards in banks and exchange offices (kambim valuator) the initials ALL are sometimes used instead of the word “leke”. For today’s rate of exchange, please use the rate posted by the American Bank of Albania.
The territories of present day Albania have been inhabited as early back as 100.000 years ago. It was at the turn of the third millennium BC that an Indo – European population settled there. As the result of the mixture, a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula (pelages) was created.
Based on this ancient population, the Illyrian people developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. After its fall in the year 30 B.C. Illyrian came under the control of Roman Empire. With the division of the Roman Empire (395 A.D), Illyrian became a part of the Byzantine Empire.
The country has suffered continuous invasions over the last 1000 years and by the end of the 14th century Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The subsequent efforts and insurrections for independence eventually brought about the proclamation of the independence of Albania in 1912. After 1912 till the end of the First World War, the country was attacked by neighboring countries. After eleven years of monarchy the country was occupied by Mussolini forces in 1939, putting the end of monarchy. In 1943 the armies of Hitler occupies the country.
The resistance against foreign invasion was known as the Anti – Fascist National Liberation front. The Communist party took power in November 1944, when the foreign armies were expelled. Shortly thereafter, a totalitarian regime was established under the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For about 50 years, the regime applied the policy of self-isolation, leaving the country in great economic poverty when it finally emerged from isolation in 1991.
The principle of self-reliance applied by the Communist regime prohibited foreign loans, credits and investment. From 1991 until 1997 The Democratic Party led the country. After the unrests of 1997 due to the failure of pyramidal schemes the Socialist Party with its coalition was in power until 2005. After the last elections on 3 July 2005 The Democratic Party with its coalition is turn back in power. Albanian policy intends to integrate the country into European Community and the Alliance of NATO forces.
Exchange rate (26 March, 2010)
The budget deficit is fund 87% by domestic financing (Treasury Bills, Bonds, Credit, Privatization receipts) and 13% foreign financing
Interest rates on BoA’s Instruments ALL, REPO 5.25%
Annual yield for government bonds at the latest auctions are:
3 December 2009, 1 Y bond, 9.24%
17 November 2009, 2 Y bond, 9.60% (fix coupon)
1 October 2009, 3 Y bond, 9.90% (fix coupon)
Foreign Exchange Reserve at the end of 2008 marked the level of 1,695 million EUR, enough to cover 4.2 months of imports of goods and services
January-October 2009 the trade deficit is 266,427 million LEK (2,050 m EUR).
Flow of goods in foreign trade
Export (FOB): 103 b lek
Import (CIF): 431 b lek
Trade balance: -328 b lek, coverage indicator 23.9%
Ease of Doing Busines rank: index climbed to 82
2009 rank – 86; 2008 rank – 135;
Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score
2009: rank – 95, score 3.2;
2008: rank – 85, score 3.4