Albania has made progress since 1992 but still faces considerable economic challenges, including low levels of participation in the formal labor market, limited linkages with external markets, lack of access to capital for key drivers of growth and lingering pockets of intense poverty. The 2008 financial crisis hit the Albanian economy especially hard, undermining Albania’s economic and political advances of the previous decade and causing large-scale unemployment. Economic recovery has been slow throughout the Balkans, and Albania’s recovery was hampered further by slow economic recovery of its neighbors, notably Greece and Italy.
Albania needs many years of significant, sustained economic growth to approach EU income levels. Since this growth can only be accomplished by a robust, competitive private sector, Albania must create and maintain a business environment free of corruption and volatile politics to grow and prosper and, importantly, to provide jobs for a large and growing youth population. Micro, small, and medium size enterprises (about 99 percent of all enterprises in Albania) are a driving force for job creation and economic growth. Despite some improvements, Albanian private enterprises are still not equipped to respond to international trade and investment opportunities, to enhance the growth of their businesses, and to increase sales in the domestic and export markets.
USAID’s program provides targeted technical assistance that contributes to increased competitiveness, economic growth, and macroeconomic stability that will allow a standard of living in Albania that is more commensurate with greater Europe. Programs provide technical assistance, training, and capacity building with a focus on establishing conditions for growth. In addition, programs work with the financial sector to improve access to capital for key economic drivers, such as small and medium enterprises, farmers and agribusiness. USAID implements projects through local firms and organizations, public-private partnerships, and associations and businesses to leverage funds of development partners, particularly Pre-Accession Assistance, when possible.
Creative Business Solutions
September 2016 – March 2021
The project aims to boost economic growth by facilitating financing, sustainable business investments, and trade in vital sectors of Albanian economy including agriculture, tourism, and environment. The project assists SMEs to prepare loan packages, strengthen record-keeping and accounting practices, develop business plans, and improve marketing and sales. CBS also provides advisory services to banks and financial institutions in order to improve the services offered.
Development Credit Authority (DCA) Guarantee for Agriculture Lending
ProCredit and BKT Bank
September 2012 – September 2022
USAID in close collaboration with two Albanian Banks - ProCredit and BKT - is implementing a $15 million Loan Portfolio Guarantee Agreement aimed to increase access for farmers and agribusinesses to financial resources which are needed to expand and increase their competitiveness.