The primary drivers of the Albanian economy are centered around two main sectors – real estate and energy – with increasing shortages of qualified workers emerging as a key hurdle, according to Hoxha, Memi & Hoxha Partner Andi Memi.
"In recent years, there has been a significant surge in tourism, particularly along the country's coastline, which has led to a boom in the hotel and leisure industries," Memi points out. "As a result, major investments are being made to cater to the needs of tourists, from the South to the North of the country." According to him, Albania has recently attracted the attention of international investors: "in the tourism industry, investors are looking to participate either as direct investors in real estate infrastructure or through management companies in touristic facilities. This sector continues to expand, with significant growth potential."
"Renewable energies, particularly solar power plants, have also gained increased interest in the last two years, possibly due to the exponential increase in energy prices all around Europe," Memi continues. "There is a lot of interest in investing in energy projects in Albania, and the government has been expanding its focus on renewable energies, especially solar and wind. Over the past year, several tenders have been issued for grants and concessions for new power plants."
According to Memi, the expansion of solar power farms is currently the main focus of the Albanian government, followed by wind power, although to a lesser extent. "Solar power is currently favored due to factors such as short construction time, economization of panel cost and efficiency, favorable regulatory framework, and significant solar hours," he notes. "However, there is a need for more projects to be developed to ensure a diversity of environmental impacts."
Memi highlights that the state has acknowledged the potential benefits of the energy sector and supporting it – "not long ago, Albania approved a new law on renewable energy, and the government has made changes to the decrees for authorization to streamline and improve the framework," he notes. "The government has been very active in soliciting offers and capacities for renewable energies."
"As a result," Memi notes, "the two primary engines driving the Albanian economy continue to grow steadily. However, there are some emerging challenges that need to be addressed." One significant shortfall, according to him, "is the shortage of qualified labor force, as many skilled workers are leaving Albania to seek better opportunities in more developed countries with open movement policies, such as Germany," he says. "The shortage of qualified workforce has led to a significant increase in wages, which has become a major issue for the expansion of this sector. Recently, there has been an increased demand for immigration services from countries such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The construction sector, in particular, is feeling the effects of the labor force gap," Memi concludes.