Following the recent administrative elections, Albania is enjoying a period of calm, political stability, and a strengthening currency, with a draft on medical cannabis production and the first issuance of corporate bonds through a public offer at the top of the agenda, according to Tonucci & Partners Partner Enklid Milaj.
“Currently, the legal market in Albania is experiencing a period of relative calm following the administrative elections that took place a month ago,” Milaj begins. “It is common for the Albanian market to slow down during and after elections. Consequently, legislative activity has slowed down as well, with few major novelties occurring recently.”
One significant legislative development that Milaj mentions is the governmental proposal for a legal framework that will legalize and regulate the production of medical cannabis in Albania. “The production of medical cannabis can commence very soon in the country, provided that certain legal requirements are met, and it will be interesting to see how this impacts any parallel public order issues and whether it could potentially provide a boost to the market and meet certain demands that have been outlined for some time” he explains.
Additionally, for the first time, Albania has witnessed a public issuance of bonds. “Bonds were, and still are, mainly issued through a private offer by the financial institutions in Albania, and this will likely continue. But now, for the first time, they are being introduced to the public markets through the stock exchange. It will be fascinating to observe who invests in these bonds, whether the issuance proves successful, and how it ultimately unfolds,” Milaj says. “The Albanian Financial Authority oversees the entire process. Although the issuance will likely not be too large, there is an optimistic outlook for its success.”
Albania seems to also be enjoying a period of political stability. “Interestingly, Albania's currency, the lek, has been growing stronger,” Milaj says. “While there might not be a straightforward explanation for this occurrence, tourism seems to be a contributing factor. The country has experienced an increase in activity, and this is expected to further surge during the summer season.”
Additionally, Milaj reports that the Albanian government is planning to “launch a tender for the construction of the New Port of Durres (Porto Romano project), which holds great significance for the country. However, NATO has requested some amendments to the project's outline in response to the war in Ukraine, causing a delay in its launch.” According to him, “the feasibility study is expected to be finalized by the end of the third quarter and, immediately after, the government will release an international tender for the first development phase.”
Moreover, Milaj reports an “uptick in the number of solar energy producers in Albania, with domestic entrepreneurs (but not only) leading the way. The administrative landscape is being prepared to support this growth, and we may anticipate potential project financing to be even more present in the market,” he shares.
Finally, Milaj notes “the Albanian government is involved in various international disputes, which are ongoing and will be intriguing to follow in the coming months.” According to him, “these disputes have more of a legacy nature and involve mainly administrative or concessionary matters. International law firms are typically engaged in handling these cases, and they find them particularly interesting, while local lawyers are involved for the domestic legal aspects.”