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Country Reports

Albania Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus has triggered a cut in the outlook for 2020, with the Albanian economy forecast to contract 3.5%. Growth will be impacted by external weakness and restrictive domestic social distancing measures. Much needed structural reforms to rebalance the economy and raise potential growth are likely to be delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Production and export capabilities will weaken further, as will inward remittances which have funded private consumption.Risks to Albania’s short-term GDP growth forecast are heavily weighed to the downside as the COVID-19 virus spreads to Europe, with implications for household consumption, exports, foreign direct investment (FDI), and remittances. To boost the economy, the government on 25 March approved economic relief measures worth EUR370 million to help the healthcare sector and vulnerable businesses. Growing political polarisation has delayed the reopening of EU membership talks. An agreement between the government and the opposition to work on electoral reforms has the potential to reverse this polarisation, but success is contingent on EU involvement and encouragement.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

A major constraint to doing business is the pervasive corruption present in the public administration. The operational environment is less difficult for large foreign companies compared with small or medium-sized domestic companies given Albania's need to attract foreign direct investment. Albania's ambition to join the EU will play a positive role because the pace of accession will be contingent on fighting corruption. The government at the beginning of April extended the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus-related lockdown until further notice, which means that public venues will remain closed and travel severely restricted.

Last update: June 17, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

Albania has seen the rise of a small radicalised Islamist community in recent years that has contributed dozens of fighters to Islamic State and other Islamist military formations fighting in Syria and Iraq. However, these groups have so far not conducted any attacks on Albanian soil and have not demonstrated serious intent to do so.

Last update: March 20, 2020

Crime

The greatest threat facing Albania's internal security comes from the influence that organised crime groups wield in the country, including close involvement with political officials and the co-option of law enforcement agencies and customs officials. Combating high-level corruption is hindered by a lack of strategy and co-ordination between law enforcement and government agencies. Law enforcement agencies remain subject to political interference, obstructing efforts to create a fully professional force.

Last update: March 20, 2020

War Risks

Albania's membership in NATO greatly diminishes any risk of violent resolution to outstanding disputes with neighbouring countries.

Last update: March 20, 2020

Social Stability

Elevated

Albania has been experiencing regular anti-government protests since December 2018. The original protest movement comprised students protesting against increased tuition fees; however, the movement quickly integrated other causes and was joined by the opposition demanding Prime Minister Edi Rama's resignation. The protests have the potential for violence, in particular if protesters attempt to storm parliament or other government buildings. On previous such occasions, police have responded with force, using teargas and batons to disperse protesters. Foreign-owned assets or commercial property are unlikely to be directly targeted by protesters.

Last update: March 20, 2020

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Albania. However, the government of Albania requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Natural hazards must also be taken into consideration when traveling to Albania; the entire country is vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding is relatively common, particularly in the northern regions.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Roads are in poor condition throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. Power outages are frequent and may affect street lighting in urban areas. If involved in an accident, even a minor one, wait for the police to arrive. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, are unreliable and safety standards are poor. It is advised use only yellow taxis or to hire a reputable driver.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Albania has a Mediterranean climate: winters are wet and mild and summers hot and dry. The center and the west of the country experience very high temperatures (40°C) in the summer due to hot winds coming off the sea. The east and the north (mountainous regions) are cooler in the summer and cold in the winter.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +355
Police: 129
Fire Department: 128
Medical Emergencies: 127

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019