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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

Albania has undergone a wave of anti-government protests and occasional civil unrest since December 2018. Initially triggered by a student movement against rising tuition fees, the protests have grown into encompassing a larger number of disaffected groups, as well as the opposition. Despite these protests, the ruling Socialist Party is unlikely to resign. However, the growing political polarisation has delayed the reopening of EU membership talks, which in turn will likely delay important EU-sponsored reforms to the judiciary. Real GDP growth is forecast to decelerate from 4.2% in 2018 to 3.7% in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020 amid a weaker European outlook. The economy will remain imbalanced, with weak production and export capacities offset by inward remittances funding private consumption and a large trade deficit. Structural reforms are vital for rebalancing and raising potential growth. The government is committed to reducing the elevated public debt level to 60% of GDP by 2021, but further measures are needed. Monetary policy will remain supportive, with the policy rate at a record low of 1.00%, and interventions in the foreign-exchange markets to dampen appreciation pressures.
Last update: July 2, 2019

Operational Outlook

A major constraint to doing business is the pervasive corruption present in the public administration, which entails unseen costs in the form of bribery and unfair competition. 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 European Union will play a positive role because the pace of accession will be contingent on fighting corruption and organised crime. Important infrastructural projects are gradually improving transport connections and energy security in the country.

Last update: July 4, 2019

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, lowering the risk of terrorist attacks in the foreseeable future.

Last update: July 4, 2019

Crime

The greatest threat facing Albania's internal security comes from the influence that organised crime groups wield in the country. This ranges from close involvement with political officials to 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: July 4, 2019

War Risks

War risks in Albania are very low. Albania's membership in NATO greatly diminishes any risk of violent resolution to outstanding disputes with neighbouring countries. A maritime border dispute with Greece will most likely be resolved through international arbitration, while any inter-ethnic conflict in North Macedonia, which has a large Albanian minority, is highly unlikely to escalate into war because of increased international presence in the region.

Last update: July 4, 2019

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 tear gas and batons to disperse protesters. Foreign-owned assets or commercial property are unlikely to be directly targeted by protesters.

Last update: July 4, 2019

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