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Country Reports

Kosovo Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Real GDP growth is expected to be 3.9% in 2019, supported by consumption and investment. There are downside risks stemming from a weaker external environment, but also deteriorating bilateral relations in the region, including a decision by Kosovo to impose 100% tariffs on all imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.As a result of outstanding agreements and the recent trade spat, the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia to normalise bilateral relations have come to a grinding halt. Kosovo's international partners, the US and the EU, are putting pressure on Kosovo's government to lift the tariffs so negotiations can restart.The economy's structural weaknesses are likely to remain. These include weak productive capacities reflected in low exports and persistent large trade deficits, a large grey economy, reliance on remittances to fund consumption, and large unemployment and inactivity rates.The government plans to build a new coal-powered plant to alleviate chronic electricity shortages, consistently cited as the greatest concern among businesses. However, both the World Bank and EBRD have refused to fund the construction, estimated at 20% of GDP, with OPIC, the US government's development finance arm, still to decide. Moreover, the EU has cited concerns that the project is incompatible with EU environmental regulations and state aid rules. If the construction goes ahead, it would boost growth and employment, but may have an adverse impact on public debt and current-account deficits.
Last update: July 2, 2019

Operational Outlook

Kosovo's business environment is constrained by widespread corruption and outdated infrastructure. However, local infrastructure has started to improve as a result of domestic and international investments. To date, the international community has invested EUR4 billion into improving Kosovo's road and rail networks. One major concern for businesses operating in Kosovo is unreliable power supply. Impending investments, such as the planned construction of a 400 kV interconnection line with Albania, will serve to diversify Kosovo's energy sources and increase energy security.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Terrorism

Attempts by the central government to fully extend its authority on Kosovo would increase the risk of attacks against Kosovo police. There is a growing number of radicalised youth adhering to extremist interpretations of Islam, a number of whom have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamist military organisations. However, the risk of attacks remains low in the foreseeable future.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Crime

Organised crime is a major concern in Kosovo because of poor law enforcement. The security threat in the Serb-dominated north is substantially higher than in the rest of the country because of a lack of proper policing in the region. This is mainly due to the Serb minority's reluctance to recognise the legitimacy of the central state and its security apparatus. The long-term absence of government authority in the region has facilitated the spread of criminal networks that benefit from preserving the status quo.

Last update: July 9, 2019

War Risks

On 28 May, police carried out raids in Northern Kosovo, arresting 20 individuals accused of smuggling contraband and other criminal activities. The police action was met with harsh criticisms from the Serbian government, which put the Serbian Army on high alert, ostensibly to prepare for the defence of the Kosovo Serbs. Such actions and rhetoric are primarily meant for domestic consumption and do not entail a high risk of armed interstate conflict given the continued presence of international peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. However, Serbia is well positioned to stoke instability in Northern Kosovo through proxies. The parallel institutions in Northern Kosovo are largely financed by Serbia, and illegal arms are widespread.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Social Stability

Socio-economic factors, such as high levels of unemployment, widespread poverty, and corruption are ingredients that fuel popular disaffection. The opposition Self-determination Movement (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje) especially has managed to utilise public discontent to organise anti-government protests. Such protests frequently escalate into violence between the police and protesters, often resulting in damages to government property.

Last update: July 9, 2019

Health Risk

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

None

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: July 1, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Kosovo has a moderate Mediterranean climate: winters (November to March) are snowy and summers are hot and humid (May to September). In mountainous regions, temperatures are considerably colder and snow accumulation can make road travel hazardous and at times impassable. The average annual temperature is 9.5°C (49°F), with average highs of 19°C (66°F) in the summer months and lows of −1°C (30 °F) in winter.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +383
Police: 192
Fire Department: 193
Medical Emergencies: 194

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: July 1, 2019