PERFORMANCE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: ALBANIAFY 2008 Foreign Assistance Goals
The goal of United States Government (USG) assistance is to support Albania’s efforts to implement necessary reforms for integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions. In FY 2008, USG assistance focused on combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), promoting reform and stabilization of the military, border control and law enforcement, and reduction of trafficking in persons. In the Governing Justly and Democratically area, USG assistance aimed to improve the overall efficacy of the justice system, bolster local government capacity and decentralization, support the implementation of anti-corruption reforms, and strengthen civil society. In the area of Economic Growth, the goals were to increase private-sector competitiveness, agriculture output, trade and investment, job creation and modern energy services. In the area of Investing in People, the USG focused enabling Albania’s primary health care system to respond better to public health needs by increasing essential services, including access to family planning information and commodities, and improving maternal and child health.Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $21.69m*
|FY 2008 Areas of Focus|
P&S: Peace and Security
GJD: Governing Justly and Democratically
IIP: Investing in People
EG: Economic Growth
XCPS: Cross-Cutting Program Support
(*Foreign Operations appropriated assistance, excluding Peace Corps funds and centrally managed Foreign Operations funds that are not budgeted for specific countries.)
Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
Governing Justly and Democratically
- Provided for the development of a comprehensive border control system by donating more than $400,000 in inspection/detection equipment to the Customs and Border Police. More than $30,000 in detection/identification equipment was provided to the Radiation Protection Office to enhance its ability to support the government’s responses to radiation incidents at the border and determine their significance and risk. Assistance also supported Customs and Border Police officers’ training on the donated inspection/detection equipment in conjunction with a Border Enforcement Course. Fifty four Albanian military personnel were trained in a variety of specialties.
- Provided equipment, maintenance, and repair parts including the allocation of five Archangel forty-two foot fast patrol boats to augment the navy’s coastal security and protection mission. Assistance also contributed directly to the development of the NATO Membership Action Plan, which was completed with realistic and achievable goals.
- Supported police reform and increased the ability of the state police to develop effective training programs nation-wide, implement legal and institutional mechanisms to ensure ethical, effective management of police personnel and assets, and reduce trafficking and trans-national crime. Eight hundred seventy-two law enforcement officers were trained with USG assistance. Key legislative achievements in law enforcement included the laws which provide for transparent, accountable structures to fight corruption in the police. The execution of the first iteration of the new Recruitment Process, free from political interference or bribery, was an important achievement.
- Continued to support the expansion of a border security information technology system. While the infrastructure initially provided a means to track entry and exit and border points, it is now contributing to anti-trafficking, anti-corruption, and counter-terrorism efforts. Additionally, the modernized system is benefiting the Albanian State Police with secure communications, data storage and retrieval, and case management capabilities.
- Addressed the immediate concerns related to trafficking in persons through support to shelters and for reintegration for 100 returned victims. Prevention programs raised awareness in vulnerable communities by engaging 1,200 community members through 75 awareness campaigns. Assistance to the government helped it to draft a new action plan against trafficking and the creation of a valid, unified database to track trafficking cases. In addition, USG assistance to local government structures strengthened their capacity to assume responsibility for their own anti-trafficking efforts through support for Child Protection Units and School Psychologists. Almost 202 new case files on children at-risk or presumed victims were opened and assistance was provided to over 1,000 children. Two hundred ten personnel were trained on trafficking-in-persons related issues with USG assistance and 427 victims were assisted by USG programs.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
Investing in People
- Enhanced court transparency and accountability. Such improvements included the provision of necessary information technology equipment that increases transparency in court rooms, maintains accurate trial records, and assists courts in their financial planning and reporting. Support was also provided to organize public-court forums to expand dialogue between the courts and citizens. Assistance engaged local non-governmental organizations in court monitoring to detect deficiencies in the observance of court procedures, assess case processing time delays, assess courts’ responsiveness to the public’s requests for information, detect conflicts of interest, investigate the asset declarations of judges, and help courts establish anti-corruption strategies.
- Trained 512 justice sector personnel and also mentored prosecutors to improve investigation and prosecution of public corruption and other financial crimes. To combat the problem of pervasive corruption, USG assistance spearheaded the creation of the Joint Investigative Unit (JIU). In May 2007, participating Government bodies signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to form the JIU, a multi-agency unit designed to improve investigation and prosecution of public corruption and other financial crimes. The JIU is composed of prosecutors, police officers, customs officials, tax investigators, and other officials in a team structure to concentrate capacity, enhance skills, and foster communication necessary for good investigations and prosecutions. Key legislative achievements as a result of USG assistance included new laws on money laundering, terrorist finance and amendments to the Penal Code, which were made jointly with European partners.
- Improved the performance of local governments by supporting the unanimous adoption by the parliament of a local borrowing law, giving local governments access to commercial institutions to borrow money for public purposes. Local Economic Growth Committees, with representatives from the public, private, and civil society sectors, were established in all target municipalities. These committees developed strategic visions of economic development for the target municipalities and prioritized immediate actions within the context of local economic development plans.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Contributed to an increase in Albania’s public expenditures on health from 2.7 percent of GDP in 2007 to 3 percent in FY 2008. The infant mortality rate dropped to 18 per thousand live births (UNICEF), maternal mortality dropped to 19 per hundred thousand (UNICEF) and the contraceptive prevalence rate went up to 15 percent in selected areas of the country (USAID/ARC). The immunization rate remains above 85 percent.
- Benefited just over 400,000 people through programs to prevent non-communicable diseases. Assistance also strengthened the management of the public health sector by establishing a Supportive Supervision System for Health Centers, assisted in the creation of the Center for Continuing Medical Education for Professional Development, and in the development of public health practice guidelines and standards.
- Trained 703 doctors and nurses to update their clinical skills. Support was also provided for the production of a set of manuals and curricula for doctors and nurses to be adapted for use in Albania. USG assistance helped to establish continuing medical education and certification programs for physicians and nurses. The network of trained community health educators rose to 76 percent of Albanian health facilities.
- Supported the integration of family planning services into primary health care in all of Albania’s 36 districts. Assistance promoted adoption by government of a Contraceptives Logistics Management Information System to aid in the forecasting and distribution of contraceptive needs, and adoption of the contraceptive security strategy by the Ministry of Health to ensure modern contraceptives are available. The number of antenatal care visits by skilled providers from USG-assisted facilities was 82,240.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Contributed to the increase in total trade flows. In the first six months of 2008, the total trade flows increased by 15.4 percent, as compared to the same period in 2007. Albania’s exports grew by 17 percent and at a higher rate than imports (15 percent). Foreign Direct Investment increased to $656 million in CY 2007 from $325 million in CY 2006.
- Supported the completion of a two-year actuarial training and certification program in collaboration with the British Institute of Actuaries and Tirana University. Eight candidates received certificates.
- Enabled the Financial Supervisory Authority to draft a Law on Collective Investment Funds and a stock exchange regulation providing requirements and criteria related to the organization and governance of a stock exchange. This is one of the first and crucial steps in setting up a viable stock exchange that will help develop and liberalize a capital market in Albania.
- In collaboration with other donors, provided advice on the implementation of Albania’s energy strategy to improve the availability, efficiency and reliability of energy supply at reasonable cost. USG assistance has helped the Electricity Regulatory Entity function as an independent and transparent regulator capable of establishing policies and procedures for tariff setting, licensing, monitoring, and energy market development in compliance with EU directives. USG funding also assisted the privatization of the electricity distribution company, which is in the final stage of negotiation between the Government of Albania and the selected bidder.
- Benefited hundreds of micro-, small, and medium enterprises by helping to improve productivity and quality through technological innovations, facility renovations, application of best management practices, and compliance with international standards. Several exporters successfully penetrated new markets in the EU, the Balkan region and the Far East. As a result, many firms started investing in more advanced technologies and new value-added products. The firms assisted earned $38.5 million from domestic sales and $12.7 million from export sales in FY 2008.
- Improved the security situation at all of Albania’s international seaports. Through technical assistance, training, and material donations, the Port Security Force has brought Albania into compliance with the International Shipping and Port Security Code and created a secure environment for the conduct of trade and transportation via sea.
- Supported micro-credit programs by providing loans and business training to 13,308 micro-enterprises in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. The total loan value was over $36 million and 39 percent of the clients were women. Fifty-six agricultural producers and processors received credits from micro-finance institutions and credit unions through USG assistance.
Establishment and Operation of Joint Investigative Unit to Fight Economic Crime and Corruption (JIU) – In September 2007, the JIU began formal operations and since April 2008, a USG supported anti-corruption Resident Legal Adviser became an embedded advisor to the JIU. The JIU opened 224 cases in its first year of operation and obtained convictions of the Deputy Minister of Transportation and the General Secretary of the Ministry of Labor on corruption charges. Other high-profile cases included the arrest of several prominent physicians for accepting bribes to provide medical services, the arrest of a prosecutor for agreeing to bribe a judge for the reduction of a defendant’s sentence, and the extensive investigation and arrest of 17 defendants in a wide-ranging ATM fraud scheme. The presence of an American prosecutor at the JIU had a direct and visible impact by increasing the public’s trust in its work and helping to make possible the prosecution of high-ranking public officials. The Resident Legal Adviser’s presence at court proceedings similarly helped to insure that the proceedings remain open to the public and that they are conducted in a fair and impartial manner.
Understanding Civic and Faith Based Education in Albania – A grant from the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy became a vehicle of public outreach and civic participation. The project “Understanding Civic and Faith-based Education in Albania” started five years ago targeting the madrassas with a message of youth activism and celebrating religious diversity in Albania. The project was part of an outreach program for the madrassas, involving them in community issues and encouraging students to become representatives of their schools in efforts to address local issues. The program has expanded to all six madrassas in the country, geared towards grades eight to ten, and during the last school year, it was extended to a public high school that was able to work in conjunction with a madrassa on community issues. In the last academic year, 19 classes took part in the project, while for the next year the Project will work to include Orthodox and Catholic schools.
Helping Kids Be Kids – Albania’s Roma and Egyptian communities suffer from pervasive poverty and discrimination. Children from these communities are often forced onto the streets to beg, making them particularly susceptible to exploitation and vulnerable to human trafficking. Many children are unregistered and are not tracked in the school and health care systems. In order to help such children, USAID’s anti-trafficking and micro-credit programs joined forces. In 2007, a formal agreement with a former USAID micro-lending project was signed to create a program to provide subsidized loans to families vulnerable to trafficking. There are now 52 families that have received loans that have added income for the families. The loans also require that all children in these families attend school regularly.
Municipal Coalition Earns Borrowing Authority for Cities – Less than ten years since local governments became independent from the central government, Albania’s 65 municipalities still struggle to provide citizens with basic services, let alone finance larger infrastructure needs or foster economic growth and investment in their communities. In 2004, USAID began assisting the Mayors’ Association to advocate for cities on major components of fiscal decentralization. USAID provided the Association with training, onsite assistance, support for study tours to the U.S. and help in formulating the Association’s strategy and starting up its monthly newsletter. The Association gained a seat at the table during the small business tax policy debate and acquired the know-how to organize lobbying efforts on behalf of the cities’ interest in own-source tax revenue. With USAID support, the Association and other stakeholders began in 2006 crafting a bill giving local authorities the right to borrow. After finishing this year-long process, the mayors again joined forces to push it through central government approval and on to Parliament. That same municipal lobby then appeared during the parliamentary hearing on the bill and ensured city interests were factored into lawmakers’ deliberations. After almost two-years of consensus-building, drafting and lobbying on the part of municipal association, Albania’s Parliament passed by a unanimous vote in early 2008 the Local Government Borrowing Law. The Law gives cities the right to access commercial bank credit and to issue bonds to finance local development projects. A new USG supported program will now help ten cities avail themselves of the Local Government Borrowing Law by working to create plans for infrastructure and capital investment projects.