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Albania is an upper middle-income country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of USD 18.2 billion (2022 International Monetary Fund estimate) and a population of approximately 2.85 million people.

Albania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2009 and has been a member of the World Trade organization (WTO) since 2000. The country signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union in 2006, received the status of EU candidate country in 2014, and began accession negotiations with the EU in July 2022.

Albania’s economy weathered three consecutive shocks, including the 2019 earthquake, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economic shocks of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine. Following a contraction of 3.5 percent in 2020, Albania’s economy bounced back growing by 8.5 percent in 2021 due to construction activity, the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, the recovery of the tourism sector, the increase in the real estate sector, record domestic electricity production, and continued budgetary, monetary, and fiscal policy support, including IMF and EU pandemic and earthquake related support. Estimates put the growth for 2022 at 3.7 percent, down from the initial forecast of 4.1percent, mostly because of spillover effects from the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The progress during 2022 continued to be fueled by growing tourism, services, and the real estate sector. The IMF estimates growth during 2023 will decelerate to around 2percent due to shocks to the global economy from Russia’s invasion, including inflationary pressures and a slowdown in Europe. Average inflation during 2022 stood at 6.73 percent, peaking in October at 8.4 percent . Unemployment dropped from its peak of 11.9 percent during 2021 to 10.8 percent in December 2022 but skilled labor shortages due to an increase in emigration in the last few years is a growing concern.

To maintain macroeconomic stability, the IMF called on the Albanian government to continue fiscal consolidation, increase fiscal transparency, improve public financial management, strengthen fiscal risk monitoring, and integrate all public private partnership contracts into the budget cycle. The IMF and other stakeholders have also cautioned against the proposed fiscal amnesty due to governance and money laundering risks.

Albania’s legal framework is in line with international standards in protecting and encouraging foreign investments and does not discriminate against foreign investors. The Law on Foreign Investments of 1993 outlines specific protections for foreign investors and allows 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in all but a few sectors. A new umbrella law on investments has been considered for several years. The Law on Strategic Investments approved in 2015, with the objective to promote both domestic and foreign investments in strategic sectors, did not attract significant foreign investments even though its December 2018 deadline was extended several times. The law will be in force until December 2023. The majority of approximately 50 approved projects focus on the tourism sector and projects are dominated by domestic investors.

The U.S.-Albanian Bilateral Investment Treaty, which entered into force in 1998, ensures that U.S. investors receive national treatment and most-favored-nation treatment. Albania and the United States signed a Memorandum of Economic Cooperation in October 2020 with an aim of increasing trade and investment between the two countries.

As a developing country, Albania offers large untapped potential for foreign investments across many sectors including energy, tourism, healthcare, agriculture, oil and mining, and information and communications technology (ICT). In the last decade, Albania has attracted greater levels of foreign direct investment (FDI). According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data, during 2016-2021, the flow of FDI has averaged USD 1.19 billion and stock FDI at the end of 2021 reached USD 10 billion, double the amount from 2016. According to preliminary data of the Bank of Albania, the FDI flow in 2022 exceeded USD 1.44 billion. Investments are concentrated in extractive industries and processing, real estate, the energy sector, banking and insurance, and ICT. Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, and France are the largest sources of FDI. Stock FDI from the United States accounts for a small but growing share. At the end of 2022, the United States stock FDI in Albania according to Bank of Albania reached USD 232 million, up from USD 100 million at the end of 2020.

Albania has a large economic potential, a sound legal framework, and has made progress in limiting petty corruption by digitalizing public services for both citizens and businesses. However, foreign investors perceive Albania as a difficult place to do business. They cite ongoing corruption, including in the public sector, the judiciary, public procurements, unfair and distorted competition, large informal economy, money laundering, frequent changes to fiscal legislation, and weak enforcement of contracts as continuing challenges for investment and business in Albania. Emigration of young, skilled labor has created labor shortages that affects investment prospects in many sectors. Albania continues to score poorly on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. In 2022, Albania ranked 101 out of 180 countries, a slight improvement from 2021 but still far from its best ranking of 2016, when it ranked 83rd out of 176 economies. Albania also continues to rank low in the Global Innovation Index (GII), ranking 84 out of 132 countries in 2022 GII.

Albania has a large informal sector and money laundering activities. The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) included Albania in its grey list in 2020 and the country continues to be in the list for 2023 due to strategic deficiencies in addressing money laundering concerns. The business community reports that the large influx of illicit proceeds from drug trafficking, smuggling, fiscal evasion, and corruption distorts the competition in the market. Allegations of corruption are common, and investors often report that they become the target of extortion by both public administration, media, and criminal groups.

Reports of corruption in government procurement are commonplace. Investors frequently report cases of government corruption delaying and preventing investments in Albania. The continued use of public private partnership (PPP) contracts has reduced opportunities for competition, including by foreign investors, in infrastructure and other sectors. Poor cost-benefit analyses and a lack of technical expertise in drafting and monitoring PPP contracts are ongoing concerns. U.S. investors are challenged by corruption and the perpetuation of informal business practices. Several U.S. investors have faced contentious commercial disputes with both public and private entities, including some that went to international arbitration. In 2019 and 2020, a U.S. company’s attempted investment was allegedly thwarted by several judicial decisions and questionable actions of stakeholders involved in a dispute over the investment. The case ended in international arbitration.

Property rights continue to be a challenge in Albania because clear title is difficult to obtain. There have been instances of individuals allegedly manipulating the court system to obtain illegal land titles. Overlapping property titles is a serious and common issue. The compensation process for land confiscated by the former communist regime continues to be cumbersome, inefficient, and inadequate. Parliament passed a law on registering property claims on April 16, 2020, which might provide some relief for title holders.

To address systemic corruption, Albania passed sweeping constitutional amendments to reform the country’s judicial system and improve the rule of law in 2016. The implementation of judicial reform is underway, heavily supported by the United States and the EU, including the vetting of judges and prosecutors for unexplained wealth. More than half the judges and prosecutors who have undergone vetting have been dismissed for unexplained wealth or ties to organized crime. The EU expects Albania to show progress on prosecuting judges and prosecutors whose vetting revealed possible criminal conduct. Albania has functional, independent anti-corruption bodies, including the Special Prosecution Office (SPO) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) part of the Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK.) The implementation of judicial reform is ongoing, and its successful implementation is expected to improve the investment climate in the country. The Albanian parliament voted overwhelmingly and unopposed to extend this vetting mandate in February 2022.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 101 of 180  
Global Innovation Index 2022 84 of 132  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 N/A  
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 $ 6,110  

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Albania maintains a liberal foreign investment regime designed to attract FDI. The Law on Foreign Investments outlines specific protections for foreign investors and allows 100 percent foreign ownership of companies, except in the areas of domestic and international air passenger transport and television broadcasting. Albanian legislation does not distinguish between domestic and foreign investments.

The Law on Strategic Investments approved in 2015 offers incentives and fast-track administrative procedures, depending on the size of the investment and number of jobs created, to both foreign and domestic investors who apply before December 31, 2023.

The Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) is the entity responsible for promoting foreign investments in Albania. Potential U.S. investors in Albania should contact AIDA to learn more about services AIDA offers to foreign investors (  ). The Law on Strategic Investments stipulates that AIDA, as the Secretariat of the Strategic Investment Council, serves as a one-stop-shop for foreign investors, from filing the application form to granting the status of strategic investment/investor. Despite supporting legislation, very few foreign investors have benefited from the “Strategic Investor” status, and almost all projects have been granted to domestic companies operating in the tourism sector. Foreign investors that apply for the status of strategic investor cite that responses from AIDA are slow.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign and domestic investors have equal rights of ownership of local companies, based on the principle of “national treatment.” There are only a few exemptions regarding ownership restrictions:
Domestic and international air passenger transport: foreign interest in airline companies is limited to 49 percent ownership by investors outside the Common European Aviation Zone, for both domestic and international air transportation.

Audio and audio-visual broadcasting: An entity, foreign or domestic, cannot hold more than 40 percent of shares in a national audio or audio-visual broadcasting company, and not more than 20 percent of shares in a second national audio or audio-visual broadcasting company. Additional restrictions apply to the regional or local audio and audio-visual licenses.
Agriculture: No foreign individual or foreign incorporated company may purchase agricultural land, though land may be leased for up to 99 years. However, if the company registers in Albania, this limitation on agricultural land does not apply.

Albania lacks an investment screening mechanism for inbound FDI. There are efforts to introduce an investment screening mechanism in the legislation for foreign investments. A new provision in the Petroleum Law, introduced in 2017 allows the government to reject a petroleum-sharing agreement or the sale of shares in a petroleum-sharing agreement to any prospective investor due to national security concerns.

Albanian law permits private ownership and establishment of enterprises and property. To operate in certain sectors, licenses are required but foreign investors do not require additional permission or authorization beyond that required of domestic investors. Commercial property may be purchased, but only if the proposed investment is worth three times the price of the land. There are no restrictions on the purchase of private residential property. Foreigners can acquire concession rights on natural resources and resources of the common interest, as defined by the Law on Concessions and Public Private Partnerships.

Foreign and domestic investors have numerous options available for organizing business operations in Albania. The 2008 Law on Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies and Law Establishing the National Business Center (NBC) allow for the following legal types of business entities to be established through the NBC: sole proprietorship; unlimited partnership; limited partnership; limited liability company; joint stock company; branches and representative offices; and joint ventures.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The WTOcompleted a Trade Policy Review of Albania in May 2016 (  ). In November 2017, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) completed the first Investment Policy Review of South-East European (SEE) countries, including Albania  .

According to Environmental Justice Atlas , 36 international and domestic civil society organization sent an open letter to Prime Minister Rama highlighting the threat of irreversible damage of Vlora International Airport Project to the Vjose-Narta Protected Landscape. The EU noted in its Progress Report that the legislation on Strategic Investment raises concerns for the protection of biodiversity, as it may lead to large tourism and industrial investments in protected areas. The European Commission recommended that Albanian authorities take immediate measures to review and improve environmental and strategic impact assessments on existing and planned projects, plans and programs, especially in the hydropower, construction, tourism, transport, and mining sectors.

Business Facilitation

The National Business Center (NBC) serves as a one-stop shop for business registration. All required procedures and documents are published online . Registration may be done in person or online via the e-Albania portal. Many companies choose to complete the registration process in person, as the online portal requires an authentication process and electronic signature and is only available in the Albanian language. When a business registers in the NBC it is also automatically registered with the Tax Office, Labor Inspectorate, Customs, and the respective municipality. According to the 2020 World Bank Doing Business Report, it takes 4.5 days and five procedures to register a business in Albania.

Outward Investment

Albania neither promotes nor incentivizes outward investment, nor does it restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

The United States and Albania signed a bilateral investment treaty ( in 1995, which entered into force in January 1998. The treaty ensures that U.S. investors receive national and most-favored-nation treatment and provides for dispute settlement.

Albania has concluded bilateral investment treaties with 45 countries. See a full list here: . Out of 45 agreements, five are not yet in force.
Albania has signed free trade agreements with the EU, CEFTA countries (North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Moldova), EFTA countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland), and Turkey. There is no free trade agreement with the United States.

In addition, in 1992, Albania ratified the Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments among member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Albania does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with United States. As of April 2023, Albania had signed treaties for the avoidance of double taxation with 43 countries. See a full list here:    

In July 2020, Albania ratified the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, which amends all the double taxation treaties in compliance with the convention.

Albania and the United States signed a Memorandum of Economic Cooperation in October 2020 with an aim of increasing trade and investment between the countries.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Albania’s legal, regulatory, and accounting systems have improved in recent years, but there are still many serious challenges. Persistent corruption, uneven enforcement of legislation, cumbersome bureaucracy, distortion of competition, and a lack of transparency hinder the business community.
Albanian legislation includes rules on disclosure requirements, formation, maintenance, and alteration of firms’ capitalization structures, mergers and divisions, takeover bids, shareholders’ rights, and corporate governance principles. The Competition Authority ( ) is an independent agency tasked with ensuring fair and efficient competition in the market. However, business groups have raised concerns about unfair competition and monopolies, rating the issue as one of the most concerning items damaging the business climate.

The Law on Accounting and Financial Statements includes reporting provisions related to international financial reporting standards (IFRS) for large companies, and national financial reporting standards for small and medium enterprises. Albania meets minimum standards on fiscal transparency, and debt obligations are published by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. Albania’s budgets are publicly available, substantially complete, and reliable.

In August 2020, Albania approved the law for the establishment of the register of the Ultimate Beneficiary Owners. The law aims to ensure transparency on the ultimate beneficiary owners, who directly and indirectly own more than 25 percent of shares, voting rights, or ownership interests in all entities registered to do business in Albania, and was adopted following the recommendations of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (F).

The rulemaking process in Albania meets the minimum requirements of transparency. Ministries and regulatory agencies develop forward regulatory plans that include changes or proposals intended to be adopted within a set timeframe. The law on notification and public consultation requires Albania to publish draft laws and regulations for public consultation or notification and sets clear timeframes for these processes. Such draft laws and regulations are published at the following page: . The business community frequently complains that final versions of laws and regulations fail to address their comments and concerns and that comment periods are frequently not respected.

The Albania Assembly (  ) publishes a list of both proposed and adopted legislation. All laws, by-laws, regulations, decisions by the Council of Ministers (the government), decrees, and any other regulatory acts are published at the National Publication Center at the following site: 

Independent agencies and bodies, including but not limited to, the Energy Regulatory Entity (ERE), Agency for Electronic and Postal Communication (AKEP), Financial Supervising Authority (FSA), Bank of Albania, Competition Authority (CA), National Agency of Natural Resources (NARN), and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), oversee transparency and competition in specific sectors. The High State Audit is an independent agency in charge of auditing public companies and institutions.

Albania does not have a mandatory framework for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures. However, the Law on Accounting and Financial Statements requires companies with more than 500 employees to include in their non-financial report information related to the environment, employment, anticorruption, human rights, etc. As a signatory of the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Climate Pact, Albania has also approved a set of strategic documents that outline the mid- and long-term actions the country will undertake on climate change.

International Regulatory Considerations

Albania acceded to the WTO in 2000 and the country notifies the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of all draft technical regulations.

Albania signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU in 2006. The EU agreed to open accession talks on March 25, 2020, and the country held its first Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) in July 2022, that marked the official opening of accession talks. Albania has long been involved in the gradual process of legislation approximation with the EU acquis. This process is expected to accelerate now that the country has opened accession negotiations.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The Albanian legal system is a civil law system. The Albanian constitution provides for the separation and balancing of legislative, executive, and judicial branches, thereby supporting the independence of the judiciary. The Civil Procedure Code, enacted in 1996, governs civil procedures in Albania. The civil court system consists of district courts, appellate courts, and the High Court (the supreme court). The district courts are organized in specialized sections according to the subject of the claim, including civil, family, and commercial disputes.

The administrative courts of first instance, the Administrative Court of Appeal, and the Administrative College of the High Court adjudicate administrative disputes. The Constitutional Court, reviews cases related to the constitutionality of legislation and protects and enforces the constitutional rights of citizens and legal entities.

Parties may appeal the judgment of the first-instance courts within 15 days of a decision, while appellate court judgments must be appealed to the High Court within 30 days. A lawsuit against an administrative action is submitted to the administrative court within 45 days from notification and the law stipulates short procedural timeframes, enabling faster adjudication of administrative disputes.

Investors in Albania are entitled to judicial protection of legal rights related to their investments. Foreign investors have the right to submit disputes to an Albanian court. In addition, parties to a dispute may agree to arbitration. Many foreign investors complain that judicial corruption and inefficient court procedures undermine judicial protection in Albania and seek international arbitration to resolve disputes. It may be beneficial to U.S. investors to consider include binding international arbitration clauses in any agreements with Albanian counterparts. Albania is a signatory to the New York Arbitration Convention and foreign arbitration awards are typically recognized by Albania. However, the government initially refused to recognize an injunction from a foreign arbitration court in one high-profile case in 2016. The Albanian Civil Procedure Code outlines provisions regarding domestic commercial arbitration.

Albania does not have a specific commercial code but has a series of relevant commercial laws, including the Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies Law, Bankruptcy Law, Public Private Partnership and Concession Law, Competition Law, Foreign Investment Law, State Aid Law, Environmental Law, Law on Corporate and Municipal Bonds, Transport Law, Maritime Code, Secured Transactions Law, Employment Law, Taxation Procedures Law, Banking Law, Insurance and Reinsurance Law, Concessions Law, Mining Law, Energy Law, Water Resources Law, Waste Management Law, Excise Law, Oil and Gas Law, Gambling Law, Telecommunications Law, and Value-Added Tax Law.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

There is no one-stop-shop that lists all legislation, rules, procedures, and reporting requirements for investors. However, foreign investors should visit the Albania Investment Development Agency webpage (    ), which offers broad information for foreign investors.

Major laws pertaining to foreign investments include:

  • Law on Foreign Investments
  • Law on Strategic Investments: Defines procedures and rules to be observed by government authorities when reviewing, approving, and supporting strategic domestic and foreign investments in Albania.
  • Law on Foreigners
  • Law on Concessions and Public Private Partnerships: Establishes the framework for promoting and facilitating the implementation of privately financed concessionary projects.
  • Law on Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies: Outlines general guidelines on the activities of companies and the legal structure under which they may operate.
  • Law on Cross-Border Mergers: Determines rules on mergers when one of the companies involved in the process is a foreign company.
  • Law on Protection of Competition: Stipulates provisions for the protection of competition, and the concentration of commercial companies; and
  • Law on Collective Investment Undertakings: Regulates conditions and criteria for the establishment, constitution, and operation of collective investment undertakings and of management companies.

The Law on Foreign Investments seeks to create a hospitable legal climate for foreign investors and stipulates the following:

  • No prior government authorization is needed for an initial investment.
  • Foreign investments may not be expropriated or nationalized directly or indirectly, except for designated special cases, in the interest of public use and as defined by law.
  • Foreign investors enjoy the right to expatriate all funds and contributions in kind from their investments.
  • Foreign investors receive most favored nation treatment according to international agreements and Albanian law.

There are limited exceptions to this liberal investment regime, most of which apply to the purchase of real estate. Agricultural land cannot be purchased by foreigners and foreign entities but may be leased for up to 99 years. Investors can buy agricultural land if registered as a commercial entity in Albania. Commercial property may be purchased, but only if the proposed investment is worth three times the price of the land. There are no restrictions on the purchase of private residential property.
To boost investments in strategic sectors, the government approved a new law on strategic investments in May 2015. Under the new law, a “strategic investment” may benefit from either “assisted procedure” or “special procedure” assistance from the government to help navigate the permitting and regulatory process. Despite supporting legislation, very few foreign investors have benefited from the “Strategic Investor” status, and the vast majority of projects have been granted to domestic companies operating in the tourism sector.

Authorities responsible for mergers, change of control, and transfer of shares include the Albanian Competition Authority (ACA)  , which monitors the implementation of the competition law and approves mergers and acquisitions when required by the law; and the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA):  , which regulates and supervises the securities market and approves the transfer of shares and change of control of companies operating in this sector.
Albania’s tax system does not distinguish between foreign and domestic investors. Informality in the economy, which IMF estimates to be around one third of the total economy, presents challenges for tax administration.

Visa requirements to obtain residence or work permits are straightforward and do not pose an undue burden on potential investors. Generally, U.S. passport holders are entitled to a one year stay in Albania without a residence permit, a special provision Albania reaffirmed in March 2022. The government approved a new Law on Foreigners in July 2021, which partially aligns the domestic legislation, including that on migration, with the EU Directives. The new law introduces a single application procedure for permits in general. For investors there is a special permit called “Unique Investor Permit.” Foreign investors are issued a 2-year unique investor permit if they invest in Albania and meet certain criteria, including a quota ratio of one to five, of foreign and Albanian workers. In addition, same ratio should be preserved in the Board of Directors and other leading and supervisory structures of the company. Salaries of the Albanian workers should match the average of last year for equivalent positions. The permit can be renewed for an additional three years and after that the investor is eligible to receive a permanent permit provided that they fulfil the criteria outlined above and prove that the company is properly registers, has paid taxes and is not incurring losses.

The Council of Ministers approves the annual quota of foreign workers following a needs assessment by sector and profession. However, work permits for staff that occupy key positions, among other categories, can be issued outside the annual quota.

Foreign investors can obtain the single permit by the immigration authorities following the initial approval for employment from the National Agency for Employment and Skills (  ). U.S. citizens along with EU, Western Balkans, and Schengen-country citizens are exempt from this requirement. In addition, U.S., EU, and Kosovo citizens when applying for residency permit for the first time, have a term of 5 years. The new law also introduced the National Electronic Register for Foreigners (NERF), which is a state database on foreigners, who enter or intend to enter Albania, with purpose of staying, transiting, working, or studying in Albania. NERF will register data on foreign nationals, who have an entry visa, stay, or transit in the Republic of Albania, have a temporary or permanent residence permit, and have a have a unique permit (residence and employment) in Albania.

The Law on Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies sets guidelines on the activities of companies and the legal structure under which they may operate. The government adopted the law in 2008 to conform Albanian legislation to the EU’s Acquis Communitaire. The most common type of organization for foreign investors is a limited liability company.

The Law on Public Private Partnerships and Concessions establishes the framework for promoting and facilitating the implementation of privately financed concessionary projects. According to the law, concession projects may be identified by central or local governments or through third party unsolicited proposals. To limit opportunities for corruption, the 2019 amendments prohibited unsolicited bids, beginning in July 2019, on all sectors except for works or services in ports, airports, generation and distribution of electricity, energy for heating, and production and distribution of natural gas. In addition, the 2019 amendments removed the zero to 10 percent bonus points for unsolicited proposals, which gave companies submitting unsolicited bids a competitive advantage over other contenders. Instead, if the party submitting the unsolicited proposal does not win the bid, it will be compensated by the winning company for the cost of the feasibility study, which in no case shall exceed 1 percent of the total cost of the project.

Competition and Antitrust Laws

The Albanian Competition Authority (   ) is the agency that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns. The Law on Protection of Competition governs incoming foreign investment whether through mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, or green-field investments, irrespective of industry or sector. The law is broadly in line with the EU legislation on competition. In the case of share transfers in insurance, banking and non-banking financial industries, the Financial Supervisory Authority (  ) and the Bank of Albania (  )may require additional regulatory approvals. Transactions between parties outside Albania, including foreign-to-foreign transactions, are covered by the competition law, which states that its provisions apply to all activities, domestic or foreign, that directly or indirectly affect the Albanian market. The ( Competition Authority  ) publishes in its pages all the cases and decisions. Parties can appeal the decision of the Competition Authority to the Tirana First Instance Court within 30 days of receiving the notification. The appeal does not suspend the enforcement of the decision that authorize concentrations and the temporary measures.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Albanian constitution guarantees the right of private property. According to Article 41, expropriation or limitation on the exercise of a property right can occur only if it serves the public interest and with fair compensation. During the post-communist period, expropriation has been limited to land for public interest, mainly infrastructure projects such as roads, energy infrastructure, water works, airports, and other facilities. Compensation has generally been reported as being below market value and owners have complained that the compensation process is slow, unfair and the institutions fail to observe proper procedures. Civil courts are responsible for resolving such complaints.

Changes in government can also affect foreign investments. Following the 2013 elections and peaceful transition of power, the new government revoked or renegotiated numerous concession agreements, licenses, and contracts signed by the previous government with both domestic and international investors. This practice has occurred in other years as well.

There are many ongoing disputes regarding property confiscated during the communist regime. Identifying ownership is a longstanding problem in Albania that makes restitution for expropriated properties difficult. The restitution and compensation process started in 1993 but has been slow and marred by corruption. Many U.S. citizens of Albanian origin have been in engaged in long-running restitution disputes. Court cases go on for years without a final decision, causing many to refer their case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France. A significant number of applications are pending for consideration before the ECHR. Even after settlement in Strasbourg, enforcement remains slow.

To address the situation, Albania approved new property compensation legislation in 2018 that aims to resolve pending claims for restitution and compensation. The 2018 law reduces the burden on the state budget by changing the cash compensation formula. The legislation presents three methods of compensation for confiscation claims: restitution; compensation of property with similarly valued land in a different location; or financial compensation. It also set a ten-year timeframe for completion of the process. In February 2020, the Albanian parliament approved a law “On the Finalization of the Transitory Process of Property Deeds in the Republic of Albania,” which aims to finalize land allocation and privatization processes contained in 14 various laws issued between 1991 and 2018.

Albania has generally not engaged in expropriation actions against U.S. investments, companies, or representatives. There have been limited cases in which the government has revoked licenses, specifically in the mining and energy sectors, based on contract violation claims.

The Law on Strategic Investments, approved in 2015, empowers the government to expropriate private property for the development of private projects deemed special strategic projects. Despite the provision that the government would act when parties fail to reach an agreement, the clause is a source of controversy because it entitles the government to expropriate private property in the interest of another private party. The expropriation procedures are consistent with the law on the expropriation, and the cost for expropriation would be incurred by the strategic investor. The provision has yet to be exercised.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Albania is a member state to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention) and is a signatory to the convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention). In addition, Albania ratified the 1961 European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (Geneva Convention).
Under the Albanian Constitution, ratified international agreements prevail over domestic legislation. The country has no specific domestic legislation providing for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards are regulated by provisions stipulated in the Code of Civil Procedure.

For an international arbitration award to be recognized locally, the claimant must bring the award before the Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court will not adjudicate the merits of the case and can strike down the award only for the reasons listed in Article V of the New York Convention.

The possibility of bringing an action before the local court to avoid arbitration proceedings is remote. According to provisions in the Albanian Code of Civil Procedure, if a party brings actions before local courts despite the parties’ agreement to arbitrate, the court would, upon motion of the other party, dismiss the case without entertaining its merits. The decision of the court to dismiss the case can be appealed to the Supreme Court, which has 30 days to consider the appeal. There is no legal precedent to date, of local courts refusing to recognize or enforce binding international arbitral awards.

The Albanian Code of Civil Procedure requires the courts to reach a judgment in a reasonable amount of time but does not provide a specific timeline for adjudicating commercial disputes. Reaching a final judgment in commercial litigation can take several years.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Albania signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty with United States in 1995, which entered into force in 1998. Foreign investors opt to include international arbitration clauses in their contracts with Albanian parties because the court system is not responsive or due to concerns about corruption.

Over the past ten years, there have been three investment disputes between the GoA and U.S. companies, two of which resulted in international arbitration. Currently, there is an active claim at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) , by a U.S. investor that holds a minority stake in the company under the Albania – United States of America Bilateral Investment Treaty. Despite Albania’s stated desire to attract and support foreign investors, U.S. investors in disputes with Albania reported a lack of productive dialogue with government officials, who frequently displayed a reluctance to settle the disputes before they were escalated to the level of international arbitration, or before the international community exerted pressure on the government to resolve the issue. U.S. investors in Albania should strongly consider including binding arbitration clauses in any agreements with Albanian counterparts.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

An alternative to dispute settlement via the courts is private arbitration or mediation. Parties can engage in arbitration when they have agreed to such a provision in the original agreement, when there is a separate arbitration agreement, or by agreement at any time when a dispute arises.

Albania does not have a separate law on domestic arbitration. In 2013, Albania amended the Civil Procedure Code providing for the repeal of all domestic arbitration provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, upon entry into force of a new law on arbitration. Albania submitted the draft to Parliament in 2013. In 2020, Albania drafted a new law on arbitration covering both domestic and international arbitration. The draft was last published for public consultations in 2020 and is still not approved by the parliament.

Parties may engage in domestic arbitration because the Code of Civil Procedure guarantees the enforcement of domestic arbitral awards, which are final and enforceable and can be appealed only in cases foreseen in the Code of Civil Procedure. The arbitral award becomes enforceable based on an execution order issued by the district court. Mediation is also available for resolving all civil, commercial, and family disputes and is regulated by the law On Dispute Resolution through Mediation. The mediation agreement is an executive title and can be executed by the bailiff’s office.

The provisions for the recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are stipulated in the Albanian Code of Civil Procedure. Albania is signatory to the 1958 New York Convention and therefore recognizes the validity of written arbitration agreements and arbitral awards in a contracting state.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Albania maintains adequate bankruptcy legislation, though corrupt and inefficient bankruptcy court proceedings make it difficult for companies to reorganize or discharge debts through bankruptcy.

A 2016 law on bankruptcy aimed to close loopholes in the insolvency regime, decrease unnecessary market exit procedures, reduce fraud, and ease collateral recovery procedures. The Bankruptcy Law governs the reorganization or liquidation of insolvent businesses. It sets out non-discriminatory and mandatory rules for the repayment of the obligations by a debtor in a bankruptcy procedure. The law establishes statutory time limits for insolvency procedures, professional qualifications for insolvency administrators, and an Agency of Insolvency Supervision to regulate the profession of insolvency administrators.

Debtors and creditors can initiate a bankruptcy procedure and can file for either liquidation or reorganization. Bankruptcy proceedings may be invoked when the debtor is unable to pay the obligations at the maturity date or the value of its liabilities exceeds the value of the assets.
According to the provisions of the Bankruptcy Law, the initiation of bankruptcy proceedings suspends the enforcement of claims by all creditors against the debtor subject to bankruptcy. Creditors of all categories must submit their claims to the bankruptcy administrator. The Bankruptcy Law provides specific treatment for different categories, including secured creditors, preferred creditors, unsecured creditors, and final creditors whose claims would be paid after all other creditors were satisfied. The claims of the secured creditors are to be satisfied by the assets of the debtor, which secure such claims under security agreements. The claims of the unsecured creditors are to be paid out of the bankruptcy estate, excluding the assets used for payment of the secured creditors, following the priority ranking as outlined in the Albanian Civil Code.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Bankruptcy Law, creditors have the right to establish a creditors committee. The creditors committee is appointed by the Commercial Section Courts before the first meeting of the creditor assembly. The creditors committee represents the secured creditors, preferred creditors, and the unsecured creditors. The committee has the right (a) to support and supervise the activities of the insolvency administrator; (b) to request and receive information about the insolvency proceedings; (c) to inspect the books and records; and (d) to order an examination of the revenues and cash balances.

If the creditors and administrator agree that reorganization is the company’s best option, the bankruptcy administrator prepares a reorganization plan and submits it to the court for authorizing implementation.

According to the insolvency procedures, only creditors whose rights are affected by the proposed reorganization plan enjoy the right to vote, and the dissenting creditors in reorganization receive at least as much as what they would have obtained in a liquidation. Creditors are divided into classes for the purposes of voting on the reorganization plan and each class votes separately. Creditors of the same class are treated equally. The insolvency framework allows for the continuation of contracts supplying essential goods and services to the debtor, the rejection by the debtor of overly burdensome contracts, the avoidance of preferential or undervalued transactions, and the possibility of the debtor obtaining credit after commencement of insolvency proceedings. No priority is assigned to post-commencement over secured creditors. Post-commencement credit is assigned over ordinary unsecured creditors.

The creditor has the right to object to decisions accepting or rejecting creditors’ claims and to request information from the insolvency representative. The selection and appointment of insolvency representative does not require the approval of the creditor. In addition, the sale of substantial assets of the debtor does not require the approval of the creditor. According to the law on bankruptcy, foreign creditors have the same rights as domestic creditors with respect to the commencement of, and participation in, a bankruptcy proceeding. The claim is valued as of the date the insolvency proceeding is opened. Claims expressed in foreign currency are converted into Albanian currency according to the official exchange rate applicable to the place of payment at the time of the opening of the proceeding.

The Albanian Criminal Code contains several criminal offenses in bankruptcy, including (i) whether the bankruptcy was provoked intentionally; (ii) concealment of bankruptcy status; (iii) concealment of assets after bankruptcy; and (iv) failure to comply with the obligations arising under bankruptcy proceeding.

According to the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, Albania ranked 39th out of 190 countries in the insolvency index. A referenced analysis of resolving insolvency can be found at the following link: 

Investment Incentives

The Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA; ) is the best source to find incentives offered across a variety of sectors. Aside from the incentives listed below, individual parties may negotiate additional incentives directly with AIDA, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, or other ministries, depending on the sector.

To boost investments in strategic sectors, Albania approved a Law on Strategic Investments in May 2015 that outlines the criteria, rules, and procedures that state authorities employ when approving a strategic investment. Albania has extended the deadline to apply to qualify as a strategic investment to December 2023. A strategic investment is defined as an investment of public interest based on several criteria, including the size of the investment, implementation time, productivity and value added, creation of jobs, sectoral economic priorities, and regional and local economic development. The law does not discriminate between foreign and domestic investors. To date, the vast majority of projects approved under this law have been to domestic investors in the tourism sector.

The following sectors are defined as strategic sectors: mining and energy, transport, electronic communication infrastructure, urban waste industry, tourism, agriculture (large farms) and fishing, economic zones, and development priority areas. Investments in strategic sectors may obtain assisted procedure and special procedure, based on the level of investment, which varies from EUR one million to EUR 100 million, depending on the sector and other criteria stipulated in the law.

In the assisted procedure, public administration agencies coordinate, assist, and supervise the entire administrative process for investment approval and makes state-owned property needed for the investment available to the investor. Under the special procedure, the investor also enjoys state support for the expropriation of private property and the ratification of the contract by parliament.

The law and bylaws that entered into force on January 1, 2016, established the Strategic Investments Committee (SIC), a commission in charge of approving strategic investments. The Committee is headed by the prime minister and members include ministers covering the respective strategic sectors, the state advocate, and relevant ministers whose portfolios are affected by the strategic investment. AIDA serves as the Secretariat of SIC and oversees providing administrative support to investors. The SIC grants the status of assisted procedure and special procedure for strategic investments and investors based on the size of investments and other criteria defined in the law.

Major Incentives Albania Offers:

Energy and Mining, Transport, Electronic Communication Infrastructure, and Urban Waste Industry: Investments greater than EUR 30 million enjoy the status of assisted procedure, while investments of EUR 50 million or more enjoy special procedure status.
The government offers power purchasing agreements (PPA) for 15 years for electricity produced from hydroelectric plants with an installed capacity of less than 15 megawatts. The government also offers feed-in-premium tariff for solar installations with installed capacity of less than two megawatts and for wind installation of less than three megawatt through a competitive tendering process. The Energy Regulatory Authority (ERE) (  ) conducts an annual review of the feed-in-premium tariffs for wind and photovoltaic parks. The ERE also conducts an annual review of the feed-in-tariffs for small hydroelectric plants with an installed capacity of less than 15 megawatts. Certain machinery and equipment imported for the construction of hydropower plants are VAT exempt. Imports of machinery and equipment for investments of greater than EUR 400,000 for small wind and solar parks with an installed capacity of less than three megawatts and two megawatts, respectively, enjoy a VAT exemption. Imports of hot water solar panels for household and industrial use are also VAT exempt.

Tourism and Agritourism:  Investments of five million euro or more enjoy the status of assisted procedure, while investments greater than EUR 50 million enjoy the status of special procedure. In 2018, Albania introduced new incentives to promote the tourism sector. International hotel brands that invest at least USD 8 million for a four-star hotel and USD 15 million for a five-star hotel are exempt from property taxes for 10 years, pay no profit taxes, and pay a VAT of 6 percent for any service on their hotels or resorts. For all other hotels and resorts, Albania reduced the VAT on accommodation from 20 percent to 6 percent. Profit taxes for agritourism ventures were reduced to 5 percent from 15 percent previously, while VAT for accommodation is now 6 percent, down from 20 percent. Five-star hotels and agritourism facilities are exempt from the tax on impact on infrastructure while both four and five start hotels are exempt from tax on buildings.

Agriculture (Large Agricultural Farms) and Fishing:  Investments greater than EUR three million that create at least 50 new jobs enjoy the status of assisted procedure, while investments greater than EUR 50 million enjoy the status of special procedure. In addition, Albania offers a wide range of incentives and subsidies for investments in the agriculture sector. The funds are a direct contribution from the state budget and the EU Instrument of Pre-Accession for Rural Development Fund (IPARD.) IPARD funds allocated for the period 2018-2020 totaled EUR 71 million. The program is managed by the Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (  ). Agricultural inputs, agricultural machinery, and veterinary services are exempt from VAT. The government offers other subsidies to agricultural farms and wholesale trade companies that export agricultural products.
Some incentives offered in the agriculture sector include: Zero VAT for agricultural machineries and for 27 fishing industry items including ships, nets, electronic equipment, refrigerators, ship engines, etc. Zero tariff for the registration and compulsory vaccination of livestock. Zero tax for the purchase of diesel from fishing vessels (0 excise, 0 fuel tax, 0 carbon tax.) A reduction of profit tax up to 5 percent for Agricultural Cooperative Societies and 10 percent VAT for supply of agricultural inputs including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, and seedlings. In addition, those investing in agriculture sector can rent agriculture land from 10 to 99 years.

Development Priority Areas:  Investments greater than EUR one million that create at least 150 new jobs enjoy the status of assisted procedure. Investments greater than EUR 10 million that create at least 600 new jobs enjoy the status of special procedure.

Foreign Tax Credit: Albania applies foreign tax credit rights even in cases where no double taxation treaty exists with the country in which the tax is paid. If a double taxation treaty is in force, double taxation is avoided either through an exemption or by granting tax credits up to the amount of the applicable Albanian corporate income tax rate (currently 15 percent). In 2019, Albania reduced the dividend tax from 15 percent to 8 percent.

Corporate Income Tax Exemption:  Film studios and cinematographic productions, licensed and funded by the National Cinematographic Center, are exempt from corporate income tax.

Loss Carry Forward for Corporate Income Tax Purposes:  Fiscal losses can be carried forward for three consecutive years (the first losses are used first). However, the losses may not be carried forward if more than 50 percent of direct or indirect ownership of the share capital or voting rights of the taxpayer is transferred (changed) during the tax year.

Lease of Public Property:  Albania can lease public property of more than 500 square meters or grant a concession for the symbolic price of one euro if the properties will be used for manufacturing activities with an investment exceeding EUR 10 million, or for inward processing activities. Albania can also lease public property or grant a concession for the symbolic price of one euro for investments of more than EUR two million for activities that address certain social and economic issues, as well as activities related to sports, culture, tourism, and cultural heritage. Criteria and terms are decided on an individual basis by the Council of Ministers.

Incentives for the Manufacturing Sector and ICT:  Albania reduced the profit tax from 15 percent to 5 percent for software development companies and the automotive industry. Manufacturing activities are exempt from 20 percent VAT on imports of machinery and equipment. The government offers a one-euro symbolic rent for government-owned property (land and buildings) for investments exceeding USD 2.7 million that create a minimum of 50 jobs. No VAT is charged for products processed for re-exports. Employers are exempt from paying social security tax for one year for all new employees.

The manufacturing sector obtains VAT refunds immediately in the case of zero risk exporters, within 30 days if the taxpayer is an exporter, and within 60 days in the case of other taxpayers.
Apparel and footwear producers are exempt from 20 percent VAT on raw materials if the finished product is exported. In 2011, Albania also removed customs tariffs for imported apparel and raw materials in the textile and shoe industries (e.g., leather used for clothes, cotton, viscose, velvet, sewing accessories, and similar items).

Technological and Development Areas (TEDA):  The Law on Economic Development Areas provides fiscal and administrative incentives for companies that invest in this sector and for firms that establish a presence in these areas. Major incentives include:

  • Capital expenses are 120 percent deductible during a period of two years if developers and users invest in TEDA within three years of its operation.
  • Developers and users are also exempted from 50 percent of the profit tax rate (currently at a rate of 15 percent) for a period of five years.
  • A developer’s project is exempted from infrastructure taxes.
  • Buildings in TEDA are exempted from real estate taxes for a period of five years.
  • Buildings transferred to the TEDA are not subject to the transfer tax on real estate.
  • Wages and social costs are 150 percent deductible for the first year, and new expenses for wages and social costs compared to the previous year are 150 percent deductible for the subsequent years.
  • Training costs are doubly deductible for a period of 10 years. Research and Development costs are doubly deductible for a period of ten years.
  • Albanian goods that enter TEDA are exempted from VAT taxation which is 20 percent.
  • Goods can be transported from one TEDA to another without paying custom duties or VAT.
  • From the moment goods enter Albania, they are exempted from custom duties and VAT.

For more information, please refer to: TEDA (   

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Albania has no functional duty-free import zones or free trade zones, although legislation exists for their creation. The May 2015 amendments to the Law on the Establishment and Operation of Technological and Development Areas (TEDAs) created the legal framework to establish TEDAs, defining the incentives for developers investing in the development of these zones and companies operating within the zones.

The Albanian government has granted the status of the Technological and Development Areas to TEDA Spitalle (49.1 ha), Koplik (61 ha) and Kashar (35 ha) (Tirana) but none has been developed to date. In 2020, the Committee on Strategic Investments granted the status of strategic investment to TEDA Kashar, proposed by Tirana Municipality. On March 20, 2023, the government approved a decision that enables Tirana Municipality to start the construction of TEDA Kashar in an area of approximately 35 hectares. This economic zone aims to attract investments in IT, automotive industry, manufacturing, etc. and, can expand further depending on progress.

Interested potential investors can find more information on TEDA Kashar, Tirana 

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

There are no performance requirements for foreign investors or minimum requirements for domestic content in goods or technology. Investment incentives are equally available to foreign and domestic investors. Investments in certain sectors require a license or authorization and procedures are similar for foreign and domestic investors.

Visa, residence, and work permit requirements are straightforward and generally do not pose an undue burden on potential investors. The government approved a new Law on Foreigners in June 2021, which partially aligns the domestic legislation, including that on migration, with the EU Directives. The new law introduces a single application procedure for permits. For investors there is a special permit called “Unique Investor Permit.” Foreign investors are issued a 2-year unique investor permit if they invest in Albania and meet certain criteria, including a quota ratio of one to five of foreign and Albanian workers. In addition, same ratio should be preserved in the Board of Directors and other leading and supervisory structures of the company. Salaries of the Albanian workers should match the average of last year for equivalent positions. The permit can be renewed for an additional three years and after that the investor is eligible to receive a permanent permit provided that they fulfil the criteria outlined above and prove that the company is properly registered, has paid taxes and is not incurring losses. U.S. citizens, when applying for the first time, receive a five-year permit. Foreign investors can obtain the single permit by the immigration authorities following the initial approval for employment from the National Agency for Employment and Skills (  .) U.S. citizens along with EU, Western Balkans, and Schengen-country citizens are exempt from this requirement. In addition, U.S., EU, and Kosovo citizens when applying for residency permit for the first time, have a term of 5 years. The new law also introduced the National Electronic Register for Foreigners (NERF), which is a state database on foreigners, who enter or intend to enter Albania, with purpose of staying, transiting, working, or studying in Albania. NERF will register data on foreign nationals, who have an entry visa, stay, or transit in the Republic of Albania, have a temporary or permanent residence permit, and have a have a unique permit (residence and employment) in Albania.

The Council of Ministers approves an annual quota of foreign workers following a needs assessment by sector and profession. However, work permits for staff that occupy key positions, among other categories, can be issued outside the annual quota.

Albanian legislation regulating the functioning of the National Agency of Information (AKSHI) requires that every company contracted by the government to develop a computer system provide the source code and all related technical documents of the system. In addition, every government system and its data must be hosted at the government datacenter maintained by AKSHI.

There are no legal restrictions to transferring business-related data abroad, except for a few cases that need prior consent. There are more stringent requirements for personal data. Albania has comprehensive legislation for the protection of personal data: the Law on the Protection of Personal Data, including by-laws, as well as the 1981 Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, and the Additional Protocol to the Convention regarding Supervisory Authorities and Trans-border Flows of Personal Data, ratified by Albania in 2004. The authority in charge of the protection of personal data is the Information and Data Protection Commissioner  .

Based on Albanian legislation, international transfers of personal data in countries deemed to have an adequate level of protection are not restricted. However, companies must notify the Commissioner in advance of any processing of personal data and any intention to transfer data to third countries. This applies to companies in foreign jurisdictions that operate in Albania using any means located within the country. To transfer data to third countries that do not have an adequate protection level, companies need prior authorization from the Commissioner. There are exemptions to this policy for certain data categories defined by the Commissioner as well as when certain conditions are met. Countries with an adequate protection level include EU member states, European Economic Area countries, members of the 1981 Convention and related protocol, and all countries approved by the European Commission.

Many foreign companies operating in Albania that process sensitive data opt to keep their data in Albania.

Real Property

Individuals and investors face significant challenges with protection and enforcement of property rights in Albania. Despite improvements with the recording system, the inadequate state of the data remains a risk for title security and a constraint to investment and the property sector is identified by the government as one of the most exposed to corruption. Government has established since 2020 E-Albania, an online portal where citizens can apply for several public services including the property title. However, procedures to obtain property titles are still cumbersome. To streamline the property management process, Albania established in April 2019 the State Cadaster Agency (ASHK), which merged different agencies responsible for property registration, compensation, and legalization, including the Immovable Property Registration Office (IPRO), the Agency of Inventory and Transfer of Public Properties (AITPP), and the Agency for the Legalization and Urbanization of Informal Areas (ALUIZNI). Furthermore, Law 20/2020 on the finalization of transitional ownership processes adopted in March 2020, specifically aims to consolidate property rights by finalizing land allocation and privatization processes contained in 14 various laws issued between 1991 and 2018.

According to the European Commission Report 2022 on Albania, the registration and digitalization of cadastral data has continued but at a slower pace. The International Property Index, a publication of the Property Rights Alliance  claim that Albania ranks 97th out of 129 countries in their 2022 index on the overall physical property right or 22nd out of 25 countries in the Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Albania however does worse in terms of perception of physical property protection, ranking 117th and 24th respectively.

The property registration system has improved thanks to international donor assistance, but the process has moved forward slowly as Albania has yet to complete the initial registration of property titles in the country. In total, about 4 million properties were registered as part of the initial registration process. In December 2021, GoA launched a two-year project which aims to complete the digitization of the about 2.3 million remaining properties. The process is considered difficult since plot records for many of these properties are still only in paper form and often in poor and outdated condition. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of the data on registered properties is incorrect and almost 10 percent of Albania’s territory or about half a million properties remains unregistered, which includes also highly-value properties in the southern coastal area. Since 2020, the State Cadaster Agency has initiated the process of first registration for eight zones in the Himara municipality area that holds significant potential for the tourism industry. According to the State Cadastral Agency, the first registration process has been completed by the end of 2022 but complains on the process persist. Properties are commonly used as collateral to obtain a mortgage despite that only half of real estate purchases are made through loans from the banking sector while the rest is done through own funds. Property titles are available regardless of gender. There is a growing attention on including both spouses in the property registration system in order to avoid any discrimination especially against women.

The Agency for the Treatment of Property (ATP) continued assessing requests and distributing funds for compensation of properties. Since the entry into force of the law 133/2015 at the end of 2015 until end of 2022, 794 request for compensation have been executed with a financial cost of about 70 million USD and distributed a physical compensation of 713 hectares from the land fund.

Albania has registered an estimated 440,000 illegal structures, built without permits, and illicit construction continues to be a major impediment to securing property titles. A process that aims to legalize or eliminate such structures started in 2006 but has not been finalized yet. According to the most recent data, almost 200,000 legalization permits were issued through the end of 2020. The fluid situation has led to clashes between squatters, owners of allegedly illegal buildings, and the Albanian State Police including during the demolition of these structures to make way for public infrastructure projects. The National Inspectorate for the Protection of Territory has also demolished buildings it considers to have gross violations of construction laws.

According to the last World Bank’s “Doing Business Report,” which dates back in 2020, Albania performed poorly in the property registration category, ranking 98th out of 190 countries.  It took an average of 19 days and five procedures to register property, and the associated costs could reach 8.9 percent of the total property value. The civil court system manages property rights disputes, but verdicts can take years, authorities often fail to enforce court decisions, and corruption concerns persist within the judiciary.

Intellectual Property Rights

Albania is not included on the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) Special 301 Report or Notorious Markets List. Despite progress in the adoption of legislation on copyrights and industrial property rights in 2022, intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement and theft persist due to weak legal structures and poor enforcement. Counterfeit goods are present in some local markets and shopping malls, including software, garments, machines, and cigarettes. Albanian law protects copyrights, patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications, but enforcement of these laws remains weak. Regulators are ineffective at collecting fines and prosecutors rarely press charges for IPR theft. U.S. companies should consult an experienced IPR attorney and avoid potential risks by establishing solid commercial relationships and drafting strong contracts. According to the 2022 International Property Right Index, Albania ranks 99th out of 129 countries evaluated and 24th in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia which comprises 25 countries. While 79th in the subcategory of copyright protection and 23rd in trademark protection, Albania ranks 119th in terms of the perception for the protection of intellectual property. According to the American Chamber of Commerce 2022 Business Index, IPR protection ranks in the middle of the 27 indicators assessed but has deteriorated compared to the previous year.

In April 2022, the parliament adopted amendments to the law 35/2016 “On the copyright and other related rights”, which further aligns the legal framework with the EU acquis. The amendments also aim to regulate the functioning of Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) including the distribution process and percentage of fees collected by the CMOs. The government also adopted the National Strategy for Intellectual Property 2022 – 2025. Amendments to the Albanian Industrial Property Law, introducing new provisions regarding trade secrets and trademarks entered into force in 2021. The most significant change was the transposition of Directive (EU) 2016/943 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. In 2019, the Criminal Code was amended to include harsher punishments of up to three years in prison for IPR infringement. Additional amendments to the Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedures on enforcement of IP were introduced in 2021.

In the areas of copyright, patent, and trademarks, the two main government bodies responsible are the Copyright Directorate at the Ministry of Culture and the General Directorate of Industrial Property (GDIP), which is in charge of registering, administering, and promoting IPR. Other institutions responsible for IPR enforcement include the Copyright Division of the State Inspectorate for Market Surveillance (SIMS), the Audiovisual Media Authority (AMA), the General Directorate for Customs, the Tax Inspectorate, the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Police, and the courts. In 2018, the National Council of Copyrights was established as a specialized body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the law and certifying the methodology for establishing the tariffs. Two other important bodies in the protection and administration of IPR are the agencies for the Collective Management Organization (AAK) and the Copyrights Department within the Ministry of Culture. Four different AAKs have merged in 2017 to provide service into a sole window for the administration of IPR.

The State Inspectorate for Market Surveillance (SIMS)was established in 2016 and is responsible for the monitoring of the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The 2021 amendments to the IP law redefined the role and duties of the SIMS, as having the main responsibility to ensure the safety of non-food consumer products by forcing internal market inspections. In 2022, Copyright Division planned to carry out 690 inspections while the Industrial Property division 50, however the results are not available yet. In 2021, the Copyright Division of the SIMS carried out 501 inspections resulting in 80 administrative measures (53 fines and 27 warnings) while the Industrial property division carried out 11 inspections, resulting in 8 administrative measures (7 fines and one warning). Despite some improvements, actual law enforcement on copyrights continues to be problematic and copyright violations are persistent. The number of copyright violation cases brought to court remains low.

Customs Directorate also reports on the quantity of counterfeit goods it seizes and destroys annually, however data for 2022 is not yet available. In 2021, the customs administration suspended the release of 3,000 products suspected of infringing IPR (compared to over 23,000 such products in 2020). In cases of seized goods, the rights holder must provide the burden of proof and therefore must first inspect the goods to determine if they are infringing. The rights holder is also responsible for the storage and destruction of the counterfeit goods. Cigarettes are traditionally the most common counterfeited product seized by Customs.

The GDIP is responsible for registering and administering patents, commercial trademarks and service marks, industrial designs, and geographical indications. In 2021, there were 1,404 national and 2,107 international applications for registration of trademarks (compared to, respectively, 1,164 and 2,936 in 2020). Also, 49 applications for registration of industrial designs were submitted to the GDIP (compared to 15 in 2020). The number of applications for national patents amounted to 23 for 2021, almost the double of the applications recorded in 2020.

Albania is party to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patent Law Treaty, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Berne Convention, the Paris Convention, and is a member of the European Patent Organization. The government became party to the London Agreement on the Implementation of Article 65 of the European Convention for Patents in 2013. In 2018, Parliament approved the Law 34/2018 on Albania’s adherence to the Vienna Agreement for the International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks as well as the agreements of Lisbon and Locarno on international classification and protection of industrial designs. In June 2019, Albania joined the Geneva Act of WIPO’s Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IPR offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at  . Statistics on Albania’s can be found at: 

Resources for Rights Holders
Contact at Embassy Tirana on IPR issues:

Country resources:
American Chamber of Commerce
Address: Rr. Deshmoret e shkurtit, Sky Tower, kati 11 Ap 3 Tirana, Albania
Phone: +355 (0) 4225 9779
Fax: +355 (0) 4223 5350
List of local lawyers:

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The government has adopted policies to promote the free flow of financial resources and foreign investment in Albania.  Both law no. 7746 dated 1993 “On the Foreign Investments” the law 55/2015 on “Strategic Investments in Albania” support the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, and protection of foreign investments. Foreign investors have the right to expatriate all funds and contributions of their investment.  In accordance with IMF Article VIII, the government and Central Bank do not impose any restrictions on payments and transfers for international transactions.  Despite Albania’s shallow foreign exchange market, banks enjoy enough liquidity to support sizeable positions.  Portfolio investments continue to be a challenge because they remain limited mostly to company shares, government bonds, and real estate as the Tirana stock market remains non-operational.

In recent years, the constant reduction of non-performing loans has allowed commercial banks to loosen lending standards and increase overall lending especially as the economy has recovering from the severe COVID-19 economic disruption in 2020.  Non-performing loans (NPL) at the end of 2022 dropped to 5 percent compared to 5.65 percent one year ago.  Overall lending has steadily increased over the recent years and at the end of 2022 reached about USD 6.3 billion marking a 7 percent increase compared to 2021.  The credit market is competitive, especially since local banks compete to increase their share of the market.  Most mortgage and commercial loans are denominated in euros because rate differentials between local and foreign currency average 2 percent.  Average interest rates for new loans in domestic currency for the private sector reached 7 percent at the end of the last quarter of 2022 up from 5.7 percent during the first half.  In contrast, interest rate for new loans in euro reached 5.4 percent from 4.6 percent in the first half.  Commercial banks operating in Albania have improved the quality and quantity of services they provide, including a large variety of credit instruments, traditional lines of credit, and bank drafts, etc.  Reacting to the significant increase of inflation during 2022, Bank of Albania (BoA) has tightened its monetary policy increasing in different occasions the base interest rate to 2.75 percent in November last year compared to just 0.5 percent at the beginning of the year.

Money and Banking System

In the absence of an effective stock market, the domestic banking sector is the main channel for business financing.  The sector is sound, profitable, and well capitalized.  The Bank of Albania, the country’s Central Bank, is responsible for the licensing and supervision of the banking sector in Albania.  The banking sector is 100 percent privately owned and its total assets have steadily increased over the years amounting at USD 16.9 billion at the end of 2022 mostly based on customers deposits.   The number of banks has fallen to 11 in December 2022 from 16 in 2016, reflecting consolidation of Albania’s banking system and the departure of EU banks from the region.  As of December 2022, the Turkish National Commercial Bank (BKT) remains the largest bank in the market with 26.2 percent market share, followed by Albanian Credins Bank with 15.9 percent, and Austrian Raiffeisen Bank third with 15 percent.   The American Investment Bank is the only domestic bank with U.S. shareholders and ranks sixth with 6.2 percent of the banking sector’s total assets.

The number of bank outlets has decreased over the recent years also due to the consolidation.  In December 2022, Albania had 415 bank outlets.  However, both number of ATMs and POSs is following a positive trend as banks promote the use of cards.  At the end of 2022, there were 16,227 POSs nationwide and 855 ATMs up from respectively 13,741 and 822 one year ago.  Capital adequacy, at 18.13 percent in December 2022, remains above Basel requirements and indicates sufficient assets for the banking sector.  At the end of 2022, the return on assets dropped to 1.13 percent compared to 1.42 percent one year ago.

The operation of commercial banks including those foreign, is regulated by the law 9662/2006 “On the banks in Albania” known as the Banking Law.  It provides no discriminatory treatment to foreign banks branches or their subsidiaries.  Majority of banks operating in Albania are subsidiaries of foreign banks.  Only three banks have an ownership structure whose majority shareholders are Albanian.  However, the share of total assets of the banks with majority Albanian shareholders has increased because of the sector’s ongoing consolidation and is estimated at 27 percent at the end of 2022.  There are no restrictions for foreigners who wish to establish a bank account.  They are not required to prove residency status.  However, U.S. citizens must complete a form allowing for the disclosure of their banking data to the IRS as required under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. BoA reports that banks in Albania have not lost any correspondent banking relationship in the last years.  However, some banks with Albanian shareholders continue to have problems with finding correspondent banks due to their small volume of business.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Bank of Albania (BoA) formulates, adopts, and implements foreign exchange policies and maintains a supervisory role in foreign exchange activities in accordance with the Law on the Bank of Albania No. 8269 and the Banking Law.   Foreign exchange is regulated by the 2009 Regulation on Foreign Exchange Activities no. 70 (FX Regulation).

BoA maintains a free float exchange rate regime for the domestic currency, the Lek. Albanian authorities do not engage in currency arbitrage, nor do they view it as an efficient instrument to achieve competitive advantage.  BoA does not intervene to manipulate the exchange rate but only to increase/decrease the monetary reserves, counteract excessive volatility in the domestic exchange market and implement monetary policy objectives.  Domestic currency has strengthened against the euro and the dollar over the recent year based on economic growth as well as significant entry into the market of proceedings of illegal revenues.

Foreign exchange is readily available at banks and exchange bureaus.  Preliminary notification is necessary if the currency exchange is several million dollars or more – the law does not specify an amount but provides factors for determining the threshold for large exchanges – as the exchange market in Albania is shallow.  A 2018 campaign launched by the BoA to reduce the domestic use of the euro to improve the effectiveness of domestic economic policies has produced limited results.  The share of foreign currency loans in total loans is still 48.3 percent compared to 50.3 percent at the end of 2017.  Foreign currency deposits, which to some extent reflect relatively high remittances, reached 56.8 percent of total deposits in December 2022 compared to 54.6 percent one year ago.  Bank of Albania’s foreign reserves reached about 5.5 billion USD at the end of 2022, covering 6.8 months of imports.  In December 2020, BoA approved decision no. 80 which regulates its intervention in the domestic exchange market.

Remittance Policies

The Banking Law does not impose restrictions on the purchase, sale, holding, or transfer of monetary foreign exchange.  However, local law authorizes the BoA to temporarily restrict the purchase, sale, holding, or transfer of foreign exchange to preserve the foreign exchange rate or official reserves.  In practice, BoA rarely employs such measures.  Faced with the unprecedented economic disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 1, 2020, BoA ordered banks to halt distribution of dividends and use dividends to cover potential losses and increase loans to the economy.  The decision, initially in force till the end of 2020, was extended through the end of 2021.

The Law on Foreign Investment guarantees the right to transfer and repatriate funds associated with an investment in Albania into a freely usable currency at a market-clearing rate.  Only licensed entities (banks) may conduct foreign exchange transfers and waiting periods depend on office procedures adopted by the banks. Both Albanian and foreign citizens entering or leaving the country must declare assets in excess of 1,000,000 lek (USD 9,000) in hard currency and/or precious items.  Failure to declare such assets is considered a criminal act, punishable by confiscation of the assets and up to two years of imprisonment.

Although the Foreign Exchange (FX) Regulation, decision no. 70 “On Foreign Exchange Transactions” which dates 2009, provides that residents and non-residents may transfer capital within and into Albania without restriction, capital transfers out of Albania are subject to certain documentation requirements.  Persons must submit a request indicating the reasons for the capital transfer, a certificate of registration from the National Registration Center, and the address to which the capital will be transferred. Such persons must also submit a declaration on the source of the funds to be transferred.  In January 2015, the FX Regulation was amended and the requirement to present the documentation showing the preliminary payment of taxes related to the transaction was removed.

Albania is a member of MONEYVAL, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body.  In February 2020, Albania was re-included in the category of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, also referred to as the Grey List.  Albania had previously been on this list and was taken off in 2015.  In February 2023, the FATF made the initial determination that Albania has substantially completed its action plan appreciating Albania’s work to address its strategic deficiencies.  However, the FATF has not yet decided to authorize an on-site visit to the country to verify the implementation of Albania’s AML/CFT reforms because the FATF remains concerned of Albania’s apparent plans to establish a Voluntary Tax Compliance (VTC) program, also called fiscal amnesty, which does not comply with the FATF’s principles for managing the AML/CFT implications.  The 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) kept Albania in the “Major Money Laundering Jurisdictions” category following its inclusion for the first time in 2017.  The category implies that financial institutions of the country engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking.  Albania and the United States do not have a bilateral MLAT, but cooperation is possible through multilateral conventions.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Parliament approved a law in October 2019 to establish the Albanian Investment Corporation (AIC).  The law entered in force in January 2020.  The AIC would develop, manage, and administer state-owned property and assets, invest across all sectors by mobilizing state owned, private domestic and foreign capital, and promote economic and social development by investing in line with government-approved development policies.  More information on the AIC is here:

Albania plans to transfer state-owned assets, including state-owned land, to the AIC and provide initial capital to launch the corporation.  In December 2021, Albania transferred to the AIC close to USD 20 million but the 2022 budget foresees a return of these funds to the budget.  There are no projects announced by AIC as of March 2023.

The IMF Staff Concluding Statement  of November 26, 2019, warned that the law would allow the government to direct individual investment decisions, which could make the AIC an off-budget spending tool that risks eroding fiscal discipline and circumventing public investment management processes.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are defined as legal entities that are entirely state-owned or state-controlled and operate as commercial companies in compliance with the Law on Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies. The SOEs, like all other commercial companies, have the obligation to register with the Business Registration Center and their financial statements are public under the . SOEs operate mostly in the generation, distribution, and transmission of electricity, oil and gas, railways, postal services, ports, air traffic control, and water supply. There is no published list of SOEs.

The law does not discriminate between public and private companies operating in the same sector. The government requires SOEs to submit annual reports and undergo independent audits. SOEs are subject to the same tax levels and procedures and the same domestic accounting and international financial reporting standards as other commercial companies. The High State Audit audits SOE activities. SOEs are also subject to public procurement law.

Albania is yet to become party to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of the WTO but has obtained observer status and is negotiating full accession (see  ).  Private companies can compete openly and under the same terms and conditions with respect to market share, products and services, and incentives.

SOE operation in Albania is regulated by the Law on Entrepreneurs and Commercial Companies, the Law on State Owned Enterprises, and the Law on the Transformation of State-Owned Enterprises into Commercial Companies. The Ministry of Economy and Finance and other relevant ministries, depending on the sector, represent the state as the owner of the SOEs. SOEs are not obligated by law to adhere to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines explicitly. However, basic principles of corporate governance are stipulated in the relevant laws and generally accord with OECD guidelines. The corporate governance structure of SOEs includes the supervisory board and the general director (administrator) in the case of joint stock companies. The supervisory board comprises three to nine members, who are not employed by the SOE. Two-thirds of board members are appointed by the representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and one-third by the line ministry, local government unit, or institution to which the company reports. The Supervisory Board is the highest decision-making authority and appoints and dismisses the administrator of the SOE through a two-thirds vote.

Privatization Program

The privatization process in Albania is nearing conclusion, with just a few major privatizations remaining. Entities that might represents opportunities for privatization in the future include OSHEE, the state-run electricity distributor; 13.78 percent of shares Albania holds in the telecommunication company ONE Albania, and state-owned oil company Albpetrol. Other sectors might provide opportunities for privatization in the future.
The bidding process for privatizations is public, and relevant information is published by the Public Procurement Agency at   . Foreign investors may participate in the privatization program. The Agency has not published timelines for future privatizations.

Public awareness of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) in Albania is low, and CSR and RBC remains new concepts for much of the business community. The small level of CSR and RBC engagement in Albania comes primarily from international corporations operating in the energy, telecommunications, heavy industry, and banking sectors, and tends to focus on philanthropy and environmental issues. International organizations have recently improved efforts to promote CSR. Thanks to efforts by the international community and large international companies, the first Albanian CSR network was founded in March 2013 as a business-led, non-profit organization. The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania also formed a subcommittee in 2015 to promote CSR among its members.

Legislation governing CSR, labor, and employment rights, consumer protection, and environmental protection is robust, but enforcement and implementation are inconsistent. The Law on Commercial Companies and Entrepreneurs outlines generic corporate governance and accounting standards. According to that law and the Law on the National Business Registration Center, companies must disclose publicly when they change administrators and shareholders and to disclose financial statements. The Corporate Governance Code for unlisted joint stock companies incorporates the OECD definitions and principles on corporate governance but is not legally binding. The code provides guidance for Albanian companies and aims to provide best-practices while assisting Albanian companies to develop a governance framework. Albania has been a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since 2013.


Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor


Albania has a National Strategy on Climate Change, associated with two Action Plans on Climate Change mitigation and Adaptation respectively, which are aligned with the UN Policy on Climate Change. Albania signed and ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and the Solidarity and Just Transition, Silesia Declaration in 2018. The country has pledged to an effective transition to low GHG emissions. In 2019, Albania became member to the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Partnership, showing its commitment to ambitious implementation of its NDC under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

In July 2020, Albania submitted its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the period 2021-2030 to the Energy Secretariat for formal recommendations. In 2021, GOA enhanced the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in an effort to reduce the GHG emissions from all economic sectors, i.e. achieving 20.9 percent reduction in 2030 compared to the Business-As-Usual Scenario. According to the national legislation in place, the NDC document is to be revised every five years, the next one in 2025, aiming to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, these strategies do not specify expectations for the private sector contributions.
Following EU legislation and UN Conventions related to environmental protection to which Albania is party to, there are laws and by-laws as well as strategies and action plans regulating several issues, for example: regulating air pollution, biodiversity, and forestry. There is also a policy in place in carbon taxes. However, monitoring mechanisms to enable reporting on the scale of programs/plans implementations and verification are lacking. There are projects addressing the afforestation/deforestation’s Albaniarelated goals, through which the whole supply chain linked to forest commodities is tackled, mainly focused on the needs for capacity building towards to forest sustainable management. There are efforts towards green procurement with the assistance of developing agencies, but they are not yet finalized.

Albania ranks 6th in Climate Scope’s ranking of the most attractive markets for energy transition projects investment. . Albania has one of the lowest emissions per capita in Europe in part due to hydropower-dominant electricity generation and in part due to limited levels of industrial manufacturing.

Albania has a sound legal framework to fight corruption and prevent conflict of interest of public officials and politicians, including their family members. However, corruption continues to undermine the rule of law, jeopardize economic development, and prevent Albania from reaching its full potential. Foreign investors cite corruption including in the judiciary, government, public procurements, media, lack of transparency and competition, large informal economy, and poor enforcement of contracts as some of the biggest problems hampering the business environment in Albania.

Albania continues to rank poorly in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. Despite some improvement in Albania’s score from 2013 to 2016, progress in tackling corruption has been slow and unsteady. In 2022, Albania ranked 101 out of 180 countries, a slight improvement from 2021 ranking of 104 but still far from its best ranking of 2016, when it ranked 83rd out of 176 economies.

The passage of constitutional amendments in July 2016 to reform the judicial system was a major step forward, and reform, once fully implemented, is expected to position the country as a more attractive destination for international investors. U.S. and EU-supported judicial reforms are among the most significant development in Albania since the end of communism, and nearly one-third of the constitution was rewritten as part of the effort. The Special Prosecution Office (SPO) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), part of the Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK), established within the framework of judicial reform are making progress in investigating, prosecuting, and convicting those engaged in corruption and organized crime, including current or past senior officials and criminal kingpins. Further progress and intensification of the work by these specialized anticorruption structures and a continued record of investigations and convictions of high-level corruption would promote foreign and domestic investment and enable Albania to compete more successfully in the global economy.

The government has ratified several corruption-related international treaties and conventions and is a member of major international organizations and programs dealing with corruption and organized crime. Albania has ratified the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), the Additional Protocol to Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Albania has also ratified several key conventions in the broader field of economic crime, including the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (2001) and the Convention on Cybercrime (2002). Albania has been a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) since the ratification of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption in 2001 and is a member of the Stability Pact Anti-Corruption Initiative (SPAI). Albania is not a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. Albania has also adopted legislation for the protection of whistleblowers.

In 2017, the government announced a new online platform in 2017, “Shqiperia qe Duam ” (“The Albania We Want”), which invited citizens to submit complaints and allegations of corruption and misuse of office by government officials. The platform has a dedicated link for businesses. The Integrated Services Delivery Agency (ADISA), a government entity, provides a second online portal to report corruption. These portals have not proven to be effective.

In February 2020, Albania approved the establishment of the Special Anticorruption and Anti-Evasion Unit which operates under the Council of Ministers. The mission of the unit is the coordination between public institutions, agencies, and state-owned companies to discover, investigate and punish corruption and abusive practices. The National Network of Anti-Corruption Coordinators, a structure that is under the Minister of Justice, who also serves as the National Coordinator against corruption, became functional in 2021. The coordinators are placed in institutions that have the highest public perception of corruption. The coordinators collect, process, and analyze complaints filed by the citizens and businesses and report to the law enforcement authorities if necessary.

Albania has made significant progress in the field of asset forfeiture, though there is still progress to be made on investigations, prosecution, and final convictions for high-level corruption.

Resources to Report Corruption

Interested parties can file a complaint related to corruption directly to the coordinators embedded in the various institutions or by writing directly to them in the following e-mail,   They can also use the anti-corruption platform by filing a complaint at  

In addition, businesses can file corruption complaints with any Police Commissariat or Prosecution Office in the district they operate or with the Special Structure Against Organized Crime and Corruption (SPAK) when corruption cases involve high level officials.

Political violence is rare, the more recent instances being an attempt led by a former Albanian leader, designated by the USG for significant public corruption, to breach a party headquarters in January 2022 that required police intervention, and political protests in 2019 that included instances of civil disobedience, low-level violence and damage to property, and the use of tear gas by police. Albania’s April 2021 elections and transition to a new government were peaceful, as were its May 2023 local elections. On January 21, 2011, Albanian security forces shot and killed four protesters during a violent political demonstration. In its external relations, Albania has generally encouraged stability in the region and maintains friendly relations with neighboring countries.

Albania’s labor force numbers around 1.2 million people, according to official data. After peaking at 18.2 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the official estimated unemployment rate has significantly decreased in recent years thanks to the increase of employment, reduction of underreported labor and the emigration of thousands of Albanians. Unemployment reached 10.8 percent at the end of 2022 compared to 11.4 percent, one year ago marking a further improvement following the economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment among people aged 15-29 remains above 20 percent.

Around 40 percent of the population is self-employed in the agriculture sector. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), share of informal employment in the employed population was almost 57 percent in 2019, the highest in the region.

The institutions that oversee the labor market include the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the National Employment Service, the State Labor Inspectorate, and private entities such as employment agencies and vocational training centers.   Albania has adopted a wide variety of regulations to monitor labor abuses, but enforcement remains weak.

Outward labor migration remains an ongoing problem affecting the Albanian labor market especially in the IT and health sector. There is a growing concern about labor shortage for both skilled and unskilled workforces.  In recent years, media outlets have reported that a significant number of doctors and nurses have emigrated to the European Union, especially Germany. There has also been significant emigration to the United Kingdom. According to the World Bank, Albania has the lowest number of doctors per capita in the region with just 1.9 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants in 2020. Shortages of skilled labor and increases of public sector wages, mainly in health and education has driven up the average nominal monthly wage. In December 2022, the average public administration salary was approximately 75,000 lek (approximately USD 670) per month. Albania has announced it will increase the minimum wage by 11 percent to 40,000 lek per month (approximately USD 390) in April 2023, which remains still the lowest in the region. The lack of labor force especially in the footwear and textile inward processing industry as well as hospitality industry has forced local companies to import workers from Southeast Asia. Numbers are still low, but they are expected to grow further in the future.

In March 2019, parliament approved a new law on employment promotion, which defined public policies on employment and support programs. Albania has a tradition of a strong secondary educational system, while vocational schools are viewed as less prestigious and attract fewer students.  However, the government has more recently focused attention on vocational education. In the 2021-2022 academic year, 18,279, or 17.5 percent, of high school pupils were enrolled in vocational schools. Albania is shifting its attention on the ICT sector, and since January 2023, it is financing 50% of the cost of training for programing for everyone 16 and older.

The Law on Foreigners 79/2021 that was approved in July 2021 and various decisions of the Council of Ministers regulate the employment regime for foreigners in Albania. The law extends the same employment and self-employment rights of Albanian citizens to citizens of the five Western Balkan countries and provides the same benefits that the original law provided to the citizens of EU and Schengen countries.  Employment can also be regulated through special laws in the case of specific projects, or to attract foreign investment.  The Law on TEDA’s provides financial and tax incentives for investments in the zone. According to the law, 50 percent of wages and social contributions are deductible from the taxes during the first year of operation and the same for additional expenditures on salaries and social contributions in the following years. Moreover, spending on trainings and research and development are 200 percent deductible for a 10-year period.

The Labor Code includes rules regarding contract termination procedures that distinguish layoffs from terminations.  Employment contracts can be limited or unlimited in duration, but typically cover an unlimited period if not specified in the contract. Employees can collect up to 12 months of salary in the event of an unexpected interruption of the contract. Unemployment compensation is approximately 50 percent of the minimum wage. According to the 2022 World Economic Forum’s gender gap index report, Albania ranked 18 out of 146 countries (compared to 25 out of 153 countries for 2021). Albania ranks 23rd on the subcategory of economic participation and opportunity. The changes to the Labor Code introduced more measures to support gender equality in the labor market.

Pursuant to the Labor Code and the recently amended “Law on the Status of the Civil Employee,” both individual and collective employment contracts regulate labor relations between employees and management.  While there are no official data recording the number of collective bargaining agreements used throughout the economy, they are widely used in the public sector, mostly education, health, art and culture, and SOEs. In the private sector, collective agreements are used in the mining sector, footwear and textile, construction, agriculture, and hospitality. Albania has a labor dispute resolution mechanism as specified in the Labor Code, article 170 and article 188-198, but the mechanism is considered inefficient. State Inspectorate of Labor, Mediation and Reconciliation Office, and the court are the three bodies of the mechanism. Strikes are rare in Albania, mostly due to the limited power of the trade unions and they have not posed a significant risk to investments. However, in 2022, two strikes have been staged by the Independent Union of Mining asking for the signing of the collective agreement of the workers with the company.

Albania has been a member of the International Labor Organization since 1991 and has ratified 55 ILO conventions, including the eight Fundamental Conventions, the five Governance Conventions, and 42 Technical Conventions. The implementation of labor relations and standards continues to be a challenge, according to the ILO. Albanian Union claims that convention C087 and C098 are poorly implemented especially with allowing workers organization in the private sector for the collective agreements. On gender-based violence, in February 2022, Albania ratified the International Labor Organization Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (Convention No. 190). However, the national legal framework needs to be further harmonized with its provisions to ensure full implementation. The current legal framework is not fully aligned with key international standards, including the Istanbul Convention, and lacks a focus on the reintegration of, and access to services for, victims and survivors of violence.

See the U.S. Department of State Human Rights Report:; and the U.S. Department of Labor Child Labor Report:

The DFC is the successor of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). OPIC signed an agreement with Albania in 1991, which is still in force. DFC is America’s development bank and partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world. DFC provides equity financing, debt financing, political risk insurance, and technical development assistance. It focuses its work on less developed countries, classified by the World Bank as low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income countries. DFC prioritizes its work in low-income and lower-middle-income countries and operates with restrictions in upper middle-income countries. Albania classifies as an upper middle-income country.

Albania has also ratified the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantees Agency (MIGA) Convention. MIGA provides investment guarantees against certain non-commercial risks (i.e., political-risk insurance) to eligible foreign investors for qualified investments in developing member countries. MIGA’s coverage covers the following risks: currency transfer restriction, expropriation, breach of contract, war, terrorism, civil disturbance, and failure to honor sovereign financial obligations. For more information on MIGA, please see:   

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Albania
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2021 $18,259 2021 $18,259
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 190 2021 N/A BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 N/A 2021 $0 BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2021 62% 2021 55% UNCTAD data available at

*Host country and UNCTAD data differ due to different methodology.
Source for Host Country Data:
Ministry of Economy and Finances 
Bank of Albania 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Albania
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 10,089 100% Total Outward 831 100%
Switzerland 1,994 19.7% Kosovo 386 46%
The Netherlands 1,726 17.1% Italy 222 26.7%
Canada 1,358 13.5% United States 50 6%
Italy 1,047 10.5% North Macedonia 49 5.9%
Bulgaria 773 7.6% Greece 33 3.9%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Michael Ball
Economic and Commercial Officer
U.S. Embassy Tirana, Albania
Rruga Stavro Vinjau, Nr. 14
Tirana, Albania
+355 4 224 7285

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Albania
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