Albania: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in Albania

Punctuality is expected. Business cards are common and European practices are observed.

Anyone considering investing in Albania should bear in mind the prevalence of corruption, the presence of organised crime and the weakness of the judicial system; and seek the advice of the commercial attaché at their embassy in Tirana.

Office hours

Civil servants work Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and then 1430-1800 (finishing earlier on Fridays). Private companies tend to keep more traditionally Albanian hours, from 0800 or 0830 to 1500. Offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Economy

Since 1998, the Albanian economy has stabilised and grown, thanks mainly to the expansion of the construction industry. An increase in tourist activity in many of the seaside resorts has helped to expand the service industry. The agricultural market, which makes up over half of GDP, has grown as production has diversified. The economy is further bolstered by remittances from Albanians abroad, mainly in Greece and Italy, which account for at least 25% of GDP.

GDP

$12.9 billion (2008).

Main exports

Textiles, asphalt, metals, crude oil and tobacco.

Main imports

Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles and chemicals.

Main trading partners

Italy, Greece, Germany, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Keeping in Touch in Albania

Telephone

City codes: Tirana 042, Durresi 0522, Elbasani 0542, Shkodra 0222, Gjirokastra 0842, Korça 0822.

Mobile phone

Coverage is good, except in the most remote, mountainous areas.

Internet

Almost every sizeable town in Albania has public Internet access, usually via an Internet cafe. Some hotels, especially in Tirana, have broadband connections in the guest rooms; a few have Wi-Fi.

Post

The Albanian postal service is not 100% reliable, although it is not especially bad either. Important documents should be sent by courier. DHL and Federal Express have offices in Tirana and a few other cities. An internal courier service called ACS operates within Albania.

Post office hours

The central post office in Tirana is open from 0730 to 2000 Mon-Sun.

Media

Albania has a good diversity of print and electronic media, although the market is undeveloped which means that all privately-owned outlets are dependent to at least some extent on government advertising. Newspapers are often very partisan; indeed, three widely available papers are published by political parties. Political parties, religious groups and state bodies aren't allowed to own private TV and radio stations. The Albanian Daily News and Tirana Times are English-language newspapers; some Albanian newspapers contain a few pages in English; these include Gazeta Shqiptare.

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