Albania, with a population of approximately 3.5 million people, has had an open market economy since 1991 though the country’s potential (mineral and otherwise) is largely untapped. The capital Tirana is the country’s commercial and administrative centre. The population of Albania is relatively young, (average age of 32) and the majority of people speak English, Greek and/or Italian. There is an ongoing effort in the country to improve infrastructure, sanitation facilities and wealth creation amongst its population as part of an overall bid to eventually join the European Union.

Albania operates under a multi-party democratic system. The President is elected by the People’s Assembly, which consists of both directly and proportionally elected members.  Albania has been a member of the United Nations since 1955. It belongs to numerous specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization, the World Bank and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

In cooperation on environmental issues, Albania participates in the Basel Convention on hazardous waste, the convention on biological diversity, and UN Conventions of the Law of the Seas on climate change. In addition to this, Albania is also a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

Other key metrics:

  • Major industry privatization and government investment in infrastructure
  • 250% GDP per capita rise since 2000
  • 2009 elections conformed to EU democratic standards
  • Credit insurance rating is a 3 for political risk (1 = best; 7 = worst)
  • Free trade agreements with 26 countries (including the U.S.)
  • Lowered trade tariffs

Mining in Albania
 In 1995 the Albanian government adopted a law to privatize the mining industry. Administrative preparation began in 1996 and to date the government continues to grant exploration concessions to international companies and individuals. Albania, with a total area of 28,000km2, has been a producer of copper and nickel since the 1930s. After WW2, Communist state-run initiatives to mine became a priority. From the late 1970s to the 1990s, Albania was one of the world’s greatest exporters of chromite. Collapse in mining production followed the demise of the Communist regime and mining has been made into a priority by recent governments as a means to create jobs and export income.