Albania is a priority country of Switzerland’s transition cooperation with Eastern Europe. Over the past 20 years, the country has transitioned to a market economy showing steady growth. One of SECO’s main areas of support is Albania’s economic and fiscal policy. It also works to improve the framework conditions for local SMEs and helps to develop urban infrastructure and public utilities.
Compared with other European countries, Albania has weathered the economic crisis relatively well. Per capita income has grown by an average of 4% p.a. since the turn of the millennium. Still, the average income in Albania remains only around one-third of the European average.
Reforms driven by EU accession plans
Albania faces various challenges. First, it needs to improve the economic framework and, in particular, reduce high public debt. It also has to increase the quality of public services, strengthen local authorities and create more jobs, especially for young people. The country faces some serious environmental issues, for instance poor air quality and inadequate waste management.
As Albania has applied to join the EU, the country has already initiated several reform processes expected to bring political, social and economic progress.
What are SECO’s objectives?
Swiss support in Albania covers the following domains of intervention: democratic governance, economic development and employment, urban infrastructure and energy, and health. SECO’s main focus is on:
Better financial management and a more competitive private sector:
SECO supports Albania in reforming the way it manages its public funds. This includes making the accounting more transparent and managing debt more efficiently. This work covers also municipalities, which have recently received more responsibilities from the central government. SECO is also supporting Albania to improve the investment climate and make its private sector more competitive.
Sustainable urban development and energy supply:
SECO is working to improve public services at a local level. It helps the authorities deliver an affordable and reliable supply of running water and build an efficient sanitation and waste management system. SECO also contributes to improving energy security. It encourages the use of different fuels and helps to safeguard a more reliable and efficient supply of energy from existing sources.
SECO and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) jointly define and implement the Swiss Cooperation Strategy in Albania.
From 2018 to 2021, a total of some CHF 105 million is earmarked for Swiss transition cooperation with Albania, of which around CHF 38 million is from SECO.
Last modification 10.09.2019