Coat of Arms
President Bujar Nishani
»Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
»28,748 km2 (143rd)
» Per capita -$11,700
» Per capita -$5,261
»(DST) CET (UTC+1CEST (UTC+2)
It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
Albania is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organization.
It is one of the founding members of the Energy Community and the Union for the Mediterranean. It is also an official candidate for membership in the European Union.
The modern-day territory of Albania was at various points in history part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southernIllyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior.
The modern Republic became independent after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars.
Albania declared independence in 1912 (to be recognised in 1913), becoming a Principality, Republic, and Kingdom until being invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, which in turn became a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. In 1944, a socialist People’s Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour.
In 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was established.
Albania’s transition from a socialist centrally planned economy to free-market capitalism has been largely successful.
There are signs of increasing investments, and power cuts are reduced to the extent that Albania is now exporting energy.
In 2012, its GDP per capita (expressed in Purchasing Power Standards) stood at 30% of the EU average while AIC (Actual Individual Consumption) was 35%. Still, Albania has shown potential for economic growth, as more and more businesses relocate there and consumer goods are becoming available from emerging market traders as part of the current massive global cost-cutting exercise.
Albania, Cyprus, and Poland are the only countries in Europe that recorded economic growth in the first quarter of 2010. International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted 2.6% growth for Albania in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011.
Albania and Croatia have discussed the possibility of jointly building a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkoder, close to the border with Montenegro, a plan that has gathered criticism from Montenegro due to seismicity in the area.
In addition, there is some doubt whether Albania would be able to finance a project of such a scale with a total national budget of less than $5 billion. However, in February 2009 Italian company Enel announced plans to build an 800 MW coal-fired power plant in Albania, to diversify electricity sources.
Nearly 100% of the electricity is generated by ageing hydroelectric power plants, which are becoming more ineffective due to increasing droughts. However, there have been many private investments in building new hydroelectric power plants such as Devoll Hydropower Plant, the Ashta hydropower plant etc.
The country has large deposits of petroleum and natural gas, and produced 26.000 barrels of oil per day in the first quarter of 2014 (BNK-TC).
Natural gas production, estimated at about 30 million m³, is sufficient to meet consumer demands. Other natural resources include coal, bauxite, copper and iron ore.
Agriculture is the most significant sector, employing a significant proportion of the labor force and generating about 21% of GDP. Albania produces significant amounts of wheat, corn, tobacco, figs (13th largest producer in the world) and olives.
Albania is ranked 81 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.195465
Top 5 Products exported by Albania
- Crude Petroleum (23%),
- Leather Footwear (9.3%),
- Footwear Parts (5.3%),
- Semi-Finished Iron (3.4%),
- Chromium Ore (3.3%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Albania
Top 5 Products imported by Albania
- Refined Petroleum (13%),
- Cars (4.5%),
- Packaged Medicaments (3.2%),
- Raw Iron Bars (2.0%),
- Petroleum Gas (1.9%)
Top 5 Import origins of Albania
- Italy (34%),
- Greece (9.8%),
- China (7.0%),
- Germany (6.2%),
- Turkey (6.0%)
A large part of Albania’s national income comes from tourism. Tourism – as of 2013 – funds 10% of its gross domestic product, and this is expected to increase.
Albania welcomed around 4.2 million visitors in 2012, mostly from neighbouring countries and the European Union. In 2011, Albania was recommended as a top travel destination, by Lonely Planet.
In 2014 Albania was nominated number 4 global touristic destination by New York Times The number of tourists has increased by 20% for 2014 as well .
The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea coast.
The latter has the most beautiful and pristine beaches, and is often called the Albanian Riviera. Albanian seaside has a considerable length of 450 km, including even the lagoon area which you find within.
The seaside has a particular character because it is rich in varieties of sandy beaches, capes, cove’s, covered bays, lagoons, small gravel beaches, sea caves etc.
Some parts of this seaside are very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective unexplored areas, very rare in Mediterranean area.
The increase in foreign visitors is dramatic, Albania had only 500,000 visitors in 2005, while in 2012 had an estimated 4.2 million tourists. An increase of 740% in only 7 years.
Several of the country’s main cities are situated along the pristine seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. An important gateway to the Balkan Peninsula, Albania’s ever-growing road network provides juncture to reach its neighbors in north south east, and west.
Albania is within close proximity to all the major European capitals with short two or three-hour flights that are available daily. Tourists can see and experience Albania’s ancient past and traditional culture.
Seventy percent of Albania’s terrain is mountainous and there are valleys that spread in a beautiful mosaic of forests, pastures, springs framed by high peaks capped by snow until late summer spreads across them.
Albanian Alps, part of the Prokletije or Accursed Mountains range in Northern Albania bearing the highest mountain peak. The most beautiful mountainous regions that can be easily visited by tourists are Dajti, Thethi, Voskopoja, Valbona, Kelmendi, Prespa, Dukat and Shkreli.
- The coastline is always a place to go, with its clear turquoise seas, and its many islands cast upon it, like in Saranda, the southern most coastal city in Albania. Note that more than half of the coastline stretching to the north of Vlore and up to the Montenegrin border contains sand beaches while the Albanian Riviera stretching south of Vlore is made up of rocky beaches.
- Along the Albanian Riviera, from Vlore to about Qeparo there exist mainly wooden villa complexes, bed and breakfasts, camping sites and a few beach resorts as accommodation facilities.
- Llogara Pass is a mountain pass located near Llogara National Park offering a majestic view of the riviera from above.
- Nearby is found Cesar’s Pass, the place where Julius Cesar passed in his pursuit of Pompey.
- Dajti Mountain, a popular site in Tirana allows you to get a whole green view of the capital.
- A walk around southern cities like Butrint, a UNESCO world heritage site, is always ideal and memorable. Butrint is home to many ancient ruins.
- Castles are in many cities in Albania. Their beauty reminds anyone of the ancient times of Albania, and the world.
- There is Petrela Castle near Tirana, Rozafa castle in Shkodra, the inhabited castle of Berat, and Skanderbeg Castle in Kruje, (named after the national hero and now a popular museum holding his belongings).
- In southern Albania, you can see the influence of Turks and Greeks. In northern Albania, you can see many ancient Illyrian ruins and very little foreign influence.