Albania flag Albania: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Albania

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Albania is a transition economy, not highly integrated into global capital flows but showing strong economical performances. The country has been impacted by the difficulties of the Eurozone, which is the destination of almost 80% of its exports and the largest investor in the country. The Albanian economy has maintained positive momentum despite the repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and grew an estimated 4% in 2022 (IMF) fuelled by robust activity in the tourism, real estate, and services sectors. Considering the difficult situation of partner economies and reflecting tighter financial conditions, the IMF projects growth at 2.5% this year and 3.2% in 2024, although uncertainty remains high at the global level.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the budget deficit and the public debt ratio were lower than expected, but fiscal space remains limited. According to IMF data, public debt represented 70.3% of GDP in 2022 and is expected to narrow to 68.5% by 2024 helped by continued economic growth. The budget deficit was estimated at 3.3% of GDP in 2022, with the 2023 fiscal budget projecting a deficit of 2.6% in GDP (when the primary balance should return positive, at 0.2% of GDP). Revenue-related reforms progressed, but investment expenditure remains weak. Inflation jumped to 6.2% in 2022 and is expected to decelerate in 2023 (4.3%) before returning to the central bank’s target of 3% by mid-2024 (IMF), as international commodity prices stabilize, fiscal and monetary policies tighten, and growth slows.

After the peaks reached during the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate resumed its downward path and was estimated at 10.3% in 2022 by the IMF. Over the forecast horizon, it is projected to hover around 10%. Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe (with a GDP per capita PPP of USD 17,858 in 2022 - IMF). Although the situation improved in the two last decades, Albania still has the largest poverty headcount in the Western Balkans (around 37% of the population as per the World Bank's latest figures). Increased public service digitalisation, financial inclusion, and labour inspections benefitted the business environment and the formalisation of the economy, but a large share of GDP (estimated at around 50%) is still accounted for by the informal economy, which hinders the economic reform agenda. After several years of procrastination, Albania finally began official accession talks with the European Union in July 2022.

 
Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 15.1618.3118.2618.8419.86
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.58.54.02.53.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 5,2686,3736,3696,5926,969
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 75.973.970.370.268.5
Inflation Rate (%) 1.62.06.24.33.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 11.710.610.310.010.0
Current Account (billions USD) -1.32-1.40-1.58-1.52-1.56
Current Account (in % of GDP) -8.7-7.7-8.6-8.0-7.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture is an important sector for the Albanian economy. It contributes 17.7% of the GDP and employs 36% of the workforce (World Bank, latest data available). Agricultural production concentrates on wheat, corn, oats, potatoes, vegetables, olives, tobacco, fruits, sugar beets, vines, livestock farming and dairy products. The agriculture sector in Albania suffers from a lack of modern equipment, highly fragmented land ownership and limited area of cultivation, all of which lead to relatively low productivity. The productive capacity of Albania’s agriculture sector meets only one-third of the domestic demand for food and feed (World Bank, 2022); 42.8% of its territory is classified as agricultural land (1,17 million ha) and 28.7% are forests; source: FAO). Finally, it should be noted that agricultural production is higher than its share of the GDP: a large part of the produce is in fact consumed by the farmers themselves and therefore is not marketed. Data from INSTAT shows that in the first three quarters of 2022, the country’s agricultural production decreased by 0.02%.

The industrial sector accounts for 21.8% of the country's GDP and employs 20% of the active population. The sector is concentrated on food processing, textiles and clothing, timber work (construction), oil, cement, chemical products, mining, transport and hydraulic energy. The manufacturing sector’s value-added is estimated to contribute to nearly 6% of the country’s GDP (World Bank).

The services sector represents 47.7% of the GDP, employing around 43% of the workforce. Tourism is an important sector of the economy: after being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first eleven months of 2022 Albania welcomed over 12 million tourists, marking an 8% increase compared to the pre-pandemic level recorded in 2019 (INSTAT). According to the latest figures by the European Banking Federation, the structure of the banking and financial system consists of 12 banks (four of which with Albanian capital and eight with foreign capital), 30 non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), 538 foreign exchange bureaus, 14 savings and loan associations (SLAs) and one union of SLAs.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 36.4 20.1 43.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 17.7 21.8 47.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 0.3 16.0 9.1

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

Score:
65,2/100
World Rank:
66
Regional Rank:
35

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.
 

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Latest Update: March 2023

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