Raiffeisen Bank general sponsor of the Economist Conference


Debate with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and other ministers of government on the business environment and investment in Albania at Economist Conferences’ Third Business Roundtable with the Government of Albania

The Third Business Roundtable with the Government of Albania today, organized by Economist Conferences, brought together senior government leaders and top-level corporate speakers to debate current and future government policies. Prime Minister Sali Berisha addressed the local and international business community, gathered for this important annual event. He said “My Government has decided to adopt the best business practices but we are still not where we should be. We have obstacles to remove.”

In his presentation, Mr. Berisha outlined his government’s achievements over the past three years, including tax reductions and increased foreign direct investment. The Prime Minister also said that Albania’s expected NATO membership in 2009 “will have an enormous encouraging effect on foreign investment in Albania.”

Senior executives from Albania and international companies attended the Roundtable. They discussed the economic and business environment in Albania, and plans and forecasts for the future, with the government and with experts from The Economist Group.

Specific issues addressed in the open session with Prime Minister Sali Berisha were:

  • Government priorities toward business ahead of the 2009 election
  • Can investors have faith in the rule of law?
  • ""Albania one euro"": is it attracting foreign investors?
  • Progress report on Albania's EU integration
  • Is Albania's international image getting better?

Oliver J. Whittle, Chief Executive Officer, Raiffeisen Bank Albania also joined the panel. He said “It is appropriate that Raiffeisen Bank is again the lead sponsor of this Economist Conference. Raiffeisen Bank is by far the largest bank in Albania. It is coincidentally also one of the two main banks in Kosovo. We are well positioned to take advantage of any business opportunity in Albania. Because of our capital’s strong liquid position and our balance sheet we are able to satisfy the requirements of large businesses and potential international investors in Albania.”

Richard Eames, Conferences Programme Director, CEMEA, The Economist Group said “Albania will face a slightly tougher year in 2009 because of global financial problems and slower growth worldwide, but we are not forecasting a major slowdown in Albania.”

The afternoon started with discussions with Genc Ruli, Minister of Economy, Energy and Trade on challenges and risks the business environment of Albania is facing.

The conference continued with a panel discussion on HR in Albania and closed with a session about debt, taxes and financial services with Ridvan Bode, Minister of Finance, and Ardian Fullani, Governor of the Bank of Albania.

Other participants in the discussions included:

Myqerem Tafaj, Advisor to the Prime Minister

Philip Bay, Regional Director Southeast Europe, Colliers

Daniel Berg, Head of Albania Office, EBRD

Ann-Margret Westin, Resident Representative, IMF Resident Mission in Albania

Cristian Cring, General Manager, JTI

Samir Mane, President, Mane TCI

Fisnik Ismaili, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Albania & Kosovo

Robert Bosch,Head of the OSCE presence in Albania,OSCE

Bianca Duro, Managing Director, Dr. Pendl & Dr. Piswanger Albania

Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Albania

Lead sponsor of this Roundtable was Raiffeisen. The conference was also sponsored by Dr. Pendl & Piswanger, JTI and Boga & Associates. The conference is also supported by PR agency Comport