Coal, chrome, agriculture, fashion, and most recently, call centers. The Albanian economy is showing incapable of improving, let alone reforming, after more than 30 years of transition. Economic growth is predominantly driven by seasonal sectors, whereas the state treasury is mostly funded by price inflation and salary payments.
“The Albanian economy is facing structural challenges.” If we have previously relied on the production and export of natural resources, we must surely move to an economy centered on human capital,” says former Finance and Economy Minister Arben Malaj.
Meanwhile, today’s crisis is jeopardizing progress toward the middle class. High food prices, prohibitive gasoline costs, the doubling of an apartment’s square meter in a few years, rising and increasing credit interest rates, and the general cost of living are all becoming impediments.
Reforms, according to former Finance Minister Arben Malaj, should target the middle class.
“If we look at the development of Asian countries such as China or Japan, we can see that they have chosen to build their economies around the middle class.” This is due to the fact that it is the engine that drives the economy, not only through saving but also by spending.”
While other countries seek new development models, Albania sees little attempt to transition from an outmoded and inefficient economic model to one that prioritizes individual well-being. According to former Minister Malaj, this will be accomplished if the following goals are met:
“The standard of education and healthcare, particularly social protection.” Specifically, the goal is to reduce unemployment so that everyone in Albania can live with dignity.”