New numbers from the Albanian Official Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) show over 3 percent GDP growth for 2016, with exports spiking 16 percent in the fourth quarter of the year.
That's a win for a small country in a section of the world that often struggles with economic stagnation and obstacles to modern efficiency. In revealing this better-than-expected growth pattern last year, INSTAT cited tourism, construction and energy production as main economic drivers.
"This is good news, but it's only the start of what we hope to achieve on the economy,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a press statement. “My government's first term has focused primarily on institutional reform and improved governance. Now we are starting see the results – in investment, business expansion and in job creation. Now we must pour all our efforts into economic expansion and generating rewarding jobs for our fellow citizens."
Anurag Bhagchandani explained Albania’s positive indicators. Bhagchandani is an analyst of investment research and analytics at Aranca, a global research, analytics and advisory firm, and has researched various sectors and markets in Europe for leading asset management firms.
“Albania’s economic growth remains on an upward trajectory,” Bhagchandani told Balkan Business Wire.
Bhagchandani said that the growth numbers beat estimates in a World Bank Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, which had projected a 2.8 percent growth rate.
Bhagchandani cited two energy projects, a Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) and a Devoll hydro power plant, that are likely to help Albania perform up to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund.
“We expect Albania’s growth to be in line with IMF forecasts of 3.7 percent in 2017 and 4.1 percent in 2018,” Bhagchandani said.
Bhagchandani also spoke to possible political changes that could have a positive impact.
“In our opinion, going forward, economic growth will be further stimulated by improving financial conditions and the government’s commitment to implement crucial economic reforms,” Bhagchandani said. “Fiscal consolidation is expected to be high on the government’s policy agenda.”