Albania open to investments in tourism, energy, infra development
April 16 2019 08:09 PM
Qatar Chamber first vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
Qatar Chamber first vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.

Albania is offering Qatar a wide range of investment opportunities in tourism, energy, and infrastructure development, as well as public private partnership (PPP) schemes, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Tuesday.

Rama made the statement in a meeting with Qatar Chamber officials led by first vice chairman Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari held at The St Regis Doha. The meeting also included Rama’s accompanying delegation and other Qatari businessmen.

The prime minister said Albania has a strong energy sector and is the second source of water in Europe after Norway. He said the Southeastern European country “has a lot of potential in hydrocarbons” and, at the same time, it is part of the new Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which brings gas to Europe through Azerbaijan.

“Albania is also rich in oil and gas resources and minerals, as well as in the field of agriculture and food production. Our exports had been growing and we have a lot of potential in food production and in greenhouses,” Rama pointed out, adding that the Albanian government is aware of Qatar’s efforts in food security and self-sufficiency.

Rama also invited Qatar Chamber to explore Albania’s tourism industry, which witnessed growth in the past five years. Tourist arrivals doubled during the said period to reach 6mn in 2018, he pointed out.

He also said Albania had offered visa-free entry to Qataris between March and October last year. This attracted more than 1,200 Qataris to the Southeastern European country during that period. Rama said he hopes Qatar Airways will offer direct flights between Albania and Qatar to spur tourism growth in both countries.

Al-Kuwari, in a speech, emphasised the need to increase Qatar-Albania trade volume, which stood at $24.1mn in 2018.

“The door is open to Albanian companies to co-operate with their Qatari counterparts in the projects that are being implemented in Qatar, especially in the fields of infrastructure and preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“There are many investment opportunities for Albanian companies in the Qatari market, and the government is working to attract FDI and to promote the business and investment climate, and to facilitate the establishment of new projects in all areas,” al-Kuwari said.

Al-Kuwari called on companies from both sides to take advantage of the investment opportunities offered by both governments, and “to build real partnerships and new alliances.” He also called on Qatari businessmen to study the investment opportunities available in Albania, which he described as “a good destination for investment.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Qatar’s ambassador to Albania Ali bin Hamad al-Marri said there were reciprocal visits between Qatar and Albania during which he signed several investment, economic, and trade agreements that had “the greatest impact in enhancing relations between the two countries.”

Al-Marri also said Rama’s visit witnessed discussions on how to strengthen trade and economic relations. He said there is a “tangible interest” between the two countries to strengthen economic relations in the fields of tourism, services, aviation, “and other important sectors.”

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