Can Albania’s economic turnaround survive COVID-19?

Krujë, Albania.

Krujë, Albania. Photo by Chris Walts/Creative Commons

2 min read

The Growth Lab, which works with countries to identify obstacles to growth and propose targeted policy solutions to address them, has been conducting applied research in Albania for the past seven years.

Since its work was first featured in the Harvard Gazette in 2014, the Growth Lab team has supported the Albanian government to attain a number of policy objectives, including achieving macroeconomic stability, identifying drivers of growth in manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, energy, as well as understanding and harnessing the potential of the Albanian diaspora. The team is currently working on a diverse scope of projects ranging from implementing the newly created Albanian Investment Corporation to analyzing the economic impact of a new airport, from informing the country’s strategy in the electricity sector to enabling the government’s targeting of investments that harbor transformative potential for the Albanian economy.

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A pivotal component of the Growth Lab’s engagement in Albania has been to employ its trademark Growth Diagnostics framework to provide research support for addressing constraints to growth. This brief analysis is the most recent update of the diagnostic to identify these constraints. It takes stock of Albania’s economic growth prior to the COVID-19 crisis and what the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-COVID economy imply for recovery and the possibility of accelerating long-term and inclusive growth in the years to come. Albania is a place where much has been achieved to expand opportunity and well-being as growth has gradually accelerated since 2013-14, but where much remains to be done to continue this acceleration once the immediate crisis of COVID-19 has passed.

— By Tim O’Brien & Jessie Lu