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KOSOVO

© Martin Lehman


Content

Kosovo

INTRODUCTION

Kosovo’s Fact File 2

• Making Progress Towards EU Integration 2

• Minister Welcomes Export-Oriented Enterprises 4

BUSINESS & INVESTMENT

• Economic Development Minister Highlights Opportunities 6

• High-Potential Sectors, from Mining to Food-Processing 7

• Bringing Healthcare System up to EU Standards 8

• University of Medical Sciences Rezonanca 8

• MUNICIPALITIES OF KOSOVO

• Fushe Kosove’s Location Makes it True Gateway to Kosovo 10

• Municipality of Fushe Kosove 11

• Gjakova’s Mayor Cites City’s Advantages as Business Base 12

• Municipality of Gjakova 13

• Malisheva: Succesful International Partnerships and Great

Investment Appeal 14

• Municipality of Malisheva 15

• Strategically Located Drenas Opens New Economic Zone 16

• Municipality of Drenas 17

• Podujevo Building on Strategic Location, Diverse Sectors 19

• Municipality of Podujevo 20

• Klina, Kosovo’s Crossroads, Welcomes FDI 22

• Municipality of Klina 23

• Istog Municipality Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Investors 25

• Municipality of Istog 26

FINANCE

• Central Bank Continues to Promote Stability 29

• Financial Indicators Positive 30

• Banka Kombetare Tregtare 31

INFRASTRUCTURE

• Major Improvements in Transport, Energy and

Municipal Infrastructure 33

• Regional Water Company Prishtina 34

• Hidrodrini Regional Water Company 35

TOURISM

• New Destination on the Global Travel Map 37

• Emerald Hotel 38

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has been made to ensure information contained in this publication is correct and

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this publication.

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2

Kosovo’s Fact File

Offi cial Name: Republic of Kosovo

Location: Southeast Europe, between Serbia and

Macedonia

Capital: Prishtina

Border countries: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

Population: 1,863,529 (2012 est.)

Ethnic Groups: Albanians 92%, other (Serb, Bosniak, Gorani,

Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian) 8%

Offi cial Language: Albanian

Currency: Euro

Area: 10,887 sq km

Politics

Government type: Republic

Independence: 17 February 2008 (from Serbia)

Chief of state: President Atifete Jahjaga (since 7 April 2011)

Elections: The president is elected for a fi ve-year term

by the Kosovo Assembly; election last held on

7 April 2011

Economy at a Glance

GDP (purchasing

power parity): €10.4 billion (2011 est.)

GDP per capita: €5,300 (2011 est.)

GDP real

growth rate: 5% (2011 est.)

Industries: Mineral mining, construction materials, base

metals, leather, machinery, appliances, foodstuffs

and beverages, textiles

Total exports: €324.33 million (2011 est.)

Export

commodities: Mining and processed metal products, scrap

metals, leather products, machinery, appliances,

prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco,

vegetable products, textile and textile articles

Total imports: €2.55 billion (2011 est.)

Import

commodities: Foodstuffs, livestock, wood, petroleum,

chemicals, machinery, minerals, textiles, stone,

ceramic and glass products and electrical

equipment

Deshmoret e Kombit

Vushtrri

Tel: +377 44 19 6685

info@dekra-ks.com

www.dekra-ks.com

Source: www.cia.gov

Pristina–Mitrovica highway

Pestova

Tel: +381 28 57 2770

vipa@pestova.org

www.pestova.org - www.vipa-ks.com


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Making Progress Towards

EU Integration

Today’s Kosovo – strategically

located in South-Eastern Europe

bordering fast-growing Serbia,

Montenegro, Macedonia and

Albania – is rapidly building a

thriving economy which offers

significant investment potential.

Kosovo’s declaration of independence

from Serbia in 2008

was supported by the UN Security

Council Resolution 1244, and

in July of this year, the International

Steering Group for

Kosovo decided to grant full

rights of national sovereignty to

Kosovo beginning in September

2012, helping to pave the way

for the country’s EU integration.

Kosovo has a democratic

government currently headed

by President Atifete Jahjaga and

Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi.

With a youthful population of

around 2 million, Kosovo is multilingual

and multicultural; the

country’s main spoken languages

are Albanian, Serbian, Bosniak

and Turkish and its main religions

are Muslim, Serbian-Orthodox,

and Roman-Catholic. Kosovo’s

Assembly (parliament), with 120

seats, represents all the country’s

ethnic groups. Twenty of the seats

are reserved for non-Albanian

minorities; ten for Kosovo-Serbs;

four for the Roma, Ashkali and

Egyptian communities; three for

the Bosniak community; two for

Introduction

xxxxxx

the Turkish community; and one

for the Gorani community.

Kosovo’s GDP grew by around 5% in

2011 to reach around €10.4 billion,

with per capita GDP of around

€5,300. The EU is Kosovo’s top trade

partner, accounting for 38.5% of total

trade in 2011, followed by the CEFTA

countries (34.2%) and other markets.

Stronger ties with the EU

Kosovo has received signifi cant

assistance from the international

community since the end of the war

and is now strengthening its ties to

the EU. Tensions between Kosovo

and Serbia continue, but some

rapprochement between the two

countries seems to be in progress. As

Council of Europe Secretary-General

Thorbjorn Jagland pointed out

in July, the majority of the council’s

members have offi cially recognised

Kosovo. He said, “What is important

is for the joint programmes with

the EU in Kosovo to continue, and

Belgrade and Prishtina now have

an agreement on regional cooperation.”

EU Foreign-Policy Chief

Catherine Ashton noted recently,

Kosovo remains an EU priority. It

has a clear European perspective.”

The EU has two main organisations

active in Kosovo: the EU Rule of Law

Mission (EULEX) and the offi ce of the

EU Special Representative (currently

Samuel Zbogar), which advises the

government concerning Kosovo’s

drive towards European integration.

Samuel Zbogar noted recently, “The

EU remains devoted to continue

to mediate the dialogue between

Kosovo and Serbia in order to support

Kosovo’s path towards the EU.”

3


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Minister Welcomes

Export-Oriented Enterprises

Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Deputy Prime Minister and

Minister of Trade and Industry, discusses Kosovo’s trade

policies and opportunities for investors.

European Times: What is the Ministry of Trade and

Industry’s mission?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: We want to bring Kosovo’s trade

policies fully in line with the EU’s. At the end of this year

the ministry will be in charge of developing a free-trade

agreement with the EU, and we are working to remove

all trade barriers. Our ministry is also in charge of trade

promotion. We are here to provide investors with all

the information they need as well as the infrastructure

which will ensure that their investments are a success.

European Times: What has your ministry done to make

investing in Kosovo easier?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: We have streamlined procedures

for starting a business and simplifi ed construction

permits and other processes. We have opened 22

one-stop shops around the country and will open six

more. Investors can now fi nd information and register

companies in almost every municipality.

European Times: Why should investors choose Kosovo?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: The IMF ranks Kosovo’s fi scal

policy the best in Europe, since it is very simple and

offers many incentives. Kosovo has a 10% fl at tax, no tax

on reinvested profi ts, and only 16% VAT. In addition,

we have a young, multilingual, low-cost workforce.

European Times: What are some of Kosovo’s

success stories?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: ICT company 3CIS, AS Foods, a successfully

privatised metal-processing company, a rubberprocessing

plant, and many textiles companies are a few

of the examples of highly successful export-oriented

enterprises in Kosovo. We want to attract more exportoriented

companies which will boost our trade balance

and enhance Kosovo’s reputation as a business base.

4

x

Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry

European Times: What about joint ventures?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: We strongly favour joint ventures

with international companies which bring new know-how

to Kosovo while Kosovo provides skilled labour and

understanding of the local and regional market. One

successful joint venture is IPKO, our second mobile

operator. Slovenia is a key joint-venture partner, for

example in the Peja Brewery and in the fi nancial sector.

Devolli, in the dairy sector, and Rugova are just two

examples of excellent potential local partners.

European Times: What is your personal message to

investors?

Mimoza Kusari-Lila: Come and invest in Kosovo! It

is a young country with a youthful, skilled, motivated

workforce as well as great natural resources and many

high-potential sectors.


• Economic Development Minister Highlights Opportunities

• High-Potential Sectors, from Mining to Food-Processing

Business & Investment

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

“We want to strengthen the private

sector, establish legislation that

promotes private investment,

and create clear strategies for

sectors like mining, energy and

telecommunications.”

Besim Beqaj, Minister of Economic Development

5


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Economic Development Minister

Highlights Opportunities

Besim Beqaj, Minister of Economic Development,

discusses how his ministry is helping to position Kosovo

as an attractive investment target.

European Times: What are your ministry’s priorities?

Besim Beqaj: This is a new ministry tasked with enhancing

Kosovo’s economic potential and creating more opportunities

in key sectors. We want to strengthen the private

sector, establish legislation that promotes private investment,

and create clear strategies for sectors like mining,

energy and telecommunications. We are committed to

continuing to upgrade the business environment, reduce

unemployment, and extend Kosovo’s economic reach.

One of our major goals is to establish clear policies in the

mining sector, especially concerning Trepca’s privatisation.

Privatisation in Kosovo is no longer handled by the

UNMIK but by Kosovo’s own institutions.

European Times: What else is your ministry doing to

promote the mining sector?

Besim Beqaj: We have established 11 special mining

zones and have created clear processes for acquiring

exploration licenses. We believe public-private partnerships

can work very well in the mining sector.

European Times: Where does most of Kosovo’s FDI

come from?

Besim Beqaj: Most of our foreign investors are from

Germany, the UK, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland,

Albania, Turkey, etc. Slovenia is very active in the

banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors and we

have recently seen an increase in Turkish investments,

some of which are through international consortiums.

European Times: What are sectors with particularly

strong potential?

Besim Beqaj: Mining and food-processing have

excellent prospects. Kosovo is also a good choice for

business outsourcing now that other locations are

becoming expensive.

6

x

Besim Beqaj, Minister of Economic Development

European Times: Why should international investors

target Kosovo?

Besim Beqaj: Kosovo has a very competitive tax regime

with low corporate tax, a regulatory environment fully

harmonised with EU standards, streamlined procedures

for launching a business, great human capital, and a level

playing fi eld for foreign investors. In addition, our new

industrial parks offer well-developed infrastructure.

European Times: What are some major projects in the works?

Besim Beqaj: We have privatised electricity distribution and

plan to build a new lignite-fuelled power plant in a project

budgeted at more than €1 billion. We are expecting bids

from four qualifi ed companies for this project, which is

supported by the EU and the World Bank.

European Times: What is your personal message to

potential investors?

Besim Beqaj: Kosovo’s economy is very dynamic and

growing faster than those of other countries. Kosovo will

be a very attractive investment location for the coming

decade and is an ideal gateway for investors looking to

access the CEFTA market.


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

High-Potential Sectors, from Mining

to Food-Processing

Kosovo’s young economy offers many

competitive advantages for investors,

including extensive natural resources,

from lignite to rich agricultural land;

well-established construction-materials

and textiles industries; a youthful, wellqualifi

ed, multilingual population; a

very favourable tax regime; a strategic

location; the euro as the national

currency; signifi cant tourism potential;

and a business-friendly government.

As Kosovo’s Minister of Economic

Development, Besim Beqaj, says, “We

want the private sector to drive the

country’s economic development and

have a direct impact on making Kosovo

more attractive for investors.”

Over the past few years Kosovo

has strengthened its market-based

economy and maintained macroeconomic

stability. While Kosovo’s GDP

is still heavily dependent on international

aid and remittances, and per

capita GDP is low, Kosovo is defi nitely

making progress. Its GDP grew by

around 5% in 2011.

Kosovo continues to privatise its stateowned

enterprises and has been

improving its regulatory environment,

infrastructure, power network

and technical standards with the help

of foreign partners. In June this year,

Austria’s Kelag celebrated the groundbreaking

of its €60 million hydropower-plant

project in Kosovo and the

government privatised the national

electricity-distribution company

(KEDS) in a sale to a Turkish consortium.

In July, Bechtel and its joint-venture

partner Enka completed an additional

4.5 km of the Kosovo motorway,

Business

xxxxxx

& Investment

bringing the total distance of this key

transport artery to 42.5 km.

Regional trade hub

Kosovo’s small size and relatively small

trade sector have helped to protect it

from the worst of the global fi nancial

crisis. The EU and CEFTA markets

are Kosovo’s top trade partners, and

Kosovo aims to serve as a hub for EU

trade with CEFTA as well as Turkey and

other markets.

Sectors with particularly strong investment

potential in Kosovo today,

according to IPAK, the country’s

investment-promotion agency, include

agriculture and food-processing, woodprocessing,

metal-processing, construction

and construction-materials

manufacturing, textiles, IT, automotivecomponents

manufacturing, energy,

mining, tourism, banking and fi nancial

services, and IT outsourcing.

Kosovo already has a number of FDI

success stories, including SharrCem

(Switzerland), NLB Prishtina

(Slovenia), Trofta (Belgium), Stone

Castle (US/Albania), Tefi k Canga

Design (Macedonia/Kosovo), Fer-

Main road: Prishtina - Skopje

New Industrial Zone km.8

10 000 Prishtina

Tel: +381 38 58 0506

info@elnor.eu

www.elnor.eu

Elnor

ronikel (UK), IPKO (Slovenia), Xella

(Germany), Kosova Wood (US/

Albania), M&Sillosi (Switzerland/

Macedonia), Peja Brewery (Slovenia),

and Unior Aqua (Slovenia/Kosovo).

Fadil Abdullahu, CFO, Xella, explains,

“Xella’s construction bricks are the

result of a very effective combination of

Kosovo’s high-quality raw materials and

German technology.” Peja Brewery’s

General Director, Sebastian Gargeta,

adds, “We are very pleased with

Kosovo’s skilled workforce, and also

with our local suppliers.”

METAL CONSTRUCTION

www.daci-ks.com +377 44 505 104

12060 Bardhi i Madh

Kosova

Tel: +381 38 591 882

info@daci-ks.com

www.daci-ks.com

7


8

KOSOVO

THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Bringing Healthcare

System up to EU Standards

Kosovo’s healthcare system, virtually destroyed during

the war years, has been steadily rebuilt based on four

top priorities: focussing on primary care, reforming

secondary and tertiary care, improving public-health

systems, and devising a workable healthcare-fi nancing

system. Progress has been made on all fronts.

Family-health training centres have been opened

around the country and infant and maternal mortality

rates are falling. Minister of Health Ferid Agani recently

announced that UNICEF’s support has helped the government

expand immunisation campaigns, promote

the use of iodised salt, and launch anti-smoking initiatives,

among other primary-care programmes.

Kosovo’s hospitals and public-health facilities

have been improved, investment in private healthcare

facilities is growing, and the Kosovo Health

Insurance Fund has been set up with the support

of the World Bank, but Kosovo’s healthcare system

still falls short of EU standards. To help bridge the

gap, Ferid Agani recently met with his counterpart

in Albania concerning a plan to craft a joint healthcare-development

strategy which would include

promoting pharmaceuticals investment. With the

support of USAID and private fi nancing, Kosovo

pharmaceuticals producer Nexhet Kondirolli has

already opened the region’s fi rst pharmaceutical

plant which complies with EU quality standards. Its

market is 10 million customers in Kosovo, Albania,

Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

xxxxxx

REGION

xxxxxx

University of Medical Sciences Rezonanca

Clinic and Faculty

of Medicine Serving

as Benchmark in

Healthcare Sector

The Rezonanca Clinic and the Rezonanca University of

Medical Sciences are helping to drive the development of

Kosovo’s healthcare sector.

The Rezonanca Clinic

reopened in 2000 after

being destroyed in the

war and now offers a wide

range of world-class healthcare

services, from neurosurgery

and cardiac care to

paediatrics, plastic surgery,

abdominal surgery, radiotherapy and more. The clinic

has implemented cutting-edge diagnostics equipment

and technologies and has two locations in Prishtina as

well as facilities in Prizren, Gjakova and Orllan-Batllave.

The Rezonanca University of Medical Sciences, licensed

by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,

has introduced 21st century concepts in medical

education. Dr. Ramadan Idrizaj, owner of both the

clinic and the faculty of medicine, explains, “Our vision

for our medical faculty over the coming fi ve years is

to continue to improve our medical education and

research in line with EU and international standards.”

The university aims to offer courses in English, to

recruit the fi nest staff and to form partnerships with

other medical institutions abroad. It offers bachelor’s

degrees in many health fi elds.

Building on a strong commitment to the highest international

standards, the Rezonanca Clinic and the

Rezonanca University of Medical Sciences are improving

quality of life for the people of Kosovo.

UNIVERSITI I SHKENCAVE MJEKËSORE

UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES

REZONANCA

University of Medical Sciences Rezonanca

Rr. Mbreti Zor I Nr. 1 - Prishtina

Tel: +381 38 544 754

info@universiteti-rezonanca.com - www.rezonanca.com


• Fushe Kosove’s Location Makes it True Gateway to Kosovo

• Gjakova’s Mayor Cites City’s Advantages as Business Base

• Malisheva: Successful International Partnerships and Great Investment Appeal

• Strategically Located Drenas Opens New Economic Zone

• Podujevo Building on Strategic Location, Diverse Sectors

• Klina, Kosovo’s Crossroads, Welcomes FDI

• Istog Municipality Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Investors

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Municipalities of Kosovo

9


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Fushe Kosove’s Location Makes it

True Gateway to Kosovo

Fushe Kosove, known as the

Gateway to Kosovo, offers a number

of signifi cant attractions for local

and foreign investors. Burim

Berisha, Mayor, has received fi ve

awards from USAID for progressive

leadership, and he is committed

to spurring on the municipality’s

continued development.

European Times: What makes

Fushe Kosove special as a business

base?

Burim Berisha: Fushe Kosove, with

a population of around 34,000,

stands out among other municipalities

in Kosovo because of its ideal

location and infrastructure. Only

5 minutes by car from downtown

Prishtina, Fushe Kosove is closer

to Kosovo’s international airport

than any other municipality and is

also the hub of the national railway

system, Kosovo Railways, through

which companies can ship goods

all over the country and beyond.

Thanks to its position and infrastructure,

Fushe Kosove truly is the

gateway to Kosovo.

European Times: What are the

municipality’s top sectors?

Burim Berisha: Before the 90s

Fushe Kosove was a major centre

for grain, and the city still has

many mills and silos. Today, the

municipality remains a thriving

agricultural centre and offers

around 750 hectares of agricultural

land to be developed; this

land has access to the Drinicaj

10

xxxxxx

Burim Berisha, Mayor of Fushe Kosove

River. We have received assistance

from the USAID in improving our

agriculture sector and now we are

looking for investment in new irrigation

systems to help our agriculture

sector reach its full potential.

In addition to growing crops,

poultry and dairy production as

well as meat packaging have strong

growth prospects here.

European Times: What are your

main goals for Fushe Kosove?

Burim Berisha: Reducing unemployment,

improving educational,

cultural and social opportunities for

our local residents, and promoting

sustainable development are our top

priorities. In the agriculture sector,

we have very skilled and experienced

human resources and very attractive

labour costs.

European Times: What is your

personal message to potential

investors?

Burim Berisha: We have created a

very transparent report on investment

opportunities here which

outlines the municipality’s geographical,

cultural and economic

possibilities. I would like investors

to know that Fushe Kosove is a

quiet, stable locality which is free

of ethnic confl icts and dedicated

to building a thriving community

with high quality of life. This is a

place where everyone, local and

foreign alike, can work together

and prosper in a pro-business,

transparent and culturally rich

environment. Fushe Kosove has a

strong track record for successful

business activities and we welcome

new investors.


Municipality of Fushe Kosove

Excellent Business Base Just

Outside the Capital

Fushe Kosove municipality (also

known as Kosovo Polje), which

is strategically located just 8 km

southwest of Prishtina, has grown

to become one of Kosovo’s most

dynamic districts. Formerly part

of Prishtina municipality but with

its own identity since 1989, Fushe

Kosove municipality is overseen

by Mayor Burim Berisha, Deputy

Mayor Fadil Krasniqi, and Deputy

Mayor for Communities Boban

Filipovic. The municipality has a

population of over 34,000.

Mayor Burim Berisha has driven

forward a wide range of projects

which have improved quality

of life in the municipality and

enhanced its investment appeal.

These projects include new and

improved roads, water-supply

systems, sanitation systems, parks

and gardens, sports facilities, and

initiatives designed to support

the agriculture sector, including

livestock development.

One of the mayor’s projects has

brought a solar-powered public

lighting system to the municipality.

SOE Electra has installed

solar-powered lights in key

locations throughout the municipality,

including along major

streets and intersections and near

schools, clinics, religious facilities

and more. Around 50% of the

new lighting system is in Fushe

Municipalities of Kosovo

xxxxxx

Kosove City while the remainder is

in villages within the municipality.

Extending innovative

solar lighting throughout

municipality

Kosovo’s Ministry of Public Administration

and the municipality itself

jointly funded the project. The solarpowered

lighting system switches

on at 5PM and switches off at 6AM.

Mayor Burim Berisha says, “We are

very satisfi ed with this project and

hope that soon the solar-powered

lighting system will cover the entire

municipality.”

Fushe Kosove’s population is ethnically

diverse, and to alleviate

unemployment among minorities,

UNICEF has funded a project which

aims to improve the education of the

local Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian

communities by strengthening the

capacity of municipal offi cials. The

project is one of Kosovo’s municipal

action plans designed to promote the

national ‘Strategy for the Integration

of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities

in Kosovo’ over the period

2009 to 2015.

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Fushe Kosove’s economy is

dominated by agriculture and smalltrading

companies, and the municipality

now has around 800 registered

private enterprises. Fushe has exceptionally

well-developed transport

infrastructure; all its villages are

connected to Fushe Kosove City by

paved roads. Fushe is also set on

the main road linking Prishtina to

Kosovo’s international airport and

it is the location of Kosovo’s main

railway station, which offers rail connections

to Skopje and other towns

throughout Kosovo. Fushe Kosove

municipality welcomes foreign

investors, who can take advantage of

a convenient location near Kosovo’s

capital.

Municipality of Fushe Kosove

Mother Theresa street

12000 Fushe Kosove

Tel: +381 38 53 5004

11


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Gjakova’s Mayor Cites City’s

Advantages as Business Base

Mayor Dr. Pal Lekaj points out why Gjakova is an excellent

choice for foreign investors today.

European Times: Can you describe Gjakova’s business

climate?

Pal Lekaj: Gjakova is known for its culture, forwardthinking

people and agriculture. We have some successful

companies, including one producing construction

materials and another one involved in trade. We also

have a few state-owned companies which we expect to

become very successful once they are privatised.

European Times: What opportunities does Gjakova

offer foreign investors?

Pal Lekaj: During the Yugoslavia years, Gjakova had 57

very successful large enterprises. As a result of the transition,

almost all of these companies were closed and

their employees lost their jobs. This means that Gjakova

has highly skilled workers ready to be employed in the

industries that once existed here. In addition, we have

a technical high school where students are trained for

factory work. Moreover, we have built an industrial

zone which we have equipped with all the necessary

infrastructure for businesses, including electricity,

roads and water. We offer building land in the zone at

special rates or even free. We anticipate that this zone

will eventually provide around 2,000 jobs.

European Times: What makes Gjakova a good base for

business?

Pal Lekaj: We are doing everything we can to make

Gjakova an ideal business base. We have streamlined

administrative procedures for registering companies

and obtaining licenses. Investors can benefi t from

Gjakova’s very strategic position within easy access

of Montenegro and Albania as well as the ports at

Shengjin and Durres. Gjakova’s location makes it the

perfect choice for trade-oriented companies.

European Times: Can you single out some highpotential

sectors?

12

x

Dr. Pal Lekaj, Mayor of Gjakova

Pal Lekaj: Around half of the municipality’s land area

of 586 sq km can be used for agriculture, so food production

and food-processing have the greatest potential

here. In addition, our local labour force is trained to

work in metal-processing, textiles and other industries.

European Times: What is your personal message to

potential investors?

Pal Lekaj: Gjakova was very well developed in the past,

and now we are doing everything in our power to repair

the damage caused by war and the transition to return

the municipality to its former prosperity. Gjakova offers

investors a welcoming population, a skilled labour force,

an excellent location, and a very supportive municipal

government.


Municipality of Gjakova

Ideal Choice for FDI

Gjakova, with a population of

150,800, is Kosovo’s third-biggest

municipality. Located in the western

part of the country, Gjakova was

a thriving industrial and agricultural

hub during the Yugoslavia

years and is now one of Kosovo’s top

locations for business.

The municipality has developed an

expanding private sector and still

has some state-owned companies

which are expected to grow rapidly

once they are privatised. Gjakova

is an agricultural centre with

extensive arable land, extensive

sources for irrigation, and a sunny

climate. Both agriculture and the

food-processing industry have

excellent development potential in

the municipality.

One of Gjakova’s key attractions

for investors is its highly skilled,

motivated workforce, particularly in

the industries that were well established

here before the dissolution

of Yugoslavia; these include metals,

electronics, textiles, the production

of wine and other beverages, woodprocessing,

tobacco, the production

of industrial gasses, gum production,

and construction, as well

as agriculture and food-processing.

Labour costs are low.

Strategic location and welldeveloped

infrastructure

For trade-oriented companies,

Gjakova offers a very convenient

location within easy access of

markets in nearby Albania and

Municipalities of Kosovo

throughout the region. Companies

can also count on the municipality’s

well-developed telecom and

transport infrastructure, which

includes effi cient road, rail and airtransport

links as well as access to

ports at Shengjin, Durres (Albania)

and Thessaloniki (Greece).

Gjakova also offers excellent quality

of life and is attracting more and

more tourism visitors thanks to its

natural beauty, lively cultural scene,

and historic landmarks, many dating

back to the 17th century. Gjakova’s

Çarshia e Madhe, or Grand Bazaar,

was damaged during the 1999 war

but has now been almost completely

renovated, and just outside the city

in the village of Bishtazhin is the

18th century ‘Tailors’ Bridge’, a fi ne

example of Ottoman stone-bridge

architecture. Gjakova also hosts

a prestigious fi lm festival, among

many other cultural events.

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

All investors in Gjakova benefi t from

Kosovo’s free access to the EU and

CEFTA markets as well as preferential

access to the US market. In

addition, investors are protected

by Kosovo’s regulatory environment

which meets all EU standards.

Gjakova’s municipal government

is committed to creating the right

conditions for companies to achieve

success. Local leaders have simplifi

ed procedures for establishing a

company and obtaining permits, and

a new industrial zone provides the

ideal location for new enterprises.

Gjakova has a strong track record for

economic growth and is ranked one

of Kosovo’s most promising local

economies.

Mother Theresa street

Gjakova

Tel: +381 39 032 1100

pal.lekaj@rks-gov.net

http://kk.rks-gov.net/gjakove

13


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Malisheva: Successful

International Partnerships and

Great Investment Appeal

Isni Kilaj, Mayor of Malisheva, highlights his municipality’s

investment attractions.

European Times: Can you introduce our readers to

Malisheva?

Isni Kilaj: Malisheva, with a population of around

70,000, is located in central Kosovo, around 50 km

from each of the country’s biggest cities: Prishtina,

Prizren, Peja and Gjakova. A new highway between

Prishtina and Albania will pass only fi ve km from the

centre of Malisheva.

European Times: What are the most promising sectors

for investors?

Isni Kilaj: Our main economic sectors are agriculture

and tourism. Agriculture is number one. Before the

war, we had 1,400 hectares of vineyards. We have wellestablished

operations growing seasonal vegetables

and fruits, and the area is known for its high-quality

farmland and productive orchards. Livestock production,

including dairy farming, offers excellent opportunities

as well. Motikom, which raises lambs, and

Hoting, which has around 100 hectares of orchards,

are two of our most successful companies. In the

tourism sector, the municipality has built a swimming

pool taking advantage of the warm natural spring

waters of Banja, which has the potential to become

one of the best spa centres in the region. We also have

an attractive cave which can be a tourism attraction,

and some of the famous Mirusha waterfalls are within

Malisheva municipality.

European Times: What are you doing to attract FDI?

Isni Kilaj: We offer free land, tax holidays for fi ve to

ten years, business registration in only one day, and the

Municipal Centre for Businesses, a business-support

centre launched with USAID. We are open to publicprivate

partnerships, for example in the tourism

sector, and our community is one of the safest in

Kosovo, with no corruption and very low crime rates.

14

xxxxxx

Isni Kilaj, Mayor of Malisheva

We are currently building an industrial zone near the

new highway where businesses can enjoy excellent conditions.

We have a history of productive international

partnerships, for example with USAID and with the

Norwegian government, which built the School of Competence

here to train young people in new skills. This is

one of Kosovo’s most successful projects.

European Times: What is your personal message to

potential investors?

Isni Kilaj: We have greatly improved our infrastructure,

including our roads and water systems, and we

will continue to complete new infrastructure projects.

We have created great conditions for foreign investors,

including very business-friendly leaders, a safe

community, and a pool of trained young people who

are ready to work.


Municipality of Malisheva

Malisheva: Fertile Land in the

Heart of Kosovo

The Municipality of Malisheva (also known as Llapusha)

is a fertile, attractive city and collection of villages covering

over 306 sq km along the Mirusha River in central Kosovo.

Known by residents as the ‘Heart of Kosovo’ for its location in

the centre of the country, Malisheva was offi cially established

as a municipality in 1960 for fi ve years, and then re-established

from 1986 until 1992 and again in 1999.

Malisheva has a long history dating back to the Illyrian

period, but today it is a thriving agricultural centre

with an ethnically diverse population of 70,000 people,

around 65% of them young. Mayor Isni Kilaj and

Deputy Mayor Rexhep Mazreku lead Malisheva’s government

and have launched a number of projects to

improve the municipality’s infrastructure and services,

including building a new park along the Mirusha River.

Agriculture, trade and tourism

Malisheva has long been known for its fertile soil and

temperate continental climate, and agriculture is the

main economic activity. Malisheva’s location in the

centre of the country is an added advantage since local

farmers can easily access markets all over the country.

The Mirusha River provides reliable irrigation for agricultural

enterprises.

To support the private sector, the municipality has built

a modern trade centre and an industrial zone, and

in 2010, Malisheva was chosen as one of two municipalities

in Kosovo to host vocational education and

training centres fi nanced by the Norwegian Ministry

of Foreign Affairs along with Kosovo’s Ministry of

Education, Science and Technology. Two new schools,

each budgeted at around €6 million, are designed to

be centres of competence which will boost Kosovo’s

economic development. The one in Malisheva focusses

on commerce, administration and trade.

Malisheva municipality is also known for the great

natural beauty of its fertile river valley surrounded by

Municipalities of Kosovo

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

the rugged Drenica Mountains. Malisheva is also the site

of some of Kosovo’s top tourism attractions, including

Ilixha thermal springs in the village of Baje, Flladi

Cave in Panor, Mirusha Falls in Llapqeva, the ancient

Arabaxhi Bridge in Bubël, the Berisha Mountains in

Berisha, Illyrian tombs in Malisheva City, and many

other sites.

Malisheva has privatised most of its public enterprises,

including NPB.Mirusha, a leader in the agriculture

sector. The municipality now has around 820 registered

private businesses, most of them small, which employ

a total of around 1,200 people. Around 46% of these

companies are involved in trade. Malisheva municipality

welcomes foreign investors, particularly in trade, agriculture

and tourism projects.

Municipality of Malisheva

street “Gjergj Kastrioti-Skenderbeu”

Tel.: +381 29 269 043/008

komuna.malisheve@rks-gov.net

kmalisheve@gmail.com

www.malisheva-komuna.org

http://kk.rks-gov.net/malisheve/

15


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Strategically Located Drenas

Opens New Economic Zone

Drenas municipality, at the centre of

Kosovo, has a population of around

73,300 and covers some 290 sq km.

Nexhat Demaku, Mayor, discusses

Drenas’s investment attractions.

European Times: What gives

Drenas its investment appeal?

Nexhat Demaku: Drenas has

a very strategic location in the

centre of the country with rapid

access to Kosovo’s biggest cities as

well as to neighbouring Albania.

Agriculture is our most developed

sector and we have around 16,000

hectares of arable land. One of

Kosovo’s biggest investors, Ferronikeli,

chose Drenas for its agricultural

enterprise. Ferronikeli

actively exports its products and

has 1,000 full-time employees and

400 seasonal workers here. Drenas

is an ideal choice for investments

in the production of fruits and

vegetables as well as of meat and

milk products. Only around 20%

of the meat consumed in Kosovo

is currently produced in the

country, so meat production has

excellent growth potential.

European Times: What about

opportunities in the industrial

sector?

Nexhat Demaku: We have established

an industrial zone where

investors can build production

factories for all kinds of industrial

and trade-oriented ventures, and

33 factories are already operating

there. Drenas also has signifi cant

16

Nexhat Demaku, Mayor of Drenas

lignite and mineral resources and

the mining sector has great promise.

European Times: Does Drenas offer

any special incentives for investors?

Nexhat Demaku: In addition to our

industrial zone we are building a

106-hectare economic zone which

currently has two factories operating.

It has rail connections and is very close

to the main Prishtina-Tirana highway.

This zone is already fully equipped

with infrastructure, including water,

electricity and roads, and we offer

land there for a symbolic price on a

99-year concession basis.

European Times: What are your

future plans for Drenas?

Nexhat Demaku: We have already

invested €10 million in new road

infrastructure and we are in the

process of building new schools

and water and sewerage systems.

We have received major support

from the EU, USAID, and other

international funders. Around 70%

of the villages in the municipality

are now connected to modern

water and sewer systems. Planned

projects include a developed river

bank, a new municipality building,

a sewage-and-water treatment plant

(budgeted at around €2 million to

€3 million), and initiatives to benefi t

the agriculture sector.

European Times: What is your

personal message to potential

investors?

Nexhat Demaku: Drenas is a

peaceful, business-friendly, welllocated

municipality with good

infrastructure, low crime, qualifi ed

workers and many opportunities.


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Municipality of Drenas

KOSOVO

Industrial Park Illustrates

Commitment to Private Sector

Drenas (also known as Gllogovc) is a thriving municipality

in central Kosovo which covers around 290 km,

or 2.66% of the country’s total land area, and comprises

Drenas City and 41 other localities, including 36 villages.

The municipality’s population is over 73,300. Drenas is

surrounded by the Berisha, Kasmaq, Qyqavica, Golesh

and Lipovica (Blinaja) mountains and is crossed by the

Drenica and Verbica rivers, which provide irrigation for

the municipality’s agricultural activities.

Support for private-sector development

The municipality was established before World War

II as a special political and administrative district. It is

well known for its mining and smeltering operations,

and is the site of the Ferronikeli mining enterprise,

which now employs 1,000 people. Drenas also has two

quarries, in Korroticë e Epërme and Çikatova e Vjetër,

which have reopened since the war. In 2004, Drenas

demonstrated its support for the private sector by

opening the Trade Centre in the centre of Drenas City.

The municipal government coordinated the fi nancing

and also handled the construction and management

of the project. The Trade Centre now contains 134

shops and offi ces for small businesses.

Promoting small and medium-sized

enterprises

Drenas was singled out by the federal government as

one of fi ve municipalities to benefi t from the Delta II

project to promote local economic development over

the period 2005 to 2007. Delta II was co-fi nanced by the

Open Society Institute of Budapest and by participating

municipalities, with technical assistance provided by

the World Bank. The project was implemented by the

Riinvest Institute for Development Research, based in

Prishtina. Delta II aimed to promote small and mediumsized

enterprises, to upgrade municipal administration

in drafting and implementing local economic

Municipalities of Kosovo

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

development strategies, and to strengthen the partnership

between the municipal government, the business

community and local residents. The project laid the

foundations for further private-sector growth in Drenas.

One of the municipality’s advantages as a business base

is that it is well connected to other parts of the country

by the FushëKosova railway, the highways between Peja

and Prishtina and between Bushat (Komoran) and Peja,

and other local and regional roads.

Today, the municipality’s economy is based mainly on agriculture

and small trade-oriented enterprises, and Drenas

has over 1,800 registered private businesses. Mayor Nexhat

Demaku, Deputy Mayor Sherif Krasniqi and other local

government leaders have launched programmes to greatly

improve infrastructure, health and education services, the

agriculture sector and industry throughout the municipality.

Successes include a new irrigation system for local

farms and the privatisation of Ferronikeli.

The municipality’s infrastructure includes paved main

roads connecting major villages with Drenas City,

modern water systems in main urban areas and in 11

villages, and modern sewer systems in main urban areas

and in 15 villages. One key goal is to improve access to

reliable power supplies, particularly in rural areas.

Innovative industrial park serves as ideal base

for businesses

To promote local and foreign investment in its private

sector, Drenas launched an industrial park in 2005. Strategically

located in the village of Lower Koretica, just

17


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

17 km from the highway connecting

Prishtina and Peja, the park covers

24 hectares and is designed to be an

ideal location for local and foreign

production enterprises. Building

land of 1,000 sq m, 3000 sq m and

6,000 sq m is available.

The Drenas Industrial Park provides

a number of world-class services to

businesses located there, including

legal support for company registration;

comprehensive assistance

during the start-up phase; assistance

with contractual issues involving

purchasing property in the park;

support during construction; assistance

in fi nding local partners and

workers; assistance in dealing with

transport, customs, accounting,

fi scal, juridical and technical issues;

and preferential access to local distribution

networks, processed products

and raw materials.

Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade and Investment

is participating in the park’s

development through providing roads,

sidewalks, sewer and drainage systems,

electricity and telephone networks,

18

KOSOVO

xxxxxx

and access to reliable water, heating

and gas systems. As Kosovo’s Deputy

Prime Minister, Mimoza Kusari-Lila,

explains, “Drenas’s business park is

a good example of Kosovo’s support

for business development. Last year

we made efforts to speed things up in

the park by streamlining the process

of establishing businesses there, and

we are pleased to see the progress

being made. We expect that successful

production enterprises operating

in the Drenas Industrial Park will help

reduce Kosovo’s trade defi cit, reduce

unemployment and serve as a successful

model which will be applied by

other municipalities.”

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

In March this year, the Small and

Medium Enterprise Support Agency

(SMESA), which operates under

Kosovo’s Ministry of Trade and

Industry, signed a contract designed

to benefi t businesses operating in

Drenas Industrial Park. The park

is now home to 33 companies and

around 39 other businesses have

applied to open facilities there, while

four businesses already operating

in the park have received permission

to expand. The industrial park

illustrates the municipality’s commitment

to supporting private-sector

development and foreign investment

in Drenas.

Municipality of Drenas

Tel.: +381 38 584 074

+381 38 584 353

http://kk.rks-gov.net/gllogoc


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Podujevo Building on Strategic

Location, Diverse Sectors

Agim Veliu, Mayor of Podujevo,

discusses the municipality’s signifi cant

investment attractions.

European Times: How has

Podujevo changed during your

six years as mayor?

Agim Veliu: My team and I have

focussed on making Podujevo a

nicer place to live in. We have

completed a number of infrastructure

projects, including

building roads connecting all

areas in the municipality. We

have built a new water and

sewerage system and we have also

renovated schools, built parks

and other green areas, created a

new bank for the river and built a

new bridge. We financed most of

these projects with the city’s own

funds.

European Times: What are you

planning for the future?

Agim Veliu: We have prepared

a feasibility study for building a

major sewerage treatment plant

for around €15 million, and

we are looking for a donor or

partner to help us complete this

project.

European Times: What does

Podujevo offer foreign investors?

Agim Veliu: We have a great

location close to both the border

and the capital and served by a

good road. We expect that in the

future a major motorway will pass

through our municipality, which

Municipalities of Kosovo

Agim Veliu, Mayor of Podujevo

will further improve our advantages.

Agriculture and tourism are

the two sectors with the biggest

FDI potential. Podujevo is the

biggest municipality in Kosovo

in area, covering 635 sq km, and

half of this is good agricultural

land. Part of the rest of the land

can be used for building facilities

to raise livestock. Podujevo

also has tourism potential thanks

to Batlava Lake and our beautiful

mountains. We have also put aside

37 hectares for an industrial zone

and we are currently looking for a

partner to help us build the infrastructure

for this zone.

European Times: How easy is it to

open a business in Podujevo?

Agim Veliu: As mayor I have tried

to do everything in my power

to streamline the process of

opening a business here. We also

support new businesses with land,

and we were the first municipality

in the country to create an

office to register new businesses

here. We have many success

stories, including juice-producer

Laberion, recognised by the

Ministry of Trade and Industry as

one of the country’s most successful

companies, and Agroproduct,

which processes and sells food

products.

“Agriculture and tourism

are the two sectors with

the biggest FDI potential.

Podujevo is the biggest

municipality in Kosovo

in area, covering 635 sq

km, and half of this is

good agricultural land.”

European Times: What is your

personal message to potential

investors?

Agim Veliu: Podujevo has an

excellent location, good infrastructure

and services, a youthful,

advantageously priced labour

market and a municipal government

which aims to support the

business sector.

19


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Municipality of Podujevo

20

KOSOVO

Strategically Located Municipality

Just North of Prishtina

Podujevo, in north-eastern

Kosovo around 22 km north

of Prishtina, is one of Kosovo’s

largest communities. The municipality

has established sustainable

economic growth, a modern and

effi cient administrative system,

and high-quality education, health

and social services for its citizens.

Podujevo aims to provide a very

positive environment for business

and welcomes foreign investors.

The municipality offers a strategic

location and direct access to

motorway and railway connections

to Prishtina, other cities in Kosovo

and beyond. Podujevo City is set at

the centre of Llapi province, which

covers some 635 sq km and has a

population of over 100,000 made up

of an Albanian majority with Roma,

Ashkali and Serbian minorities, all of

whom are working together peacefully

to build a brighter future.

Young, trained workforce

One of Podujevo’s key draws for

investors is its young, trained

workforce. The municipality has

39 schools serving some 22,000

students, including secondary,

vocational and technical institutions.

Podujevo’s healthcare

system is also well developed and

includes a municipal family health

centre and over 20 smaller clinics


and healthcare institutions. All

communities in the municipality

have access to these healthcare

facilities.

In addition to high-quality human

resources, Podujevo offers extensive

natural resources ready to be

developed. Agriculture (including

cattle-raising), food-processing and

mining have particularly strong

prospects. Podujevo has several

companies producing bricks and

metal parts, and the municipality’s

trade sector is very well established.

Podujevo now has 2,721

registered businesses (around 10%

Municipalities of Kosovo

xxxxxx

of them owned by women) with

a total of some 4,081 employees;

most of these companies are active

in trade and services, with only

around 7% involved in production.

Podujevo welcomes the chance to

support more production-oriented

enterprises.

Natural beauty and historic

landmarks

Podujevo municipality is also

known for its varied topography

and natural beauty, and the tourism

sector has defi nite investment

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

appeal. Lake Batlava, the Llapi

Plain and the beautiful Karadak

and Kosovo mountain ranges are

all easily accessed from Podujevo

City and would be ideal for ecotourism,

spa and hotel projects.

Podujevo also has many architectural

monuments, including

ancient mosques and churches.

The municipality’s history dates

back to the 6th century AD, when a

fort in what is now Podujevo (then

known as Besiana in Albanian) was

restored by Byzantine emperor

Justinian.

Podujevo faces a number of challenges,

including high unemployment

and the need for substantial

infrastructure improvements,

including in the road network since

most of the municipality’s smaller

roads are unpaved. Around 35 of

Podujevo’s 75 villages have not yet

been connected to modern water

and sewer systems, and power

service in outlying villages is unreliable,

particularly in the winter.

The municipality’s education,

healthcare and social services

also need to be expanded to meet

growing demand. Local leaders

hope to draw international investment

and support to help the

municipality solve these problems

and build on Podujevo’s undeniable

potential.

Municipality of Podujevo

Zahir Pajaziti street

11000 Podujevo

Tel: +381 38 57 1227

http://kk.rks-gov.net/podujeve

21


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Klina, Kosovo’s Crossroads,

Welcomes FDI

Sokol Bashota, Mayor of Klina, discusses the municipality’s

investment appeal.

European Times: Can you give us a profi le of Klina?

Sokol Bashota: Klina, a key Kosovo crossroads, has

a population of around 38,000, with around 13,000

people living abroad. Klina municipality comprises 54

villages. The area is well known for its natural beauty,

and many people take advantage of convenient train

connections to Peja, Prishtina and Prizren to work in

those cities but live here in Klina.

European Times: What are Klina’s most promising sectors?

Sokol Bashota: Agriculture has excellent development

potential. Klina has high-quality farmland covering some

800 sq km, 70% of it fl at, and since the municipality is

crossed by six rivers, any agricultural venture has easy access

to irrigation. The village of Klina, for example, has access

to three rivers. Klina has fi ve irrigation stations, 400 greenhouses

available for off-season production, and seven milkprocessing

centres collecting around 2,000 litres of milk

per day. Mining is also a fast-growing sector thanks to the

area’s large deposits of lignite and bauxite, and the local

bauxite mine is being prepared for privatisation.

European Times: What about tourism?

Sokol Bashota: The tourism sector also has great prospects

thanks to Klina’s natural attractions, including 13 waterfalls

on the Mirusha River, and rich cultural heritage.

Klina is on the site of an ancient Illyrian settlement

dating from around 87 AD, and adventurous hikers can

discover many ruins from that time. Klina hosts Folklore

Fest, an annual folklore festival which attracts more than

10,000 visitors. We are actively pursuing opportunities to

increase international awareness of Klina and to enhance

its image within the region and in Europe.

European Times: What are some major recent projects?

Sokol Bashota: We have a new €2 million water-treatment

plant to provide clean drinking water, and we

22

Sokol Bashota, Mayor of Klina

have developed modern, effi cient road infrastructure

in addition to our rail links. Around 80% of the roads

leading into and out of Klina are asphalt, and 75% of

them were completed over the past four years.

“Klina is strategically located and

investor-friendly, with a youthful,

educated population and many

attractions for foreign investors.”

European Times: What are you doing to attract FDI to

Klina?

Sokol Bashota: To facilitate foreign direct investment

in the community, we have streamlined the process of

registering a business to less than a few weeks, and we

have lowered taxes and offer free land for development

along with free utilities and infrastructure. Klina is strategically

located and investor-friendly, with a youthful,

educated population and many attractions for foreign

investors.


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Municipality of Klina

KOSOVO

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Thriving Agriculture Centre

Today’s Klina (or Klinë) is a

dynamic urban centre in the Peja

district of northwestern Kosovo with

a population of around 38,000. The

municipality, which includes Klina

City and 54 surrounding villages,

is led by Mayor Sokol Bashota. Strategically

located where the Klina

River meets the White Drin River,

Klina municipality has developed a

growing private sector with around

930 registered businesses employing

a total of around 4,000 people.

Municipalities of Kosovo

Long history dating back to

Roman Empire

The municipality has a long history.

It was known as Dersniku and part

of the land called Dardinia when

it was part of the Roman Empire,

and Profirogoniti, in his ‘Notes

for the People’ written between

948 and 952, referred to Dersniku

as a densely populated city. Prized

then as now for its location and

natural resources, the area that is

now Klina was successively ruled

by Slavic civilisations as well as

by Greece and Byzantium, and

was known as Chinna when it was

an Illyrian settlement. Adopting

Christianity, the city became the

site of many churches built in the

Middle Ages, some of which still

remain today. Klina is building on

this rich heritage to develop its

tourism sector.

Modern economy

dominated by agriculture

Klina’s modern economy is

dominated by agriculture, which

benefi ts from the area’s favourable

climate, fertile arable land,

geographic position and trained

human resources. Local agricultural

enterprises produce both

crops and livestock, and the government

has singled out agriculture

as Klina’s main socio-economic

growth engine in years to come.

23


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

The municipality has a familyhealth

centre and three familyhealth

clinics, and its education

system includes 15 primary

schools, two secondary schools and

two kindergartens. In an illustration

of its tolerance and diversity,

Klina has seven mosques, three

Orthodox churches, a monastery

and six Catholic churches.

Klina has a well-developed

transport infrastructure which

includes paved main roads connecting

major villages with Klina

City. Looking to the future,

the municipal government has

launched a number of infrastructure-development

projects to

support further economic growth,

including initiatives to improve the

municipality’s water system and

electricity network. In addition

to infrastructure, the municipality

is making major investments in

education, environmental protection,

social services and agriculture.

Several infrastructure

projects in the works

Key projects in the works in Klina

municipality include improvements

to the banks of the Klina

river in a €550,000 effort led

by BHK. The project covers the

western portion of the river from

Klina City’s old stone bridge

towards the White Drin River.

Mayor Sokol Bashota explains,

“This project has been one of the

priorities in my administration. We

are creating pedestrian walkways

along both sides of the river which

24

xxxxxx

are linked by a bridge to the city

stadium. We are now completing

the next phase of the project.”

The groundbreaking ceremony

held on August 3 this year for

the new Isa Boletini school in

Drenovc, a village within the

municipality, illustrates Klina’s

commitment to upgrading its

educational facilities. The new

primary school, budgeted at

€400,000, is being financed by the

municipality, Kosovo’s Ministry of

Education and the city of Bolzano,

Italy. The first phase of the project

was financed by the Ministry of

Education (€80,000) and by the

municipality (€72,000), while the

second phase, to begin in 2013,

will be financed with €80,000

from the municipality, €70,000

from the Ministry and €100,000

from Bolzano. The third phase,

which will complete the project,

will be financed by €100,000

from Bolzano, according to Naim

Musliu, the school’s director.

One of Klina’s most important

recent infrastructure projects is a

new paved bridge over the White

Drin River, which greatly improves

transport for local residents.

Inaugurated in June this year,

the bridge was financed by the

municipality in partnership with

the European Commission. Mayor

Sokol Bashota comments, “This

bridge was a vital necessity, and

now brings together the citizens of

Lug Plants.”

In support of the agriculture

sector, the project Directorate of

Agriculture, headed by Rexhepi

Recep, is building 29 new greenhouses

financed 60% by the

municipality and 40% by the

farmers who will use the new facilities.

Rexhepi Recep says, “These

greenhouses will greatly benefit

our local farmers, particularly concerning

the cultivation of fruits.”

Klina Municipality also provides

support to residents in need. In

February this year, following a

heavy snowfall, Mayor Bashota

Sokol distributed sacks of flour

and food to 50 local families.

A new era began for the municipality

when it inaugurated a new

facility for municipal government

offices last year. Prime Minister

Hashim Thaci, along with other

top government officials, attended

the inauguration ceremony, which

marked Klina’s role as one of

Kosovo’s leading economic centres

and an important contributor to

the country’s economic development

and investment appeal.

Municipality of Klina

info@komuna-kline.org

www.komuna-kline.org


Istog Municipality Rolls Out

the Red Carpet for Investors

Haki Rugova, Mayor of Istog,

describes the municipality’s

investment appeal.

European Times: What is the

history of Istog?

Haki Rugova: Istog’s history dates

back to the Roman Empire. During

the Turkish era, Istog was known as

a site for grain mills and wool-processing

workshops. Istog has always

been a prized location.

European Times: What does Istog

offer foreign investors?

Haki Rugova: The municipality

covers around 800 hectares,

around 40% of which has not been

developed, and contains a lot of

building land ready for construction.

Istog is known as one of the

safest parts of Kosovo and offers

a very positive environment for

doing business. The municipality

also has excellent infrastructure,

including modern roads,

water and sewerage systems. The

municipality attracts a lot of

tourism visitors, especially in the

summer, which is a boost for local

enterprises.

European Times: How about the

business climate?

Haki Rugova: Business conditions

are great! We have streamlined

administrative procedures

so that a business can be

registered in only 30 minutes.

Also, we have designated two

industrial zones, one of which

Municipalities of Kosovo

Haki Rugova, Mayor of Istog

is already functional and has

around ten factories operating.

We are now planning to complete

the infrastructure for the second

zone, which will cover around 60

hectares. The price for the land in

the zones is symbolic and everyone

interested will receive land.

European Times: What are top

sectors for investors?

Haki Rugova: The agriculture sector

offers the greatest potential. We have

high-quality farmland and several

successful privatisations in the agriculture

sector, including Devolli

Group, which produces milk, and

Trofta, which markets fi sh throughout

the country. The tourism sector

also has excellent development

prospects thanks to our natural

attractions, which include mountains

suitable for ski resorts as well as the

natural hot springs at Banja.

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

European Times: What partnerships

has Istog had with international

organisations?

Haki Rugova: We have had several

successful projects with USAID,

including for public lighting,

sidewalks and roads, and the EU’s IPA

funds have helped us build schools

and roads. The EU, KfW, GTZ, the

central government and the municipality

also partnered in a major

project to build a new water system.

European Times: What is your

personal message to potential

investors and partners?

Haki Rugova: I guarantee that I will

do everything in my power as mayor

to help investors have a successful

business here. We offer a very favourable

regulatory environment and

ample building land, and we are very

open to public-private partnerships.

25


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Municipality of Istog

26

KOSOVO

Thriving Municipality Favours

International Partnerships

Istog, with around 40,000 inhabitants, is strategically

set in north-western Kosovo and has long been known

for its fl ourishing agriculture sector. This rapidly

developing municipality, which covers around 50

villages including the town of Istog, offers signifi cant

investment attractions which include extensive natural

resources, skilled and dedicated human capital, and a

very business-friendly municipal government.

Istog was established in 1913, and functioned as a

district centre from 1912 until 1947. The district

system was dissolved in 1960, but in 1978 Istog was offi -

cially designated a town. Today, Istog is one of Kosovo’s

fastest-growing municipalities. It has a youthful population,

with only 6% older than age 65.

Successful projects with USAID

Istog welcomes foreign investors. In November 2011,

Istog celebrated two successful projects completed with

the support of the USAID: a pedestrian walkway in Istog

city and a new public-lighting system in the village of

Vrella. Istog’s mayor, Haki Rugova, commented at the

inauguration ceremony, “These projects supported by

the USAID are particularly important for the citizens of

Istog municipality since they will signifi cantly improve

our citizens’ quality of life.”

USAID Special Advisor Craig Buck explains that Istog

is one of 21 ‘Democratic Effective Municipalities Initiative’

partner-municipalities chosen by the USAID

in Kosovo, and that Istog received the coveted USAID

Municipal Service Performance Management awards

in two categories last year: administrative services

and urban planning. He noted at the inauguration

ceremony marking the new walkway and lighting

system, “Istog has worked with the USAID for many

years. We at the USAID are pleased to have such a

strong partnership and the results of that partnership

speak for themselves with these two new projects. I

hope that when the citizens of Istog stroll along this

sidewalk and enjoy the new lighting, they will appreciate

the benefi ts of continuing cooperation between

government and citizens for the benefi t of the Istog

community.”

Agriculture, trade-dominated local economy

Istog’s main economic sector is agriculture, which

employs around 65% of the local population. Cereals,

fruits and vegetables are the top crops, while Istog also

has thriving stock-breeding activities as well as fi sheries

and a well-developed forestry sector. Stock-breeding in

particular is seen as having particularly strong growth

prospects in Istog thanks to abundant high-quality

pastures and growing demand for meat in regional

markets. Istog also welcomes investments in food-processing

operations which will make use of local crops.

Istog’s mountain areas are ideal for cultivating herbs,

another growth segment in the agriculture sector.

The municipality has a dynamic trade sector, particularly

concerning internal trade. In fact, trading is the

dominant activity in Istog’s private sector; of the 2,036

registered businesses in the municipality, just over 700

are involved in trade.

Tourism sector with growth prospects

Istog also has signifi cant tourism appeal. The picturesque

Bjeshkët e Nemuna Mountains and Mokna

forest are located in Istog municipality and are rich


in fl ora and fauna, while one of Kosovo’s best-known

natural spas, Banja, is also near Istog city. The municipality’s

beautiful, unspoiled natural areas are ideal

sites for sports facilities, eco-tourism services, spas,

hotels and resorts.

In addition to its natural attractions, Istog has a rich

cultural heritage. Formerly known as the Podgur

region, the area that is now Istog has been continuously

inhabited since prehistoric times. Many monuments

from the past can be found throughout the municipality,

from mosques and Catholic and Orthodox churches

to ancient towers, water mills and caves.

One of three municipalities participating in

Green Agenda

To protect its heritage while also pursuing economic

growth, Istog has become one of the three municipalities

in Kosovo which are participating in the

Green Agenda programme, which aims to promote

sustainable development and the preservation of

local natural resources and culture. Green Agenda

cites a number of natural and cultural attractions in

Istog which can be sustainably developed for tourism,

including Istogu springs, Banja hot springs, and other

natural springs; architectural landmarks; caves; and

unspoiled mountain areas.

Municipalities of Kosovo

xxxxxx

Municipality of Istog

2 Korriku str.

31000 Istog

Tel: +381 39 45 1222

komuna.istog@rks-gov.net

http://kk.rks-gov.net/istog

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Istog has a well-developed educational system including

pre-primary, primary and secondary educational institutions,

which welcomed a total of around 9,700 school

children in 2011. Istog also has its own healthcare

system which includes fi ve family healthcare centres and

ten mobile healthcare units. Banja village has a Rehabilitation

and Recreation Centre which is very popular

among patients suffering from rheumatic diseases.

Dynamic, modern Istog welcomes the chance to develop

productive international partnerships and will continue

to provide a business-friendly environment for investors.

27


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

28

• Financial Indicators Positive

Finance

KOSOVO

“Our major goals are to ensure

Kosovo’s fi nancial stability,

support price stability, advise the

government, and contribute to the

effi cient allocation of the country’s

economic resources.”

Gani Gërguri, Governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Central Bank Continues to

Promote Stability

Kosovo’s Central Bank has a successful track record in ensuring

the country’s fi nancial stability. Gani Gërguri, Governor since

May 2011 discusses the bank’s policies and priorities.

European Times: What are the Central Bank’s main

objectives?

Gani Gërguri: The Central Bank’s mandate is to license,

regulate and supervise all Kosovo’s fi nancial institutions.

Our major goals are to ensure Kosovo’s fi nancial

stability, support price stability, advise the government,

and contribute to the effi cient allocation of the country’s

economic resources.

European Times: What are the Central Bank’s most

important accomplishments so far?

Gani Gërguri: Kosovo’s fi nancial sector is strong, healthy

and stable and includes a very sound banking sector. For

example, Kosovo’s banking sector has continuously maintained

a capital adequacy ratio of around 17% as well as

double digit increase in both deposits and loans. This

growth continued even during the global fi nancial crisis.

The share of non-performing loans has never exceeded the

single digits. This success is the result of good provisioning

and good buffers against threats and shocks. In addition, the

introduction of the euro has had a positive effect through

helping to bring about monetary and fi scal discipline.

European Times: How have international institutions contributed

to the development of Kosovo’s fi nancial sector?

Gani Gërguri: Kosovo has benefi ted considerably from the

big support of international institutions since 1999 and

is still working very closely with the World Bank and the

International Monetary Fund. Signifi cant support was also

given by the US Treasury which, among others, has also

helped us develop certain strategies at the national level.

European Times: What is the current state of the banking

sector?

Gani Gërguri: Kosovo’s banking sector is very healthy,

partly because more than 90% of our banks are foreign-

Finance

x

Gani Gërguri, Governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo

owned. We are also proud of the merger and acquisition

process in our banking sector, which has been very smooth.

We now have eight commercial banks, of which six are part

of foreign banking groups. Three banks cover 75% of the

market; these are ProCredit, Raiffesen and NLB.

European Times: How about the insurance sector?

Gani Gërguri: Kosovo’s insurance sector is developing

well, with ten non-life insurance companies and three life

insurance companies. Most are partners of well-known EU

insurance groups. There are still signifi cant opportunities,

particularly for life insurance.

European Times: What are the Central Bank’s current goals?

Gani Gërguri: Our main objectives are to maintain the stability

of the fi nancial sector and to further promote our banking

sector to bring additional players into the market. Also, the

CBK is committed to broaden and develop other sectors of

the fi nancial markets. The government’s recently introduced

securities market is developing very well. The Central Bank

of Kosovo will continue to be a strong, independent and

effective regulator of the country’s fi nancial sector.

29


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Financial Indicators Positive

International observers are praising

Kosovo’s sound fi nancial system. The

World Bank, which supports Kosovo

through a 2012-2015 countrypartnership

programme, announced

in June that it would allocate €37

million in assistance to Kosovo’s

government for sustainable-employment

development, in recognition

of Kosovo’s successful efforts to

maintain macroeconomic stability.

30

xxxxxx

In addition, Johannes Wiegand,

IMF’s Mission Chief for Kosovo,

commented at the end of his Kosovo

visit in June, “Macroeconomic and

fi nancial policies in Kosovo are on

track. All end-April quantitative performance

criteria and most structural

benchmarks have been met. Kosovo’s

economy has continued to display

resilience in a diffi cult international

environment.” He cited the ‘solid

capital infl ows and robust lending

activity by a well-capitalised and

liquid banking system’ as a key reason

for Kosovo’s success. In May, the

IMF confi rmed a new €107 million

stand-by loan for Kosovo.

2012 budget on track

Finance Minister Bedri Hamza points

out that all leading indicators for

Kosovo’s fi nancial sector are positive;

for example, Kosovo kept its budget

defi cit to around 2.7% of GDP in

2011, with public debt at 5.4%. He

adds that Kosovo has escaped the

worst effects of the euro-zone crisis

because of the country’s stable

banking sector and limited integration

with European banks.

The Finance Minister notes that

Kosovo’s 2012 budget is on track;

more than 40% of it is earmarked

for capital investment, mainly on

the new highway linking Kosovo

with Albania. In June this year, the

budget received a €30 million boost

from Kosovo’s Privatisation Agency

following its successful privatisation

of around 65 state-owned companies.

Kosovo’s fi nancial system is overseen

by the Central Bank of Kosovo, which

works to ensure macroeconomic

stability and regulates Kosovo’s

banking sector, insurance industry,

pension funds and micro-fi nance

institutions. The Central Bank issued

Kosovo’s fi rst government securities

in the form of 90-day treasury bills

in January this year. Only commercial

banks were able to participate in

the auction, but a secondary market

allows for banks and other clients to

trade these securities.

At the launch of the treasury bills,

Central Bank Governor Gani

Gërguri said, “Through issuance

of treasury bills with shorter-term

maturity, we are taking the fi rst step

in establishing capital markets in our

country.” In March, he added confi -

dently, “Our fi nancing gap for 2012

is between €150 million and €160

million, and we will cover it with the

issuance of government securities

and with our loan agreement with

the IMF.”


Banka Kombetare Tregtare

Dynamic Bank Driving National

Economy Forward

Banka Kombetare Tregtare (BKT) has a long history of

providing world-class banking services. Established through

a 1993 merger between the Albanian Commercial Bank

and the National Bank of Albania, Banka Kombetare

Tregtare was fully privatised in 2000 and, following a

signifi cant restructuring, achieved growth rates well beyond

the average. BKT now has 60 branches in Albania and 23

branches in Kosovo. BKT is present in Kosovo since 2007.

BKT Kosovo offers a wide range of universal banking

services to individuals, government and corporate

clients, including loans, EMV-compliant debit and credit

cards, ATMs, e-banking, qualifi ed international banking

and various treasury products. BKT Kosovo increased its

paid-up capital from an initial €5 million to €8 million in

2010, and its branch network has grown from one branch

in Prishtina to 23 branches all around the country.

Managing Director Suat Albayrak explains, “BKT

Kosovo is the newest bank in the country and 2009

could be considered its fi rst full year of operations with

a full branch network. The expansion of the branch

network has been accompanied by a dramatic increase

in market share in both lending and deposits.” BKT is a

leader in Kosovo in its product range, technologies and

rates. In fact, BKT Kosovo is now widely regarded as the

country’s best bank for product innovation, personal

and educational loans, mortgages and credit cards.

Catalyst for economic growth

BKT Kosovo is strongly committed to supporting the

development of the local economy, including assisting

entrepreneurs who have graduated from the USAID

Entrepreneurial and Agriculture Programme. Suat

Albayrak points out, “BKT Kosovo aims to continue to

be the leader in introducing new products and technologies

in the Kosovo market, and to serve as a catalyst

for economic development. BKT plays a key role in

enhancing Kosovo’s attractions for foreign investors.”

Finance

BKT Kosovo head offi ce

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Unlike other local fi nancial institutions, BKT Kosovo focuses

around 75% of its loans on trade and services. Suat Albayrak

says, “The payback period of loans for trade and services is

shorter than of loans for big construction projects. Thanks

to this strategy, BKT Kosovo has the ability to reinvest much

more quickly into the local market, spurring on the growth

and development of the middle class.”

BKT Kosovo benefi ts from the strong liquidity support of

its parent bank in Albania. Thanks to its solid fi nancial

foundations, excellent track record and high-quality

services, BKT Kosovo is well on the way to reaching its

goal of boosting its market share up to 15% over the

next fi ve years.

Rr.Kosta Novakovic Nr.9 - Prishtina

Tel.: +381 38 22 2911

salbayrak@bkt.com.al - www.bkt.com.al

31


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

32

KOSOVO

Infrastructure


Infrastructure

xxxxxx

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Major Improvements in Transport,

Energy and Municipal Infrastructure

Kosovo is working hard to bring its

infrastructure up to international

standards. A new highway linking

Prishtina to the port of Durrës,

Albania, is one high-profi le project

which demonstrates the Kosovo government’s

commitment to infrastructure

development as well as the opportunities

for private companies to participate

in major infrastructure initiatives.

The highway will link up with Trans

European Corridor X, which joins

Western Europe and the Adriatic

Sea. It is being built by Bechtel-

Enka, a US-Turkish joint-venture

partnership, and funded through

Kosovo’s national budget. Fehmi

Mujota, Kosovo’s Minister of Infrastructure,

explains, “Our next plan

is for the highway from Prishtina

to Macedonia, which will boost the

economic development not only

of Kosovo but of the whole region.

We know our limitations as far as

funding, but the government has

decided that infrastructure investment

is the priority if we want to

develop this country. We are a small,

new country but we see ourselves as

the key to the region.”

Public-private partnerships

In 2009, Kosovo instituted a law

on public-private partnerships to

attract more FDI in its infrastructure

programmes. According to the

Investment Promotion Agency of

Kosovo (IPAK), 32.8% of foreign

investment in Kosovo in 2011

focused on the construction sector,

including road construction. IPAK

notes that several private companies

have expressed interest in participating

in the construction of the

planned Prishtina-Skopje highway,

which is expected to begin in early

2013.

The government

has decided that

infrastructure

investment is the

priority if we want to

develop this country.”

Along with upgrading its transport

and communications networks,

Kosovo is also modernising its

municipal infrastructure to help

support business growth and to

improve quality of life for its citizens.

The European Community Liaison

Offi ce in Kosovo launched a €27

million municipal-infrastructure

project last year which involves

improving energy-supply systems

throughout the country and implementing

new water-supply systems in

several municipalities. One of the EU

programme’s initiatives will double

the Mitrovica region’s water supply to

provide uninterrupted potable water

for approximately 250,000 citizens.

These projects are part of the EU’s

long-term effort to bring Kosovo

closer to European standards.

The USAID is another international

supporter of projects to improve

water and sanitation systems in

Kosovo. The American organisation

is working with Kosovo’s government

through the Kosovo Water Institutional

Sector Reform Initiative,

which aims to increase private-sector

participation in Kosovo’s water

sector by upgrading the regulatory

environment for water and sanitation

projects. New investment opportunities

are opening up almost every

day as Kosovo continues to drive its

infrastructure development forward.

33


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Regional Water Company Prishtina

Water Company Driving Forward

Ambitious Development Plan

The Regional Water Company Prishtina, now the biggest

water company in Kosovo, provides drinking water and

wastewater-services to around 40% of the country’s

population. With strong support of Germany’s KfW

and the EU, the Regional Water Company Prishtina

has made signifi cant progress over the past few years

and is committed to achieving the ambitious goals of

its development plan for 2040. A joint-stock company

since 2007, the Regional Water Company Prishtina

operates 22 pumping stations, 70,000 m³ of reservoirs,

around 700,000 m of water pipes, and a sewage system

of around 350,000 m.

CEO Gjelosh Vataj explains, “We have launched a threephase

project supported by KfW, the EU and other

donors and investors. In May this year, we completed the

fi rst phase, budgeted at €8 million. We have built a new

reservoir and updated our pipe infrastructure. The next

phase, budgeted at €17 million, will include more pipe

upgrades to combat water loss.

In the third phase, we will build a new water-treatment

plant with a capacity of 700 litres per second and with the

possibility to be extended to an extra 500 litres per second

to secure reliable water services for 24 hours for everyone.”

New wastewater-treatment plant

With a donation from the EU, the Regional Water Company

was able to complete a feasibility study for the new wastewater-treatment

plant, which will cost around €150 million

and will serve three municipalities: Prishtina, Fushe Kosove

and Kastrioti. Gjelosh Vataj says, “To complete this plant, we

need the support of donors and investors. We want them to

understand that building this plant is essential for the wellbeing

of the citizens of Kosovo.”

The Regional Water Company Prishtina invests €3.5

million of its own funds annually in its modernisation

projects. Through its development programme, the

34

Gjelosh Vataj, CEO

company has already achieved a 2% decrease in water

losses and at the same time has boosted its billing by 11%

and collection of revenues by 16%. The Regional Water

Company Prishtina attracts an average of 500 to 1,000 new

customers each month.

The Regional Water Company Prishtina is ranked number

one in Kosovo for its reputation on the public, and it has

a very strong track record of successful partnerships with

international donor organisations. Now the company

aims to play a key role in attracting foreign investment to

Kosovo. Gjelosh Vataj says, “As Prishtina grows, more and

more people are learning about our company. One of the

keys to maintaining a good corporate image is transparency,

and the Regional Water Company Prishtina is very

transparent.” He concludes, “Overall, Kosovo has very

good conditions for foreign investors, and they should

come here and check out the many opportunities.”

K O M P A N I A U J Ë S J E L L Ë S I R A J O N A L S H . A

R E G I O N A L W A T E R C O M P A N Y J . S . C

REGIONALNA KOMPANIJA ZA VODOSNABDEVANJE D.D

KUR “Prishtina” - “Tahir Zajmi” p.n., Prishtina

Tel: +381 38 60 3010

info@kur-prishtina.com - www.kur-prishtina.com


Infrastructure

Hidrodrini Regional Water Company

THE EUROPEAN TIMES

Water Company Continues to

Modernise

Hidrodrini Regional Water

Company was established in 2004

to provide reliable, world-class

water and wastewater services to

fi ve municipalities in Kosovo:

Peja, Deçan, Istog, Klina and

Junik. A joint-stock company since

2007, Hidrodrini is upgrading its

facilities and services according to

EU criteria.

The company is defi nitely making

progress. It has boosted its collection

rate from 60% in 2009 to around

70% this year while reducing water

losses from 74% in 2009 to 68%

in 2012. Hidrodrini has also been

adding around 1,500 new customers

every year. Thanks to its successful

efforts to improve its operations,

Hidrodrini has won the confi dence

of international donors USAID,

KfW, and the Swiss government, all

of which are helping the company

reach its goals.

“Hidrodrini is steadily

working to meet all

EU standards.”

Focus on fi nancial

sustainability

Managing Director Agron Tigani

says that one of Hidrodrini’s challenges

is to guarantee clean drinking

water to all its customers. The

need to upgrade water infrastructure

to prevent losses as well as the

need to prevent illegal connections

and unpaid water bills are other

problems the company must face.

He says, “Hidrodrini’s current priorities

are to implement the fi nancial

support we have received from KfW

and to sign contracts with all our

regional consumers. Over the long

term, our main goals are to achieve

greater administrative effi ciency, to

cut down on water losses, to increase

collection rates and to further

improve our services. Our top target

is to have a fi nancially sustainable

company.”

Hidrodrini is one of four water

companies in Kosovo the USAID

chose to participate in its “Small

Infrastructure for Water and Sanitation”

programme, a fi ve-year initiative

to upgrade water systems in

four municipalities by the end of

this year. Hidrodrini was also one of

two Kosovo water companies whose

development programmes USAID

supported through its “Kosovo

Water Institutional Sector Reform”

effort in 2009 and 2010.

As it continues its drive to progress,

Hidrodrini aims to create more

payment options, to read water

metres on time, to ensure that all

water bills are correct and to use

legal means to prevent unpaid water

services. Agron Tigani adds that staff

training is crucial for the company as

it modernises its operations. He says,

“We are training our employees in

the use of chlorination equipment,

work-safety regulations, the use of

new ICT technologies, maintenance

of the system and other areas.”

Hidrodrini is steadily working to

meet all EU standards.

konsumatori@hidrodrini.com

www.hidrodrini.com

35


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

36

Tourism

KOSOVO

“I would be happy to invite

you to more actively participate

and invest in Kosovo in the

spheres of agriculture, tourism,

infrastructure, energy, and

mining.”

Hashim Thaçi, Prime Minister


THE EUROPEAN TIMES

New Destination on the Global Travel Map

Restelica

Kosovo’s great natural beauty and

many architectural monuments are

drawing more and more international

travellers, especially after The

New York Times named the country

one of 41 not-to-be-missed destinations

in 2011. Kosovo is easily

reached from throughout Europe and

beyond through Prishtina International,

the country’s main gateway

for foreign travellers.

Thanks to its strategic location on

key trade routes, Kosovo has been

prized by many civilisations over

the centuries, including the Illyrian,

Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman

empires, all of which left their mark.

In the Middle Ages, Kosovo saw the

construction of important Serbian

Orthodox churches and monasteries,

many of which remain today.

A mountainous land with reliable

winter snowfalls, Kosovo is a

natural for the development of

Tourism

xxxxxx

ski resorts, and Brezovica in the

Sharr Mountains is one of Kosovo’s

tourism investment opportunities.

The resort has three hotels and a

range of related facilities as well

as nine ski lifts. Another 22,000

hectares of unspoiled mountain area

– Sharrprodhimi, near the town of

Dragash – has also been earmarked

for tourism development. It offers

exceptional potential for eco-tourism,

river kayaking, skiing and other

outdoor activities.

From natural springs to

handicrafts

Other tourism attractions include

Kosovo’s many natural springs, ideal

for spas; its handicrafts, including

silver fi ligree and wood-carving; its

delicious cuisine; its youthful, multilingual

workforce; and its lively capital,

Prishtina. As Seth Sherwood writes in

The New York Times, “Thanks in part

to the return of enterprising young

Kosovars living abroad, Prishtina

is fi lling with cafés, nightclubs and

restaurants.” He adds that Kosovo’s

architectural treasures are the main

draw for most foreign visitors, and

cites Peja in particular. This ancient

city contains the Patriarchate of Pec,

a complex of medieval churches, and

Decani Monastery, both stunningly

decorated with frescoes.

Kosovo is working hard to attract

investors in its tourism industry. The

country needs tourism infrastructure,

including international-standard

hotels and resorts, as well as facilities

to train employees in the hospitality

sector. When he meets with potential

investors, Kosovo’s Prime Minister

Hashim Thaçi always singles out

tourism as one of his country’s highpotential

sectors. At a recent meeting

with Bulgarian business leaders, he

said, “Kosovo has European laws

which protect and defend foreign

investors. I would be happy to invite

you to more actively participate and

invest in Kosovo in the spheres of

agriculture, tourism, infrastructure,

energy, and mining.” As tourism

throughout the Balkans continues to

grow, Kosovo will become even more

attractive as a tourism FDI target.

37


THE EUROPEAN TIMES THE EUROPEAN TIMES

KOSOVO

Emerald Hotel

Kosovo’s First Five-Star Hotel

Emerald Hotel in Prishtina, Kosovo’s

fi rst fi ve-star hotel, combines contemporary

elegance with luxurious

amenities and services, and has

quickly earned a reputation as the

country’s top choice for business and

leisure travellers. Safet Mehmetaj,

Deputy General Manager, explains,

The Emerald Hotel is big on space

and even bigger on service and

amenities. Our staff provides a warm

welcome and professional, personalised

attention for every guest.”

The Emerald Hotel has 72 nonsmoking

guestrooms, including

seven particularly luxurious suites.

Every room and suite is equipped

with air-conditioning, free wireless

high-speed Internet, LCD TV with

cable programming, a direct-dial

telephone, a desk, a safe, a mini-bar

and coffee-making facilities, extralarge

bathrooms and more.

Complimentary breakfasts are served

each day (in the guest’s room on

request), and the hotel’s food and

beverage options offer a wide choice,

from casual snacks to gourmet dining.

Guests can have a quiet drink in the

poolside bar or in the cosy bar lounge,

get a bite to eat in the snack bar/deli

or coffee shop, or enjoy international

38

and local cuisine in the fi fth-fl oor restaurant

with its expansive views.

The Emerald Hotel also has a 200 sq

m fi tness centre and an exclusive spa

as well as a boutique, a fully equipped

business centre open around the clock,

a transportation desk, a reception desk

open 24 hours a day, laundry and drycleaning

service, free parking, free

airport shuttle service, a sauna, an

indoor pool and a Jacuzzi. In short,

the Emerald Hotel offers everything

sophisticated international travellers

expect in a fi ve-star hotel.

Top choice for meetings and

events

For business visitors, the hotel has

1,000 sq m of state-of-the-art, adaptable

meeting space, the largest hotel-based

conference space in Kosovo. Smaller

meeting rooms are available, and the

hotel’s events team can organise and

cater any type of meeting.

The Emerald Hotel ballroom, for

example, can accommodate up to 700

guests. Safet Mehmetaj explains, “Our

events team works with you to organise

any type of event from start to fi nish.

Small meetings receive all the attention

of larger gatherings at Emerald,

including the hotel’s cutting-edge technology

and distinctively appointed conference

rooms, which can accommodate

meetings for up to 100 delegates.

Each meeting also enjoys the services

of a dedicated Banquet Manager, who

personally attends to every detail.”

With its array of luxurious services and

its welcoming, multilingual staff, the

Emerald Hotel is the right choice for

visitors to Prishtina.

Prishtina – Skopje Highway

10000 Prishtina

Tel: +381 38 58 8888

contact@EmeraldHotel.Info

www.EmeraldHotel.info

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