Analysis 28 Sep 16

Albania’s Dependence on Remittances Ending, Experts Say

As Albanian emigrants build new lives abroad, experts foresee that the money they send home to their relatives is going to shrink further, but without damaging the country’s economy.

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
Center of Tirana. Photo: BIRN/Ivana Dervishi 

Economists believe that Albania is no longer going to receive large amounts of remittances - money transferred by expatriate workers to families and individuals in their home country - and the time when this cash was considered crucial for the economy is coming to an end.

They suggest that the decline in remittances is connected to the fact that Albanians who left the country and have been sending money back to their families for a long time have started to create their own families abroad, while younger generations of Albanians brought up abroad have looser ties with relatives in the country.

Despite the fact that the Central Bank does not publish data about where remittances come from, it is widely believed that Greece and Italy constitute the major part of the money sent home, since almost 600,000 Albanian emigrants live in Greece, while more than 500,000 are believed to live in Italy.

The majority of them left the country at the beginning of the 1990s, although a second exodus happened in 1997 when the country was hit by civil unrest.

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