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News 24 May 16

Foreign Investors Content in Kosovo, Survey Says

A survey of 250 foreign entrepreneurs in Kosovo suggests that while most of their businesses are doing well, they want reforms to strengthen the rule of law as well as political stability.

Ervin Qafmolla
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo government headquarters. Photo: BIRN/Atdhe Mulla.

Most foreign investors in Kosovo are content with their business results, with most of them saying that their sales have been rising and commercial outcomes have matched their expectations, indicates the new survey which was published on Monday.

The findings of the ‘After Care’ survey from the Kosova Chamber of Commerce, OCC, and the Kosovo Investment and Enterprise Support Agency, covered 250 foreign direct investors in the country, most of which operate in production and manufacture, services and sales.

Most of the interviewed investors in the sales sector – 88 of 116 – said they had seen an annual sales increase in 2015 compared to the previous fiscal year.

A total of 160 investors out of the 250 interviewed said their investment has seen rewards in line with or above expectations in the last three years of operations in the country.

“This study shows a dose of optimism which should be funnelled to support development,” Safet Gerxhaliu, chairman of the OCC, said during the presentation of the findings.

But he noted that a comparison with foreign direct investment trends in other countries in the region “leaves little room for euphoria” and should motivate Kosovo to improve the environment for doing business.

Several foreign investors in the survey complained of slow structural reforms in Kosovo, delayed investment legislation and inadequate legal protection.

Information on investment opportunities in the country was also scant, as an overwhelming majority of respondents, 191 of the 250, said they got this information through personal contacts rather than through the official channels.

When asked to explain their main obstacles in Kosovo, they mentioned corruption, nepotism and unfair competition.

The British ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairi O’Connell, said foreign investors needed increased support and a stronger rule of law.

“Investors need help, bringing their capital here is not enough. They need to know that any problem they may have, can be solved in a just and expedite way from the Kosovo judiciary,” O’Connell said.

Hykmete Bajrami, Kosovo’s minister of trade and industry, promised meanwhile that the findings will be used by policymakers to improve the business environment in the country.

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