Upskilling key to Albania’s continued growth

by Cristian Florescu

For Albania’s share of employment in high-skilled occupations to reach the Western Balkans average, more than 100,000 people (nine per cent of the workforce) need to transfer from low- and medium skilled jobs to high-skilled jobs, writes Emerging Europe

The new World Bank Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) for Albania, published last week, says that the country has been severely impacted by the economic shocks which followed both an earthquake in 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic.

It says that once the ongoing health crisis subsides, the country will need to refocus on its long-term economic objectives, which include building a strong and sustainable growth model to improve citizens’ living standards, thereby helping incentivise people with skills and talent to remain in Albania.

Albania’s working-age population continues to shrink as people emigrate in search of better job opportunities. The Albanian diaspora represents 57 per cent of the country’s current population, one of the highest in the world.

While Albania’s population of 2.8 million in 2020 has remained constant since the early 1980s, it has aged rapidly due to the continuous emigration of working-age Albanians and a decline in the fertility rate, from 3.4 in 1980 to an average of 1.62 in 2015–20.

“Through this report, we conduct a fresh analysis of Albania’s development challenges, summarise progress with reform implementation, and offer key recommendations that can help Albania achieve a sustainable, resilient and inclusive economic recovery,” says Emanuel Salinas, World Bank country manager for Albania. “In our recommendations, we also focus on what needs to be done to enable the Albanian people to have healthy and productive lives and more and better jobs.”

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