IBNA Special Report/ The latest report of the American Intelligence Agency (CIA) considers Kosovo as the poorest country in the Balkan. These data reject the declarations made by the government for economic growth compared to other countries. Unemployment, a serious problem which is not being resolved. IBNA hears from Time Kadriaj, vice chairwoman of the Committee for Health, Work and Social Welfare in the Parliament of Kosovo, Feride Hyseni, General Secretary of the Red Cross of Kosovo and Jeton Mehmeti, head of the Institute for Advanced Studies “GAP”
Pristina, April 1, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Elton Tota
Kosovo is the poorest country in the Balkan in terms of GDP per capita. This fact is revealed by the latest report of the American Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the World Factbook.
With a GDP per capita of around 7600 USD, in 2013, CIA ranks Kosovo 136th in the world as far as the wealth of its citizens is concerned. This is the lowest ranking among all Balkan countries.
The other less developed country in the region is Albania, which CIA ranks on the 131st place in the list of all countries.
According to the CIA report, the economic growth of Kosovo in 2013 has been 2.6%. This means that 126 other countries of the world have had a better economic growth than Kosovo.
This rankingrejects the claims of the Kosovar government according to which the world is in a crisis and that the country has had a better economic growth than most other countries.
Unemployment, CIA doesn’t take into account the state report
Every year, CIA publishes the World Factbook, which analyzes a number of economic, political and social indicators, which start from the data on population, governing, energy, transport and Armed Forces.
The latest CIA report doesn’t take into account the latest analyses on unemployment carried out by the Kosovo’s Authority of Statistics (ESK). CIA supports its conclusions on the previous report of 2011, which indicates that Kosovo’s unemployment rate amounts to 45%.
In relation to the latest report on unemployment, ESK has been considered as an organization which is manipulated by the government of Kosovo.
In fact, the unemployment rate continues to remain very high, thus having an impact on the general level of unemployment in Kosovo. According to the data of ESK, 29.2% of the population in Kosovo lives in poverty, while 8.2% lives in extreme poverty.
Time Kadriaj is vice chairwoman of the Committee for Health, Labor and Social Welfare in the parliament of Kosovo. Kadriaj too says that the level of unemployment is 40% and not 30% like ESK reports.
Salaries are the main source of incomes for households
Representatives of non government organizations in Kosovo say that the low level of employment in the country has significantly increased the level of poverty. Meanwhile, representatives of humanitarian organizations say that the level of poverty is much higher than official figures report.
Feride Hyseni is General Secretary of the Red Cross in Kosovo. She says that the situation on field is highly worrying as far as poverty is concerned. According to her, poverty is growing and not reducing.
This association often helps families with food and hygienic products, but the demands are higher than what it’s possible to offer.
According to the Red Cross of Kosovo, there are over 17 thousand households which are being helped by this organization and 80% of them do not receive social benefits.
“”We focus on those families who have many members, with children, elderly and families that have special needs. I can say that 80% of the households that we assist do not have any other source of income. This means that they neither work, nor receive benefits”, says Hyseni.
Besides the families being assisted by the Red Cross, there are also 31 thousand other families who are receiving social benefits from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. The amount that these households receive on a monthly basis is 40 to 80 Euros a month, depending on the number of members that they have.
Can private sector reduce unemployment?
Jeton Mehmeti, head of the Institute for Advanced Studies “GAP”, says that in order to reduce the number of poor people in Kosovo, authorities must support the private sector to increase employment.
“Kosovo has the lowest level of employment in Europe, around 25%. If we compare this figure to previous years, in 2006, this figure was 29%. In these circumstances, the state must support the private sector in order to increase employment. /ibna/