During his visit to Prague, Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka met with Czech entrepreneurs and investors to promote a new dynamic in economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by a group of Albanian businessmen.
The two Prime Ministers agreed that although numbers are increasing, the level of economic cooperation still does not respond to the opportunities and ambitions of both countries.
They committed to give a new impetus to the cooperation in areas of mutual benefit, such as tourism, agriculture, energy and infrastructure.
Since january 2005, Albania has exported to the Czech Republic goods worth 48.9 million euros, while the Czech Republic has exported to albania goods worth 225 million euros.
The biggest share of imports from the Czech Republic includes machineries and exports from albania, minerals and consumer goods.
“However it is clear to everyone that here we have a great potential which is virtually untapped, and today’s figures are totally unacceptable in relation to the common ambitions for the future. Both our governments are committed to expanding economic cooperation in other sectors, tourism, transport, agriculture, energy or infrastructure. The major tap project will be followed by gasification of the country, and it will significantly increase the potential for cooperation between our two countries” – Prime Minister Rama said.
“We have wasted many years as far as bilateral relations are concerned. In my opinion, the exchange does not correspond to the potential that the albanian and czech market can absorb. Our economic relations need fresh impetus. I am convinced that mr. Rama’s visit will help to implement long-term projects of cooperation between our countries”- Prime Minister Sobotka said.
Tourism has been for years a field with high attraction for the Czechs. Highlighting this fact, Prime Minister Rama stressed that the albanian government looks with interest at the increasing number of tourists from this country. The new law on tourism, said the Prime Minister, creates space and convenience for investors who want to engage in the sector in Albania.
“The cooperation agreement in the field of tourism will be a key element in deepening these relations. We look with great interest at the growing number of Czech tourists in Albania. 14 thousand people came last summer, much more than last year, and yet more than two years ago. But even this figure is only a significant signal of how much more Albania can absorb. The approval of the new law on tourism in Albania creates new spaces and great facilities for any investor who would like to get involved in our journey towards building a modern sector of tourism services” – Prime Minister Rama said.
Contacts between our peoples, the Prime Minister said, date since the fifteenth century. A number of Czech personalities have made an important contribution in the recognition of the Albanian state and later in the building-process. This is proof of the good will for cooperation of mutual interest in all areas and levels, as well as between representatives of the entrepreneurship world.
The prime minister expressed gratitude for the support of the Czech Republic in the framework of the visegrad countries, support that is materialized with the Western Balkan Fund which will open soon its headquarters in Tirana.