Foreign investments are growing in Kosovo as companies look to the country's EU future.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 15/08/13
The Sonnenterrassen neighbourhood in Peja, Western Kosovo, will be comprised of 145 townhomes. [Amia Sh.p.k.]
Foreign investment in Kosovo is on the rise, with experts citing the country's young population, growing economy and natural resources as key factors.
Foreign direct investment in Kosovo increased by about 7 percent this year, compared to the same period last year. Most of Kosovo's foreign investments come from the EU member-countries, with Germany leading the way.
Investments in the country are mainly in the construction, manufacturing, real estate and financial sectors.
The latest German investment is the construction of a real estate project called Sonnenterrassen in Peja, western Kosovo. The contract will cost 23 million euros and will be processed in several stages.
Hans-Martin Rüter, the founder of project developer Amia Energy, said that the Sonnenterrassen neighbourhood will include 145 townhouses, which will be built in the modern architecture style and combined with traditional elements.
"We will build modern townhouses with high quality materials and we will offer an environment full of light. … With modern architecture and elegant design, these houses will be incorporated perfectly with nature," Ruter said.
The company plans to use natural building materials and the area will have permanent water supply from the Peja mountains, optional solar energy and heat from natural sources.
Sandra Elefant, the marketing director of Amia Energy, told SETimes that the company has been considering further investments in Kosovo.
"We expect, among other things, that Kosovo will enter the EU within the next 10 years, which makes this country very interesting to invest in. We are sure that it is worthwhile to invest in this country, since we promote and strengthen economic development with the investments," she said.
German investments in the Gjakova municipality are concentrated in the fields of health care, energy efficiency, education, public lighting and agriculture, and total around 4.2 million euros.
"These investments have helped a lot in the creation of better conditions for the citizens and also helped the municipality to reduce power expenses," Gjakova Mayor Pal Lekaj told SETimes.
Safet Gerxhaliu, chairman of Kosovo Chamber of Commerce, told SETimes that the information technology and telecommunications should be the next investment sectors, but he said, the country has some work to do.
"Nobody will come to invest in Kosovo because of love for Kosovo or the Kosovo people, they will come to invest when there is interest," Gerxhaliu told SETimes, adding that the possibilities for that interest should be created.
He said improving the country's legal infrastructure, anti-corruption efforts and orientation towards economic production will help improve the country's business climate.
He added that business-related legislation should be reformed to be applicable to the economic indicators in Kosovo.
"Kosovo has an urgent need for a national development plan and an economic vision, a strategy that will have that dynamic plan of fulfillment, and which should be prepared as soon as possible," Gerxhaliu said.
Ibrahim Rexhepi, executive director of the Kosovo Centre for Strategic and Social Research, however, said that the country's investments should be oriented differently.
"The investments are mainly oriented to finances and real estate. Their impact would be very big if they were oriented in activities that have an impact in the economic growth and in smoothing the social problems and poverty," Rexhepi told SETimes, specifically noting the situation with the country's thermo power plants.
"Despite the promises to build thermo-power plants, nothing new has happened. And if there no power, it is understandable that there cannot be investments either. At least, this is one of the problems," Rexhepi told SETimes.
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