Albania is not typically on the European tourist route. Several decades of floundering economic growth and isolation under a communist dictator will do that. Now with one of the lowest per capita GDP’s in all of Europe, the former communist country has struggled to find its footing in the post-Soviet era.
Albania suffers from awful infrastructure, which has deterred foreign investment. Albania is rich in oil reserves, but has been unable to fully capitalize on them for quite some time. Large companies like Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) rushed into Albania after it swung its doors open when the Soviet Union collapsed. But violence, political instability, and the high levels of investment needed to kick start Albania’s nascent oil industry scared many of the largest oil companies away. Especially at a time when oil prices were low – the late 1990’s and early 2000’s – Albania didn’t seem to be worth the risk.
Much has changed since then. The Albanian government is seeking to build an attractive investment climate, with a competitive tax regime and laws ensuring the safety of capital in country. Infrastructure has improved in recent years, and political stability is better than at any time since the transition to democracy.
Having been left behind the rest of Europe, and tucked away in the continent’s southeast, Albania offers a resource-rich…