About Kosovo

Nordic Association for Trade and Business Development in Albania and Kosovo

Kosovo is landlocked in the central Balkan Peninsula, in Southeastern Europe with the total size of 10,908 km2. Kosovo has large reserves of lead, zinc, silver, nickel, cobalt, copper, iron and bauxite.

The Republic of Kosovo is a lower-middle-income country with a solid economic growth performance since the end of the war in 1999. It is one of only four countries in Europe that recorded positive growth rates in every year during the crisis period 2008–12, averaging 4.5 percent. The resilience of Kosovo’s economy reflects (i) limited international integration into the global economy; (ii) the success of its diaspora in the labor markets of, especially, the German-speaking countries of Central Europe, resulting in a steady reflux of remittances; (iii) a generally pro-growth composition of the budget, allowing for about 40 percent of public expenditures to be spent on public investments; and (iv) a steady influx of donor support.
Efforts aimed at strengthening domestic productivity—particularly critical in a euroized country—will need to remain the pivotal policy anchor, as Kosovo continues to struggle with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Joblessness in particular – estimated at about 40 percent – remains a central economic-policy challenge. With the difficult labor market conditions affecting youth and women disproportionately, these conditions risk undermining the country’s social fabric. Largely reflecting historical legacies, Kosovo remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, with a per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) of about €2,700 and about one-third of the population living below the poverty line – and roughly one-eighth in extreme poverty.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, but this step has not been universally supported. By early 2013, 98 of a total 193 UN member states (51 percent) have recognized Kosovo’s independence, including 22 EU member states. The unresolved status issue remains a key obstacle to attaining the country’s overarching objectives of political integration and socio-economic development. In mid-2009, Kosovo joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group and, 3.5 years later it joined as a full member the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Kosovo’s candidacy for EU membership was given a perspective, following the European Commission’s Feasibility Study in October 2012, according to which there were no legal obstacles that would prevent the EU from opening negotiations for a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU. The World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) supports Kosovo’s EU aspirations.

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