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March 12, 2021

Discussion with Albanian Diaspora in Greece: Remittances – a Footprint for Development

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GERMIN in cooperation with World Bank Albania organized the virtual meeting: Remittances – a Footprint for Development. This event brought together 49 participants on ZOOM and above 40 on Facebook Live from the Albanian German diaspora members and the key stakeholders pertaining to remittances in Albania.

Sihana Bejtullahu, Co-executive director of GERMIN, welcomed the participants and stressed the importance of remittances. “Remittances use over 10% of Gross Domestic Product in Albania and are a major source of income for many families. However, despite its numbers, remittances are failing to be maximally effective in an economy made of them. “- said Mrs. Bejtullahu.

Edmond Guri, Greece has been the country that has hosted the largest number of immigrants until last year. In remittances, Greece has been the main ship for remittances in Albania and the problems faced by the community have been other. In recent years, last year due to the clothing pandemic, as banks in Greece do not consider small amounts of money, they turn to those commercial banks, moneygram / westernunion, etc. Meanwhile, there is a problem that has come years, sending this money by hand or through creating trips. There are currently more than 23,000 Albanian businesses in Greece, 80% of which are in the Albanian name, but 20% are in the name of a Greek citizen. This brings a problem as an Albanian citizen who has a business in us is not a Greek state and has a lot of clothes to justify his savings in Albania.

Fatos Cocoli, expert on economic affairs at the Ministry of Diaspora stated three main needs. First, encourage and increase the transfer of money from the diaspora through formal channels. Second, the orientation regarding spending this money more effectively and lastly, to be able to attract new diaspora savings in the country’s banking or investment channels.

Irfan Abazaj, Since December, the community enjoys a special status from the Greek court, with the proper name “Albanian Community in Greece”. We as activities have been focused on the progress of integration, a progress with the Greek state. The home country has been almost non-existent with the pursuit policies over the years. High remittances are just one factor of the dynamics we have and the capacity of our community is still unresolved because we do not want to waste time with policies that are not interested in our progress, in every aspect. Until then, our deliveries will make their speakers and in addition dynamic.

Nestor Dede, In recent years, our country has woken up to do something for us, but still does not take the right initiatives and the fact that Germin, an all-Albanian non-governmental organisation, takes the initiative to do something forward, shows how far the Albanian state is in this situation. Remittances always enter the state coffers, whether you are sending close to home, whether you are going to buy a home or invest in businesses. It’s too much right how ready the Albanian state is for relief. There is much more effort, both from the Albanian community living abroad, but also from insurance, if required to be done in Albania, because it does not find a favorable climate to invest. Another problem is that the amount of work is very large and for this money can not be spent legally, so it remains the duty of the Albanian state whether it will become a way to legitimize or accept them.

The discussion was then focused on the audience which was engaged throughout the meeting on the chat. Questions from the audience were answered from the panelists  and a well rounded discussion occurred. 

GERMIN in collaboration with the World Bank is organizing a series of events with the Albanian Diaspora around the world and financial sector experts in Albania to discuss challenges and opportunities related to remittances, as an important catalyst of economic development.

The series is developed in the context of Project Greenback, the financial education component of the Remittances and Payments Program (RPP), funded by the Swiss Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the World Bank in partnership with the Bank of Albania.

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