On 27 March the Deputy Head of Mission, Joe Preston, attended a roundtable discussion on investment policies in Kosovo organised by the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP). The event focused on the launch of a “Comparative Study on Investment Policies” compiled by INDEP as part of a British Embassy project to assist with “Empowering Parliamentary Oversight in Kosovo.” Other panellists included: Mimoza Kusari-Lila, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade & Industry, Zenun Pajaziti, Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee for Economic Development, Infrastructure, Trade & Industry (CEDITI), and Dita Dobranja, Acting Director, INDEP.
Mr Preston said:
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is key to the continued development of Kosovo’s economy which should help generate growth and employment opportunities. But, potential investors will want assurances that Kosovo is a place where business can flourish free from corruption and in an environment where effective rule of law is in place.
Commenting on recent reporting on doing business in Kosovo, he added
it is extremely unfortunate that anecdotal evidence shows some 47% of local businesses believe bribes are a necessary part of doing business in Kosovo. Kosovo institutions must work even harder to design and implement appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks in order to build investor confidence and demonstrate Kosovo is an attractive alternative to other potential markets in the region. Targeting corruption, criminality and showing real improvements in accountability, transparency and reducing red tape will hopefully attract FDI and also help meet EU benchmarks required to maintain Kosovo’s progress towards EU membership. The UK will continue to support Kosovo along its EU path, but the CEDITI, other parliamentarians, civil society and business must also play a role in this. It will be important to challenge government in an objective and impartial way to help legislative processes and boost Kosovo’s prospects for economic growth.