Albanian economy loses 560 million euros due to pandemic – Tirana Times
The Albanian economy lost 560 million euros due to the pandemic, making the pandemic one of the biggest economic crises to hit the country, while around 43,000 people officially lost their jobs due to the economic restrictions. According to INSTAT, GDP in 2020 was ALL 1.61 trillion, compared to ALL 1.68 trillion in 2019, decreasing by -4.2% in face value and -3.3% in real value. The 3.3% drop, in any case, was lower than the expectations of various international institutions, which had predicted a drop of around 7%. As indicated by Monitor, out of the 11 main economic activities of the country, only 3 of them were not affected by the crisis: the “real estate” sector, the “construction” sector and “public administration, education and health ”.
The real estate sector grew throughout the quarters of the year, including in the second quarter (+5.47) where Albania was essentially in total quarantine. With an expansion of 6.74% throughout the year, this sector is by far the one that has helped the economy the most in 2020. Real estate activities in value were around 850 million euros, reaching 6 , 55% of GDP, a percentage point more a year ago. But various experts see the growth of the real estate industry as a sign of a huge, deeper problem. “The heads of real estate agencies in the country have claimed that the main factor behind the increase in their activity in 2020 is the money laundering of many constructions underway in Tirana. According to them, illegal money finances much of the construction in the capital, ”writes Monitor.
Construction is the second fastest growing sector in 2020, reaching a total of around 1.1 billion euros in 2020, with annual growth of 1.62%. The increase in construction reflects two trends, the first is the increase in residential housing, mainly in the capital and hotels on the coast, and the second, the reconstruction process, after the tragic earthquake of November 2019. For reconstruction, the budget planned at the end of the year was 130 million euros, or about 12% of the total activity of this sector. The construction industry has been in the spotlight of various international organizations and institutions, such as the US State Department, which have linked it to the money laundering process.