Some time ago, we had the opportunity to experience first-hand the dynamic markets of Kosovo and northern Macedonia and discovered ample business potential for EU companies.
After all, since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999, the average annual economic growth has been around 4%. The tax environment for investors is very favorable: the corporate tax rate, for example, is 10%. The labor market is flexible, and the open trade regime and efficient banking sector are plus points. The average salary of about 350-400 euros per month is very low, even by regional standards.
The service sector generates about two-thirds of GDP. There is potential above all in tourism and the IT sector. The Kosovar Ministry of Economic Development, for example, has drawn up an IT export promotion strategy with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Other GIZ projects are being implemented in the following areas:
- Sustainable economic development: stabilization of the economy; employment and competitiveness; promotion of regional economies; basic education and vocational training
- Public administration, democracy, civil society: promotion of municipal services; reform of public financial systems; legal reform; EU integration; youth development; land management
- Energy: improvement of energy efficiency
During our trip, we learned from our partners* that a great impact can be made especially in the travel and tourism sector, where both GIZ projects and local businesses have an overwhelming response.
At the same time, we met local companies and startups through the Innovation Center Kosovo. The Innovation Center Kosovo is the innovation hub for local startups at different stages, providing training, an incubator, network and workspace to work on innovative ideas. The center currently works with nearly 400 startups and has reached over 4300 people through ICT and business training.
Our finding: young startups in particular found the discovery of new business opportunities in new markets at leverist.de very valuable. We discussed various development challenges open to innovation and exploration and found it very inspiring to learn about the solution approaches of more than 30 startups at a pitch event.
The Kosovar-German Business Association
Two important actors in this context are the Kosovar-German Business Association (KDWV) and the Delegation of German Business in Northern Macedonia. Together with their network, they support companies in establishing contacts with German companies. The promotion of trade, labor and production relations between Kosovo and Germany are their core profile.
For example, to promote successful economic cooperation between the German and Kosovar business communities, our partners* at KDWV facilitated a meeting with nearly 30 companies in a business-to-business (B2B) networking format. Multilateral companies, consultants and investors from the local economic system were involved.
Business opportunities on leverist.de
There are also numerous opportunities for bilateral direct business and sustainable trade relations on the matchmaking platform leverist.de, from which both sides benefit. This is because the German development cooperation project focuses on attracting companies from the private sector to participate in development cooperation projects. Here you will also find numerous business opportunities in Kosovo and Northern Macedonia from various industries - from tourism to sustainable wooden furniture to information and telecommunications technology.
Copyright: Mrika Selimi