Helping the poorest of the poor
Pedro de Vasconcelos
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Almost every Albanian family has someone who works abroad and helps them financially, yet, the money brought from 1.2 million immigrants are only spent on food and rarely invested in a business which can actually generate money, help people live better, reduce unemployment and poverty.

Mr. Pedro de Vasconcelos, from Policy and Technical Advisory Division in IFAD emphasizes the role of the private sector, which seems to be deeply important and the sector will involve as long as there is money to be made. As for the government, things don’t look good.

“We have had talks, we have done some research, and the people are very interested, but we don’t have any projects with the Albanian government”, says De Vasconcelos.

The researches, done by IFAD in 2008 and 2010, concluded that “almost 50 % of the remittances in Albania, go to the families living in rural areas”, yet according to the official statistics, these areas are the poorest of the poor. If you went to visit these areas, you would hardly see any business there. The government is building roads to help them get in touch with urban areas, but this is just the beginning and getting these people out of poverty, would take some time.

According IFAD, Remittances to Europe total over US$50 billion and are sent to countries such as Albania, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine – where remittances are particularly significant. In Albania they represent more than 4 % of GDP, which is actually more than Albania spends on education, but still, this country has no interest in developing projects on how to invest money from remittances.

What it needs to be done is firstly to convince the government that investing money is the best way to move the economy ahead, because people…are already convinced. /
Published on: February 27, 2014 - 11:00 am
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