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Opinion / Editorial

Milan meeting and Diaspora investments

Milan meeting and Diaspora investments

Yesterday's meeting of the Prime Minister with the immigrants in Milan said a lot. In Northern Italy alone, 22 thousand Albanian enterprises are registered. It's been more than 3 decades since no Prime Minister of Albania has organized a meeting of even ten times smaller size, in one of the countries with an extraordinary Albanian Diaspora, such as Italy. The agreement with the Italian government on the pensions of immigrants in Italy has greatly encouraged our Diaspora in Italy. She can invest heavily here in us. Why aren't you doing it yet? Only for 2023, representatives of the Diaspora in Italy brought home 320 million euros in remittances, remittances to their families. We now need their billions in savings and entrepreneurship, to transform them in Albania as investments. According to the scientific researcher and the most prepared we have for the movements of our Diaspora, Dr. Ilir Gëdeshi, the savings of the representatives of our Diaspora with the money they send to their relatives in Albania are in a ratio of 5.5 to one. This means that for every euro they send to their homeland, they keep 5.5 euros at home or in the commercial banks of the countries where they live. The challenge lies in how these funds can be withdrawn in Albania, for the benefit of the representatives of the Diaspora in the first place and, secondly, of our economy and society. We have to decide this now. It should be one of the main priorities of the government that will receive the vote of confidence from the new parliament in September 2025. Along with the real vote of the Diaspora. If we take a modest average of Diaspora savings per inhabitant of 10,000 euros per inhabitant, knowing how savers we Albanians are, also accepted by studies of the central banks of Italy and Greece, the current stock of savings in the Diaspora is 19.3 billion euros . In Italy alone, the Ministry of Labor of this country registered 34,300 businesses of Albanians for December 2020. The average interest of bank time deposits in Albania is 1.2-1.5% per year, while in Italy and Greece it is slightly lower. respectively 0.8-1.2% per year and 0.9-1.3% per year. Only and simply because of this very small interest difference, the savings of Diaspora representatives cannot come to Albania, near our commercial banks. Another mechanism is needed, an Archimedean Lever to break the wall of mistrust and fear regarding the (un)security of investing their money in Albania, which has been fed for three decades now with all kinds of urban legends, some based on history. bitter truths, but which do not only happen here, in Albania. The true Archimedes' lever is shaped like a trident fork. First, there is the possibility of opening, with the contribution of our state, an investment bank, a development bank. Such an approach was chosen by North Macedonia for its Diaspora and it has worked very well so far. Secondly, there are investment funds that can attract the savings of the Diaspora.The most classic example consists of investment funds, first opened with state guarantees and then passed entirely into the hands of private structures, in Ireland in the years 1980-2000. These investment funds, which applied high interest rates and attracted significant amounts of savings of Irish citizens abroad, especially in the USA, were used for important investments and contributed to Ireland's economic boom in these two decades. Thirdly, there are bonds, securities for Diaspora savings, issued by the State or by large private companies. Diaspora bonds have been issued by the State of Israel since 1951. They managed to collect over 25 billion dollars. India has also successfully issued government or private bonds. Raised US$11 billion with two issues (exit) for Diaspora. In our country, the average interest on the titles of Albanian corporations (large state and private companies), even without a functional stock exchange, ranges from 4-6% per year (in Lek). This percentage can prove attractive for the savings of Diaspora representatives, if the investment of Diaspora funds first has a guarantee from our State. There are opportunities to start discovering and using this "Eldorado" of savings, for the benefit of the Diaspora and development. economy of Albania. An example may pique our interest. Construction of the national commercial port of Porto Palermo. We may need to raise with the savings of immigrants and Albanians in Albania, an investment fund of 1.5-2 billion euros in the next five years. With the Diaspora in Italy, but also Greece, Germany and Great Britain, we can do it. Our representative of the Diaspora in Italy and Greece can very willingly give his or her savings for such investments, even with 3.5-4% annual interest. It is money given with love, which needs much, much security. Our government must provide this security.This percentage can prove attractive for the savings of Diaspora representatives, if the investment of Diaspora funds first has a guarantee from our State. There are opportunities to start discovering and using this "Eldorado" of savings, for the benefit of the Diaspora and development. economy of Albania. An example may pique our interest. Construction of the national commercial port of Porto Palermo. We may need to raise with the savings of immigrants and Albanians in Albania, an investment fund of 1.5-2 billion euros in the next five years. With the Diaspora in Italy, but also Greece, Germany and Great Britain, we can do it. Our representative of the Diaspora in Italy and Greece can very willingly give his or her savings for such investments, even with 3.5-4% annual interest. It is money given with love, which needs much, much security. Our government must provide this security.This percentage can prove attractive for the savings of Diaspora representatives, if the investment of Diaspora funds first has a guarantee from our State. There are opportunities to start discovering and using this "Eldorado" of savings, for the benefit of the Diaspora and development. economy of Albania. An example may pique our interest. Construction of the national commercial port of Porto Palermo. We may need to raise with the savings of immigrants and Albanians in Albania, an investment fund of 1.5-2 billion euros in the next five years. With the Diaspora in Italy, but also Greece, Germany and Great Britain, we can do it. Our representative of the Diaspora in Italy and Greece can very willingly give his or her savings for such investments, even with 3.5-4% annual interest. It is money given with love, which needs much, much security. Our government must provide this security.