Thursday, April 30, 2009

Still here!

Yes, friends, despite appearances to the contrary, I'm still here, and as time permits, still trying to keep at least something of an eye on the "haters". Unfortunately, an insanely crazy schedule ever since Dec. 2007 shows no signs of abating, or at least not for about another year or so. Which means that also unfortunately, a lot of the "great ideas and good intentions" I have will have to remain largely that: ideas and intentions, at least for the time being. Simply put, I'm just about stretched to the limit. And as I have no regular contributors, unlike a lot of blogs, to help me out, I really can't make any promises, at least on the short term, for anything I might do on or with the blog. Well, other than this-that I will absolutely NOT either quit the blog, or put it on hiatus. The work I set out to do when I started this blog (and that'll be two years coming up at the end of July-that's just 3 months away!) is still there, and will probably always be there. And as long as it's there, I'm going to keep doing it. I have to.

Just a few short notes....

One, I'm well aware that the article I posted in the March 4 entry didn't reproduce right. I will try to correct this as soon as I can find another source for the same article.

Two, despite a world in economic crisis, Kosova appears to be growing in economic stability with every passing month. Most major countries of the western world recognise her (many right from the get go), and the total list of countries that recognise her seems to be growing with each month.

Three (and lucky for me!), the "Haters" seem to be running out of steam, at least somewhat. A lot of their posts these days are rehashes of the same old libels against the Albanian people, not just Kosova Albanians, and using the same old tired tactics that smart people either have caught on to already, or are catching on to. But one thing seems clear-they seem to be slowly accepting (even if they won't admit it) that Kosova will not be some sort of "Balkan Biafra". It's not about to be reabsorbed into Serbia-now or ever. It is here to stay, regardless of whether one likes it or not.

So that's it for now. As I've said in the past, I fully plan on continuing with the blog, and with the video version of it I started doing last fall. Just a matter of things in my life losening up enough for me to do them the way I want to do them.

1 comment:

A friend from Romania said...

Positive growth forecast for Albania

By Kerin Hope in Athens

Published: May 14 2009 01:52 | Last updated: May 14 2009 01:52

Albania appears an unlikely bright spot on Europe’s gloomy economic map, with international institutions still forecasting positive growth of about 1.2 per cent this year.

While its cash-strapped Balkan neighbours seek emergency finance from the International Monetary Fund, Europe’s second-poorest country, after Moldova, secured a €250m ($340m, £224m) medium-term commercial loan last month, arranged by Deutsche Bank and Alpha Bank of Greece.

European clouds refuse to part - May-14Interactive feature: Europe’s economic weather forecast - May-13Italy and Albania to sign energy deals - Dec-01The funding allows the right-of-centre government of Sali Berisha, prime minister, to complete an upgrade of the main highway to Kosovo – a key infrastructure project.

Ardian Fullani, the central bank governor, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that the international loan had given a boost to Albania’s credibility with investors abroad and helped sustain liquidity in the domestic bond market. “We are weathering the crisis with less pain than others. Demand is still there and the budget [deficit] is under control,” he said.

Credit expansion is set to slow this year from 36 per cent to about 15 per cent, “which is healthy in these times”, Mr Fullani said. Austrian, Italian and Greek bank subsidiaries that control more than 70 per cent of assets “are well-capitalised, profitable and have performed strongly in a series of stress tests that we started last year,” he said.

While Albania may benefit from being overlooked – it lacks a sovereign credit rating – it has not escaped the impact of the downturn.

“It’s faring better than others, but this year’s projection still marks a dramatic decline after years of growth at 6 to 7 per cent,” said Jens Bastian, an economist at Eliamep, an Athens-based think-tank.

Exports of chrome and copper ore are slowing, along with remittances from migrant workers, which were flat last year at about €1bn. Yet investors are still showing interest. Tirana recently signed energy projects worth more than €3bn with Italian, Austrian and Norwegian companies to end a chronic electricity shortage and make Albania a regional exporter.

“We think Albania can become an important regional trade hub,” said Philip George of Zumax, a Swiss-based company bidding for a €400m concession to modernise the port of Vlora.

Mr Fullani said the government that emerged from June’s parliamentary election would seek a new arrangement with the IMF in order to maintain foreign investor confidence – “not funding but technical assistance for more structural reform”.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009