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The Worst Performer

Yesterday, the World Bank issued the latest in their series of studies of corruption in transition countries, covering the period from 2002-2005. It's mostly bad news for Albania. "Albania...has instituted many cross-cutting anti-corruption reforms," but "Albania remains the worst performer among all transition countries."

The problem is not so much the weakness of institutions or the absence of a legislative framework but the absence of strong political leadership. The report, which is based on data gathered before the change of government last year, notes the significance of tackling corruption as a campaign theme:

The new Prime Minister of Albania, Sali Berisha, who took office in September 2005...campaigned on a strong anticorruption platform and pledged that “uprooting corruption will be the first challenge for our new government. In Albania corruption has developed into a sophisticated system, with state capture, fiscal evasion and bribing at dramatic levels.” While not every leader who campaigns on an anticorruption platform necessarily follows through effectively if elected, strong and committed leadership can make a difference, as will be illustrated further in this report.
To my knowledge none of the major agencies dealing with the issue of corruption have produced reports on Albania covering the period since the election of the new government. But on the basis of my informal survey - that is, asking other expats and some locals whether they think there is a greater commitment to tackling corruption - my general impression is that the government is genuinely trying to deal with this issue.

If you want to know more, you can read the full report and the country data for Albania.


Anonymous said…
I would like to ask Our Man in Tirana a question - outside public view on this site. If it would be possible, please e-mail me and I'll e-mail you my question. I think it will be a simple YES or NO answer. Nothing complicated - promise! Thanks.

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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.


And now the end is near
and so i face nanananana...

Never did like that crappy song.

But it's true nevertheless.

Tomorrow in the wee hours of the morning we will be heading for the airport for the last time. I suppose it was too much to expect that I could have kept this going while getting ready to leave. So apologies for the lack of postings over the last weeks. This is post number 380 something so I suppose one post every two days is not a bad average.

There were probably 380 more in my head or scribbled down on scraps of paper, but many of them are perhaps best left there.

I suppose I should be penning - or typing - my final thoughts and reflections on two years in Tirana, but right now I don't have any. Maybe in a month or two though I might come back with something.

Thanks to all of you who have read this blog - especially those of you who have become regulars. Thanks also for linking and thanks to all who left comments.

As for the other stars of the blog, Bella now has her own …

50 Ways to Make Some Money

The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…