Albania is situated in the south east of Europe, in the Balkan Peninsula. It shares its border with a number of countries; Greece is to the south east, Montenegro to the north, Kosovo to the north east and Macedonia is to the east. Albania has two coasts on the Adriatic Sea to its west and the Ionian Sea to its southwest. 

Albania’s population is just over three million with 98% being Albanians and the rest a diverse mix of Greeks, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Roma, Serbs, Montenegrins and Vlahs.  The main language is Albanian with two major dialects of Gheg and Tosk. The main religions practiced in Albania are 65% Muslim, 20% Albanian orthodox, and 10% Catholic. 
Huge swathes of the territory are mountainous and rural and largely underdeveloped. Albania is considered to be amongst the poorest countries in Europe. Albania’s past political strife has marred its history and stunted its economic growth and development. 

The ushering of a democratic government in the 1992 election saw the end of communist rule with the appointment of its first non–communist president since the Second World War: Sali Bersisha.  This change of government brought in a more liberalized economic approach which encouraged much needed external investment in to the country.

However, these shoots of economic growth were threatened by the collapse of a fraudulent Pyramid investment scheme in 1997, which two thirds of the population had invested in. This led to the collapse of the economy and a spike rise in unemployment, consequently a lot of people fled the country in search of work. To this day much of the country’s “income is from remittances sent to families by Albanians working abroad” reports the Guardian. Anger at the government, whom many believed to be involved in the fraudulent pyramid scheme, led to violent scenes nationally and the eventual toppling of government. Anarchy descended, where 2,000 people were killed. 

The present economic forecast for Albania is looking bright. Although it is still one of the poorest country’s by western European measure, Albania alongside Cyprus are the only European countries to record economic growth in the first quarter of 2009. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported Albania to have grown economically by 0.4%. Additionally, Albania is in plans with Croatia to jointly build a nuclear power plant for energy in the near future.  

The country’s formal application to join the European Union (EU) made on April 28th 2009 is a step towards economic development, although Albania has been a candidate to join the EU since January 2003. However membership to the European Union will carry tough caveats of political and economic reforms which must be meet before acceptance.

Albania has appeared 4 times on the Eurovision song contest with their best ever result being a 7th place finish in 2007.


• Capital: Tirane
• Head of state : President Bamir Topi
• Head of government : Prime minister Sali Berisha
• Currency: Lek


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