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EBRD: High emigration is fueled by bad governance, Albania holds a record in relation to population

EBRD: High emigration is fueled by bad governance, Albania holds a record in

Emigration in the countries of the Western Balkans is at high levels, but Albania stands out for the large flow of emigrants in relation to the population.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in a recently published analysis of how the Western Balkans can converge towards EU living standards, pointed out that high emigration is mainly driven by bad governance.

EBRD refers that according to the latest Gallup survey, Albania was among the first 10 countries in the world where at least half of the population would like to leave the country during 2018-2021.

"Weak governance is a major driver of emigration. The current and past experience of emigration in the Western Balkans has shown that corruption or political instability is the most important reason for emigration", notes the EBRD analysis.

Of the 13 reasons offered for emigration, 66.7 percent of respondents in the Balkans rated corruption or political instability in their country as very important, while 19.2 percent considered it important.

The percentage of respondents who chose these two options is higher among those who immigrated in the last five years than among those who immigrated earlier. Better job opportunities are listed as the second most important reason for emigration, followed by higher wages.

Similar results emerge from a recent study by the Fiscal Council of Serbia. Their research shows that improving institutions, including reducing corruption and strengthening the rule of law, and improving the quality of public services such as education and health care, could reduce the level of emigration in Western European countries by 10-15 per percent, much more than the impact of the increase in the average wage level.

The EBRD notes that the future pool of experts and professionals in the Balkans and Albania may be limited by continued population decline due to negative demographic trends, especially as a greater proportion of those with digital skills are more likely to they emigrate.

There is already a lot of data from all EBRD regions, including the Western Balkans, to suggest that workers with high-demand skills, such as ICT, are migrating to advanced economies with a higher wage level.

Labor shortages in the tourism sector are becoming increasingly acute and must be addressed with inclusive employment practices that increase the participation levels and skills of under-represented groups (for example, youth, women and minorities), as well as increasing the formalization of employment suggests EBRD.

Wages are growing rapidly in the ICT sector (between 5 and 10 percent per year from 2012 – 2020 versus less than 1 percent in the EU-27), reducing wage competition in the Western Balkans./ Monitor

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