Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama praised the “dynamic and forward-looking” society he discovered on his working visit to Astana on May 24-25 and invited tourists and investors from Kazakhstan to visit his country.
In a May 25 interview with The Astana Times, Rama said that introducing his country to Kazakhstan’s people and businesses was a priority. “For us, it is very important to make Albania known to your people, because we very much believe … that there is a big space for cooperation and an unexplored space for exchanges,” he said.
Meeting with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan on May 24, Rama discussed some of those possibilities. “It was our very first meeting and, of course, I had to make to the President a general picture of my country,” Rama said. “I invited him to visit and I very much hope that he will find the time to visit our beautiful country. And, of course, we talked also about oil and gas, we talked about mining, we talked about many other things that have to do with our resources and also with our potential to attract foreign direct investment and also investment in Kazakhstan.”
During their meeting, President Nazarbayev promised to visit with a group of Kazakh businessmen interested in investing in Albania, where the prime minister says they will find fertile ground for growing businesses.
“If [people] want to come and invest in tourism we will be able to provide for them the land and a very, very good frame of work in terms of taxation, in terms of labour cost, in terms of juridical stability, and at the same time, a very good, willing workforce.” For example, Astana Opera, he noted, had been built by a mostly Albanian workforce, by the Mabetex company. “It’s proof that investors can really [do big things] with this workforce,” Rama said.
Albania wants to attract visitors as well as investors, and Rama noted that he told President Nazarbayev that Albania would waive visas for Kazakhs during the summer months. “If you come during summertime, of course the seaside is wonderful from north to south and we have sandy beaches, we have rocky beaches, we have fantastic food… we are very well known for our hospitality. I’m sure you’ll feel at home,” he said.
Rama was mayor of Albania’s capital, Tirana, for 11 years before becoming prime minister, a time he said was spent learning about how communities come together. He praised the dynamism of the new Kazakh capital.
“I like very much what your prime minster said yesterday during our conversation: that there was a century of empires and then a century of nations and this is the century of cities, which is a quite remarkable way to describe how our life is more and more focused on cities and how our cities reshape lives of individuals, lives of communities, lives of nations,” he said. “Here in Astana is a very clear example of a how a city can reshape the future of a people and of a generation. I’m sure that the next generation of Kazakhs will be different from what would have been without this capital city.”
Rama and Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov signed an agreement to deepen the relationship between the two countries during this visit.
From Kazakhstan, Rama has gotten “a very strong impression of a very dynamic country and a very forward-looking society,” he said. “I’m sure the future will be much better for the next generations than it was for the generations that fought hard and are working hard to transform this country from a poor country to a really very dynamic and forward-looking society.”
Like Kazakhstan, Albania is looking toward a more integrated future. “Albania is today a free and democratic country and is working hard to be part of the European Union. It is not yet achieved, this goal, but it is a goal to be achieved in the next 10 years and we are all conscious that our future is in the European Union. Through this process of integration we are modernising and learning a lot and transforming our reality and our society.”