Kosovo is a land-locked province the size of Connecticut located in the center of the Balkan peninsula. The territory is a natural link between Central and Western Europe and the Mediterranean and the Middle East.В Albanians account for approximately 92% of population, Serb 5 % and others make up the balance. The terrain is extremely varied; to the north are rich fertile plains; to the southeast are ancient mountains and hills; and to the southwest is an extremely high shoreline with no islands off the coast. Natural resources include oil, gas, coal, hydropower, and arable land.
The region has a long history of conflict, including the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in late 1995. The most recent hostilities broke out between the Kosovars and the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Milosevic in 1999. NATO air strikes eventually forced the Yugoslav government to the table and a вЂњStability PactвЂќ along with the UN Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has brought stability to the region.
Although economic activity in Kosovo has made a good start in the past few months, given the entrepreneurial spirit of the Kosovars, along with capital from the diaspora, conflict related damage is still hampering economic growth. This is further compounded by the poor state of infrastructure, inadequate energy supplies and depleted capital stock. In addition, despite a lively restart of informal economic activities in the trade and services sectors, unemployment remains a widespread problem. The economy has enjoyed its best performance since the beginning of 2007. Business is mostly small and medium private companies. Manufacturing is in the early stages of development and needs support.
CDC is working with Chemonics International, Inc. on the Kosovo Business Support Program (KBS) to reinvigorate KosovoвЂ™s economy by expanding the contribution of the private sector. The overall program objective is to improve the business acumen and management skills of SMEs and business associations, which will lead to greater employment and increased private investment.