Path towards establishment of the investment funds addressed during 2023 Global Entrepreneurship Week

Prishtina, November 15, 2023 – In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023, the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, in collaboration with the USAID Kosovo for Investment Promotion and Access to Finances Activity, united forces to discuss establishment of the capital market and investment funds in Kosovo. This event brought together distinguished speakers who engaged in two separate discussions, addressing key issues, including the determination of the model Kosovo should follow in creating its investment fund.

In his opening remarks, Artan Sadiku, Investment Promotion Lead at the USAID Investment Promotion and Access to Finances Activity, emphasized their focus on promoting Kosovo’s first investment fund to foster economic growth and entrepreneurial vitality. He noted that the discussion forum would serve as a platform for local and international stakeholders to explore best practices and lessons from successful examples worldwide, transcending the limitations of traditional banking and offering diverse financing options for businesses in Kosovo.

Arian Zeka, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, underscored the important role of investment funds in catalyzing economic development, fostering job creation and business growth. He emphasized that the collaboration with USAID adds a crucial dimension, leveraging expertise and resources to empower local businesses and enhance financial access for sustainable economic growth.

Further insights were shared by Artan Loxha, Deputy Chief of Party of the USAID Investment Promotion and Access to Finances Activity, who shed light on the USAID project’s five-year objectives, focusing on attracting investments and making financing more accessible. The discussion raised essential questions regarding the model for Kosovo’s investment fund, awareness among businesses, and the imminent launch of a grant fund.

First panel featured insights from international experts including, David King, Christophe Nègre, and Pierre Matek. David King, a development economist who developed a concept in Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding investment funds, presented insights from Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressing the significance of non-bank finance for enterprise growth. He shared information on the steps they took in advancing the financial sector and adapting the EU regulations into the financial structure. He noted that finance is essential to growth, and an essential component of private sector competitiveness, and in order to achieve GDP growth, it is important to have individual growth first.

Christophe Nègre, General Partner of Western Balkans Private Equity Fund in Belgrade, further provided recommendations for Kosovo to implement laws based on EU directives, ensuring international confidence. He highlighted the importance of a strong track record, experienced teams, and regional outreach for the success of the investment fund.

Moreover, Pierre Matek, COO of Feelsgood Social Impact Investment Fund in Croatia, shared valuable experiences, emphasizing the importance of a joint-team approach, social criteria, and regional cooperation.

The second panel discussion featured Bersant Disha, Executive Director of Recura Financial, Visar Kelmendi, Owner and CEO at Rugove Water, and Vjosa Kika, Legal and Regulatory Manager at USAID’s Investment Promotion and Access to Finance Activity. Disha highlighted the need for a favorable environment for the creation of various investment funds, emphasizing Kosovo’s potential as a market, whereas Mr. Kelmendi emphasized the importance of investment funds for private company development, using his company “Rugove” as an example. Vjosa Kika broadly and precisely underscored the legislative challenges for investment funds in Kosovo. While there are promising advancements towards formulating legislations that govern these funds, it is crucial that the laws are established in complete accordance with the acquis communautaire of the EU, underlined Kika.

Both panel discussions concluded with interactive question-and-answer sessions, fostering a collaborative dialogue among participants from diverse backgrounds.