Prishtina, March 24, 2023 – Dear Ambassador Hovenier, dear Mr. Zeka, dear Mr. Gashi, dear entrepreneurs, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for having me.
It is a great pleasure to be in a room where success is a common narrative. Each and every one of you represents a success story. A story of hard work, resilience, persistence and outstanding vision and motivation. This is a community of dedicated, innovative and ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders who are driving economic growth in Kosovo. We are proud and truly appreciate all you do for this country and for making our economy more resilient, productive and every more stronger by the day.
On this note, I’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate the American Chamber of Commerce for 19 years of unwavering support and unmatched dedication to helping local entrepreneurs and companies thrive. Your contribution has been instrumental in enhancing and strengthening trade and economic performance in our country, but not only. Through tireless engagement, you have brought the bilateral economic cooperation between Kosovo and United States of America to new heights with each passing year. I am confident that the best is ahead of us.
What brings us together is our joint belief in the tremendous potential of the people of Kosovo. We see how far all of you have come and we’ll never forget where you all started. It was certainly not easy. In business, just like in politics, one deals with great uncertainties. But there is great probability that when you fight for what’s right and do what’s right and just, success will be the final outcome.
In the past decade, according to findings of the World Bank, our young Republic has outperformed its neighbors in meeting the demands of a growing population and increasing consumption trends. This is a true testament to the eagerness and determination of our entrepreneurs to make a positive impact in our society through ever enhanced economic and social productivity. All of you and so many that might not be present tonight, see an opportunity in every challenge. That’s the uniqueness of the entrepreneurial spirit that certainly all of you possess.
Today, our businesses set standards of performance not just in our internal market, but also beyond. Every time I get to visit or meet with our business community, I am continually inspired by the stories of our businessmen and businesswomen who are breaking new ground with their creativity, foresight and courage. They are the key driving force behind our economic success and an everyday inspiration for all of us.
But, our businesses are not only thriving domestically – they are also expanding their economic activity in the region and beyond. Our talented workforce has demonstrated that not only are we able to keep up with global trends, but that we are also leaving a significant footprint in designing and shaping the latest technological advancements.
As the country with the youngest population in Europe, we are lucky to have a qualified and skillful labor force characterized by great energy and enthusiasm for work. It is precisely why we are working tirelessly to create new job opportunities with decent and fitting work conditions for them to prosper. However, despite successes, challenges continue to persist. I could not stand here and not speak of the challenges faced by women and marginalized groups in our economy, including high unemployment rates, low economic activity and the wage gap. It is therefore that we must continuously persist in adopting policies that promote gender equality and create equal opportunities for everyone.
Indeed, in the past few years, Kosovo has faced several challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation rates, and has faced the repercussions of a global energy crisis as a result of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. However, the resolve of our entrepreneurs and flexibility to adapt to extreme changes has been outstanding. These challenges have taught us the importance of working on prevention and enhancing overall resilience. Therefore, it becomes an imperative that we invest significantly more in research and development to facilitate the just and equitable transition and lay the foundations for successful and inclusive business environment.
However, we understand too well that a thriving business environment is conditional on robust rule of law, enhanced foreign direct investments, and conducive sustainable development policies. In pursuing these goals, my office will always be your partner. We stand shoulder to shoulder in our efforts to promote inclusive, just and sustainable growth.
On a final note, I thank you for your resolve towards helping Kosovo grow: grow stronger; grow better. I am confident that together, we can build a brighter and more prosperous future for our country and our people. Thank you!