Last weekend, I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a small gathering where I met the Ambassador to Japan from the country of Kosovo, Ahmet Shala. He was a tall, and very nice man who really wanted to share the beauty of his country and I learned a lot from that meeting. I’d like to share 3 of those things in this post.
In case you didn’t know, Kosovo is a small country in southern Europe which recently declared its independence in 2008.
You might remember hearing about Kosovo in the 90’s when a war was raging and the Communist dictator Slobodon Milosevic was trying to kill Kosovo Albanians, who are the majority of the population. Unfortunately, most people still think of that war when they hear the name “Kosovo” today.
So, what did I learn after meeting the ambassador? Let’s explore three ideas.
1. Kosovo is a beautiful country.
During the gathering, the ambassador gave us a simple slideshow with facts about Kosovo’s history and charts with their GDP growth. But most impressive to me, were the images of Kosovo’s land and nature. Again, my images of Kosovo before this slideshow were of war and destruction. When I saw the beautiful pictures of Kosovo’s landscape, I immediately compared it to Canada and places in northern Europe. Here are some images.
2. Kosovo has a young population.
According to the ambassador, the average age of a citizen in Kosovo is 25! This is good news for their future I believe. Without a larger older population to support, the young people are more free to live out their dreams with relative full economic capacity. Sounds like there are some good opportunities for growth!
I asked the ambassador how the young people leaned politically. He replied that most were probably liberal but there were some conservatives. He didn’t have a chance to go into my question to deeply but if they are similar to Americans, they are most likely liberal on social issues. I’m hoping that they also see liberty as the answer on the economic issues as well.
3. Kosovo is really trying to grow and they want people to visit.
The ambassador was the former Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Kosovo so he is really knowledgeable about the economic situation of the country as well as economics in general. He told us that they use a flat rate of tax at 10% which they are hoping encourages businesses to invest there.
In my opinion, this is really a good sign for a changing economic climate in Europe. Many European countries have a socialistic model with high taxation and we are seeing some of those countries fail economically right now.
I sincerely hope that more businesses and tourists visit and invest in Kosovo to help get it back on its feet–not only for the country itself, but to send a message to the region that free market principles are more beneficial than redistribution models.
Overall, we had a very pleasant and enjoyable evening. I’m glad I had this opportunity to meet some good people and now I hope to be able to spread the word that “Kosovo is open for business!”