TIRANA, January 11
The COVID-19 crisis accelerated the growth of e-commerce among businesses and customers by 20 percent in Albania, a World Bank (WB) survey confirms. While e-commerce dates back to about 40 years in its earliest form, the industry is still in its infancy stage in Albania. Different models of e-commerce were fast to develop in Albania especially in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, tourism sectors, and e-commerce freelance jobs. As the WB’s survey ‘Albania E-commerce Diagnostic’ points out that on a per-capita basis, the penetration of Albanian freelancers on websites such as upworks.com already exceeds that of many advanced economies.
The Albanian BPO industry is thriving
BPO companies that sell or deliver online services abroad are flourishing in Albania. Referring to data from Risi Albania, BPO businesses provide jobs to over 32,000 professionals. During the last years, the sector evolved from basic call center service to more qualified operations such as financial, human resources, virtual assistants, translation services, and ICT services. The main players in the BPO industry range from Albanian companies to international BPO companies that established subsidiary offices in Albania. Moreover, the interest from leading names in the global BPO market is growing.
The WB’s survey highlights that with a skilled multilingual workforce, competitive local wages as well as still significant barriers to emigration, Albania has great potential to build on current progress and to create even more jobs providing online services at-distance to the European and American markets.
Hence, the WB suggests that a strategy to support e-entrepreneurship in Albania could be dedicated to the BPO sector. Such strategies would consist of pilot training to help Albanian access online global freelancer opportunities including BPO jobs.
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Ecommerce in Albania opportunities and challenges
Based on the report over 20 percent of the surveyed firms in Albania have either started or increased digitalized business activity during the pandemic. On the other hand, another WB survey on consumers showed that 55 of respondents increased their use of online shopping since the start of the pandemic. A developed e-commerce sector would connect the Albanian small economy with larger markets as well as would help to connect rural communities with urban centers, the report highlights.
On the other hand, constraints to the development of e-commerce in Albania span through different segments such as logistics and customs, digital connectivity, online payments, private sector capabilities, and skills, and e-commerce regulatory frameworks.
Read also: Albania has Lowest Corporate Income Tax for ICT Companies among WB6
Source: The World Bank
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