TIRANA, January 22
Albania cannot afford to miss the e-commerce opportunity, the World Bank said in a publication issued on Thursday. The stance follows the e-commerce diagnostic report released recently by the WB. According to the Bank, Albania needs serious reforms and efforts to leverage the Ecommerce sector and to maintain the momentum in a post-COVID-19 era. Albania lags compared to Western Balkan (WB) region. In Albania, only seven percent of people buy online compared to an average of 14 percent in the WB region.
The COVID-19 crisis accelerated the growth of e-commerce among businesses and customers by 20 percent in Albania. However, eCommerce faces various key obstacles that cannot be overcome without reforms in an array of sectors both by the government and the private sector.
First, the WB ranks the need for high-speed internet access for all. Currently, only 58 percent of Albanians have internet access in their homes.
Secondly, logistics and customs reforms. The country ranks 111th among 141 countries for border clearance efficiency.
Third, making online payments widely available. Based on the WBs data, only 14 percent of Albanians use digital payments.
Fourth, a better-equipped workforce with digital skills. Currently, the country ranks 81st out of 141 countries for digital skills of the population.
Fifth, strengthening consumer protection and other institutional foundations. Lack of trust remains a key obstacle to eCommerce for 67 percent of participants on a WB survey.
The WB states that progress on eCommerce has the potential to be a catalyst for further fundamental progress for Albania’s economy. The sector can help to connect Albania with the Western Balkans and the European Union.