Albania needs to make critical reforms in a range of areas, including online payments and logistics if the nascent e-commerce sector is to grow, said a World Bank analysis released on January 21.
Online markets grew during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with 20% of local firms surveyed by the development bank having either started or increased online business activity during the crisis.
The Albanian e-commerce sector is small at present, with only 7% of Albanians purchasing products online against 14% throughout the Western Balkans region, according to the 2017 World Bank Findex survey.
“E-commerce can be an important asset for Albania. Online sales channels allow businesses to reach more customers, at home and abroad. Customers gain from greater convenience and more choice. Sectors enabling e-commerce can create new jobs, including in technology companies, logistics and online payments,” said the report.
For Albania specifically, e-commerce can link the small domestic economy with larger and more affluent markets abroad such as in EU countries, as well as connecting rural with urban areas.
However, it highlighted a broad range of areas where reforms are needed: logistics and customs; digital connectivity; online payments; private sector capabilities and skills and the e-commerce regulatory framework.