Once again, Kosova is attempting to attract investment in its all-important energy sector. Since liberation in 1999, and its declaration of independence in 2008, the tiny nation has made repeated attempts to increase its generating capacity. Government after government has understood that it must do so in order to renovate an obsolete, inefficient, environmentally toxic, and accident-prone power generation system. Attempt after attempt has failed.
Lack of advance has not been for want of trying. Time and again during the past fifteen years Kosova has announced a tendering process to select the right foreign investment partner. Each attempt has collapsed – sometimes from failure to attract serious bidders; more often from mishandling of the technical and/or legal parameters of the exercise.
Nor has failure been due to an absence of favorable conditions that would normally attract multi-national interest and participation. For one, Kosova is ideally located in the heart of South-Central Europe, surrounded by neighbors (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Italy), all of which individually and collectively confront similar energy dificiencies – and little hope of meeting the increasing demands of their peoples for economic advancement. While Kosova by itself is a tiny market, connectivity with the region would bode well for those entrepreneurs with the courage and acumen to enter this new and potentially lucrative wider market.
In addition to location, Kosova has a head start on others in terms of project readiness. During a decade of tutelage by United Nations administrators, Kosova was the beneficiary of dozens of feasibility studies, project proposals and resource assessments, produced by UN technical experts. Many of the most detailed, best adaptable to implementation were in the energy sector. The consensus was that Kosova held significant opportunity for profitable investment in the area of power generation.
Unfortunately these favorable conditions have been weakened by negative factors, as yet not overcome. First, there is the negative image of the region in general, Kosova in particular, generated by two decades of war, ethnic conflict, and endemic violence generated by the chaotic collapse of the former Yugoslavia. This, after all, is the notorious Balkans. Second, are the uncertainties surrounding Kosova’s self-declared status as an independent state, with acceptance as such by the majority of nations and international bodies, but not by all. Thirdly, and perhaps the most damaging, the perception, and reality, of a dysfunctional government bureaucracy hampered in its decision-making by timidity, internal disputes, incompetence and, worst of all, unfettered corruption. Potential foreign investors are understandably hesitant to become involved. Awareness of potential problems and agile due diligence are essential.
The obstacles, the difficulties of investing in such a problematic and difficult to fathom environment are real, but so too the potential for a sound, acceptable risk investment. William G. Walker and Associates has a well-earned and credible reputation for knowing the right persons, counseling on the most appropriate and effective strategy to avoid the pitfalls, and using our unique access and insights into how Kosova truly functions, the hidden agendas, and political connections of those involved, to the benefit of any serious investor.