Tourism in Albania's capital city, Tirana, is rising thanks to the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), which financed three infrastructure projects in the country.
The mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, told the director general of ADFD, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, that Abu Dhabi’s $115m (AED424m) investment in a trio of construction projects had "led to a resurgence in the tourism sector."
The pair met this week to explore how ADFD could financially support more infrastructure projects in Albania.
Al Suwaidi said the visit marked an “important step in bolstering cooperation between the UAE and Albania”. He said Abu Dhabi had “special relations” with the Albanian government, which had seen the former invest in three construction projects in the last seven years.
In 2013, ADFD gave a loan of $28m (AED103m) to Albania to fund the Tirana River Rehabilitation project. More than 70% of the work, which includes restoring the river bed and banks, is completed. A handover is scheduled for Q2 2018.
ADFD’s second project in Albian is the Tirana River Northern Boulevard project, for which a loan of $37.3m (AED137) was provided in 2013. The money helped to build a two-storey underground car park, with 333 parking spaces, and a charging point for electric vehicles.
The third project ADFD financed in Albania is the construction of a major highway. The country is building a 27km road and a 2.2km tunnel to connect Tirana to the country’s third-largest city, Elbasan. The Tirana-Elbasan Road project was received a $50.1m (AED184m) loan from ADFD.
The highway, which is 28m wide, is expected to shorten the commute between Tirana and Elbasan by around 30 minutes, according to the Albanian government.