Is emigration bleeding the economic life out of Albania

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Albania has one of the world´s biggest diasporas.

But as the country’s youth travels to abroad and further afield in search of a better life, their departure is in danger of draining the economic lifeblood out of their homeland.

“All those people that choose immigration are labour force, young boys and girls,” says pensioner Hamdi Sokoli. “If they want to migrate, fine. But after having built this country, instead of building Germany or Italy”. 

The government has introduced economic incentives to encourage the youth to return home. But many blame politicians for failing to create the opportunities that would incentivise young people to stay.

Stemming the population haemorrhage

We visit Kukës in the north of the country and meet the politicians, NGOs and businesses trying to stem the population haemorrhage.

For many, the problems begin with the education system.

“If authorities don’t support any activity happening in schools,” says Lavdrim Shehu, a legal expert in migration. “In terms of logistics, materials, sports, creativity, art, music, then people won’t feel complete at their own place, at their own school, at their own house. So again, they will probably look for something else”.

“If you want to destroy a country, you destroy its education,” says international relations student Dragana Kurti. “Basically you are destroying its roots. So what I expect from my government would be to invest in education. Not just at a high level, not only in universities but also right at the beginning.”

Watch Julián Goméz’s report in the video player above