TIRANA, January 29 / ATA / The Albanian Government with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has set up the ABA Center (Agro Business Assistance), a one-stop service, which contributes to the development of business and building the financial capacity of farms. small families in Albania. The Ministry of Finance and Economy in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through this support aim to increase the level of financial inclusion in the agro sector, through the implementation of the Technical Cooperation Project, “Smallholder Families’ Financial Inclusion Project in Albania”.
The main objective of the project is to improve the financial inclusion of smallholder families’ in Albania through the development of financial and non-financial products and services that respond and flexibly adapt to the needs of farmers. The official launch ceremony of the ABA Center in Lushnja was attended by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Besart Kadia, the Ambassador of Japan to Albania, Takada, the representative of the JICA Office for the Balkans, Takeichi, representatives of the FEDinvest microfinance institution, as well as representatives’ other stakeholders. The ceremony was held under strict measures of compliance with the prescribed protocols antiCOVID-19. During his speech, Deputy Minister Kadia noted the early cooperation between the Albanian and Japanese governments, while emphasizing that over the years, economic cooperation with the Japanese government has been felt through aid and loans, grants and technical cooperation, where priority is focused on support has been the agricultural sector. "Today it is a special pleasure for me to represent the Ministry of Finance and Economy for the launch of one of the most important achievements of the project, the creation of an agribusiness center set up in Lushnja. The objective of the ABA Center is to meet the needs of every Albanian farmer in order to develop them, develop their business and build their financial capacity and skills. I am convinced that this center will bring to Albanian farmers non-financial services that have not been possible before, thanks to the project "Financial Inclusion of Smallholders’ Families in Albania", but also the dedication of the staff of this project. - said Kadia. According to him, the project is very important one for Albania and the agricultural sector, not only for the financial value which is considerable (3.5 million euros for a period of 4 years), but this project aims to be one of the instruments in support of the objectives of the Albanian government on improving the lives of citizens through a quality and inclusive economic growth, as well as to create an efficient, innovative and sustainable agri-food sector, employment, social inclusion and better quality living for residents. The Ambassador of Japan in Albania, Takada said that, “it is a great pleasure for me to participate in this opening ceremony of the ABA Center, which is supported by the“ Small Family Financial Inclusion Project ”in Albania, funded by The Government of Japan. " "This Center will help disseminate useful information, education on various topics and will provide an opportunity for access to essential tools to facilitate the economic activities of small owners. In the context of the pandemic situation that has affected the whole world, the ABA Center represents a useful tool for addressing some important issues that have emerged recently, such as limited mobility and physical access to markets and products, cooperation between entrepreneurs etc., difficulties which damaged the small economies in Albania ", - said Ambassador Takada. While emphasizing that, "for this reason, the benefits of services that will be provided by this important center are multidimensional". "We will continue to support and consider more projects in various fields based on basic human needs. "I am convinced that the technical cooperation between Japan and Albania will further strengthen the long-term friendship between our two countries," Takada said. JICA Balkan Office Chief Representative, Takeichi, said that, ABA Center and ABA online together, will serve as a center which integrates various services for farmers, such as trainings, seminars, on-net networking events line, market information, extensive services for agriculture, etc. In this way, individuals and small entrepreneurs can benefit from a wide range of necessary services, in a sustainable way, and can ensure continuity and security of their economic activities, he said. While the Director of Business at Fed Invest, Behar Gjoni stressed that this is another new investment in service and direct support for farmers and rural development in Albania.