With Carter Center support, Albania embarked on the formulation of a comprehensive, long-term national development strategy known as the National Strategy for Socioeconomic Development.
The government of Albania expressed interest in working with The Carter Center on a national development strategy in 1998. In 2000, the Albanian government and the World Bank asked the Center's Global Development Initiative — which was discontinued in 2006 — to help promote public participation in formulating a national poverty strategy. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund required Albania to develop the plan to continue receiving low-interest loans and grants. The strategy, which looked three to five years into the future, was known locally as the National Strategy for Socioeconomic Development.
The Global Development Initiative facilitated unprecedented collaboration between government, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens in the process by disseminating information about it, supporting public access to research, strengthening nongovernmental organizations' capacity to analyze policy, organizing "town hall" meetings throughout the country, and bringing government officials and nongovernmental organizations together in working groups to develop strategies and policy options.
As the government implemented the strategy starting in 2002, the Center worked with civil society to create a regional network of focal points for monitoring its implementation. This partnership with Albania's Civil Society Development Centers included training on monitoring and evaluation; outreach work with local communities; public forums with civil society, public officials, members of Parliament, and the business community; production and submission of policy position papers to government reflecting local views and analysis; and citizen mobilization to promote policy change.
Albanian government, opposition, and civil society representatives participated in Center-sponsored Development Cooperation Forums in 2002 and 2005.
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Size: 28,748 square kilometers
Population below poverty line: 14.3 percent
Life expectancy: 81 years
Ethnic groups: Albanian, Greek, other (including Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified
Religions: Muslim, Albanian Orthodox, Roman Catholic
Languages: Albanian (official - Tosk is the official dialect), Greek, (other including Macedonian, Roma, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2015