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National name: Republic of Kosovo
President: Fatmir Sejdiu (2006)
Prime minister: Hashim Thaçi (2007)
Total area: 4,211 sq mi (10,908 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 2,126,708;
Capital and largest city (2007 est.): Pristina, 400,000 (2007 est.)
Other large cities: Prizren, 110,000; Peja, 70,000; Mitrovica, 70,000
Monetary unit: euro (EUR); Serbian Dinar (RSD) is also in circulation
Languages: Albanian, Serbian, Bosniak, Turkish
Ethnicity/race: Albanians 88%, Serbs 7%, other 5%
Religion:Muslim, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholic
Economic summary: GDP/PPP $4 billion (2007 est.); per capita: $1,800 (2007 est.). Real growth rate: 2.6% (2007). Inflation: 2% (2007 est.). Unemployment: 43% (2007 est.). Labor force: 832,000 (June 2007 est.), agriculture 21.4%. Natural resources: nickel, lead, zinc, magnesium, lignite, kaolin, chrome, bauxite. Exports: $148.4 million (2007): scrap metals, mining and processed metal products, plastics, wood. Imports: $84.99 million (2006): petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and electrical equipment. Major trading partners: Central Europe Free Trade Area (2006).
International disputes: Serbia with several other states protest the US and other states' recognition of Kosovo's declaring itself as a sovereign and independent state in February 2008; ethnic Serbian municipalities along Kosovo's northern border challenge final status of Kosovo-Serbia boundary; several thousand NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers under UNMIK authority continue to keep the peace within Kosovo between the ethnic Albanian majority and the Serb minority in Kosovo; Kosovo authorities object to alignment of the Kosovo boundary with Macedonia in accordance with the 2000 Macedonia-Serbia and Montenegro delimitation agreement.

Economy Overview

Over the past few years Kosovo’s economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora - located mainly in Germany and Switzerland - account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800 - about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment - at more than 40% of the population - is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. Most of Kosovo’s population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common - the result of small plots, limited mechanization, and lack of technical expertise. Economic growth is largely driven by the private sector - mostly small-scale retail businesses. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize 50% of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by number, and over 90% of SOEs by value.

Natural Resources

Minerals and metals - including lignite, lead, zinc, nickel, chrome, aluminum, magnesium, and a wide variety of construction materials - once formed the backbone of industry, but output has declined because investment has been insufficient to replace ageing Eastern Bloc equipment. Technical and financial problems in the power sector also impedes industrial development. The US has worked with the World Bank to prepare a commercial tender for the development of new power generating and mining capacity. The official currency of Kosovo is the euro, but the Serbian dinar is also used in the Serb enclaves.

Kosovo’s tie to the euro has helped keep inflation low. Kosovo has maintained a budget surplus as a result of efficient tax collection and inefficient budget execution. While maintaining ultimate oversight, UNMIK continues to work with the EU and with Kosovo’s government to accelerate economic growth, lower unemployment, and attract foreign investment. In order to help integrate Kosovo into regional economic structures, UNMIK signed (on behalf of Kosovo) its accession to the Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA) in 2006. In February 2008, UNMIK also represented Kosovo at the newly established Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

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