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Non-recognition gives Kosovo a headache

It is 11 years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, and even now, only about half of the UN recognizes it as a free-standing sovereign state. That lack of international validation – not least the absence of a credit rating – is holding back a strong economy.

Pristina_Kosovo_780

Bill Clinton Boulevard in the capital, Pristina

Visit Pristina in summer and it’s hard to believe Kosovo has any serious economic problems. Stylish coffee bars and restaurants are packed with well-dressed customers. Expensive SUVs clog the highways. Teenagers in a supermarket pay for chocolates and cigarettes with a €100 note.

At first sight, the Balkan state’s numbers also look pretty good. Kosovo ranks 44th in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. Its economy has been growing by more than 4% a year since 2015. At 17%, the public debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the region.


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