U.S. agency awards $400,000 grant to Albania

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 14, 2000 à‚– The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA) awarded a major industrial infrastructure-related grant to the government of Albania during the Southeast Europe Energy & Transportation Conference, presented by TDA and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

A grant of $400,000 for a feasibility study to examine the technical and financial aspects of creating electric transmission interconnections among four substations was awarded to the Albanian Ministry of Public Economy and Privatization. Korporata Elektroenergjitike Shqiptare (KESH) will be the executive agent responsible for execution of the grant. U.S. firms will compete for the opportunity to conduct the study.

Expanding trade opportunities for U.S. companies involved in the energy and transportation sectors is the focus of the Philadelphia conference, designed provide U.S. companies with details on planned projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the areas of power generation, port and airport expansions, railroad and road development, and oil and gas. The conference began Sept. 13, and continued through Friday, Sept. 15.

The conference agenda covers opportunities in Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, and Romania. Senior officials from the U.S. and the six countries are discussing upcoming regional developments in the energy and transportation sectors from a business perspective and providing information on more than 25 large-scale, public and private-sector projects currently on the drawing boards.

As the economies of the developing nations of Southeastern Europe continue to grow and restructure, the timely modernization and improvement of domestic energy, transportation and industrial infrastructure has become a crucial component in ensuring regional security. The “Stability Pact” created by the United States and the European Union, has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for a wide array of infrastructure projects. In addition, many International Financial Institutions, including the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank, have also increased their allocation of funds to the countries of Southeast Europe for their development projects.

A series of prescheduled one-on-one meetings during the conference are also enabling U.S. participants to meet privately with project sponsors, as well as potential partner companies from the region. According to J. Joseph Grandmaison, TDA’s director, “This represents an unprecedented window of opportunity for U.S. companies to establish themselves in this growing market.”

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