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Kosovo: International Investment Conference held in Prishtina

Prishtinë, Oct 13, 2006 – A two-day International Investment Conference, which took place in Prishtina and was hosted by the Kosovar Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM), gathered around 100 representatives of more than 30 foreign companies from the region and Europe. Also Kosovo senior officials, including the UNMIK-Chief Joachim Ruecker, the Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, Prime Minister Agim Ceku, and representatives from USAID and the World Bank attended the conference.

The conference was related to investments needed for opening the new coal mine in the village of Sibovc, the construction of a new power plant “Kosovo C” and the rehabilitation of the existing Kosovo A.

UNMIK Chief Joachim Ruecker was quoted as saying: “Kosovo sits on 45 percent of Europe’s lignite deposits and is therefore extremely well placed to be a significant electricity producer for an increasingly energy hungry region.”

Ruecker added that UNMIK and Kosovo Government are aiming at creating a favorable investment climate to enable qualified strategic investors, through a transparent selection, to participate in the development of Kosovo’s lignite mining and power generation in accordance with EU standards, particularly in terms of environmental and social standards. He also said that the privatization process in Kosovo is being conducted successfully.

Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, said attracting foreign investments in Kosovo will be a priority of the National Economic Development Plan. According to Sejdiu, over the seven last years Kosovo institutions together with UNMIK have established a sound institutional and legal basis that contributes to the economic development of Kosovo. “We will remain committed to improving the investment conditions by respecting the law, improving the fiscal policies and by increasing the institutions’ efficiency,” said president Sejdiu.

Also Kosovo's Prime Minister, Agim Çeku, considers that Kosovo can be an attractive country for foreign investments. “Kosovo’s economic development can increase by 4.5%-5% per year but this can be achieved only by increasing the investments,” said Çeku.

Officials stated that representatives of the neighboring countries support the idea for constructing a new power plant “since they have realized that a new power plant will contribute to the development of their countries, since there is a lack of electricity in the entire region.”

In the scope of this conference foreign investors visited several plants and facilities that are linked to new investment projects in the sector of energy.

American energy company AES, which works in about one hundred countries worldwide, had officials at the conference who stated that there is a realistic possibility that AES could be investing in the development of the power industry in Kosovo soon, because Kosovo’s brown coal supplies are very abundant and of exceptional quality.

Director of the Turkish company Chelik Energy Kamil Guven said that his company is very familiar with the possibilities for the development of the energy industry in Kosovo.

The Kosovo Energy and Mining Ministry has prepared a strategy for the development of the energy sector, which looks to build another thermo power plant in Kosovo, restore the existing ones and open a new mining sector in the village of Sibovc. According to the assessments, the Sibovc mine has lignite reserves of around 1 billion tons, which is sufficient for supplying the existing power plants and the planned new power plant for the next 40 years.

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