The telecom sector has been liberalised, with legislation introduced in late 2012 to align with the EU’s revised regulatory framework. It also adopted measures relating to competition and to facilitating the market entry of new players. Nevertheless, poor telecom infrastructure has meant that fixed-line penetration remains low by European standards. Unlike most markets, the fixed-line broadband sector is dominated by new players. Broadband penetration in Kosovo is developing, though slowly. The Independent Media Commission (IMC) is responsible for the regulation of the broadcasting frequency spectrum in the Republic of Kosovo.
Kosovo’s economy has shown progress in transitioning to a market-based system and maintaining macroeconomic stability, 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, Switzerland, and the Nordic countries – are estimated to account for about 17% of GDP and international donor assistance accounts for approximately 10% of GDP. With international assistance, Kosovo has been able to privatize a majority of its state-owned enterprises.
Kosovo’s citizens are the second poorest in Europe, after Moldova, with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $9,600 in 2016. An unemployment rate of 33%, and a youth unemployment rate near 60%, in a country where the average age is 26, encourages emigration and fuels a significant informal, unreported economy. Emigration remains challenging, however, because Kosovo lacks visa-free travel to the EU. Most of Kosovo’s population lives in rural towns outside of the capital, Pristina.
While Kosovo’s economy continued to make progress, it needs further reform and investment to enable the level of growth required to reduce unemployment and raise living standards in a meaningful way.