The Central Bank at year-end press conference announced the Award for Young Economists

The Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo has managed to successfully meet its legal objectives, providing a stable financial system and a satisfactory developing trend, which has continued to be one of the main supporters of economic development, stated Governor Bedri Hamza in the year-end press conference with media representatives held today at the CBK. According to him, the banking sector in 2015 has further strengthened the sustainability indicators. He mentioned also that the rate of non-performing loans which was at a very low level, in 2015 marked a further decrease. The rate of non-performing loans in November 2015 decreased to 6.5 percent compared to 8.5 percent marked in November 2014. This rate of non-performing loans represents the lowest level recorded since June 2012 and continues to keep Kosovo as the country with the lowest rate of non-performing loans in the region, said the Governor, adding that apart from the banking sector, during 2015, an increased activity has characterized other sectors of the financial system, such as the pension sector, insurance sector, as well as microfinance sector. Regarding the macroeconomic performance of the domestic economy, 2015 was characterized by accelerated pace of growth, generated mainly by increased domestic demand. The annual growth rate in 2015 is expected to reach about 3.5 percent said in his address to the media the Governor Hamza, adding that the increase in bank lending and remittances had a significant impact on the growth of citizens’ income and accordingly the private consumption growth. An important contribution to this year economic growth has the FDI that based on the data up to October the foreign direct investment compared with the previous year has increased. "In relation to the Kosovo needs and in relation to countries in the region, Kosovo needs more foreign direct investment. But according to the data we have by now, FDI is over 300 million Euro, and what will the amount of FDI by the end of the year remains to be seen" said Governor Hamza.
Hereinafter the Governor stated that it has become a tradition for the CBK to award the young economists, an activity that aims to encourage research activity in the field of economy among young researchers. Regarding the applications, he valued the quality of works submitted by candidates, hoping that in the coming years the competition for this award will further increase.

The Governor then announced awards to new economists. First prize was awarded to Shkumbin Maksutaj for the working paper "Macroeconomic Determinants of Banking Credit Risk: Albania Case".
Second place was awarded to Ylberina Hysaj - Arifi for "High Performance Working Systems, the Use and Impact on Financial Institutions in Developing Countries" while third prize was awarded to authors Petrit Dërguti, Besart Asllani and Flamur Asllani for the working paper "Financial Education – Kosovo Case".
On this occasion, the Governor informed the media that the CBK starting from 2016, will begin to award the best journalistic stories in the field of economy. Prizes will be as follows: prize for the best story published in the print media or magazines published in Kosovo, the prize for the best TV story broadcasted by any Kosovo TV station, as well as the prize for the best story broadcasted by any of the Kosovo radio stations.

Governor Hamza informed the journalists that the Central Bank as part of its activities, based on the Annual Work Plan 2016 has planned to organize regular meetings in the form of workshops with journalists. Among invited will be experts not only from the CBK and academic fields but also from the world of media. The workshops will be held on a quarterly basis in order to discuss topics on the fields to be agreed between the CBK and the journalists’ community.
The Governor welcomed and answered journalists' questions by expressing his gratitude to the media for their cooperation and objectivity during 2015 and wishing them a prosperous New Year with lots of health, happiness and success in 2016.