Kosovo is largely mountainous, with the North Albanian Alps in the west, the Shar Mountains in the south, and the Kopaonik range in the west. Surrounded by the mountains are the fertile valleys of Kosovo field and Dukagjini field; the land is drained by the Drin, Ibar, and Morava rivers.
Agriculture, stock raising, forestry, and mining are the major occupations. There are rich deposits of lignite (brown coal), lead, nickel, zinc, and other minerals.
Unemployment is very high, because of the disruptions caused by the end of communist rule, conflict of 1999 and the struggle for independence thus the economy is dependent on foreign aid and remittances sent from Diaspora.
Kosovo's population is composed of Kosovo Albanian (92%), Kosovo Serbs 4%, and other minorities such as Bosnians, Gorani, Turks, Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians (4%) . The Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian, Turkish, and other languages are spoken. The main religions are Islam, the Orthodox church, and the Roman Catholic church.
Administratively, Kosovo is divided into 38 municipalities. The United Nations, through its Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and its Agencies and Programmes, including UNDP, is present in Kosovo on the basis of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) which provides the mandate for its operation.
A decade after the conflict, Kosovo has reached a critical juncture. The next few years could establish Kosovo firmly on the road to a stable and prosperous future, in which its far-reaching development aspirations are fulfilled. However, its population still faces an uphill struggle to escape the corrosive socio-economic impact of decades of neglect, mismanagement and discrimination.
Security has been re-established by and large, and NATO’s KFOR troops are therefore able to maintain a relatively light footprint. However reconciliation at a community level remains a challenge, but there are indications that in many places it has nevertheless taken recognizable root outpacing higher-level political resolution. Although tensions remain palpable between Kosovo-Albanians and Kosovo-Serbs in a limited number of areas (particularly in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica region/Northern part), they are mostly local in their impact and do not affect broader progress.
Kosovo’s authorities and enterprising communities, including Kosovans in the diaspora, were able to kick-start an economic recovery in the years following the 1999 conflict. Growth of GDP peaked at 5.4 percent in 2008, after the immediate post-conflict surge and is rising again, at 4.3 percent, following the 2009 global economic crisis. However Kosovo’s economy is still a problem and poses a greatest threat to long-term stability. Unemployment stands at 40.7% for men and 56.4% for women.
Human Development Index increased marginally from 0.678 in 2007 to 0.700 in 2010, and 0.714 in 2012; however it is still the lowest in region and Europe. While Kosovo’s economy faces many fundamental challenges, the energy and potential of Kosovo’s young work-ready population are significant economic assets.
Improvement in the welfare, transition to market economy, achievements in democracy.
Opportunities: young people.
Poverty, inbalance of trade, high unemployment, heavy reliance on remittances.