Last Sunday, May 7, the Republic of Kosovo officially established its very own Sovereign Wealth Fund. The launch ceremony took place in Pristina with Prime Minister Albin Kurti acting as keynote speaker, and Germany’s independent foundation Friedrich Ebert Stifung (FES) acting as co-host of the event.
The plenary session featured a number of European SWFs, including Ireland’s ISIF (represented by Director Nick Ashmore), Greece’s Growthfund (represented by CEO Gregory Dimitriadis), Slovenia’s SSH (represented by Head of Legal Tomaž Babić), Kosovo’s SWF (represented by Chairman of working group Besnik Pula) and Global SWF (represented by Managing Director Diego López).
As discussed with Emanuel Bajra in February this year, Kosovo’s SWF will take the shape of a strategic / development fund, initially seeded with stakes in several national champions, which may include Trepča Mines (mining), Kosovo Energy Corporation or KEK (energy), Post of Kosovo (post services), Telecom of Kosovo or Vala (telecommunications), KESCO (infrastructure), and Kosovo Railways (transportation).
In addition to managing those and other companies, the fund will have the target of facilitating FDI from other SWFs into the country – a hybrid model we are increasingly seeing in the industry.
Prime Minister Kurti said that “the Government stands strongly behind this vision of the Sovereign Fund, believing that such an initiative will result in stabilization of the economy through diversity, creation of profit for the state through wise investments, generating wealth for generations to come.”
The working group – comprised by Rrezarta Pllana and Tea Blakaj Hoxha, in addition to Prof. Pula and Mr. Bajra, recently submitted the draft law to the government, and it continues to study the best ways of structuring the actual management entity, which will be likely be independent from Kosovo’s Central Bank.