Ease of Doing Business Rank: 57
Kosovo is a disputed territory in southeastern Europe. While many United Nations member states recognize its sovereignty, Serbia and several other countries do not.
Serbia lies to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania lie to the west, North Macedonia to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the east.
The official languages of Kosovo are Albanian and Serbian. According to 2011 data, 94.5% of inhabitants speak Albanian, followed by Bosnian (1.7%), Serbian (1.6%), Turkish (1.1%) and other languages (0.9%).
English is the most widely spoken foreign language.
The 2019 population estimate is 1.81 million.
According to the 2011 census, Priština is the largest city (198,897), followed by Prizren (177,781), and Uroševac (108,610).
An additional 34 cities and towns exist in the country, all with populations less than 100,000.
The top industries in Kosovo are mining, cement, construction, textiles, food and beverages, tourism and metallurgy.
The most common type of business entities in Kosovo are Individual Business, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company and Joint Stock Company.
The overwhelming majority of businesses are in the form of a Limited Liability Company.
Non-resident taxpayers are subject to tax on their Kosovo sourced income at a corporate tax rate of 10%. Insurance companies pay 5% CIT based on accrued gross premiums.
Taxpayers with a gross income of EUR 50,000 or less do not pay CIT. Instead, they pay quarterly tax based on gross receipts. The rate varies between 3% and 10%, depending on the activity.
Priština is the capital and financial center of the country.
Kosovo is still largely unexplored by tourists compared to the other Balkan states of Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia. However, it has plenty to offer including art and architecture from the Byzantine to Ottoman eras.
The only Kosovo UNESCO World Heritage site includes medieval monasteries built between the 13th and 17th centuries. The country is also dotted with outstanding mosques, some dating back to the 14th century.
The capital city of Priština is a vibrant city, but not the most beautiful. Many of the older parts of the city suffered during past conflicts so much of the architecture is contemporary.
The National Library of Kosovo is a futuristic building in the brutalist style which does not resemble an institution intended to preserve the country’s history. The Newborn monument built in 2008 is decorated with the flags of nations that recognize Kosovo as independent state.
The second largest city in the country, Prizren, features a medieval fortress. The original fort was built by Byzantines and later controlled by the Ottomans for four centuries.
The Terzijski Bridge with its undulating Ottoman architecture spans the Erenik River. It was built in the 15th century and altered in the 18th, but later restored to its original appearance.
Kosovo includes many areas of unspoiled natural beauty. The 1.2km deep Gadimë Cave with stalagmites and stalactites and a European brown bear sanctuary in a remote, forested area are unique to the region. Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park offers hiking, climbing, rafting and skiing on the highest mountain in Kosovo.
Kosovo was once ruled by the Roman and Byzantine Empires. During the 7th century, ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories. By the medieval period, Kosovo was the center of a Serbian Empire.
Ottomans defeated the Serbs in 1389, which led to five centuries of Ottoman rule and the introduction of Islam to the region. During this time, large numbers of Turks and Albanians entered the area.
Over the following centuries, Albanians became the dominant ethnic group and during the 19th century the Albanian National Movement grew. Serbia regained control of the region in 1912.
In 1946, after World War II, Kosovo was granted the status of an autonomous region of Serbia within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However, calls for independence led to riots during the 1980s.
Many Serbs viewed the area of Kosovo as an integral part of their cultural heritage and rejected the idea of an autonomous state. In 1989, a new constitution revoked Kosovo’s autonomous status.
Kosovo’s Albanian leaders organized a referendum and declared Kosovo independent in 1991. This led to Serbian repressive measures and a brutal counterinsurgency campaign which expelled hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.
International attempts to mediate the conflict failed. In 1999, NATO sent military forces into Kosovo, forcing a Serbian withdrawal. Kosovo was now governed under a UN transitional administration.
After undergoing a process to determine Kosovo’s final status, the UN endorsed independence. In 2008, Kosovo was granted Supervised Independence. Serbia challenged the legality under international law, but it was upheld in 2010.
The period of Supervised Independence ended in 2012. Kosovo now holds democratic elections and operates under a parliamentary republic. Over 100 countries recognize Kosovo as a sovereign nation, and the EU considers them a potential candidate for accession. However, some nations, including Serbia, still do not recognize their status.
According to the 2011 census, 92.9% of the population identifies as Albanian, followed by Muslims, Bosniaks, and Gorani (2.2%) and Serb (1.2%).
The 2012 European Social Survey reports 88.0% of the inhabitants of Kosovo identify as Muslim, followed by Roman Catholic (5.8%), Orthodox Christian(2.9%), and irreligious (2.9%).
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Kosovo 51st and states, “The economy is characterized by extremely limited regional or global economic integration, political instability, corruption, unreliable energy supply, a large informal economy, and a tenuous rule of law, including a lack of contract enforcement. Resolution of residential, agricultural, and commercial property claims remains a serious and contentious issue.”
World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings rate Kosovo 44th for ease of doing business in the world.