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Central European Time Zone UTC+01:00

 Capital City Pristinaa

 Currency Euro

National Day  17 February

His Excellency Mr. Ilir Kapiti
Embassy of Kosovo
8 John Street
London WC1N ES
T: 020 7405 1010
E: embassy.uk@rks-gov.net

Ambassador of Republic of Kosovo His Excellency Mr Ilir Kapiti arrived in London with his family on 31 December 2021. After two stints in the capital studying for a master’s and an MBA, he considers London a second home, and has always been “impressed by its cultural diversity.” In the little downtime he has, the Ambassador enjoys both indoor and outdoor pursuits: “chess is a powerful game that consumes my logic and reasoning, and cycling is a good means to de-stress, while I burn plenty of calories.”

He recounts ahumble” start to life, in which his father was a head of a local primary school, in a place that is now part of Serbia. His studies in Foreign Trade led him to the University of Zagreb in neighbouring Croatia. After completing his Master’s, Ambassador Kapiti had the opportunity to work for a Chicago based consulting company that was assigned by USAID to  revitalise SME’s in Kosovo. He worked as a short-term business consultant for the UN, before being employed by the EU in 2002, who had embarked on an ambitious programme to privatise Kosovo’s ‘Socially and Publicly Owned Enterprises.’

The private sector beckoned in 2008, when he was headhunted to work for a German company with production lines in 20 different countries. The following year, he joined ‘BPB BANK’ in Prishtina as Deputy CEO. “Within a year, my colleagues and I managed to turn round the fortunes of the bank for the better.  We convinced the EBRD to invest, which later became one of the bank’s biggest shareholders.”

An MBA specialising in ‘Finance and Investment Management’ followed, and in 2012, he was invited to become CEO of Banka Ekonomike. “Managing to turn the bank from loss  to profit is one of the biggest achievements of my career. By utilising analytical, organisational and leadership skills, I managed to inspire those working with me. I believe all of those skills are important in diplomacy.”

As Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers, his role was “to develop prudent policies, increasing revenue, fighting economic informality, and supporting economic developments.” He inherited problems of debt and no state reserves, and then in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began. He and his team designed emergency fiscal measures to help the most vulnerable, “offering double payments for social schemes, increased pension schemes for those on the lowest income, financial support for companies in financial difficulty, and subsidies for small and medium enterprises. We also offered support to those that could not go to work, and assistance payments for citizens who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, he continues, “informality in our economy is all too common, meaning workers are often not officially registered. So we designed specific measures to allow companies to register employees without any penalty; providing state support to those unable to work due to the pandemic. This had the added benefit that workers had to sign a contract, so when things went back to some sort of normality the official number of workers increased.”

As Ambassador in the UK, he is “honoured to present [his] country in the UK.  It is a sacred privilege to represent Europe’s newest country on the global stage.” He continues, “Kosovo’s diaspora in the UK is quite unique, well-educated and embedded in so many sectors, and I hope to transfer some of their skills back home. Economic diplomacy is high on my agenda, and my hope is to connect clients of the bank with businesses in the UK. The UK-Kosovo bilateral relationship was crowned with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in December 2019. The UK is an important ally and partner; we have well established relations, which I believe to be very resilient and bilateral!” He’d like to make Kosovo more visible in the UK. “With globally renowned artists like Rita Ora and Dua Lipa, as well as well-known football players from Kosovo, we also have a cultural heritage stretching back to ancient times.”

In December, he recalls the FCDO issued a statement explaining its mission in Kosovo “in areas such as rule of law, human rights, economic development, security, regional cooperation and securing increased recognition of Kosovo’s independence by the international community. The overall goal is to help achieve a stable and prosperous multi-ethnic Kosovo with a clear perspective of Euro-Atlantic integration, at the same time reducing the potential of conflict in the region, beating organised crime and corruption, and reducing threats to Britain’s national security.”

With regards to climate diplomacy, the Ambassador notes that “in order to reach the EU’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, we must act together, including the Western Balkans. Our government is working on its renewable energy potential and improving energy efficiency. We are working closely with Albania to set up a common electricity market; providing the advantage that  Albania’s existing hydropower will help reduce production of Kosovo’s lignite power plants.”

Ambassador Kapiti acknowledges that Kosovo still faces a few diplomatic challenges: “Since independence, Kosovo has been recognised by 117 countries. But we need to further strengthen Kosovo’s international subjectivity. There are five EU countries that as of yet have not recognised Kosovo’s independence. Furthermore, we hope that visa liberalisation and the dialogue with Serbia, an agreement centered on mutual recognition, will happen soon. Kosovo is a democratic, pro-Western state and the strengthening of its sovereignty and statehood will promote regional stability and increase the resistance of the entire region to undemocratic influences.”

Looking back over the past two decades, Ambassador Kapiti notes that he has worked in various economic sectors, offering improvement and implementing best practices, restructuring organisations, reviving failed businesses and solving complex issues. My hope is that my expertise has left a footprint in designing and implementing emergency fiscal packaging and economic recovery programmes, which should stand me on firm ground for the tasks ahead.”


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