Kosovo's is one of the poorest economies in Europe, with a per capita income estimated at $1,500-$2,000. It was traditionally the poorest province of Yugoslavia. Unemployment impacts 49 percent of the population; 60 percent of the employed work in agriculture. Inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common.
A World Bank study found poverty increasing in Kosovo, with 15 percent of the population living on 0.93 euros a day-under the limit of extreme poverty-and 37 percent living on 1.42 euro per day. The majority of the population lives in rural towns outside the largest city, Pristina.
Climate for microfinance:
• MFIs started operating in Kosovo immediately after the war and function in all 30 municipalities, including some of the most rural and marginalized communities.
• Small/micro enterprises account for the majority of economic activity in Kosovo.
FINCA Kosovo (Founded 2000)
FINCA originally established its headquarters in Prizren, the second largest city in Kosovo, and gradually expanded its operations over the past seven years to other provinces, including Serbian and other ethnic minority populated areas. Today, FINCA operates in all of Kosovo's provinces, with the exception of the North-Mitrovica region.
FINCA Kosovo serves poor entrepreneurs of all ethnic nationalities in Kosovo. FINCA also is the only microfinance institution in Kosovo offering business start up loans for female and male entrepreneurs. In addition, FINCA is currently piloting a rural product targeting the rural areas of Kosovo, where poverty is more widespread. We have significantly improved our successful outreach to women over the last several years.
Meet Sabrije Tehaj:
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FINCA KosovoClients: 10,715
Average loan: $1,429
Loans outstanding: $12,475,633
Services: Village Banking, Individual Loans, and Rural Loans.
Geography: Kosovo is in South East Europe in the Balkan peninsula. Its largest city is Pristina (Kosovo's capital), with an estimated population of 400,000. Kosovo borders: Montenegro, Albania, Republic of Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Population: 1.9-2.2 million
Ethnicities: Albanian 88%, Serb 7%, Bosnian 1.9%, Roma 1.7%, Turk 1%, Gorani 0.5%
Religions: Albanians-mainly Muslim and Roman Catholic; Serbs-Eastern Orthodox; atheism is common.
Average life expectancy: 74 years
Median age: 40.4 years
Government: Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008 and proclaimed itself the Republic of Kosovo. This followed nearly nine years of administration by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission (UNMIK).
* Program information is updated on a monthly basis from reports from the field.