Capital City Atmosphere with an Aim of Sustainable Development

Mayor of Fushe-Kosove: Mr. Busim Berisha

Mr. Burim Berisha, Fush-Kosove’s thoughtful mayor represents his people and the municipality’s natural assets first and foremost. The American Times sits with the mayor to discover how you maintain a strong business environment while simultaneously focusing on the natural environment as a prerequisite to doing business here.  

 

What are some of the challenges you faced when coming into office here in Fushe-Kosove?

I’m a long time mayor of Fushe-Kosove; however, I started originally, after the war, as chief of the municipality and then I became a mayor. For me it’s not just a daily job that I come to. We face many difficulties and I hold a lot of responsibility towards the people and we’ve done so successfully, which is why I think I’ve maintained this position for so long. Coming out from the war we had, as you can imagine, many steep challenges but now we are experiencing positive change. A lot of these changes relate to the political and economic systems but as well developing an international approach to life; a new reality that as a society we’re trying to adapt to.
In the past we were focusing mainly on rebuilding our homes after the war; more than 5,000 homes were burned in this municipality. Our staff and workers, including me, didn’t have any real experience before in this regard. I used to work as an economics professor but we learned what to do through various seminars and different trainings. Through that learning experience we changed a lot. We started building those homes, and roads, new schools and the water network. Fifteen years ago we had almost nothing, now we have quite a bit to speak about; we’ve made big steps forward.

You have a unique location very near the capital. How does this affect your municipality?

In our municipality there are no ethnical or religious tensions among the people. We started to offer good conditions especially in the business sector. That is one of the reasons why we have such a big migration coming in from Prishtina, especially young people; our proximity to the capital helps as well. However, we are also seeing migration from other cities. As a result, our municipality has probably three times the population than it had right just after the war.

What are some of your municipality’s key attributes that investors may want to know about?

The key factors are our political stability, defending our institutions from organized crime and reliability of capital flowing into our municipality. At least in my mandate, all the investors that we had up to this point have the freedom to work and a comfortable condition in which to invest. I see my policies as very liberal and without much interference from the central government.

 

Whenever there are investors visiting I have two questions for them: the conditions of your investment and how that will positively help the municipality and how much are you polluting the environment.

 

What are some of the key sectors that offer economic opportunities for an investor?

Probably within the agriculture sector which offers good land and cheap labor. There are three milk factories, a meat processing factory and pickled vegetables company. We also have light industry; including, wood processing and an aluminum factory. There is a lack of juice manufacturers, and we seek to have one here as the climate is perfect for that kind of an operation. Our municipality is well-known because the main train station is situated here, the airport is nearby and our proximity to Prishtina. We have a tremendous geostrategic position which affords us interest and a great location for services like hotels and other accommodation providers. Another known factor is the heritage sites around this municipality such as the archeological site which we intend to turn into an attraction point. These are exciting discoveries from 14th century B.C. up to the 6th century A.C.

USAID was always a strong supporter since the war. Dozens of projects have been organized by USAID, including trainings and seminars. We’ve also been bestowed many different awards and trophies relating to our handling of transitional initiatives and other municipality duties.


Are you still in collaboration with USAID?

Up until last year we had a lot of grants from USAID. In the local aspect we saw a slight withdraw but it’s because the concentration is more towards the state level at this point. But still, there are a lot of different programs and projects that are financed by USAID.

What is the ideal company you would like to see enter Fushe-Kosove?

Well, that question must reflect the reality of our municipality as an agricultural society. We are in preparations to open up a poultry farm with 200,000 chickens; through this many new jobs will be created. We would like to have an investor who is interested in modernizing our train station, which is the main station in Kosovo. But of course natural and mineral resources like lignite/brown-coal, magnesium & ferronickel are available for mining in our municipality. Additionally, our industrial zone is one of the biggest in Kosovo so more and more companies are placing their capacities and resources here because of that.

We also put a lot of effort in maintaining the rivers, rehabilitating them as well as widening them. This is important as a lot of rivers in Kosovo connect in Fushe-Kosove and we must take these steps in order to deter floods. In order to keep the rivers and natural environment strong I personally haven’t let any quarry companies enter.
Please offer a personal message to our readers back in the US.

Our full commitment to you is the biggest advantage. However, we both need to love this country in order to do good; not just by saying it but in a practical format with no tricks. We look to strike a strong balance between our environmental goals and your business initiatives.

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