ACIT (Albanian Centre for Competitiveness and International Trade) is an Albanian economic think tank established on September 15th 2002. Outcome of a competitive process, in its initial shape, ACIT was set up as a project based on a grant agrement between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded to a local NGO (Institute for Contemporary Studies). Its major goal was to “improve the quality of trade policies as important instruments for growth and development, as well as for increasing the public benefit from trade opportunities created by globalization trends and integration processes”. Its concept was based on USAID’s project guidelines, further coined from an intense and participatory discussion with various stakeholders in Albania.
Considering ACIT’s first-year achievements, on September 15th 2003, USAID awarded a three-year cooperative agreement to the ISB to further consolidate ACIT program. Starting from the year 2003, ACIT has been continually providing a special support to the firms operating in leather and footwear industry. This support aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the industry by improving the environment of development policies in the sector, and increasing the managerial, financial and marketing capabilities of the firms operating in the industry. In 2006, the project was granted an one-year extension period with no additional costs. On September 2007, the holders of the program, considering that further technical assistance through ACIT was necessary to consolidate the achieved results and enable Albanian industries, firms and institutions to sustain their performance and increase the economy’s competitiveness, dedicated another one year support to the already well established ACIT. With the kind support of USAID and ISB, the latter cost extension period, served also as support for the transition of the existing program into a Non-for-Profit organization “Albanian Centre for Competitiveness and International Trade (ACIT)” registered on June 19th, 2008, by Tirana’s Court Decision Nr. 473.
Since 2008, ACIT operates under this status and covers almost the same activities as in the previous period. It has maintained and further consolidated partnerships with main institutions, private sector companies and business associations, interational organizations, donor’s community in Albania, media, academia, etj. Its contribution to the public debate on economic and trade development has been consistent throughout the years. ACIT is the only Albanian think tank which is a full member of the Business Consultative Council, an important institution established by the Minister of Economy for improving decision making thank to business community contribution. In different contextes, the research and study work produced by ACIT has been highly appreciated for offering sound analysis of economic and trade developments and for the efforts in influencing policy making processes.