|About Operation Kosovo||
Daily Trip Report - July 15, 2003
Hank Perritt -
Carson, Nicole, and I had an excellent meeting with Verena Knaus, the head of the ESI "Lessons Learned" unit of Pillar IV. She is terrific: smart, articulate, and exceptionally well-informed about what's going on with economic development "on the ground." We talked about comparative advantage (minerals, high-tech services, ski slopes), why the EU has been so sluggish in promoting private sector enterprise creation, why SOE land is valuable (proximity to infrastructure), and what her prescription for success is, going forward.
We met with Luan Beqaj, to get a better feel for the politics of KLC's relations with the Law Faculty and the rest of the world.
an hour and a half with Andy Gridinsky, academic program director for
the American University in Kosovo, who reports that AUK expects to begin
operations this Fall with an initial class of 120, paying tuition of $5,000
per year. We talked at length about mechanisms for reforming legal education,
including the possibility of starting an entirely new law school in Pristina,
or in Tetovo as part of the SEEU.
We then went to a meeting with an analyst from the EU's Lessons Learned and Analysis Unit. It's a long title, but its Kosovo operation seems quite well-run and worthwhile. They've produced several good reports on certain facets of Kosovo's economic situation. The analyst we met with, Verena Knaus, was extremely informative and sharp. She painted a better picture of the problems and opportunities in Kosovo. She also explained in greater detail how the internationals have screwed things up.
I later met Ardian Spaihu for some drinks. As is probably usual for a Tuesday night (or any other night for that matter) in Kosovo, the bars and clubs were packed. They listen to some Western music, but they also listen to a lot of Arabian sounding house music. It's pretty interesting, actually. I also get the impression that some of the beats are imported from India as well. Also, while we were hanging out, Coolio was playing a concert right there in Prishtina! Guess his career's kind of shot. Anyway, the tickets were only about $11; but, I didn't find out about the concert in time to go. I'm not a big Coolio fan, but that would have been a fairly surreal experience to see him in Kosovo. There ended my last full day in Kosovo.
Although many Kosovars appear to be pessimistic about their economic future, I see a good deal of opportunity in certain areas. I think the privatization process will be a failure in that the factories will never be used as factories. The benefit from privatization appears to be freeing up some of the only land in the country that has reliable access to utilities. It is depressing to think that the foreign groups have not accomplished more while there - one of the mantras of the EU is that it will provide money to rebuild something, but not to replace it. As a result of that philosophy, apparently over $500 million has been poured into the decrepit power plant, which still doesn't function anywhere near capacity, while a similar amount of money would have built a significantly more productive plant. That is an example of a typical waste of money that has occurred as a result of the internationals' stubbornness. Unfortunately, Kosovo is going to have to figure out how to fix most of its problems on its own because the internationals have pretty much turned attention to Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the whole
though, I feel like we have done some good - particularly if we can successfully
implement this Business Training Center. We also have opportunities to
work with Blerim Reka on starting a new law school - which is a long shot
but would be a fantastic development; look for transactional lawyers to
work in Kosovo; and, look for ways to spur economic development.
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