Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kosovo Builds Economy From the Ground Up

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Bekim Kuqi has braved civil war, exile, bombs falling on his factories and the detonation of a car filled with explosives in one of his stores. So he says he is prepared for the daunting challenge of doing business in the newly independent Kosovo. For years the electricity grid has been so unreliable that just keeping the lights on in his retail stores has been a daily struggle, forcing Mr. Kuqi to spend more than $1,000 a day on backup generators. Even then, shoppers browse with the lights flickering on and off. And given that the average monthly wage here is about $220, he laments that most people can afford little more than a Coca-Cola at one of the restaurants in his stores.

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