The Republic of Kosovo lies at the heart of the Balkans in Southeast Europe, covering an area of 10,887 square kilometers. It is surrounded by Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro. The state declared independence from Serbia in 2008, however, Serbia, Russia, and several other countries and members of the EU didn’t recognize the declaration. Despite its independence, Kosovo is still ethnically divided because of severe ethnic conflicts between the state’s Albanian and Serb communities.

The economy of Kosovo has transitioned into a market-based while keeping stability intact. The country depends on international remittances mainly from Germany, Switzerland, and Nordic nations. It also relies on financial and technical assistance. With assistance from foreign countries, the state has privatized half of its state-owned enterprises by number and more than 90% by value.

Minerals and metals such as lignite, zinc, chrome, lead, aluminum, and magnesium as well as construction materials were once the mainstays of the industrial sector. However, due to the depreciation of equipment and inadequate capital, production has slacked down.

With an average annual per capita income of $2,800, Kosovo people are considered the poorest in Europe. About 40% of the population is unemployed which encourages them to migrate and get involved in black market activities.

Before its independence and switching to the euro, Kosovo’s official currency was the Yugoslav or Serbian dinar, though Deutsche Mark was also circulating within the state until 2002. In 1999, provisional banknotes were issued by the Kosovo Republic Bank Commission. These paper bills were privately printed by American banknote dealer Joe Lang. These were specifically produced for the collectors’ market with 10% of its profits was used to support relief efforts in Kosovo. They were overprinted with Prishtine, 1 prill 1999 indicating that they were to be issued in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, on April 1, 1999.

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