Moldova Facts

An Overview of the Country

Dr . Antoine Saliba Haig | 06 Dec 2018

Moldova facts

Moldova has launched the third citizenship by investment programme in Europe after Malta & Cyprus. Although not part of the European Union, Moldova has entered into an association agreement with the EU and Moldovan nationals enjoy visa free access to the European Schengen Area. 


Lifestyle

Landlocked between Ukraine and Romania stands the timeless Eastern European Republic of Moldova. Rural pastures spilling over the horizon, distinguishable architecture, refined wineries, gold-domed cathedrals and painted monasteries evoke ample fascination from any setting foot in the country. The charming unperturbed way of life easily gives the sense of stepping into another era. Towns and monasteries date back to centuries past. The medieval town of Orheiul Vechi is an archaeological complex of distinguished natural beauty that spans back to the 14th century . The remarkable Tipova Cave Monastery can be found built in the cliffs towering above the Dniestr River's west bank, with the oldest of its chambers estimated to date to the 11th century.  Nevertheless, despite its sheltered nature, the country has not shied away from keeping up with modern technology and latest advancements. Most notably fibre is the reigning technology for fixed broadband connections in Moldova- indeed, the country ranks 3rd globally in terms of gigabit coverage. 
Life for Moldovans is largely characterised by the agrarian spirit. The prosperous and internationally renowned winemaking industry alone employs around 25% of the country’s population. Moldova has 112,000 hectares (276,758 acres) of vineyard planted with over 30 types of technical varieties. The Mileștii Mici wine cellar in Moldova is recognised as the world’s largest, spanning over 200 km and storing around 2 million bottles of wine. 
A huge portion of the country’s population are ethnic Moldovans. Two-thirds of Moldovans alone are of Romanian descent, and while Moldovan is the country’s official language, there are minimal differences between it and the Romanian language. Russian is also widely spoken by locals. Moldovan culture has within it an array of Slavic, Latin and Russian facets, as can be reflected in the daily local life such as typical cuisine. Much of Moldovan life also revolves around tight-knit communities- nonetheless, the locals are friendly, open, and hospitable. 


Economy

The government initiated a gradual transformative process by moving away from heavy state involvement in the economy, to a market economy, following the country’s independence in 1992. In these privatisation efforts, many businesses modernised their equipment, organisation, management, raw material supply and trade channels. 
Despite facing economic struggles over time, the country has made notable progress in recent years. The Association Agreement with the EU which came into force in July 2016 marked a significant leap in the country’s efforts to expand its market access. In 2016, a $179 million three-year IMF programme was also approved, concerning the improvement of the banking and fiscal environments along with additional assistance schemes from the EU, the World Bank, and Romania. Economic growth surpassed expectations in 2017 with a 4.5% real growth rate stimulated by increased consumption, revenue growth from agricultural exports, and refined tax collection.
Agriculture is one of the most crucial economic sectors in Moldova- making up around 14.2% of GDP-  particularly because of the country’s favourable resources for high-yielding agricultural production. Because of its geographic location, Moldova enjoys a superb moderate climate which allows for the early growing of crops, giving the country a competitive advantage. This, along with the black fertile soil and affordable workforce, makes for ideal conditions for the production of fruit, vegetables, wine, wheat and tobacco. Moldova’s agriculture and the food and drinks industry are in fact greatly export-oriented, generating a significant amount of the country’s total export. The bulk of Moldova’s exports are indeed comprised of foodstuffs, wine, and tobacco.
The second largest economic sector in the country is industry, which represents approximately 21% of the GDP. The sector is based largely around manufacturing, mining and quarrying.  
Despite the prominence of agriculture and industrial production, Moldova has been increasingly turning towards the services industry. Services make up an estimated 55.7% of the country’s GDP, led mostly by insurances, legal consultancy and telecommunications.  Tourism has steadily grown since the 1990s, particularly amongst interest in the local culture and the country’s unspoiled beauty. 


Real estate

The real estate market in Moldova is one which is seeing persistent improvements every day, having reportedly experienced a 10% growth in 2017.  The market is evidently stabilising and maturing, seeing a rise in transactions and drops in prices. Real estate transactions of over 140 square meters have increased by 7%. 
The market offers particularly excellent conditions in the Industrial Parks and in the Free Economic Zones with fiscal and administrative incentives. In 2017, a 40% growth of sale and purchase transactions were registered in Vulcănești, Străşeni, Făleşti and Cantemir. In the Capital of Chișinău, there was a 17% increase in transactions, and 10% in the suburbs. Registration of landing properties involves a smooth and easy process, as does the buying, selling, and inheriting of properties in Moldova. There is also plenty of ground for inducing foreign investment in the Moldovan real estate market. Mainly when it comes to offices, shopping, and logistics centres, profitability is high, and the payback period is significantly lower than in Central and Eastern Europe. 


Health

The availability and quality of healthcare offered in Moldova has remarkably improved since the mid-1990s following major reform. As healthcare standards have yet to catch up with advanced Western ones, a fully comprehensive health insurance policy which provides for coverage outside of Moldova is preferred for foreign residents or new dual citizens in Moldova. There are around 18 hospitals across the country and five clinics for outpatient treatment in the capital of Chisinau, with a moderate standard of medical care. The largest national emergency aid service is in fact concentrated in Chisinau. 


Education 

The education system in Moldova comprises preschool, primary, secondary, and higher education. Most schools have adopted Moldovan as the language of instruction, however other schools cater to minorities by teaching in Russian, Gagauzian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian. Though the system faces challenges with regards to limited resources, major needs, and limited experience, the government has committed itself to reforming and refining the system in terms of quality, equity, and efficiency. 
There exist numerous private schooling alternatives to state education- currently out of the 3 institutions catering for higher learning, 16 of them are public and 15 of them are privately owned. Around 90 majors or specialties are offered in the nation’s colleges and universities. Social sciences, economics, and law are among the most popular areas of study with Moldovan students, with half of the student population pursuing an education in one of the areas. Other areas of interest include architecture, engineering and education. 
Security
The country is relatively safe, with most foreigners experiencing no difficulties except for risks such as those of petty theft and ATM fraud. The Numbeo Index ranks the country as having an overall moderate level of crime, and very high safety standards during the day. The homicide rate has also been consistently decreasing over the years, currently reaching a minimum of 3.2 per 100,000.  The country also scores as ‘partly free’ in the 2017 Freedom House Index, based on political rights and civil liberties
 


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