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Flag of Albania
Map of Albania
Introduction Albania
Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks with links to government officials, and disruptive political opponents. Albania has made incremental progress in its democratic development since first holding multiiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain - particularly in regard to the rule of law. Despite some lingering problems, international observers have judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy, large public debt, and an inadequate energy and tranportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU.
Geography Albania
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro
Geographic coordinates:
41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:
total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Serbia and Montenegro 287 km
362 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21.09%
permanent crops: 4.42%
other: 74.49% (2001)
Irrigated land:
3,400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
People Albania
3,563,112 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.6% (male 476,989/female 434,298)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 1,199,964/female 1,144,886)
65 years and over: 8.6% (male 141,559/female 165,416) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.52 years
male: 27.95 years
female: 29.1 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.52% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
15.08 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
5.12 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 21.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.96 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.24 years
male: 74.6 years
female: 80.15 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.04 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groups:
Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice
Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 86.5%
male: 93.3%
female: 79.5% (2003 est.)
Government Albania
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Government type:
emerging democracy
Administrative divisions:
12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Qarku i Beratit, Qarku i Dibres, Qarku i Durresit, Qarku i Elbasanit, Qarku i Fierit, Qarku i Gjirokastres, Qarku i Korces, Qarku i Kukesit, Qarku i Lezhes, Qarku i Shkodres, Qarku i Tiranes, Qarku i Vlores
28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998
Legal system:
has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Alfred MOISIU (since 24 July 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 24 June 2002 (next to be held June 2007); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Alfred MOISIU elected president; People's Assembly vote by number - total votes 116, for 97, against 19
Legislative branch:
unicameral People's Assembly or Kuvendi Popullor (140 seats; 100 are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote for four-year terms)
elections: last held 4 July 2005 (next to be held July 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PD 55, PS 40, PR 11, PSD 7, LSI 5, other 22
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court, Supreme Court (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term), and multiple appeals and district courts
Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian Environmentalist Party or PAA [Lufter XHUVELI]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nikolle LESI]; Communist Party of Albania or PKSH [Hysni MILLOSHI]; Democratic Alliance Party or PAD [Neritan CEKA]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIU]; Liberal Union Party or PBL [Arjan STAROVA]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Adriatik ALIMADHI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQIRI]; Renewed Democratic Party or PDR [Dashamir SHEHI]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party or PDS [Paskal MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS (formerly the Albanian Party of Labor) [Fatos NANO]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kastriot MUCO]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Omonia [Jani JANI]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Agim NESHO
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marcie B. RIES
embassy: Rruga Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address: U. S. Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 247285
FAX: [355] (4) 374957 and [355] (4) 232222
Flag description:
red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
Economy Albania
Economy - overview:
Poor and backward by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime and to spur economic activity and trade. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for about one-half of GDP, is held back because of frequent drought and the need to modernize equipment, to clarify property rights, and to consolidate small plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The planned construction of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission and distribution facilities will help relieve the energy shortages. Also, the government is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. On the positive side: growth was strong in 2003 and 2004, the nation has important oil and gas reserves, and inflation is not a problem.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$17.46 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.6% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,900 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 46.2%
industry: 25.4%
services: 28.4% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 57%, non-agricultural private sector 20%, public sector 23% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
14.8% officially; may be as high as 30% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
25% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.2% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
18.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
revenues: $2.05 billion
expenditures: $2.46 billion, including capital expenditures of $500 million (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:
3.1% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.68 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
6.76 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
100 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
1.08 billion kWh (2004 est.)
Oil - production:
2,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
7,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
5,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
185.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
30 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
30 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.316 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
$-504 million (2004 est.)
$552.4 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners:
Italy 71.7%, Canada 4.3%, Germany 4.3% (2004)
$2.076 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Italy 34.8%, Greece 19.8%, Turkey 7.7%, Germany 5.3% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.206 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$1.41 billion (2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA: $315 million (top donors were Italy, EU, Germany) (2000 est.)
Currency (code):
lek (ALL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
leke per US dollar - 102.649 (2004), 121.863 (2003), 140.155 (2002), 143.485 (2001), 143.709 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Albania
Telephones - main lines in use:
255,000 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.1 million (2003)
Telephone system:
general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains the lowest in Europe with roughly 8 lines per 100 people; however, cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile phone service has been available since 1996; by 2003 two companies were providing mobile services at a greater density than some of Albania's Balkan neighbors
international: country code - 355; inadequate fixed main lines; adequate cellular connections; international traffic carried by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2003)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 13, FM 4, shortwave 2 (2001)
1 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus 58 repeaters) (2001)
700,000 (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
455 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2001)
Internet users:
30,000 (2003)
Transportation Albania
total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)
total: 18,000 km
paved: 5,400 km
unpaved: 12,600 km (2002)
43 km (2004)
gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Merchant marine:
total: 25 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 40,878 GRT/62,676 DWT
by type: cargo 24, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Denmark 1, Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (2005)
11 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (2004 est.)
1 (2004 est.)
Military Albania
Military branches:
General Staff Headquarters, Land Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Defense Command, Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command
Military service age and obligation:
19 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 19-49: 809,524 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 19-49: 668,526 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 37,407 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$56.5 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.49% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Albania
Disputes - international:
the Albanian Government calls for the protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians in neighboring countries, and the peaceful resolution of interethnic disputes; some ethnic Albanian groups in neighboring countries advocate for a "greater Albania," but the idea has little appeal among Albanian nationals; thousands of unemployed Albanians emigrate annually to nearby Italy and other developed countries
Illicit drugs:
increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a far lesser extent - cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and growing cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active and expanding in Europe; vulnerable to money laundering associated with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband, and illegal aliens

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005