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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 high government officials, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged parliamentary elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies. Some of these were addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code prior to the nationwide municipal elections in 2003.
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
water: 1,350 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 151 km, Serbia and Montenegro 287 km
362 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
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) 2,753 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21.09%
permanent crops: 4.45%
other: 74.46% (1998 est.)
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
3,544,808 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 489,363; female 446,586)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 1,184,670; female 1,130,065)
65 years and over: 8.3% (male 135,177; female 158,947) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.2 years
male: 27.6 years
female: 28.7 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.51% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
15.08 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
5.02 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-4.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 22.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 23.01 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.06 years
male: 74.37 years
female: 80.02 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.05 children born/woman (2004 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, and Macedonian or 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 - Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
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 short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
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)
a constitution was 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 Fatos NANO (since 31 July 2002)
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 NA 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 24 June 2001 with subsequent rounds on 8 July, 22 July, 29 July, 19 August 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 41.5%, PD and coalition allies 36.8%, NDP 5.2%, PSD 3.6%, PBDNJ 2.6%, PASH (now PAA) 2.6%, PAD 2.5%; seats by party - PS 73, PD and coalition allies 46, NDP 6, PSD 4, PBDNJ 3, PASH (now PAA) 3, PAD 3, independents 2
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:
Environmentalist Agrarian 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 Alliance Party II or PAD II [Arben IMAMI]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIU]; Liberal Democratic Union Party or PBLD [Teodor LACO]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Shpetim RROQI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQIRI]; Reformed 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 Party or PS (formerly the Albanian Party of Labor) [Fatos NANO]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]
note: the New (of Reformed) Democratic Party split into two groups - one led by Genc POLLO, the other by Dashamir SHEHI
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 Dr. Fatos TARIFA
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. JEFFREY
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) 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 remittances from abroad of $400-$600 million annually, mostly from Greece and Italy; this helps offset the sizable trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for one-half of GDP, is held back because of frequent drought and the need to modernize equipment and consolidate small plots of land. Severe energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The government plans to boost energy imports to relieve the shortages and is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
purchasing power parity - $16.13 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,500 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 49%
industry: 27%
services: 24% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.3% (2003)
Labor force:
1.35 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 57%, non-agricultural private sector 20%, public sector 23% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
15.8% officially; may be as high as 30% (2003 est.)
revenues: $1.65 billion
expenditures: $2 billion, including capital expenditures of $406 million (2004 est.)
food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:
2.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
5.289 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5.898 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
221 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
1.2 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
5,952 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
22,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
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)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
$425 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners:
Italy 71.5%, Greece 12.7%, Germany 5.5% (2002)
$1.76 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Italy 34.6%, Greece 21.7%, Turkey 6.1%, Germany 5.6% (2002)
Debt - external:
$1.41 billion (2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA: $315 million (top donors were Italy, EU, Germany) (2000 est.)
lek (ALL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
leke per US dollar - 121.86 (2003), 140.16 (2002), 143.49 (2001), 143.71 (2000), 137.69 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Albania
Telephones - main lines in use:
240,000 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
851,000 (2002)
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:
172 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2001)
Internet users:
17,000 (2003)
Transportation Albania
total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2003)
total: 18,000 km
paved: 5,400 km
unpaved: 12,600 km (2000)
43 km
note: includes Albanian sections of Lake Scutari, Lake Ohrid, and Lake Prespa (1990)
gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Merchant marine:
total: 22 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 40,878 GRT/62,676 DWT
by type: bulk 1, cargo 19, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: Denmark 1, Honduras 1, Netherlands 1
registered in other countries: 7 (2003 est.)
11 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2003 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1 (2003 est.)
Military Albania
Military branches:
General Staff Headquarters, Land Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Forces Command, Doctrine and Exercises Command, Logistics Support Command
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 956,107 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 775,422 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 36,584 (2004 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
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 rapidly expanding in Europe; vulnerable to money laundering associated with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband, and illegal aliens