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General Information/Facts and Figures
Brief information about Albanian governance, economy, transportation, geography, etc.


Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy.

The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain.

International observers 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. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward.

Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation 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. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.


Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north.

Geographic coordinates:41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references: Europe

28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km

Land boundaries:
total: 717 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km
Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate: mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter

Terrain: 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: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)
Irrigated land: 3,530 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources: 41.7 cu km (2001)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
per capita: 546 cu m/yr (2000)

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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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)


Population: 3,619,778 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.6% (male 447,126/female 406,757)
15-64 years: 66.9% (male 1,239,819/female 1,180,720)
65 years and over: 9.5% (male 160,241/female 185,115) (2008 est.)

Median age:
total: 29.5 years
male: 28.9 years
female: 30.2 years (2008 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.538% (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
15.22 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Death rate:
5.44 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Net migration rate:
-4.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 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: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 19.31 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 18.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.78 years
male: 75.12 years
female: 80.71 years (2008 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.02 children born/woman (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA

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: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqipërisë
local short form: Shqipëria
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
Government type: emerging democracy

Capital:name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: GMT+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore

Independence: 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
Constitution: adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 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
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Bujar Nishani 2012
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 (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; People's Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes

Legislative branch:
unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; 100 members are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 July 2005 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 56, PS 42, PR 11, PSD 7, LSI 5, other 19

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

Flag description: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center


Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit.

Agriculture, which accounts for more than one-fifth of GDP, is held back because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment, which make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment.

The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission line between Albania and Montenegro 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, macroeconomic growth was strong in 2003-07 and inflation is low and stable.

GDP (purchasing power parity):$19.76 billion
note: Albania has a large gray economy that may be as large as 50% of official GDP (2007 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate): $11.2 billion (2007 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 20.3%
services: 58% (2007 est.)

Labor force: 1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (September 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 58%
industry: 15%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)

Unemployment rate: 13% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line: 25% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 24.4% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
26.7 (2005)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2007 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
23.4% of GDP (2007 est.)

revenues: $2.752 billion
expenditures: $3.129 billion (2007 est.)

Public debt: 53.7% of GDP (2007 est.)

Agriculture products: wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products

Industries: food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 5.385 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption: 3.323 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - exports: 300 million kWh (2005)

Electricity - imports: 371 million kWh (2005)

Oil - production: 7,006 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:
29,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - exports: 1,240 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - imports: 21,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - proved reserves: 198.1 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production: 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 814.7 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Current account balance: -$918 million (2007 est.)

Exports: $962 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco

Exports - partners: Italy 67.7%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.8%, Greece 5.4% (2006)
Imports: $3.42 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals

Imports - partners: Italy 32%, Greece 17.7%, Turkey 8.1%, Germany 5.7% (2006)

Economic aid - recipient:
ODA: $318.7 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2005 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.084 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Debt - external: $1.55 billion (2004)

Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA

Currency (code): lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use: 353,600 (2005)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.53 million (2005)

Telephone system

general assessment:
despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains low with roughly 10 lines per 100 people; cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective; combined fixed line and mobile telephone density is approximately 60 telephones per 100 persons
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 neighbors; Internet broadband services initiated in 2005; internet cafes are popular in Tirana and have started to spread outside the capital
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fiber-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2007)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)

Radios: 1 million (2001)

Television broadcast stations: 65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)

Televisions: 700,000 (2001)

Internet country code: .al

Internet hosts: 852 (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 10 (2001)
Internet users: 471,200 (2006)


Airports: 11 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2007)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2007)

Heliports: 1 (2007)

Pipelines: gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2007)
447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)

43 km (2007)

Merchant marine:
24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 56,550 GRT/85,521 DWT
by type: cargo 23, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 3 (Georgia 2, Panama 1) (2007)

Ports and terminals: Durrës, Sarandë, Shëngjin, Vlorë


Military branches: Land Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Defense Command, General Staff Headquarters (includes Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 19 years of age (2004)

Source: CIA Factbook


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