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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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, however, there have been claims of electoral fraud in every one of Albania's post-communist elections. 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. Albania was invited to join NATO in April 2008 and is a potential candidate for EU accession. 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.

  Geography Back To Top

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

Total renewable water resources:
41.7 cu km (2001)

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

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

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

Map references:
Europe

Geographic coordinates:
41 00 N, 20 00 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

Terrain:
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast

Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

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

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

Coastline:
362 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland

Irrigated land:
3,530 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents

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

Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Land use:
arable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)

  People Back To Top

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

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

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

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

Literacy:
definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
-4.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

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

Population:
3,619,778 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
2.9% of GDP (2002)

Population growth rate:
0.538% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects

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

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2004)

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.)

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

Religions:
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

Nationality:
noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. John L. WITHERS, II
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 2247285
FAX: [355] (4) 2232222

National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1912)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
emerging democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Citizens Advocacy Office [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kastriot MUCO]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement; Omonia [Jani JANI]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aleksander SALLABANDA
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342

International organization participation:
BSEC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

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
note: Parliament in November 2008 approved an electoral reform package - which is awaiting presidential approval - that will transform the electoral system from a majority system to a regional proportional system; the code will also establish an electoral threshold limiting smaller party representation

Legal system:
has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens

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

Independence:
28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian Environmentalist Party or PAA [Lufter XHUVELI]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nard NDOKA]; Communist Party of Albania or PKSH [Hysni MILLOSHI]; Democratic Alliance Party or AD [Neritan CEKA]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; G99 Political Movement [Erion VELIAJ]; Liberal Union Party or BLD [Arjan STAROVA]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Artur ROSHI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party of Albania or PDSSh [Paskal MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]; Socialist Party 1991 [Petro KOCI]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNj [Vangjel DULE]

Capital:
name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Constitution:
approved by parliament on 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)
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 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; Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes

Administrative divisions:
12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Italy 72%, Greece 8.8%, China 2.7% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
3.607 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
6.25% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
2.8 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1.639 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$1.55 billion (2004)

Unemployment rate:
12.5% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
748.9 bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
22.8% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$7.341 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$23.07 billion
note: Albania has a large gray economy that may be as large as 50% of official GDP (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.52 billion (2008 est.)

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

Exchange rates:
leke (ALL) per US dollar - 79.546 (2008 est.), 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.707 billion (31 December 2007)

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

Imports - partners:
Italy 27.6%, Greece 14.8%, Turkey 7.4%, China 6.8%, Germany 5.6%, Switzerland 5%, Russia 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 20.6%
industry: 19.9%
services: 59.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
24,860 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Exports:
$1.416 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
30 million cu m (2006 est.)

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

Economy - overview:
Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth has averaged around 5% over the last five years and inflation is low and stable. 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 representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to improve transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
14.1% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$6.433 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
2.892 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Imports:
$4.844 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
199.1 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

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

Natural gas - proved reserves:
849.5 million cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$2.479 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
30,900 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
51.2% of GDP (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Currency code:
ALL

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

Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco

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

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

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
30 million cu m (2006 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $3.771 billion
expenditures: $4.538 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
6,425 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
471,200 (2006)

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

Televisions:
700,000 (2001)

Internet country code:
.al

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

Radios:
1 million (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.3 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (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 75 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)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2001)

Internet hosts:
10,162 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Waterways:
43 km (2008)

Pipelines:
gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2007)

Railways:
total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore

Heliports:
1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 24
by type: cargo 22, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2008)

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

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

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2007)

Airports:
11 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
19 years of age (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 944,592
females age 16-49: 908,527 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 798,454
females age 16-49: 767,143 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Land Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Defense Command, General Staff Headquarters (includes Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command) (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 36,340
female: 33,077 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.49% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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; the mass emigration of unemployed Albanians remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Albania is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor; it is no longer considered a major country of transit; Albanian victims are trafficked to Greece, Italy, Macedonia, and Kosovo, with many trafficked onward to Western European countries; children were also trafficked to Greece for begging and other forms of child labor; approximately half of all Albanian trafficking victims are under age 18; internal sex trafficking of women and children is on the rise
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Albania is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons in 2007, particularly in the area of victim protection; the government did not appropriately identify trafficking victims during 2007, and has not demonstrated that it is vigorously investigating or prosecuting complicit officials (2008)

Illicit drugs:
increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a 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

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