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

Background:
Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began to use the euro as currency in 2008.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.02 cu km/yr (74%/1%/25%)
per capita: 50 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
0.07 cu km (2005)

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Climate:
Mediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers

Map references:
Europe

Geographic coordinates:
35 50 N, 14 35 E

Natural resources:
limestone, salt, arable land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)

Terrain:
mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs

Geography - note:
the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

Area:
total: 316 sq km
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Location:
Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)

Coastline:
196.8 km (does not include 56.01 km for the island of Gozo)

Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
20 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm

Natural hazards:
NA

Land use:
arable land: 31.25%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 65.62% (2005)

  People Back To Top

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

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.2% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.3 years
male: 77.08 years
female: 81.64 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 92%
female: 93.6% (2003 est.)

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

Ethnic groups:
Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)

Median age:
total: 39.2 years
male: 37.9 years
female: 40.6 years (2008 est.)

Population:
403,532 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2004)

Population growth rate:
0.407% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Maltese (official) 90.2%, English (official) 6%, multilingual 3%, other 0.8% (2005 census)

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

Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.79 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.4% (male 33,954/female 32,158)
15-64 years: 69.7% (male 142,338/female 138,792)
65 years and over: 13.9% (male 24,240/female 32,050) (2008 est.)

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

Religions:
Roman Catholic 98%

Nationality:
noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Molly BORDONARO
embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, VLT 01
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta, CMR01
telephone: [356] 2561 4000
FAX: [356] 21 243229

National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1964)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Alleanza Liberal-Demokratika Maltra ro ALDM (against illegal immigration); Alleanza Nazzionali Repubblikana or ANR (encourages tourism); Alternattiva Demokratika (campaign to reform rent law, and other campaigns); Azzjoni Nazzjonali or AN (freedom to participate in democratic government); Ghazdatal-Konsumaturi (consumer rights); Nazi Watch Malta (exposing Nazis)
other: environmentalists

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mark MICELI-FARRUGIA
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611, 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
consulate(s): New York

International organization participation:
Australia Group, C, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral House of Representatives (usually 65 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms; note - additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority)
elections: last held on 8 March 2008 (next to be held by March 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - PN 49.3%, MLP 48.9%, other 1.8%; seats by party - PN 35, MLP 34

Legal system:
based on English common law and Roman civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Flag description:
two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red

Independence:
21 September 1964 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
local short form: Malta

Political parties and leaders:
Alternativa Demokratika/Alliance for Social Justice or AD [Harry VASSALLO]; Malta Labor Party or MLP [Dr. Joseph MUSCAT]; Nationalist Party or PN [Lawrence GONZI]

Capital:
name: Valletta
geographic coordinates: 35 53 N, 14 30 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:
1964 constitution; amended many times

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Edward FENECH ADAMI (since 4 April 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 23 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 March 2004 (next to be held by April 2009); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term; the deputy prime minister is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: Eddie FENECH ADAMI elected president; House of Representatives vote - 33 out of 65 votes

Administrative divisions:
none (administered directly from Valletta); note - local councils carry out administrative orders

Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Singapore 14.4%, Germany 13.7%, France 12.6%, US 11.3%, UK 10%, Hong Kong 6.1%, Japan 4.9%, Italy 4% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
1.85 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
NA

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$538 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$188.8 million (2005)

Unemployment rate:
6.4% (2007)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$24,200 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
20% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$10 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$9.801 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$8.584 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
26 (2007)

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6494 (2008 est.), 0.6795 (January 2008), Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.3106 (2007), 0.37 (2006), 0.34578 (2005), 0.34466 (2004), 0.37723 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$4.639 billion
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the Euro Area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 15 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders (31 December 2008)

Labor force:
170,000 (2007)

Imports - partners:
Italy 26%, UK 15%, France 9.5%, Germany 8.8%, Singapore 5.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.4% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.7%
industry: 22.3%
services: 74.9% (2003 est.)

Oil - imports:
18,910 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$3.491 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

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

Currency (code):
euro (EUR) as of 1 January 2008; Maltese lira (MTL) before then

Economy - overview:
Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has few domestic energy sources. Malta's geographic position beween the EU and Africa makes it a target for illegal immigration, which can strain Malta's political and economic resources. The financial services industry has grown in recent years, but is not fully modernized. Malta's economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing - especially electronics and pharmaceuticals - and tourism all of which have been negatively affected by global economic downturn. Malta adopted the euro on 1 January 2008. The Maltese government in 2009 will be challenged to contain public spending, which ballooned in 2008 to about 4.1% of GDP placing it above the euro zone's 3% general deficit maximum.

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

Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, tobacco

Industries:
tourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.24% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$8.771 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

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

Imports:
$4.963 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

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

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2%
industry: 29.6%
services: 68% (2005 est.)

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

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$4.15 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
18,680 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$5.633 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:
MTL

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures

Economic aid - recipient:
$6.19 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

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

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

Budget:
revenues: $3.457 billion
expenditures: $3.653 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
158,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
198,100 (2007)

Televisions:
280,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.mt

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)

Radios:
255,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
371,500 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
5 (2006)

Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic system satisfies normal requirements; fixed-line teledensity 50 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity about 90 per 100 persons
domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
international: country code - 356; submarine cable connects to Italy; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2002)

Internet hosts:
26,494 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Marsaxlokk (Malta Freeport), Valletta

Merchant marine:
total: 1,438
by type: bulk carrier 459, cargo 411, carrier 2, chemical tanker 171, container 80, liquefied gas 25, passenger 29, passenger/cargo 15, petroleum tanker 159, refrigerated cargo 32, roll on/roll off 37, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 17
foreign-owned: 1,343 (Austria 1, Azerbaijan 2, Bangladesh 2, Belgium 15, Bulgaria 5, Canada 1, China 12, Croatia 9, Cyprus 31, Denmark 30, Egypt 1, Estonia 11, France 5, Germany 91, Greece 452, Hong Kong 1, Iceland 5, India 2, Iran 79, Israel 18, Italy 50, Japan 8, South Korea 2, Latvia 19, Lebanon 11, Libya 3, Lithuania 1, Norway 93, Pakistan 2, Poland 24, Portugal 3, Romania 8, Russia 58, Slovenia 4, Spain 3, Sweden 2, Switzerland 20, Syria 6, Turkey 176, Ukraine 30, UAE 5, UK 19, US 23)
registered in other countries: 3 (Panama 3) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 2,227 km
paved: 2,014 km
unpaved: 213 km (2005)

Airports:
1 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
17 years 6 months of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 96,309
females age 16-49: 92,242 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 80,227
females age 16-49: 76,623 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 2,815
female: 2,657 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.7% of GDP (2006 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
none

Illicit drugs:
minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

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Quiz #2
  1. What famous canal was built at the narrowest point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans?
  Atlantic-Pacific Canal
  Transcontinental Canal
  Panama Canal
  Erie Canal
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