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  The World Factbook.  2008.
 
Albania
 
Flag of Albania                                Map of Albania
 
Background:Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partizans 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.
  
Geography
  
Location:Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Serbia to the north
Geographic coordinates:41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:Europe
Area: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, Montenegro 172 km, Serbia 115 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)
  
People
  
Population:3,600,523 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 24.1% (male 454,622/female 413,698)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 1,228,497/female 1,170,489)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 154,352/female 178,865) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 29.2 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 29.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:0.529% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:15.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:5.33 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-4.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.099 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.863 male(s)/female
total population: 1.042 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 20.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 77.6 years
male: 74.95 years
female: 80.53 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:2.03 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS—adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS—people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS—deaths:NA
Nationality: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)
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
Languages:Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Literacy:definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
  
Government
  
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
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
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 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 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
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]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIA]; Liberal Union Party or BLD [Arjan STAROVA]; Movement for National Development or LZhK [Dashamir SHEHI]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Adriatik ALIMADHI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQIRI]; 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]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNj [Vangjel DULE]
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]
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
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
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) 247285
FAX: [355] (4) 232222
Flag description:red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
  
Economy
  
Economy—overview: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.)
Budget:revenues: $2.752 billion
expenditures: $3.129 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:53.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Industries:food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:2% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:5.385 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—consumption:3.323 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity—exports:300 million kWh (2005)
Electricity—imports:371 million kWh (2005)
Oil—production:7,006 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:29,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:1,240 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—imports:21,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—proved reserves:198.1 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:814.7 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$-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)
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
Economic aid—recipient:ODA: $318.7 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2005 est.)
Currency (code):lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke
Exchange rates:leke per US dollar - 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
  
Communications
  
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; however, 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 Balkan 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)
Television broadcast stations:65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)
Internet country code:.al
Internet hosts:852 (2007)
Internet users:471,200 (2006)
  
Transportation
  
Airports:11 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2007)
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)
Heliports:1 (2007)
Pipelines:gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2007)
Railways:total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Waterways:43 km (2007)
Merchant marine:total: 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:Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
  
Military
  
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)
Manpower available for military service:males age 19-49: 809,524
females age 19-49: 784,199 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 19-49: 668,526
females age 19-49: 648,334 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 37,407
females age 19-49: 34,587 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:1.49% (2005 est.)
  
Transnational Issues
  
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
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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