source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)


   Introduction    Albania
Definition Field Listing 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.
   Geography    Albania
Definition Field Listing Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing 41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing Europe
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing total: 717 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km
Definition Field Listing 362 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Definition Field Listing mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Definition Field Listing mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing arable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing 3,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 41.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
per capita: 546 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
   People    Albania
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3,619,778 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing total: 29.5 years
male: 28.9 years
female: 30.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing 0.538% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 15.22 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5.44 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -4.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 77.78 years
male: 75.12 years
female: 80.71 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.02 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order NA
Definition Field Listing noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing 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)
Definition Field Listing 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
Definition Field Listing Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Definition Field Listing definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2004)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.9% of GDP (2002)
   Government    Albania
Country name:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing emerging democracy
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Definition Field Listing 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
Definition Field Listing adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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 [Artur ROSHI]; 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
   Economy    Albania
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $20.87 billion
note: Albania has a large gray economy that may be as large as 50% of official GDP (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $10.62 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $5,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 21.2%
industry: 20.5%
services: 58.3% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (September 2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 58%
industry: 15%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 13.2% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing 25% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 24.4% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing 26.7 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 23.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing revenues: $2.782 billion
expenditures: $3.155 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 51.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Definition Field Listing food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5.385 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3.323 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 300 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 371 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 7,006 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 29,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1,240 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 21,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 198.1 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 814.7 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -$1.202 billion (2007 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $1.076 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Italy 60.7%, Greece 9.1%, China 6.5%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.3% (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $3.999 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing Italy 33.1%, Greece 18.3%, Turkey 8.7%, Germany 5.7% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing ODA: $318.7 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $2.162 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $1.55 billion (2004)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $NA
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing leke per US dollar - 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing calendar year
   Communications    Albania
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 353,600 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.3 million (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing 65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .al
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 852 (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 471,200 (2006)
   Transportation    Albania
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 11 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing 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)
Definition Field Listing 1 (2007)
Definition Field Listing gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2007)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 43 km (2007)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 25 ships (1000 GRT or over) 52,201 GRT/78,548 DWT
by type: cargo 24, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Latvia 1, Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 2 (Panama 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
   Military    Albania
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 19 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 944,592
females age 16-49: 908,527 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 798,454
females age 16-49: 767,143 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 36,340
female: 33,077 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.49% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Albania
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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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Countries of the World - Detailed information about Albania -
Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

Since 2003, January 19