Albania Population: 3,011,405

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 History
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, dilapidated 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, each of Albania's post-communist elections have been marred by claims of electoral fraud. The 2009 general elections resulted in a coalition government, the first such in the country's history. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 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
Strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
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
Area: total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km

Size comparison: slightly smaller than Maryland
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: 21.63%
permanent crops: 2.57%
other: 75.79% (2011)
Irrigated land: 1,884 sq km (2006)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
International Environment Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, 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
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 People
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)
Languages: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
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
Population: 3,011,405 (July 2013 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.9% (male 316,240/female 282,958)
15-24 years: 19.6% (male 300,977/female 287,976)
25-54 years: 39.7% (male 568,330/female 626,949)
55-64 years: 10% (male 150,665/female 151,068)
65 years and over: 10.8% (male 153,818/female 172,424) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 45.7 %
youth dependency ratio: 30.1 %
elderly dependency ratio: 15.6 %
potential support ratio: 6.4 (2013)
Median age: total: 31.2 years
male: 29.9 years
female: 32.4 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.29% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 12.57 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 6.36 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -3.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: TIRANA (capital) 419,000 (2011)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 23.9 note: Median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2009 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 27 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.65 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 15.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.77 years
male: 75.16 years
female: 80.67 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.49 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 69.3% (2008/09)
Health expenditures: 6.6% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2007)
Hospital bed density: 2.8 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 94% of population
total: 95% of population

unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 6% of population
total: 5% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 94% of population

unimproved:
urban: 5% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 6% of population (2010 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 21.3% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 6.3% (2009)
Education expenditures: NA
Literacy: definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 96.8%
male: 98%
female: 95.7% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2003)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 27.2%
male: 26.2%
female: 28.3% (2009)
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 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: parliamentary 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) also known as Flag Day
Constitution: approved by parliament 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal system: civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" prevails
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President of the Republic Bujar NISHANI (since 24 July 2012)

head of government: Prime Minister Edi Rama (since 10 September 2013)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president is elected by the Assembly for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term (a candidate needs a three-fifths majority of the Assembly's 140 votes (84 votes) in one of the first three rounds of voting or a simple majority in round four or five to become president; up to five rounds of voting are held, if necessary); four election rounds held between 30 May and 11 June 2012 (next election to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the party or coalition of parties that has the majority of seats in the Assembly

election results: Bujar NISHANI elected president on fourth round of voting; Assembly vote (for first three rounds three-fifths majority, 84 votes, required; fourth round, a simple majority of votes is required): Bujar NISHANI 73 votes; note - NISHANI took office 24 July 2012
Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 deputies; 100 deputies elected directly in single member electoral zones with an approximate number of voters; 40 deputies elected from multi-name lists of parties or party coalitions according to their respective order; elected for a four-year term)

elections: last held on 23 June 2013 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party- PS 41.12%, PD 30.41%, LSI 10.44%, PR 3.04%, PDIU 2.59%, other 12.4%; seats by party- PS 66, PD 49, LSI 16, PDIU 4, PR 3, other 2
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including a chairman); Court of Cassation (consists of 14 judges, including the chief justice) judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single 9-year terms; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for single 3-year term; Court of Cassation judges, including the chairman, appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly to serve single, 9-year terms)

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Employment, Prosperity, and Integration or APMI (coalition of 25 centrist and center-right parties) [Sali BERISHA]: Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA] New Democracy Party or PDR [Genc POLLO] Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU] Alliance for a European Albania or ASHE (coalition of 37 opposition parties from far left to right wing) [Edi RAMA]: Social Democracy Party or PDS [Paskel MILO] Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI] Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META] Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA] Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE] other parties: New Democratic Spirit or FRD [Bamir TOPI]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Red and Black Alliance [Kreshnik SPAHIU] Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI] Mjaft Movement [Elton KACIDHJA] Omonia [Vasil BOLLANO] Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participation: BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (candidate country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National symbol(s): double-headed eagle
National anthem: name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU

note: adopted 1912
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Gilbert GALANXHI
chancery: 1312 18th Street NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Alexander ARVIZU
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
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 Economy
Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth averaged around 6% between 2004-08, but declined to about 3% in 2009-11, and 0.5% in 2012. 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. Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 8% of GDP in 2010, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for almost 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 - 98% of the electrical power produced in Albania - and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment needed to expand the country's export base. FDI is among the lowest in the region, but the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to upgrade 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. The country will continue to face challenges from increasing public debt, having slightly exceeded its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2012. Strong trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of the global financial crisis.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $26.54 billion (2012 est.) $26.2 billion (2011 est.) $25.44 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars Albania has an informal, and unreported, sector that may be as large as 50% of official GDP
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $12.69 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.3% (2012 est.) 3% (2011 est.) 3.5% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $8,200 (2012 est.) $8,100 (2011 est.) $7,900 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving: 15.2% of GDP (2012 est.) 13.1% of GDP (2011 est.) 14.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 88.1%
government consumption: 7.5%
investment in fixed capital: 26%
investment in inventories: 4.1%
exports of goods and services: 31.6%
imports of goods and services: -57.3% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 88.1%
government consumption: 7.5%
investment in fixed capital: 26%
investment in inventories: 4.1%
exports of goods and services: 31.6%
imports of goods and services: -57.3% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products; sheep
Industries: perfumes and cosmetic products, food and tobacco products; textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate: -1.2% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 1.088 million (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 47.8%
industry: 23%
services: 29.2% (September 2010 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13.3% (2012 est.) 13.3% (2011 est.) note: these are official rates, but actual rates may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming
Population below poverty line: 12.5% (2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.5%
highest 10%: 29% (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34.5 (2008) 26.7 (2005)
Budget: revenues: $3.054 billion
expenditures: $3.477 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 24.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 59.3% of GDP (2012 est.) 58.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (2012 est.) 3.5% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.45 billion (2012 est.) -$1.695 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $921 million (2012 est.) $962.1 million (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners: Italy 44.2%, Spain 9%, China 6.8%, Greece 4.9%, Turkey 4.7% (2012)
Imports: $4.234 billion (2012 est.) $4.461 billion (2011 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners: Italy 34.9%, Greece 11.7%, China 7.5%, Turkey 5.6%, Germany 4.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $2.473 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $5.917 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $5.938 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: leke (ALL) per US dollar - 108.19 (2012 est.) 100.9 (2011 est.) 103.94 (2010 est.) 94.98 (2009) 79.546 (2008)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 5.209 billion kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 116
Electricity - consumption: 4.521 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 1.906 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 1.005 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 1.61 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 9.9% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 90.1% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 15,520 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 6,920 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 199.1 million bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 6,377 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 38,390 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 914.5 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 24,610 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 30 million cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 30 million cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 849.5 million cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 4.893 million Mt (2010 est.)
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 338,800 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 111
Cellular Phones in use: 3.1 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, teledensity remains low with roughly 10 fixed lines per 100 people; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective

domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile-cellular phone service has been available since 1996; by 2011 multiple companies were providing mobile services and mobile teledensity had reached 100 per 100 persons; Internet broadband services initiated in 2005 but growth has been slow; 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 (2011)
Broadcast media: 3 public TV networks, one of which transmits by satellite to Albanian-language communities in neighboring countries; more than 60 private TV stations; many viewers can pick up Italian and Greek TV broadcasts via terrestrial reception; cable TV service is available; 2 public radio networks and roughly 25 private radio stations; several international broadcasters are available (2010)
Internet country code: .al
Internet hosts: 15,528 (2012)
Internet users: 1.3 million (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 4 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 183
Airports (paved runways): total 4

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
Heliports: 1 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 331 km; oil 249 km (2013)
Railways: total 339 km
standard gauge: 339 km 1.435-m gauge (2009)
Roadways: total 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Waterways: 41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 17

by type: cargo 16, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)

registered in other countries: 5 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 4) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
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 Military
Military branches: Land Forces Command, Navy Force Command, Air Forces Command (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age in case of general/partial compulsory mobilization (2012)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 731,111
females age 16-49: 780,216 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 622,379
females age 16-49: 660,715 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 31,986
female: 29,533 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.49% of GDP (2005 est.)
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 Transnational Issues
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
stateless persons: 7,443 (2012)
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 expanding 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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