Facts about Albania

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Albania - Bektashi TekeBetween 1990 and 1992 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 of Albania

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro
41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:
total: 28,748 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 151 km, Serbia and Montenegro 287 km
362 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,753 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

More Geography

Population of Albania

2,986,952 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.1% (male 440,528/female 400,816)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 1,251,001/female 1,190,841)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 165,557/female 190,710)
Median age:
total: 29.2 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 29.8 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
total: 20.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.54 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.6 years
male: 74.95 years
female: 80.53 years
Total fertility rate:
2.03 children born/woman
noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groups:
Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, and Macedonian or Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
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
Albanian (official - Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3%


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
Government type:
emerging democracy
Administrative divisions:
12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Qarku i Beratit, Qarku i Dibres, Qarku i Durresit, Qarku i Elbasanit, Qarku i Fierit, Qarku i Gjirokastres, Qarku i Korces, Qarku i Kukesit, Qarku i Lezhes, Qarku i Shkodres, Qarku i Tiranes, Qarku i Vlores
28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
a constitution was adopted by popular referendum on 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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA
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); prime minister appointed by the president
Legislative branch:
unicameral People's Assembly or Kuvendi Popullor (140 seats; 100 are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote for four-year terms)
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


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 reduce the large gray economy. 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 about one-quarter 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 planned construction of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission and distribution facilities eventually 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, growth was strong in 2003-06 and inflation is low and stable.

$20.87 billion
GDP growth rate:
7% (2003 est.), 5.5% (2005 est.), 6% (2007 est.)
GDP per capita:
$4,500 (2003 est.), $4,900 (2005 est.), $5,800 (2007 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 21.2%
industry: 20.5%
services: 58.3% (2007 est.)
Inflation rate:
3.3% (2003), 2.4% (2005 est.), 2.5% (2006), 2.9% (2007 est.)
Labor force:
1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 58%
industry: 15%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)
13.8% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (2006 est.)
revenues: $2.608 billion
expenditures: $3.1 billion; including capital expenditures of $710 million (2007 est.)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
other: 0% 
food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Export partners:
Italy 60.7%, Greece 9.1%, China 6.5%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.3% (2007)
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Import partners:
Italy 33.1%, Greece 18.3%, Turkey 8.7%, Germany 5.7% (2007)
lek (ALL)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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