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Europe :: Albania
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Albania
  • Introduction :: ALBANIA

  • Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939, and occupied by Germany in 1943. 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, most of Albania's post-communist elections have been marred by claims of electoral fraud. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and in June 2014 became a candidate for EU accession. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, it has slowed, and the country is still one of the poorest in Europe. A large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.
  • Geography :: ALBANIA

  • Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
    41 00 N, 20 00 E
    Europe
    total: 28,748 sq km
    land: 27,398 sq km
    water: 1,350 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 145
    slightly smaller than Maryland
    total: 691 km
    border countries (4): Greece 212 km, Kosovo 112 km, Macedonia 181 km, Montenegro 186 km
    362 km
    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
    mean elevation: 708 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
    highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
    petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land
    agricultural land: 43.8%
    arable land 22.7%; permanent crops 2.7%; permanent pasture 18.4%
    forest: 28.3%
    other: 27.9% (2011 est.)
    3,310 sq km (2012)
    41.7 cu km (2011)
    total: 1.31 cu km/yr (43%/18%/39%)
    per capita: 413.6 cu m/yr (2006)
    destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
    deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
    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
    strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
  • People and Society :: ALBANIA

  • noun: Albanian(s)
    adjective: Albanian
    Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.)
    Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Roma, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)
    Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2%
    note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice (2011 est.)
    3,029,278 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0-14 years: 18.78% (male 300,661/female 268,369)
    15-24 years: 18.67% (male 291,479/female 274,019)
    25-54 years: 40.39% (male 582,207/female 641,361)
    55-64 years: 10.85% (male 163,003/female 165,805)
    65 years and over: 11.3% (male 160,913/female 181,461) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 44.8%
    youth dependency ratio: 26.9%
    elderly dependency ratio: 18%
    potential support ratio: 5.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 32 years
    male: 30.8 years
    female: 33.3 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    0.3% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    12.92 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    6.58 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    -3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    urban population: 57.4% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 2.21% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    TIRANA (capital) 454,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    23.4 (2010 est.)
    29 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    total: 12.75 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.19 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    total population: 78.13 years
    male: 75.49 years
    female: 81.04 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    1.5 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 196
    69.3% (2008/09)
    5.9% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
    2.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 84.3% of population
    rural: 81.8% of population
    total: 83.6% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 15.7% of population
    rural: 18.2% of population
    total: 16.4% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 95.5% of population
    rural: 90.2% of population
    total: 93.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 4.5% of population
    rural: 9.8% of population
    total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
    0.04% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    NA
    NA
    18.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    6.3% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    3.3% of GDP (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 97.6%
    male: 98.4%
    female: 96.9% (2015 est.)
    total number: 72,818
    percentage: 12% (2005 est.)
    total: 30.2%
    male: 32.5%
    female: 26.1% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
  • Government :: ALBANIA

  • 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
    etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the eagles"
    parliamentary republic
    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
    12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
    28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
    Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day
    several previous; latest approved by parliament 21 October 1998, adopted by popular referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998; amended several times, last in 2015 (2016)
    civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" prevails
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President of the Republic Bujar NISHANI (since 24 July 2012)
    head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Niko PELESHI
    cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by the Assembly
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); a candidate needs three-fifths majority vote of the Assembly in one of three rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds 30 May-11 June 2012 (next election to be held in 2017); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly
    election results: Bujar NISHANI elected president; Assembly vote - 73 on fourth round
    description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 23 June 2013 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PS 41.36%, PD 30.63%, LSI 10.46%, PR 3.02%, PDIU 2.61%, other 11.92%; seats by party - PS 65, PD 50, LSI 16, PDIU 4, PR 3, other 2; seats by parliamentary group as of April 2015 - ASHE 88, APMI 50, 2 - outside of the majority and opposition groups
    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 with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years; chairman elected by the People's Assembly for a 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
    Alliance for Employment, Welfare, and Integration or APMI (coalition of 24 centrist and center-right parties) [Sali BERISHA]:
    Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nard NDOKA]
    Democratic Party or PD [Lulzim BASHA]
    Movement for National Development of LZHK [Dashamir SHEHI]
    Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]
    Alliance for a European Albania or ASHE (coalition of 38 parties from far left to right wing) [Edi RAMA]:
    Christian Democratic Party of PKD [Mark FRROKU]
    Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (formerly part of APMI)
    Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]
    Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]
    Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]
    other parties:
    New Democratic Spirit or FRD [Bamir TOPI]
    note: only the major parties of each coalition are listed
    Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kol NIKOLLAJ]
    Omonia [Vasil BOLLANO]
    Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
    BSEC, CD, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, EITI (compliant country), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, 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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Floreta FABER (since 18 May 2015)
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Donald LU (since 13 January 2015)
    embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, 103, Tirana
    mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
    telephone: [355] (4) 2247-285
    FAX: [355] (4) 2232-222
    red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Kastrioti SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Ottoman Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shqiptare," which translates as "sons of the eagle"
    double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black
    name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
    lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU
    note: adopted 1912
  • Economy :: ALBANIA

  • Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis but, more recently, the negative effects of the crisis have caused a significant economic slowdown. Close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of debt crises and weak growth in the euro zone.
    Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth, declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 5.7% of GDP in 2014, 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 a lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Complex tax codes and licensing requirements, a weak judicial system, endemic corruption, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment, make attracting foreign investment difficult.
    Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. Technical and non-technical losses in electricity - including theft and non-payment - continue to undermine the financial viability of the entire system, although the government has taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Also, with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
    Inward FDI has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The government is focused on the simplification of licensing requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support. Albania’s IMF program may be at risk, however, because the government has not collected sufficient tax revenue needed to reduce the budget deficit. The country continues to face increasing public debt, exceeding its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 73% in 2015.
    $32.44 billion (2015 est.)
    $31.59 billion (2014 est.)
    $30.52 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    unreported output may be as large as 50% of official GDP
    country comparison to the world: 125
    $11.59 billion (2015 est.)
    2.7% (2015 est.)
    1.9% (2014 est.)
    1.4% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    $11,900 (2015 est.)
    $11,400 (2014 est.)
    $11,000 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 127
    16.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
    16.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    17.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    household consumption: 82.1%
    government consumption: 11%
    investment in fixed capital: 26.5%
    investment in inventories: 0.2%
    exports of goods and services: 36.4%
    imports of goods and services: -56.2% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 22.3%
    industry: 15%
    services: 62.6%
    (2015 est.)
    wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products; sheep
    food and tobacco products; textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
    3.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    1.085 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    agriculture: 41.8%
    industry: 11.4%
    services: 46.8% (December 2014 est.)
    17.3% (2015 est.)
    17.5% (2014 est.)
    note: these are official rates that may not include those working at near-subsistence farming
    country comparison to the world: 160
    14.3% (2012 est.)
    lowest 10%: 4.1%
    highest 10%: 20.5% (2012)
    29 (2012 est.)
    30 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    revenues: $2.978 billion
    expenditures: $3.535 billion (2015 est.)
    25.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    -4.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    73.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
    72.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    calendar year
    2.2% (2015 est.)
    1.6% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    2.25% (31 December 2014)
    3% (31 December 2013)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    7.6% (31 December 2015 est.)
    8.66% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $2.826 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $3.066 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    $5.72 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $6.269 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    $7.161 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $8.231 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $NA
    -$1.525 billion (2015 est.)
    -$1.732 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    $1.011 billion (2015 est.)
    $1.232 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    textiles, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
    Italy 45.2%, Kosovo 7.6%, China 7.4%, Spain 6.7%, Greece 4.6% (2014)
    $3.597 billion (2015 est.)
    $4.057 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
    Italy 35.4%, Greece 11%, China 8%, Turkey 6.7%, Germany 4.3% (2014)
    $2.852 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $2.665 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    $8.782 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $8.209 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $5.557 billion (31 December 2013)
    $4.994 billion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    leke (ALL) per US dollar -
    126.6 (2015 est.)
    105.48 (2014 est.)
    105.48 (2013 est.)
    108.19 (2012 est.)
    100.9 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: ALBANIA

  • 4.726 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    7.793 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    288.5 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    3.355 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    1.878 million kW (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    5.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    94.8% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    20,510 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    23,320 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    3,440 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    168.3 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    2,228 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    25,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    354 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    20,770 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    19 million cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    19 million cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    849.5 million cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    3.962 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
  • Communications :: ALBANIA

  • total subscriptions: 250,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    total: 3.4 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 111 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    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)
    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)
    AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)
    65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)
    .al
    15,528 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    total: 1.7 million
    percent of population: 56.5% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
  • Transportation :: ALBANIA

  • 4 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    total: 4
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)
    1 (2013)
    gas 331 km; oil 249 km (2013)
    total: 677 km
    standard gauge: 677 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    total: 18,000 km
    paved: 7,020 km
    unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    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)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
  • Military and Security :: ALBANIA

  • Land Forces Command, Navy Force Command, Air Forces Command (2013)
    19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; 18 is the legal minimum age in case of general/partial compulsory mobilization (2012)
    0.85% of GDP (2015)
    1.04% of GDP (2014)
    1.5% of GDP (2013)
    1.47% of GDP (2012)
    1.52% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 112
  • Transnational Issues :: ALBANIA

  • none
    stateless persons: 7,443 (2014)
    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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