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Europe :: Albania
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  • 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. The 2009 general elections resulted in a coalition government, the first such in the country's history. In 2013, general elections achieved a peaceful transition of power and a second successive coalition government. 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 in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
    41 00 N, 20 00 E
    total: 28,748 sq km
    land: 27,398 sq km
    water: 1,350 sq km
    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
    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.)
    1,884 sq km (2006)
    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.)
    3,020,209 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 19.3% (male 307,275/female 274,634)
    15-24 years: 19.2% (male 297,851/female 282,498)
    25-54 years: 40% (male 574,820/female 633,729)
    55-64 years: 10.5% (male 157,014/female 158,602)
    65 years and over: 11.1% (male 157,143/female 176,643) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 44.9%
    youth dependency ratio: 29%
    elderly dependency ratio: 15.9%
    potential support ratio: 6.3% (2014 est.)
    total: 31.6 years
    male: 30.3 years
    female: 32.9 years (2014 est.)
    0.3% (2014 est.)
    12.73 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    6.47 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -3.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 56.4% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 2.21% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    TIRANA (capital) 445,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 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 (2014 est.)
    23.4 (2010 est.)
    21 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 13.19 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 14.68 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 11.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 77.96 years
    male: 75.33 years
    female: 80.86 years (2014 est.)
    1.5 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    69.3% (2008/09)
    5.9% of GDP (2013)
    1.15 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
    2.6 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    urban: 97.3% of population
    rural: 93.8% of population
    total: 95.7% of population
    urban: 2.7% of population
    rural: 6.2% of population
    total: 4.3% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 95.3% of population
    rural: 86.3% of population
    total: 91.2% of population
    urban: 4.7% of population
    rural: 13.7% of population
    total: 8.8% of population (2012 est.)
    0.04% (2013 est.)
    18.1% (2014)
    6.3% (2009)
    3.3% of GDP (2007)
    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: 22.5%
    male: 23.8%
    female: 20.7% (2010 est.)
  • 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
    note: 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 democracy
    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 2007, 2008, 2012 (2014)
    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
    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)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
    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
    description: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms); note - in late 2008, Albania replaced its mixed member electoral system with a proportional representation system
    note: seats by parliamentary group as of April 2015 - ASHE 88, APMI 50, 2 - outside of the majority and opposition groups
    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
    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
    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]
    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, its negative effects have put some pressure on the Albanian economy, resulting in a significant economic slowdown. While the government is focused on establishing a favorable business climate through the simplification of licensing requirements and tax codes, it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support. 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 and make attracting foreign investment difficult. Inward FDI has significantly increased in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. 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 begin 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. The country will continue to face challenges from increasing public debt, having exceeded its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 72% in 2014. Strong 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. The government will face critical tests in 2015 as it works to implement IMF-mandated reforms, especially those aimed at improving the electricity sector.
    $30.66 billion (2014 est.)
    $29.54 billion (2013 est.)
    $28.98 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    unreported output may be as large as 50% of official GDP
    $13.4 billion (2014 est.)
    1.9% (2014 est.)
    1.4% (2013 est.)
    1.6% (2012 est.)
    $11,100 (2014 est.)
    $10,600 (2013 est.)
    $10,300 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 126
    13.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    12.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    14.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 78.3%
    government consumption: 10.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 25.9%
    investment in inventories: 2.6%
    exports of goods and services: 35.1%
    imports of goods and services: -52.9%
    (2013 est.)
    agriculture: 22.6%
    industry: 15.1%
    services: 62.4%
    (2013 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
    2.4% (2014 est.)
    1.295 million (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 41.8%
    industry: 11.4%
    services: 46.8%
    18% (2014 est.)
    17.1% (2013 est.)
    note: these are official rates that may not include those working at near-subsistence farming
    14.3% (2012 est.)
    lowest 10%: 4.1%
    highest 10%: 20.5% (2012)
    26.9 (2012 est.)
    34.5 (2008 est.)
    revenues: $3.495 billion
    expenditures: $4.342 billion (2014 est.)
    26% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -6.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    72% of GDP (2014 est.)
    70.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
    calendar year
    1.6% (2014 est.)
    2% (2013 est.)
    2.25% (31 December 2014)
    3% (31 December 2013)
    7% (31 December 2014 est.)
    9.52% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $3.355 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.791 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $6.863 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $6.556 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $5.313 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $5.171 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $-1.734 billion (2014 est.)
    $-1.374 billion (2013 est.)
    $2.431 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.331 billion (2013 est.)
    textiles, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
    Italy 43.5%, China 9.7%, Spain 8.4%, Kosovo 7.5%, India 6.1% (2013)
    $5.25 billion (2014 est.)
    $4.894 billion (2013 est.)
    machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
    Italy 36.1%, Greece 9.6%, China 7.2%, Turkey 5.7%, Germany 4% (2013)
    $2.908 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $2.674 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $8.782 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $8.209 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $5.557 billion (31 December 2013)
    $4.994 billion (31 December 2012)
    leke (ALL) per US dollar -
    105.48 (2014 est.)
    105.67 (2013 est.)
    108.19 (2012 est.)
    100.9 (2011 est.)
    103.94 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: ALBANIA

  • 4.726 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    7.793 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    288.5 million kWh (2014 est.)
    3.355 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    1.878 million kW (2013 est.)
    5.2% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    94.8% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    26,600 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    23,320 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    168.3 million bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    3,121 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    28,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    68 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    22,810 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    10 million cu m (2011 est.)
    10 million cu m (2011 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    849.5 million cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    3.962 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: ALBANIA

  • 312,000 (2012)
    3.5 million (2012)
    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)
    15,528 (2012)
    1.3 million (2009)
  • Transportation :: ALBANIA

  • 4 (2013)
    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: 339 km
    standard gauge: 339 km 1.435-m gauge (2009)
    total: 18,000 km
    paved: 7,020 km
    unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
    41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011)
    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)
    major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
  • Military :: 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)
    males age 16-49: 731,111
    females age 16-49: 780,216 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 622,379
    females age 16-49: 660,715 (2010 est.)
    male: 31,986
    female: 29,533 (2010 est.)
    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)
  • 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