Skanderbeg Square in the center of Tirana as viewed from the city's clock tower.
Country Flag
Country Map
Special Country Products
Locator Map



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 isolated 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 it first held multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. Most of Albania's post-communist elections were marred by claims of electoral fraud; however, international observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and in June 2014 became an EU candidate. Albania in April 2017 received a European Commission recommendation to open EU accession negotiations following the passage of historic EU-mandated justice reforms in 2016. 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 a weak energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north

Geographic coordinates

41 00 N, 20 00 E


total: 28,748 sq km

land: 27,398 sq km

water: 1,350 sq km

country comparison to the world: 144

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Maryland

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 691 km

border countries (4): Greece 212 km; Kosovo 112 km; Macedonia 181 km; Montenegro 186 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


highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m

mean elevation: 708 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.8% (2018 est.)

other: 28.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

1,820 sq km (2020)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Montenegro) - 400 sq km
note - largest lake in the Balkans

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought

Geography - note

strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

People and Society


noun: Albanian(s)

adjective: Albanian

Ethnic groups

Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.)

note: data represent population by ethnic and cultural affiliation


Albanian 98.8% (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Romani, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Libri i fakteve boterore, burim i pa zevendesueshem  per informacione elementare. (Albanian)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2% (2011 est.)

note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.6% (male 284,636/female 256,474)

15-24 years: 15.39% (male 246,931/female 226,318)

25-54 years: 42.04% (male 622,100/female 670,307)

55-64 years: 11.94% (male 178,419/female 188,783)

65 years and over: 13.03% (male 186,335/female 214,276) (2020 est.)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48.2

youth dependency ratio: 24.1

elderly dependency ratio: 24.1

potential support ratio: 4.2 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 34.3 years

male: 32.9 years

female: 35.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Birth rate

12.69 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Death rate

7.31 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Net migration rate

-3.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 184

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country


urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.29% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

520,000 TIRANA (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.1 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female

total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

26.6 years (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

15 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

Infant mortality rate

total: 10.82 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 9.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 131

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.47 years

male: 76.8 years

female: 82.33 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.3% of population

rural: 96.4% of population

total: 97% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.7% of population

rural: 3.6% of population

total: 3% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.2% of GDP (2018)

Physicians density

1.88 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2013)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0.5% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.4 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.75 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.15 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.43 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Tobacco use

total: 22.4% (2020 est.)

male: 38.8% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 1.4%

women married by age 18: 11.8%

men married by age 18: 1.2% (2018 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.1%

male: 98.5%

female: 97.8% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 13 years

female: 15 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 27%

male: 27.8%

female: 25.9% (2019 est.)


Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents; air pollution from industrial and power plants; loss of biodiversity due to lack of resources for sound environmental management

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 17.87 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 4.54 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 2.55 megatons (2020 est.)


mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter

Land use

agricultural land: 42.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.4% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.8% (2018 est.)

other: 28.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.29% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.03% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 34

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,142,964 tons (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Montenegro) - 400 sq km
note - largest lake in the Balkans

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Black Sea) Danube (795,656 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 283 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 231.8 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 905 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

30.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


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

etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native name "Shqiperia" is derived from the Albanian word "Shqiponje" ("Eagle") and is popularly interpreted to mean "Land of the Eagles"

Government type

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

etymology: the name Tirana first appears in a 1418 Venetian document; the origin of the name is unclear, but may derive from Tirkan Fortress, whose ruins survive on the slopes of Dajti mountain and which overlooks the city

Administrative divisions

12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore


28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday

Independence Day, 28 November (1912), also known as Flag Day


history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November 1998

amendments: proposed by at least one fifth of the Assembly membership; passage requires at least a two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; referendum required only if approved by two thirds of the Assembly; amendments approved by referendum effective upon declaration by the president of the republic; amended several times, last in 2020

Legal system

civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" is still present

International law organization participation

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

Executive branch

chief of state: President of the Republic Bajram BEGAJ (since 24 July 2022)

head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since 10 September 2013); Deputy Prime Minister Arben AHMETAJ (since 18 September 2021)

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 1 of 3 rounds or a simple majority in 2 additional rounds to become president; election last held in 4 rounds on 16, 23, and 30 May and 4 June 2022 (next election to be held in 2027); prime minister appointed by the president on the proposal of the majority party or coalition of parties in the Assembly

election results: 2022: Bajram BEGAJ elected president in the fourth round; Assembly vote - 78-4, opposition parties boycotted

Ilir META elected president in the fourth round; Assembly vote - 87-2

Legislative branch

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 25 April 2021 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - PS 48.7%, PD-Alliance for Change 39.4%, LSI 6.8%, PSD 2.3%, other 2.8%; seats by party/coalition - PS 74, PD-Alliance for Change 59, LSI 4, PSD 3; composition - men 93, women 47, percent of women 33.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 19 judges, including the chief justice); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges, including the chairman)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the High Judicial Council with the consent of the president to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Court chairman is elected for a single 3-year term by the court members; appointments of Constitutional Court judges are rotated among the president, Parliament, and Supreme Court from a list of pre-qualified candidates (each institution selects 3 judges), to serve single 9-year terms; candidates are pre-qualified by a randomly selected body of experienced judges and prosecutors; Constitutional Court chairman is elected by the court members for a single, renewable 3-year term

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized courts: Court for Corruption and Organized Crime, Appeals Court for Corruption and Organized Crime (responsible for corruption, organized crime, and crimes of high officials)

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Change (electoral coalition led by PD)
Democratic Party or PD [Enkelejd ALIBEAJ, interim leader]
Party for Justice, Integration and Unity or PDIU [Shpetim IDRIZI] (part of the Alliance for Change)
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Tom DOSHI]
Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Monika KRYEMADHI]
Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]

International organization participation

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

note: Albania is an EU candidate country whose satisfactory completion of accession criteria is required before being granted full EU membership

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Floreta LULI-FABER (since 18 May 2015)

chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942

FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Yuri KIM (since 27 January 2020)

embassy: Rruga Stavro Vinjau, No. 14, Tirana

mailing address: 9510 Tirana Place, Washington DC  20521-9510

telephone: [355] 4 2247-285

FAX: [355] 4 2232-222

email address and website:

Flag description

red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero Georgi 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"

National symbol(s)

black double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black

National anthem

name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)

lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU

note: adopted 1912

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (2 cultural, 1 natural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Butrint (c); Historic Berat and Gjirokastër (c); Primeval Beech Forests (n); Lake Ohrid Region (m)


Economic overview

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, the negative effects of the crisis caused a significant economic slowdown. Since 2014, Albania’s economy has steadily improved and economic growth reached 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible 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 5.8% of GDP in 2015, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy. The agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 40% of employment but less than one quarter 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 making attracting foreign investment difficult. Since 2015, Albania has launched an ambitious program to increase tax compliance and bring more businesses into the formal economy. In July 2016, Albania passed constitutional amendments reforming the judicial system in order to strengthen the rule of law and to reduce deeply entrenched corruption.

Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. However, the government has recently taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Better enforcement of electricity contracts has improved the financial viability of the sector, decreasing its reliance on budget support. Also, with help from international donors, the government is taking steps to improve the poor road and rail networks, a long standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

Inward foreign direct investment 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 three-year IMF program, an extended fund facility arrangement, was successfully concluded in February 2017. The Albanian Government has strengthened tax collection amid moderate public wage and pension increases in an effort to reduce its budget deficit. The country continues to face high public debt, exceeding its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 72% in 2016.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$37.73 billion (2020 est.)

$39.02 billion (2019 est.)

$38.19 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 121

Real GDP growth rate

2.24% (2019 est.)

4.07% (2018 est.)

3.8% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 124

Real GDP per capita

$13,300 (2020 est.)

$13,700 (2019 est.)

$13,300 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 115

GDP (official exchange rate)

$15.273 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.4% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

1.9% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B1 (2007)

Standard & Poors rating: B+ (2016)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 21.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 24.2% (2017 est.)

services: 54.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 78.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 25.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 31.5% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, maize, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, wheat, grapes, cucumbers, onions, apples


food; footwear, apparel and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 41.4%

industry: 18.3%

services: 40.3% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.83% (2019 est.)

6.32% (2018 est.)

note: these official rates may not include those working at near-subsistence farming

country comparison to the world: 96

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.1%

highest 10%: 19.6% (2015 est.)


revenues: 3.614 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.874 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

71.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

73.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$908 million (2017 est.)

-$899 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 142


$3.47 billion (2020 est.)

$4.82 billion (2019 est.)

$4.78 billion (2018 est.)

note: Data are in current year dollars and do not include illicit exports or re-exports.

country comparison to the world: 140

Exports - partners

Italy 45%, Spain 8%, Germany 6%, Greece 5%, France 4%, China 4% (2019)

Exports - commodities

leather footwear and parts, crude petroleum, iron alloys, clothing, electricity, perfumes (2019)


$5.67 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$6.93 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$6.85 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 132

Imports - partners

Italy 28%, Greece 12%, China 11%, Turkey 9%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, cars, tanned hides, packaged medical supplies, footwear parts (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.59 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$3.109 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Debt - external

$9.311 billion (2019 est.)

$9.547 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

Exchange rates

leke (ALL) per US dollar -

102.43 (2020 est.)

111.36 (2019 est.)

108.57 (2018 est.)

125.96 (2014 est.)

105.48 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


installed generating capacity: 2.531 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 6,527,980,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 963 million kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 3.239 billion kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.054 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 99.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 9,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 119,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 110,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 522 million metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 16,100 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 26,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 10,500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 150 million barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 42.05 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 42.05 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 5.692 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

3.794 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 235,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 3.482 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 78,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 223,469 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,618,880 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Albania’s small telecom market has experienced some significant changes in recent years;  upgrades were made to the fixed-line infrastructure to support broadband services; fixed-line telephony use and penetration in Albania is declining steadily as subscribers migrate to mobile solutions; the mobile sector is well provided with LTE networks, while operators have invested in 5G; some of these efforts have been made in conjunction with neighboring Kosovo, with the intention of a seamless 5G corridor along the highway connecting the two countries; the country has long sought accession to the European Union (EU) which has benefited its telecoms sector through closer scrutiny of its regulatory regime and through the injection of funding to help modernize infrastructure (2021)

domestic: fixed-line approximately 8 per 100, teledensity continues to decline due to heavy use of mobile-cellular telephone services; mobile-cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective, 91 per 100 for mobile-cellular (2020)

international: country code - 355; submarine cables for the Adria 1 and Italy-Albania provide connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; 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 (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress toward 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

Albania has more than 65 TV stations, including several that broadcast nationally; Albanian TV broadcasts are also available to Albanian-speaking populations in neighboring countries; many viewers have access to Italian and Greek TV broadcasts via terrestrial reception; Albania's TV stations have begun a government-mandated conversion from analog to digital broadcast; the government has pledged to provide analog-to-digital converters to low-income families affected by this decision; cable TV service is available; 2 public radio networks and roughly 78 private radio stations; several international broadcasters are available (2019)

Internet users

total: 2,043,251 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 72% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 127

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 508,937 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 5

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 303,137 (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2021)


498 km gas (a majority of the network is in disrepair and parts of it are missing), 249 km oil (2015)


total: 677 km (2015) (447 km of major railway lines and 230 km of secondary lines)

standard gauge: 677 km (2015) 1.435-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 103


41 km (2011) (on the Bojana River)

country comparison to the world: 114

Merchant marine

total: 70

by type: general cargo 47, oil tanker 1, other 22 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 103

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Republic of Albania Armed Forces (Forcat e Armatosura të Republikës së Shqipërisë (FARSH)): Land Forces, Navy Forces (includes Coast Guard), Air Forces

Ministry of Interior: Guard of the Republic, State Police (includes the Border and Migration Police) (2022)

note: the State Police are primarily responsible for internal security, while the Guard of the Republic protects senior state officials, foreign dignitaries, and certain state properties

Military expenditures

1.6% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2021)

1.3% of GDP (2020)

1.5% of GDP (2019) (approximately $360 million)

1.3% of GDP (2018) (approximately $330 million)

country comparison to the world: 84

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 7,000 total active duty personnel (5,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 500 Air Force) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Albanian military was previously equipped with mostly Soviet-era weapons that were sold or destroyed; its inventory now includes a mix of mostly donated and second-hand European and US equipment; since 2010, it has received limited amounts of equipment from France, Germany, and the US (2021)

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; conscription abolished 2010 (2021)

note: as of 2020, women comprised about 14% of the military's full-time personnel, including 20% of the officers

Military - note

Albania became a member of NATO in 2009; as of 2022, Greece and Italy were providing NATO's air policing mission for Albania


Terrorist group(s)

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix T

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 1,528 (mid-year 2021)

note: 41,804 estimated refugee and migrant arrivals (January 2015-November 2022)

Illicit drugs

active transshipment point for Albanian narco-trafficking organizations moving illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin from Turkey and countries in South America and Asia throughout Europe; significant source country for cannabis production