Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Albania Flag of Albania
Map of Albania
Introduction Albania
In 1990 Albania ended 44 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as corrupt governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, a dilapidated infrastructure, widespread gangsterism, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged local elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies which should be addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code.
Geography Albania
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Geographic coordinates:
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, Yugoslavia 287 km
362 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 NM
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, chromium, copper, timber, nickel, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 4%
other: 75% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
3,400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
People Albania
3,544,841 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.8% (male 528,678; female 493,531)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,094,034; female 1,175,024)
65 years and over: 7.2% (male 111,524; female 142,050) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.06% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
18.59 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.49 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
38.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.1 years
female: 75.14 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.27 years
Total fertility rate:
2.27 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 100 (2000 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groups:
Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Gypsy, Serb, and 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: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice
Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 93% (1997 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Albania
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local short form: Shqiperia
former: People's Socialist Republic of Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
Government type:
emerging democracy
Administrative divisions:
36 districts (rrethe, singular - rreth) and 1 municipality* (bashki); Berat, Bulqize, Delvine, Devoll (Bilisht), Diber (Peshkopi), Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Gramsh, Has (Krume), Kavaje, Kolonje (Erseke), Korce, Kruje, Kucove, Kukes, Kurbin, Lezhe, Librazhd, Lushnje, Malesi e Madhe (Koplik), Mallakaster (Ballsh), Mat (Burrel), Mirdite (Rreshen), Peqin, Permet, Pogradec, Puke, Sarande, Shkoder, Skrapar (Corovode), Tepelene, Tirane (Tirana), Tirane* (Tirana), Tropoje (Bajram Curri), Vlore
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
a constitution was adopted by popular referendum on 28 November 1998; note - the opposition Democratic Party boycotted the vote
Legal system:
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Rexhep MEIDANI (since 24 July 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Pandeli MAJKO (since 22 February 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
election results: Rexhep MEIDANI elected president; People's Assembly vote by number - total votes 122, for 110, against 3, abstained 2, invalid 7
elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 24 July 1997 (next to be held NA July 2002); 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)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 41.5%, PD and coalition allies 36.8%, NDP 5.2%, PSD 3.6%, PBDNJ 2.6%, PASH 2.6%, PAD 2.5%; seats by party - PS 73, PD and coalition allies 46, NDP 6, PSD 4, PBDNJ 3, PASH 3, PAD 3, independents 2
elections: last held 24 June with subsequent rounds on 8 July, 22 July, 29 July, 19 August 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term)
Political parties and leaders:
Agrarian Party or PASH [Lufter XHUVELI]; Albanian National Front (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Shptim ROQI]; Albanian Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Albanian Socialist Party or PS (formerly the Albania Workers Party) [Fatos NANO, chairman]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Zef BUSHATI]; Democratic Alliance or PAD [Nerltan CEKA]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; Group of Reformist Democrats [Leonard NDOKA]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIA]; Liberal Union Party or PBL [Teodor LACO]; New Democratic Party or NDP [Genc POLLO]; OMONIA [Vagjelis DULES]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQUIRI]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vasil MELO, chairman]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Fatos TARIFA
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph LIMPRECHT
embassy: Rruga Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address: U. S. Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Washington, DC 20521-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 247285
FAX: [355] (4) 232222
Flag description:
red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
Economy Albania
Economy - overview:
Poor and backward by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime and to revive economic activity and trade. The economy is bolstered by remittances from abroad of $400-$600 million annually, mostly from Greece and Italy. Agriculture, which accounts for 52% of GDP, is held back because of frequent drought and the need to modernize equipment and consolidate small plots of land. Severe energy shortages are forcing small firms out of business, increasing unemployment, scaring off foreign investors, and spurring inflation.
purchasing power parity - $13.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 52%
industry: 21%
services: 27% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
1.283 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers and 261,000 domestically unemployed) (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 50%, industry and services 50%
Unemployment rate:
17% officially (2001 est.); may be as high as 30%
revenues: $697 million
expenditures: $1.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $368 million (2002 est.)
food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate:
9% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
4.738 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 3%
hydro: 97%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5.378 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
100 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
1.072 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
$306 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners:
Italy 70%, Greece 12%, Germany 6%, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2%, Austria 1% (2001)
$1.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners:
Italy 32%, Greece 26%, Turkey 6%, Germany 6%, Bulgaria 2% (2001)
Debt - external:
$1 billion (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$315 million (top donors were Italy, EU, Germany) (2000 est.)
lek (ALL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
leke per US dollar - 140.16 (November 2001), 143.71 (2000) 137.69 (1999), 150.63 (1998), 148.93 (1997); note - leke is the plural of lek
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Albania
Telephones - main lines in use:
120,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
250,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: Albania has the poorest telephone service in Europe with fewer than two telephones per 100 inhabitants; it is doubtful that every village has telephone service
domestic: obsolete wire system; no longer provides a telephone for every village; in 1992, following the fall of the Communist government, peasants cut the wire to about 1,000 villages and used it to build fences
international: inadequate; international traffic carried by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 13, FM 4, shortwave 2 (2001)
1 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus 58 repeaters) (2001)
700,000 (2001)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
10 (2001)
Internet users:
12,000 (2001)
Transportation Albania
total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2001 est.)
total: 18,000 km
paved: 5,400 km
unpaved: 12,600 km (1998 est.)
43 km
note: includes Albanian sections of Lake Scutari, Lake Ohrid, and Lake Prespa (1990)
crude oil 196 km; petroleum products 55 km; natural gas 64 km (1996)
Ports and harbors:
Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Merchant marine:
total: 7 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 13,423 GRT/20,837 DWT
ships by type: cargo 7, includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Croatia 1, Honduras 1 (2002 est.)
11 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2001)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2001)
914 to 1,523 m: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1 (2001)
Military Albania
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Interior Ministry Troops, Border Guards
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 888,086 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 727,406 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 35,792 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$56.5 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.49% (FY02)
Transnational Issues Albania
Disputes - international:
the Albanian Government supports protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians outside of its borders in the Kosovo region of Yugoslavia and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia while continuing to seek regional cooperation; many Albanians illegally transit neighboring states to emigrate to western Europe
Illicit drugs:
increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a far lesser extent - cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and growing cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active and rapidly expanding in Europe

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002