Malta 1997Malta

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Malta - Introduction 1997
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Background: Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Over the last 15 years the island has become a major freight transshipment point financial center and tourist destination. It is an official candidate for EU membership.

Malta - Geography 1997
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Location: Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)

Geographic coordinates: 35 50 N, 14 35 E

Map referenceEurope

Total: 320 km²
Land: 320 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 140 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs

Extremes lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Dingli Cliffs 245 m

Natural resources: limestone, salt
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 38%
Permanent crops: 3%
Permanent pastures: NA%
Forests and woodland: NA%
Other: 59% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors

Malta - People 1997
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Population: 377,177 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 0.68% (1997 est.)

Noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Maltese

Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)

Languages: Maltese (official), English (official)

Religions: Roman Catholic 98%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 21% (male 41,207; female 39,041)
15-64 years: 67% (male 127,553; female 126,355)
65 years and over: 12% (male 18,202; female 24,819) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.68% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 12.47 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 7.34 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.65 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 7.7 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 77.44 years
Male: 75.16 years
Female: 79.87 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.84 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 10 and over can read and write
Total population: 88%
Male: 88%
Female: 88% (1985)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Malta - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Malta
Conventional short form: Malta

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Valletta

Administrative divisions: none (administered directly from Valletta)

Dependent areas

Independence: 21 September 1964 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 21 September (1964)

Constitution: 1964 constitution substantially amended on 13 December 1974

Legal system: based on English common law and Roman civil law; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Ugo MIFSUD BONNICI (since 4 April 1994)
Head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Alfred SANT (since 28 October 1996); Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. George VELLA (since 29 October 1996)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
Elections: president elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held NA April 1994 (next to be held by NA April 1999); following House of Representatives elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term
Election results: Ugo MIFSUD BONNICI elected president; percent of House of Representatives vote - NA

Legislative branch: Unicameral House of Representatives usually 65 seats
Note: Additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority
Current total: 69 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 26 October 1996 (next to be held by October 2001)
Election results: percent of vote by party - MLP 50.7%, NP 46.5%; seats by party - NP 34, MLP 31 (MLP 35, NP 34 after adjustment)

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: C, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NACC (observer), NAM, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Albert Borg Olivier DE PUGET
In the us chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 462-3,611, 3,612
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 387-5,470
In the us consulates: New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Charles N. PATTERSON, Jr.
From the us embassy: 2nd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, Malta
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta
From the us telephone: [356] 235,960
From the us FAX: [356] 223,322

Flag descriptionflag of Malta: two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Malta - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Significant resources are limestone, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies, and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, industry (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism; the state-owned Malta drydocks employs about 3,800 people. In 1995, over 1.1 million tourists visited the island. Per capita GDP of $12,600 places Malta in the range of the less affluent EU countries. The island is divided politically over the question of joining the EU.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 5%
Industry: 34%
Services: 61% (1995 est.)

Agriculture products: potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs

Industries: tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco

Industrial production growth rate: -5% (1996 est.)

Labor force
Total: 148,085 (September 1996)
By occupation public services: 37%
By occupation other services: 28%
By occupation manufacturing and construction: 25%
By occupation agriculture: 2% (1995 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (September 1996)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.66 billion
Expenditures: $1.69 billion, including capital expenditures of $633 million (1996 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: machinery and transport equipment, clothing and footware, printed matter
Partners: Italy 32%, Germany 16%, UK 8%

Total value: $3 billion (c.i.f., 1995)
Commodities: food, petroleum, machinery and semimanufactured goods
Partners: Italy 27%, Germany 14%, UK 13%, US 9%

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $134 million (1996)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Maltese liri (LM) per US$1 - 0.3677 (January 1997), 0.3604 (1996), 0.3529 (1995), 0.3776 (1994), 0.3821 (1993), 0.3178 (1992)

Malta - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 1.41 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: NA kWh

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Malta - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: automatic system satisfies normal requirements
Domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
International: 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Malta - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $65.5 million (FY96/97)
Percent of gdp: 2.7% (FY96/97)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Malta - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 1 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 1
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 1
Over 3047 m: 1 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways



Railways: 0 km



Merchant marine
Total: 1,128 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 18,806,358 GRT/31,554,713 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 314, cargo 353, chemical tanker 32, combination bulk 27, combination ore/oil 13, container 43, liquefied gas tanker 2, livestock carrier 1, multifunction large-load carrier 3, oil tanker 224, passenger 7, passenger-cargo 3, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 31, roll-on/roll-off cargo 37, short-sea passenger 22, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 12
Note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 46 countries among which are Greece 478, Croatia 52, Switzerland 48, Russia 46, Italy 44, Norway 37, Turkey 28, Germany 23, UK 22, and Ukraine 20 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Malta - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

Volotea Air

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