Albania 1998Albania

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Thrifty Traveler

Albania - Introduction 1998
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Background: 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 severe unemployment, the collapse of a fraudulent nationwide investment scheme, widespread gangsterism and massive refugee influxes from neighboring Kosovo.

Albania - Geography 1998
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Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro

Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 20 00 E

Map referenceEurope

Total: 28,750 km²
Land: 27,400 km²
Water: 1,350 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland

Land boundaries
Total: 720 km
Border countries: (4) Greece 282 km; , The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 151 km; , Serbia and Montenegro 287 km; (114 km; with Serbia, 173 km

Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast

Extremes lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Maja e Korabit 2,753 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, timber, nickel
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 21%
Permanent crops: 5%
Permanent pastures: 15%
Forests and woodland: 38%
Other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 3,410 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast

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

Albania - People 1998
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Population: 3,330,754 (July 1998 est.)
Growth rate: 0.97% (1998 est.)

Noun: Albanian(s)
Adjective: Albanian

Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greeks 3%, other 2% (Vlachs, Gypsies, Serbs, and Bulgarians) (1989 est.)
Note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)

Languages: Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek

Religions: 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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 33% (male 572,430; female 532,917)
15-64 years: 61% (male 941,076; female 1,086,541)
65 years and over: 6% (male 82,184; female 115,606) (July 1998 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.97% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 21.35 births/1000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.45 deaths/1000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.16 migrant(s)/1000 population (1998 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 45.01 deaths/1000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.64 years
Male: 65.58 years
Female: 71.94 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.57 children born/woman (1998 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 9 and over can read and write
Total population: 72%
Male: 80%
Female: 63% (1955 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Albania - Government 1998
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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

Government type: emerging democracy

Capital: Tirana

Administrative divisions: 36 districts (rrethe, singular_rreth); Berat, Bulquize, Delvine, Devoll (Bilisht), Dibre (Peshkopi), Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Gramsh, Has (Krume), Kavaje, Kolonje (Erseke), Korce, Kruje, Kucove, Kukes, Lac, Lezhe, Librazhd, Lushnje, Malesia e Madhe (Koplik), Mallakaster (Ballsh), Mat (Burrel), Mirdite (Rreshen), Peqin, Permet, Pogradec, Puke, Sarande, Shkoder, Skrapar (Corovode), Tepelene, Tirane, Tropoje (Bajram Curri), Vlore
Note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Dependent areas

Independence: 28 November 1912 (from Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912)

Constitution: an interim basic law was approved by the People's Assembly on 29 April 1991; a draft constitution was rejected by popular referendum in the fall of 1994 and a new draft is pending

Legal system: has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch
Chief of state: President of the Republic Rexhep MEIDANI (since 24 July 1997): ead of
Government: Prime Minister Fatos NANO (since 24 July 1997)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and approved by the president
Elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 24 July 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); prime minister appointed 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

Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly or Kuvendi Popullor (155 seats; most members are elected by direct popular vote and some by proportional vote for four-year terms)
Elections: last held 29 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2000)
Election results: percent of vote by party_PS 53.36%, PD 25.33%, PSD 2.5%, PBDNJ 2.78%, PBK 2.36%, PAD 2.85%, PR 2.25%, PLL 3.09%, PDK 1.00%, PBSD 0.84%; seats by party_PS 101, PD 27, PSD 8, PBDNJ 4, PBK 3, PAD 2, PR 2, PLL 2, PDK 1, PBSD 1, PUK 1, independents 3

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chairman of the Supreme Court is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, OIC, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMIG, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Petrit BUSHATI
In the us chancery: 2,100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 223-4,942
In the us fax: [1] (202) 628-7,342
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Marisa R. LINO (15 July 1996)
From the us embassy: Rruga E. Labinoti 103, Tirana
From the us mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100 (A), APO AE 9,624
From the us telephone: [355] (42) 328-75, 335-20
From the us fax: [355] (42) 322-22

Flag descriptionflag of Albania: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Albania - Economy 1998
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Economy overview: An extremely poor country by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more open-market economy. The economy rebounded in 1993-95 after a severe depression accompanying the collapse of the previous centrally planned system in 1990 and 1991. However, a weakening of government resolve to maintain stabilization policies in the election year of 1996 contributed to renewal of inflationary pressures, spurred by the budget deficit which exceeded 12%. The collapse of financial pyramid schemes in early 1997_which had attracted deposits from a substantial portion of Albania's adult population - triggered severe social unrest which led to more than 1,500 deaths, widespread destruction of property, and an 8% drop in GDP. The new government installed in July 1997 has taken strong measures to restore public order and to revive economic activity and trade. The economy continues to be bolstered by remittances of some 20% of the labor force which works abroad, mostly in Greece and Italy. These remittances supplement GDP and help offset the large foreign trade deficit. Most agricultural land was privatized in 1992, substantially improving peasant incomes.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: -8% (1997 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: 56%
Industry: 21%
Services: 23% (1995)

Agriculture products: wide range of temperate-zone crops and livestock

Industries: food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Industrial production growth rate: 6% (1995 est.)

Labor force
Total: 1.692 million (1994 est.) (including 352,000 emigrant workers and 261,000 domestically unemployed)
By occupation agriculture(nearlyallprivate): 49.5%
By occupation private sector: 22.2%
By occupation state sector: 28.3% (non-farm, including state-owned industry 7.8%)
Note: includes only those domestically employed
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 14% (October 1997) officially, but likely to be as high as 28%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $624 million
Expenditures: $996 million, including capital expenditures of $N/A

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

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

Exports: total value:$228 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
Commodoties: asphalt, metals and metallic ores, electricity, crude oil, vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Partners: Italy, Greece, Germany, Belgium, US

Imports: total value:$879 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
Commodoties: machinery, consumer goods, grains
Partners: Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $645 million (1996)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: leke (L) per US$1_152.28 (January 1998), 148.93 (1997), 104.50 (1996), 92.70 (1995), 94.62 (1994), 102.06 (1993)

Albania - Energy 1998
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 4.435 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,314 kWh (1995)

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

Albania - Communication 1998
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system
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

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Albania - Military 1998
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $42 million (1996)
Percent of gdp: 1.5% to 2.0% (1996)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Albania - Transportation 1998
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 9 (1997 est.)
With paved runways total: 5
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 3
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2 (1997 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 4
With unpaved runways over 3047 m: 1
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 5
2438 to 3047 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 4
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 145 km; petroleum products 55 km; natural gas 64 km (1991)

Total: 670 km
Standard gauge: 670 km 1.435-m gauge (1995)


Waterways: 43 km plus Albanian sections of Lake Scutari, Lake Ohrid, and Lake Prespa (1990)

Merchant marine: total:8 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 36,582 GRT/54,832 DWT (1997 est.)

Ports and terminals

Albania - Transnational issues 1998
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Disputes international: the Albanian Government supports protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians outside of its borders but has downplayed them to further its primary foreign policy goal of regional cooperation; Albanian majority in Kosovo seeks independence from Serbian Republic; Albanians in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia claim discrimination in education, access to public-sector jobs and representation in government

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active in Central and Eastern Europe


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