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Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. 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, a dilapidated physical 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... See More



 Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in 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

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly smaller than Maryland

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 717 km
Border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Kosovo 112 km


 362 km (Rank: 126)

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

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
Highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m

Natural Resources:

 Petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 20.1%
Permanent crops: 4.21%
Other: 75.69% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 3,650 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 41.7 cu km (2001)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
Per capita: 546 cu m/yr (2000)

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: 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

Geography - Note:

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

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 Noun: Albanian(s)
Adjective: Albanian

Ethnic Groups:

 Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)

Note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)


 Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects


 Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%

Note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice


 2,994,667 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 21.4% (male 337,364/female 303,669)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 996,666/female 1,043,472)
65 years and over: 10.5% (male 148,151/female 165,345) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 30.4 years
Male: 29.2 years
Female: 31.6 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 0.267% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 12.15 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 6.15 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -3.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 52% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 TIRANA (capital) 433,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.118 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 31 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 14.61 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 16.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 12.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 77.41 years
Male: 74.82 years
Female: 80.3 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.48 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 6.9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 1.146 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 2.92 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 96% of population
Rural: 98% of population
Total: 97% of population
Urban: 4% of population
Rural: 2% of population
Total: 3% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 98% of population
Total: 98% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 2% of population
Total: 2% of population (2008)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 6.6% (2005)


 Definition: age 9 and over can read and write
Total population: 98.7%
Male: 99.2%
Female: 98.3% (2001 census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2004)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 35.5%
Male: 41.6%
Female: 27.1% (2001)

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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:

 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

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


 Approved by parliament 21 October 1998; adopted by popular referendum 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998

Legal System:

 Civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law known as the "Code of Leke" prevails

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)

Head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament

Elections: president elected by three-fifths the Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president

Election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority, 84 votes, required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 deputies; 100 deputies elected directly in single member electoral zones with an approximate number of voters; 40 deputies elected from multi-name lists of parties or party coalitions according to their respective order; elected for a 4-year term)

Elections: last held on 28 June 2009 (next to be held in 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 68, PS 65, LSI 4, other 3

Judicial Branch:

 Constitutional Court consists of 9 members appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly who serve 9-year terms (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term); the High Court members appointed by the president with the consent of the Assembly for a 9-year term; note - there are also courts of appeal and courts of first instance

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; New Democracy Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party for Justice and Integration or PDI [Shpetim IDRIZ]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party or PDS [Paskel MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]; Unity for Human Rights Party or PBDNJ [Vangjel DULE]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Red and Black Alliance [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement [Elton KACIDHJA]; Omonia [Vasil BOLLANO]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Gilbert GALANXHI
Chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
Consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Alexander ARVIZU
Embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
Mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
Telephone: [355] (4) 2247285
FAX: [355] (4) 2232222

Flag Description:

 Red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Castriota SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-1478); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shkypetars," which translates as "sons of the eagle"

National Symbols:

 Double-headed eagle

National Anthem:

 Name: "Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)
Lyrics/music: Aleksander Stavre DRENOVA/Ciprian PORUMBESCU

Note: adopted 1912

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Economy - Overview:

 Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth averaged around 6% between 2004-08, but declined to about 3% in 2009-10. Inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth have declined from 12-15% of GDP to 9% of GDP in 2009, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. 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 lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages because of a reliance on hydropower, and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment and lack of success in attracting new foreign investment needed to expand the country's export base. FDI is among the lowest in the region, but the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to upgrade transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $23.86 billion (2010 est.)
$23.06 billion (2009 est.)
$22.32 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars
Albania has an informal, and unreported, sector that may be as large as 50% of official GDP

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $11.77 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3.5% (2010 est.)
3.3% (2009 est.)
7.7% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $8,000 (2010 est.)
$7,700 (2009 est.)
$7,500 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 20.1%
Industry: 19.3%
Services: 60.5% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 1.053 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 47.8%
Industry: 23%
Services: 29.2% (September 2010 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

 13.7% (2010 est.)
13% (2009 est.)

Note: these are official rates, but actual rates may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming

Population Below Poverty Line:

 12.5% (2008 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 3.5%
Highest 10%: 29% (2008)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 34.5 (2008)
26.7 (2005)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 29.8% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $3.124 billion
Expenditures: $3.491 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 26.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -3.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 57.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
57.3% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 3.5% (2010 est.)
2.3% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 5% (31 December 2010 est.)
5.25% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 12.833% (31 December 2010 est.)
12.667% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $3.028 billion (31 December 2008)
$2.707 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $6.251 billion (31 December 2008)
$6.433 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $2.648 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.969 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $9.426 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$9.096 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $7.948 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$8.162 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products


 Food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 3% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 5.201 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 2.9%
Hydro: 97.1%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 6.593 billion kWh

Note: 35% of electricity is lost in the system as a result of transmission inefficiencies and theft (2009 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 1.884 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 10,930 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 33,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 1,004 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 22,880 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 199.1 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 30 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 30 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 849.5 million cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$1.404 billion (2010 est.)
-$1.845 billion (2009 est.)


 $1.548 billion (2010 est.)
$1.048 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco

Exports - Partners:

 Italy 50.8%, Kosovo 6.2%, Turkey 5.9%, Greece 5.4%, China 5.5% (2010 est.)


 $4.305 billion (2010 est.)
$4.264 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals

Imports - Partners:

 Italy 28%, Greece 13%, China 6.3%, Turkey 5.6%, Germany 5.6% (2010 est.)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $2.541 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$2.37 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $4.752 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$4.719 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Albanian Lek to Any Currency

Leke (ALL) per US dollar -
104.08 (2010)
94.98 (2009)
79.546 (2008)
92.668 (2007)
98.384 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 331,500 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 4.548 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 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 2010 multiple companies were providing mobile services and mobile teledensity exceeded 130 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 (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 3 public television networks, one of which transmits by satellite to Albanian-language communities in neighboring countries; more than 60 private television stations operating; 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)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 15,098 (2010)

Internet Users:

 1.3 million (2009)

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 5 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)


 1 (2010)


 Gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2010)


 Total: 339 km
Standard gauge: 339 km 1.435-m gauge (2010)


 Total: 18,000 km
Paved: 7,020 km
Unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)


 41 km (on the Bojana River) (2010)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 25
By type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 23, roll on/roll off 1
Foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
Registered in other countries: 4 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Panama 3) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore

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Military Branches:

 Joint Force Command (includes Land, Naval, and Aviation Brigade Commands), Joint Support Command (includes Logistic Command), Training and Doctrine Command (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 19 years of age (2004)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 731,111
Females age 16-49: 780,216 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 622,379
Females age 16-49: 660,715 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 31,986
Female: 29,533 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.49% of GDP (2005 est.)

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Illicit Drugs:

 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

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Last Updated: December 2011

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