[Country map of Albania]



Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro

Map references: Ethnic Groups in Eastern Europe, Europe

total area: 28,750 sq km
land area: 27,400 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland

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

Coastline: 362 km

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

International disputes: the Albanian Government supports protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians outside of its borders; Albanian majority in Kosovo seeks independence from Serbian Republic; Albanians in Macedonia claim discrimination in education, access to public sector jobs and representation in government; Albania is involved in a bilaterlal dispute with Greece over border demarcation, the treatment of Albania's ethnic Greek minority, and migrant Albanian workers in Greece

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 4%
meadows and pastures: 15%
forest and woodland: 38%
other: 22%

Irrigated land: 4,230 sq km (1989)

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; tsunami occur along southwestern coast
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change

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


Population: 3,413,904 (July 1995 est.)
note: IMF, working with Albanian government figures, estimates the population at 3,120,000 in 1993 and that the population has fallen since 1990

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32% (female 520,186; male 563,953)
15-64 years: 62% (female 1,026,321; male 1,104,371)
65 years and over: 6% (female 112,252; male 86,821) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.16% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 21.7 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.22 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 28.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.81 years
male: 70.83 years
female: 77.02 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.71 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian

Ethnic divisions: Albanian 95%, Greeks 3%, other 2% (Vlachs, Gypsies, Serbs, and Bulgarians) (1989 est.)

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

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

Literacy: age 9 and over can read and write (1955)
total population: 72%
male: 80%
female: 63%

Labor force: 1.5 million (1987)
by occupation: agriculture 60%, industry and commerce 40% (1986)


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

Digraph: AL

Type: emerging democracy

Capital: Tirane

Administrative divisions: 26 districts (rrethe, singular - rreth); Berat, Dibre, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Gramsh, Kolonje, Korce, Kruje, Kukes, Lezhe, Librazhd, Lushnje, Mat, Mirdite, Permet, Pogradec, Puke, Sarande, Shkoder, Skrapar, Tepelene, Tirane, Tropoje, Vlore

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of the Republic Sali BERISHA (since 9 April 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers Aleksander Gabriel MEKSI (since 10 April 1992)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral
People's Assembly (Kuvendi Popullor): elections last held 22 March 1992; results - DP 62.29%, ASP 25.57%, SDP 4.33%, RP 3.15%, UHP 2.92%, other 1.74%; seats - (140 total) DP 92, ASP 38, SDP 7, RP 1, UHP 2
note: 6 members of the Democratic Party defected making the present seating in the Assembly DP 86, ASP 38, SDP 7, DAP 6, RP 1, UHP 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: there are at least 28 political parties; most prominent are the Albanian Socialist Party (ASP; formerly the Albania Workers Party), Fatos NANO, first secretary; Democratic Party (DP); Albanian Republican Party (RP), Sabri GODO; Omonia (Greek minority party), Sotir QIRJAZATI, first secretary; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Skender GJINUSHI; Democratic Alliance Party (DAP), Neritan CEKA, chairman; Unity for Human Rights Party (UHP), Vasil MELO, chairman; Ecology Party (EP), Namik HOTI, chairman


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lublin Hasan DILJA
chancery: Suite 1010, 1511 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942, 8187
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph E. LAKE
embassy: Rruga E. Elbansanit 103, Tirane
mailing address: PSC 59, Box 100 (A), APO AE 09624
telephone: [355] (42) 328-75, 335-20
FAX: [355] (42) 322-22

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


Overview: An extremely poor country by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more open-market economy. The economy rebounded in 1993-94 after a severe depression accompanying the collapse of the previous centrally planned system in 1990 and 1991. Stabilization policies - including a strict monetary policy, public sector layoffs, and reduced social services - have improved the government's fiscal situation and reduced inflation. The recovery was spurred by the remittances of some 20% of the population which works abroad, mostly in Greece and Italy. These remittances supplement GDP and help offset the large foreign trade deficit. Foreign assistance and humanitarian aid also supported the recovery. Most agricultural land was privatized in 1992, substantially improving peasant incomes. Albania's limited industrial sector, now less than one-sixth of GDP, continued to decline in 1994. A sharp fall in chromium prices reduced hard currency receipts from the mining sector. Large segments of the population, especially those living in urban areas, continue to depend on humanitarian aid to meet basic food requirements. Unemployment remains a severe problem accounting for approximately one-fifth of the work force. Growth is expected to continue in 1995, but could falter if Albania becomes involved in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, workers' remittances from Greece are reduced, or foreign assistance declines.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $3.8 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 11% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,110 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 16% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 18% (1994 est.)

revenues: $1.1 billion
expenditures: $1.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $70 million (1991 est.)

Exports: $112 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: asphalt, metals and metallic ores, electricity, crude oil, vegetables, fruits, tobacco
partners: Italy, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary

Imports: $621 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: machinery, consumer goods, grains
partners: Italy, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece

External debt: $920 million (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate -10% (1993 est.); accounts for 16% of GDP (1993 est.)

capacity: 770,000 kW
production: 4 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,200 kWh (1994)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 55% of GDP; arable land per capita among lowest in Europe; 80% of arable land now in private hands; 60% of the work force engaged in farming; produces wide range of temperate-zone crops and livestock

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin transiting the Balkan route and cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium production

Economic aid:
recipient: $303 million (1993)

Currency: 1 lek (L) = 100 qintars

Exchange rates: leke (L) per US$1 - 100 (January 1995), 99 (January 1994), 97 (January 1993), 50 (January 1992), 25 (September 1991)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 543 km line connecting Podgorica (Serbia and Montenegro) and Shkoder completed August 1986
standard gauge: 509 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 34 km 0.950-m gauge (1990)

total: 18,450 km
paved: 17,450 km
unpaved: earth 1,000 km (1991)

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

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

Ports: Durres, Sarande, Shergjin, Vlore

Merchant marine:
total: 11 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 52,967 GRT/76,887 DWT

total: 11
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 2


Telephone system: about 55,000 telephones; about 15 telephones/1,000 persons
local: primitive; about 11,000 telephones in Tirane, the capital city
intercity: 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; carried through the Tirane exchange and transmitted through Italy on 240 microwave radio relay circuits and through Greece on 150 microwave radio relay circuits

broadcast stations: AM 17, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: 515,000 (1987 est.)

broadcast stations: 9
televisions: 255,000 (1987 est.)

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Interior Ministry Troops, Border Guards

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 919,085; males fit for military service 755,574; males reach military age (19) annually 33,323 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: 330 million leke, NA% of GNP (1993); note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results