[Country map of Malta]



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

Map references: Europe

total area: 320 sq km
land area: 320 sq km
comparative area: 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

International disputes: Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration

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

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

Natural resources: limestone, salt

Land use:
arable land: 38%
permanent crops: 3%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 59%

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1989)

current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Desertification

Note: the country comprises an archipelago, with only the 3 largest islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors


Population: 369,609 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22% (female 39,199; male 41,581)
15-64 years: 67% (female 123,665; male 124,167)
65 years and over: 11% (female 23,597; male 17,400) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.75% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 13.22 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.43 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.02 years
male: 74.75 years
female: 79.48 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese

Ethnic divisions: Arab, Sicilian, Norman, Spanish, Italian, English

Religions: Roman Catholic 98%

Languages: Maltese (official), English (official)

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1985)
total population: 84%
male: 86%
female: 82%

Labor force: 127,200
by occupation: government (excluding job corps) 37%, services 26%, manufacturing 22%, training programs 9%, construction 4%, agriculture 2% (1990)


conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta

Digraph: MT

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Valletta

Administrative divisions: none (administration directly from Valletta)

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ugo MIFSUD BONNICI (since 4 April 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. Edward (Eddie) FENECH ADAMI (since 12 May 1987); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Guido DE MARCO (since 14 May 1987)
cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president on advice of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
House of Representatives: elections last held 22 February 1992 (next to be held by February 1997); results - NP 51.8%, MLP 46.5%; seats - (usually 65 total) MLP 36, NP 29; note - additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority; current total: 69 (MLP 33, NP 36 after adjustment)

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders: Nationalist Party (NP), Edward FENECH ADAMI; Malta Labor Party (MLP), Alfred SANT


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Albert Borg Olivier DE PUGET
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611, 3612
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
consulate(s): New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph R. PAOLINO, Jr.
embassy: 2nd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, Malta
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta
telephone: [356] 235960
FAX: [356] 243229

Flag: 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


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. Consequently, the economy is highly dependent on foreign trade and services. Manufacturing and tourism are the largest contributors to the economy. Manufacturing accounts for about 24% of GDP, with the electronics and textile industries major contributors and with the state-owned Malta drydocks employing about 4,300 people. In 1994, over 1,000,000 tourists visited the island. Per capita GDP of $10,760 places Malta in the range of the less affluent EU countries.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $3.9 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 4.4% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $10,760 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.5% (March 1994)

revenues: $1.4 billion
expenditures: $1.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $215 million (FY94/95 est.)

Exports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, clothing and footware, printed matter
partners: Italy 32%, Germany 16%, UK 8%

Imports: $2.1 billion (c.i.f., 1993)
commodities: food, petroleum, machinery and semimanufactured goods
partners: Italy 27%, Germany 14%, UK 13%, US 9%

External debt: $603 million (1992)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.4% (1992); accounts for 27% of GDP

capacity: 250,000 kW
production: 1.1 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 2,749 kWh (1993)

Industries: tourism, electronics, ship repairyard, construction, food manufacturing, textiles, footwear, clothing, beverages, tobacco

Agriculture: accounts for 3% of GDP and 2% of the work force (1992); overall, 20% self-sufficient; main products - potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers, hogs, poultry, eggs; generally adequate supplies of vegetables, poultry, milk, pork products; seasonal or periodic shortages in grain, animal fodder, fruits, other basic foodstuffs

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

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-81), $172 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $336 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $76 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $48 million

Currency: 1 Maltese lira (LM) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Maltese liri (LM) per US$1 - 0.3656 (January 1995), 0.3776 (1994), 0.3821 (1993), 0.3178 (1992), 0.3226 (1991), 0.3172 (1990)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,291 km
paved: asphalt 1,179 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone 77 km; earth 35 km

Ports: Marsaxlokk, Valletta

Merchant marine:
total: 964 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 15,518,359 GRT/26,604,739 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk 272, cargo 300, chemical tanker 30, combination bulk 26, combination ore/oil 16, container 33, liquefied gas tanker 3, multifunction large-load carrier 3, oil tanker 191, passenger 7, passenger-cargo 3, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 14, roll-on/roll-off cargo 26, short-sea passenger 20, specialized tanker 5, vehicle carrier 11
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes 49 countries; the 10 major fleet flags are: Greece 351 ships, Russia 66, Croatia 63, Switzerland 31, Montenegro 29, Italy 27, Germany 23, Monaco 20, UK 20, and Georgia 10

total: 1
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1


Telephone system: 153,000 telephones; automatic system satisfies normal requirements
local: NA
intercity: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
international: 1 submarine cable and 1 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 2
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Armed Forces, Maltese Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 98,525; males fit for military service 78,305 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $21.4 million, about 0.9% of GDP (FY92/93)