The World Factbook (1990)/Albania

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World Factbook (1990) Albania.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 28,750 km²; land area: 27,400 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Maryland

Land boundaries: 768 km total; Greece 282 km, Yugoslavia 486 km

Coastline: 362 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: not specified
Territorial sea: 15 nm

Disputes: Kosovo question with Yugoslavia; Northern Epirus question with 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: crude oil, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, timber, nickel

Land use: 21% arable land; 4% permanent crops; 15% meadows and pastures; 38% forest and woodland; 22% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: subject to destructive earthquakes; tsunami occur along southwestern coast; deforestation seems to be slowing

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


Population: 3,273,131 (July 1990), growth rate 1.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 25 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 52 deaths/ 1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 78 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Albanian(s); adjective—Albanian

Ethnic divisions: Albanian 90%, Greeks 8%, other 2% (Vlachs, Gypsies, Serbs, and Bulgarians) (1989 est.)

Religion: Albania claims to be the world's first atheist state; all churches and mosques were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; pre-1967 estimates of religious affiliation 70% Muslim, 20% Albanian Orthodox, 10% Roman Catholic

Language: Albanian (Tosk is official dialect), Greek

Literacy: 75%

Labor force: 1,500,000 (1987); about 60% agriculture, 40% industry and commerce (1986)

Organized labor: Central Council of Albanian Trade Unions, 610,000 members


Long-form name: People's Socialist Republic of Albania

Type: Communist state (Stalinist)

Capital: Tiranë

Administrative divisions: 26 districts (rrethe, singular—rreth); Berat, Dibrë, Durrës, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokastër, Gramsh, Kolonjë, Korçë, Krujë, Kukës, Lezhë, Librazhd, Lushnjë, Mat, Mirditë, Përmet, Pogradec, Pukë, Sarandë, Shkodër, Skrapar, Tepelenë, Tiranë, Tropojë, Vlorë

Independence: 28 November 1912 (from Turkey); People's Socialist Republic of Albania declared 11 January 1946

Constitution: 27 December 1976

Legal system: judicial review of legislative acts only in the Presidium of the People's Assembly, which is not a true court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Liberation Day, 29 November (1944)

Executive branch: president of the Presidium of the People's Assembly, three vice presidents, Presidium of the People's Assembly; chairman of the Council of Ministers, three deputy chairmen, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly (Kuvëndi Popullor)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President of the Presidium of the People's Assembly Ramiz ALIA (since 22 November 1982);

Head of Government—Chairman of the Council of Ministers Adil ÇARÇANI (since 14 January 1982)

Political parties and leaders: only party—Albanian Workers Party, Ramiz Alia, first secretary

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: President—last held 19 February 1987 (next to be held February 1991); results President Ramiz Alia was reelected without opposition;

People's Assembly—last held 1 February 1987 (next to be held February 1991); results—Albanian Workers Party is the only party; seats—(250 total) Albanian Workers Party 250

Communists: 147,000 party members (November 1986)

Member of: CCC, CEMA (has not participated since rift with USSR in 1961), FAO, IAEA, IPU, ITU, UN, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: none—the US does not recognize the Albanian Government and has no diplomatic or consular relations with Albania; there is no third-power representation of Albanian interests in the US or of US interests in Albania

Flag: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center below a red five-pointed star outlined in yellow


Overview: As the poorest country in Europe, Albania's development lags behind even the least favored areas of the Yugoslav economy. The Stalinist-type economy operates on the principles of central planning and state ownership of the means of production. In recent years Albania has implemented limited economic reforms to stimulate its lagging economy, although they do not go nearly so far as current reforms in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Attempts at self-reliance and a policy of not borrowing from international lenders—sometimes overlooked in recent years have greatly hindered the development of a broad economic infrastructure. Albania, however, possesses considerable mineral resources and is largely self-sufficient in food. Numerical estimates of Albanian economic activity are subject to an especially wide margin of error because the government is isolated and closemouthed.

GNP: $3.8 billion, per capita $1,200; real growth rate NA% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $2.3 billion; expenditures $2.3 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (1989)

Exports: $378 million (f.o.b., 1987 est.); commodities—asphalt, bitumen, petroleum products, metals and metallic ores, electricity, oil, vegetables, fruits, tobacco; partners—Italy, Yugoslavia, FRG, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary

Imports: $255 million (f.o.b., 1987 est.); commodities—machinery, machine tools, iron and steel products, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; partners—Italy, Yugoslavia, FRG, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, GDR

External debt: $NA

Industrial production: growth rate NA

Electricity: 1,630,000 kW capacity; 4,725 million kWh produced, 1,440 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: arable land per capita among lowest in Europe; one-half of work force engaged in farming; produces wide range of temperate-zone crops and livestock; claims self-sufficiency in grain output

Aid: none

Currency: lek (plural—lekë); 1 lek (L) = 100 qintars

Exchange rates: lekë (L) per US$1—8.00 (noncommercial fixed rate since 1986), 4.14 (commercial fixed rate since 1987)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 543 km total; 509 1.435-meter standard gauge, single track and 34 km narrow gauge, single track (1988); line connecting Titograd (Yugoslavia) and Shkodër (Albania) completed August 1986

Highways: 16,700 km total; 6,700 km highway and roads, 10,000 km forest and agricultural

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

Pipelines: crude oil, 145 km; refined products, 55 km; natural gas, 64 km (1988)

Ports: Durrës, Sarandë, Vlorë

Merchant marine: 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 52,886 GRT/75,993 DWT; includes 11 cargo

Airports: 12 total, 10 usable; more than 5 with permanent-surface runways; more than 5 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 5 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations—17 AM, 5 FM, 9 TV; 52,000 TV sets; 210,000 radios

Defense Forces

Branches: Albanian People's Army, Frontier Troops, Interior Troops, Albanian Coastal Defense Command, Air and Air Defense Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 882,965; 729,635 fit for military service; 33,598 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.1 billion leks, 11.3% of total budget (FY88); note—conversion of the military budget into US dollars using the official administratively set exchange rate would produce misleading results