The World Factbook (1990)/Kuwait

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 174–175


World Factbook (1990) Kuwait.jpg

 See regional map VI


Total area: 17,820 km²; land area: 17,820 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries: 462 km total; Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km

Coastline: 499 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: not specific
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: ownership of Warbah and Būbiyān islands disputed by Iraq; ownership of Qaruh and Umm al Maradim Islands disputed by Saudi Arabia

Climate: dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters

Terrain: flat to slightly undulating desert plain

Natural resources: petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas

Land use: NEGL% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 8% meadows and pastures; NEGL% forest and woodland; 92% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide most of water; air and water pollution; desertification

Note: strategic location at head of Persian Gulf


Population: 2,123,711 (July 1990), growth rate 3.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 29 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 2 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 11 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 15 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 76 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 3.7 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: 27.9% Kuwaiti, 39% other Arab, 9% South Asian, 4% Iranian, 20.1% other

Religion: 85% Muslim (30% Shi‘a, 45% Sunni, 10% other), 15% Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other

Language: Arabic (official); English widely spoken

Literacy: 71% (est.)

Labor force: 566,000 (1986); 45.0% services, 20.0% construction, 12.0% trade, 8.6% manufacturing, 2.6% finance and real estate, 1.9% agriculture, 1.7% power and water, 1.4% mining and quarrying; 70% of labor force is non-Kuwaiti

Organized labor: labor unions exist in oil industry and among government personnel


Long-form name: State of Kuwait

Type: nominal constitutional monarchy

Capital: Kuwait

Administrative divisions: 4 governorates (muḩāfaz̧at, singular—muḩāfaz̧ah); Al Aḥmadī, Al Jahrah, Al Kuwayt, Ḥawallī; note—there may be a new governorate of Farwaniyyah

Independence: 19 June 1961 (from UK)

Constitution: 16 November 1962 (some provisions suspended since 29 August 1962)

Legal system: civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: National Day, 25 February

Executive branch: amir, prime minister, deputy prime minister. Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: National Assembly (Majlis al ‘Umma) dissolved 3 July 1986

Judicial branch: High Court of Appeal

Leaders: Chief of State—Amir Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al SABAH (since 31 December 1977);

Head of Government—Prime Minister and Crown Prince Sa‘d Abdallah al-Salim Al SABAH (since 8 February 1978)

Political parties and leaders: none

Suffrage: adult males who resided in Kuwait before 1920 and their male descendants at age 21; note—out of all citizens, only 8.3% are eligible to vote and only 3.5% actually vote

Elections: National Assembly—dissolved 3 July 1986 and no elections are planned

Communists: insignificant

Other political or pressure groups: large (350,000) Palestinian community; several small, clandestine leftist and Shi‘a fundamentalist groups are active


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Shaikh Saud Nasir AL-SABAH; Chancery at 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 966-0702; US—Ambassador W. Nathaniel HOWELL; Embassy at Bneid al-Gar (opposite the Hilton Hotel), Kuwait City (mailing address is P. O. Box 77 Safat, 13001 Safat, Kuwait City); telephone [965] 242-4151 through 4159

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side


Overview: The oil sector dominates the economy. Of the countries in the Middle East, Kuwait has oil reserves second only to those of Saudi Arabia. Earnings from hydrocarbons generate over 90% of both export and government revenues and contribute about 40% to GDP. Most of the nonoil sector is dependent upon oil-derived government revenues to provide infrastructure development and to promote limited industrial diversification. The economy is heavily dependent upon foreign labor Kuwaitis account for less than 20% of the labor force. The early years of the Iran-Iraq war pushed Kuwait's GDP well below its 1980 peak; however, during the period 1986-88, GDP increased each year, rising to 5% in 1988.

GDP: $20.5 billion, per capita $10,500; real growth rate 5.0% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 0%

Budget: revenues $7.1 billion; expenditures $10.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.1 billion (FY88)

Exports: $7.1 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—oil 90%; partners—Japan, Italy, FRG, US

Imports: $5.2 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—food, construction material, vehicles and parts, clothing; partners—Japan, US, FRG, UK

External debt: $7.2 billion (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 3% (1988)

Electricity: 8,287,000 kW capacity; 21,500 million kWh produced, 10,710 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing, salt, construction

Agriculture: virtually none; dependent on imports for food; about 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported

Aid: donor—pledged $18.3 billion in bilateral aid to less developed countries (1979-89)

Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Kuwaiti dinar (KD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US$1—0.2915 (January 1990), 0.2937 (1989), 0.2790 (1988), 0.2786 (1987), 0.2919 (1986), 0.3007 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Highways: 3,000 km total; 2,500 km bituminous; 500 km earth, sand, light gravel

Pipelines: crude oil, 877 km; refined products, 40 km; natural gas, 165 km

Ports: Ash Shuwaykh, Ash Shuaybah, Mina al Ahmadi

Merchant marine: 51 ships (1,000 GRT or over), totaling 1,862,010 GRT/2,935,007 DWT; includes 18 cargo, 5 container, 5 livestock carrier, 18 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 5 liquefied gas Civil air: 19 major transport aircraft

Airports: 8 total, 4 usable; 4 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 4 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; none with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent international, adequate domestic facilities; 258,000 telephones; stations—3 AM, 2 FM, 3 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, and 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT; 1 INMARSAT, 1 ARABSAT; coaxial cable and radio relay to Iraq and Saudi Arabia

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Force, National Guard

Military manpower: males 15-49, about 688,516; about 411,742 fit for military service; 18,836 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 5.8% of GDP, or $1.2 billion (FY89)