Location of Albania in Europe
Facts & Statistics
Country name: The Republic of Albania (alb. Republika e Shqipërisë)
Flag description: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
Area: 28.748 km²
Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Land boundaries: total: 717 km
Coastline: 427 km
Population: 3,170,048 (January 2008 estimate). Apart from Albanians living in Albania, there are an estimated two million emigrants in the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Canada and other countries.
Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
Languages: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), a linguistically a distinct branch of the Indo-European family. First written in 15th century the Albanian language distinguishes two main dialects, Gegerishte spoken in the north and Toskerishte spoken in the south, river Shkumbin being the bordline between the two dialects. Greek is widely spoken in the south of the country, and some state schools there use Greek as the medium of education. Many Albanians speak Italian; some also know English, French or German.
Religions: Albania is an extremely secular society. The traditional breakdown is 70% Muslim, 20% Orthodox (the autocephalous Albanian church) and 10% Catholic, but at best these figures indicate nothing more than nominal attachment to each faith. All mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice.
Administrative divisions: 12 counties (alb. qarqe, singular - qark), 36 districts
Capital: Tirana (alb. Tiranë), population 555 848 (January 2008 est.)
Main Cities: Durres (alb. Durrës), Shkodra (alb. Shkodër), Vlora (alb. Vlorë), Elbasan, Korce (alb. Korçë), Berat (alb. Berati), Gjirokastra (alb. Gjirokastër), Saranda (alb. Sarandë)
System of government: Parliamentary democracy
Executive branch: chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007) http://www.president.al
Legislative branch: unicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; 100 members are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote to serve four-year terms), elections: last held 3 July 2005 (next to be held in 2009) http://www.parlament.al
Economy - overview: Lagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. 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. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for more than one-fifth of GDP, is held back because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albania's poor business environment, which make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission line between Albania and Montenegro will help relieve the energy shortages. Also, the government is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. On the positive side, macroeconomic growth was strong in 2003-07 and inflation is low and stable.
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 21.2%, industry: 20.5%, services: 58.3% (2007 est.)
Currency (code): Lek (ALL); exchange rates: 1 USD = 97 Leke, 1 EUR = 123 Leke (01/2009)
Weights and Measures: Metric
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz
Time Zone: Albania is in the Central European Time Zone (GMT+1). During daylight savings time (end of April to end of October), the time is GMT+2. When it is noon in Albania, it is 06:00 in New York, 11:00 In London and 12:00 in Berlin.
Calling code: +355
Internet country code: al
Distinguishing sign (cars): AL
Drives on the: right