Albania

Flag  Flag of Albania
Map  
Introduction Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partizans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albania's economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.
History

The area of today's Albania has been populated since prehistoric times. In antiquity, much of it was settled by the Illyrians, possible ancestors of present-day Albanians.[9]The modern Albanian state comprises the southernmost part of ancient Illyria and the northern part of ancient Epirus.

Surrounded by powerful, warring empires, Albania has experienced considerable violence and competition for control throughout its history. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans swept through, leaving their cultural mark as well as their ruins.

Archaeological research shows that the lands that are today inhabited by Albanians were first populated in the Paleolithic Age (Stone Age). The first areas settled were those with favourable climatic and geographic conditions. In Albania, the earliest settlements have been discovered in the Gajtan cavern (Shkodra), in Konispol, at Mount Dajti, and at Saranda. Fragments of Cyclopean structures, were discovered at Kretsunitsa, Arinishta, and other sites in the district of Gjirokastra. The walls, partly Cyclopean, of an ancient city (perhaps Byllis) are visible at Gradishti on the picturesque Viosa River. Few traces remain of the once celebrated Dyrrhachium (today Durrës).

Butrint, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The rediscovered city of Butrint is probably more significant today than it was when Julius Caesar used it as a provisions depot for his troops during his campaigns in the 1st century BC. At that time, it was considered to be an unimportant outpost, overshadowed by the Greek colonies, Apollonia and Durrës.

Formal investigation and recording of Albania's archaeological monuments began with Francois Pouqueville, who was Napoleon's consul-general to Ali Pasha's court, and Martin Leake, who was the British agent there. A French mission, led by Len Rey, worked throughout Albania from 1924 to 1938 and published its results in Cahiers d'Archéologie, d'art et d'Histoire en Albanie et dans les Balkans (Notes of Archaeology, Art, and History in Albania and in the Balkans).

Archaeologists today are finding remains from all periods, from the Stone Age to the early Christian era.

Another project that produced prehistoric finds, though unexpectedly, was done in the valley of Kryegjata, close to the present-day city of Fier and in the area of Apollonia. This excavation, a collaboration between the University of Cincinnati and archaeologists from the Institute of Archeology in Albania, was originally a mission to learn about the Greek colony of Apollonia. Instead, they found evidence of a much older settlement.[10]

In 2000, the Albanian government established Butrint National Park, which draws about 70,000 visitors annually and is Albania's second World Heritage site.

In 2003, a synagogue dating from the 5th or 6th century AD was uncovered in Saranda, a coastal town opposite Corfu. It was the first time remains of an early synagogue have been found in that area. The history of its excavation is also noteworthy. The team found exceptional mosaics depicting items associated with Jewish holidays, including a menorah, ram's horn, and citron tree. Mosaics in the basilica of the synagogue show the facade of what resembles a Torah, animals, trees, and other biblical symbols. The structure measures 20 by 24 metres and was probably last used in the 6th century AD as a church.

The territory of Albania in antiquity was inhabited by the Illyrians,[11]who, like other Balkan peoples, were subdivided into tribes and clans.[12] The kingdom of Illyria grew from the general area of modern-day Northern Albania and eventually controlled much of the eastern Adriatic coastline. Scodra was its capital, just as the city is now the most important urban center of northern Albania. The kingdom, however, reached the zenith of its expansion and development in the 4th century BC, when King Bardyllis , one of the most prominent of the Illyrian kings, united many Illyrian tribes into one Illyrian kingdom, and attacked the Greeks of the Molossian kingdom of Epirus and the kingdom of Macedon. Its decay began under the same ruler as a result of the attacks made by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

Independence and recent history

Ancient Illyria was conquered by Romans, Slavs, and Ottoman Turks (15th cent.)[13] Skanderbeg withstood repeated attacks and forced Sultan Murad II to conclude a 10-year truce in 1461. Skanderbeg broke the truce in 1463 when Pope Pius II called for a new crusade. The pope's death (1464) forced abandonment of the crusade. Skanderbeg, left without allies, had to retreat to his fortress of Kruja. After his death the league dissolved, resistance collapsed, and Albania fell to the Ottomans.Independent Albania was proclaimed in 1912 and the republic was formed in 1920. King Zog I ruled 1925-39, until Italy invaded Albania.

Tirana liberated November 20, 1944 by the Albanian partisans.

Albania was one of the first countries occupied by the Axis Powers in World War II.[14] As Hitler began his aggressions, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini set his eyes on Albania across the Adriatic from Italy. Despite some strong resistance, especially at Durrës, Italy invaded Albania on April 7, 1939 and took control of the country.Mussolini, in October 1940, used his Albanian base to launch an attack on Greece. During WWII, Albanian nationalist groups, including communist partisans, fought against the Italians and subsequently the Germans. By October 1944 they had thrown the Germans out, the only East European nation to do so without the assistance of Soviet troops. The partially French-educated Enver Hoxha became the leader of the country by virtue of his position as secretary general of the Party of Labor (the Albanian Communist Party). The Communist Party was created on November 8, 1941 with the help of the Yugoslavian Communist Party.

Albania is unique in that it is the only European country occupied by the Nazis that ended World War II with a larger Jewish population than before the War.[15] The Albanian response to the Holocaust is especially notable because it was Europe's only largely Muslim country.[16] [17].Even so only a Jewish family of six was deported and killed during the Nazi occupation of Albania.[18] Not only did the Albanians protect their own Jews, but they provided refuge for Jews from neighboring countries. The Albanians refused to comply and hand over lists of Jews. Instead they provided the Jewish families with forged documents and helped them disperse in the Albanian population.[19] [20]

Albania allied with the USSR, and then broke with the USSR in 1960 over de-Stalinization. A strong political alliance with China followed, leading to several billion dollars in aid, which was curtailed after 1974. China cut off aid in 1978 when Albania attacked its policies after the death of Chinese ruler Mao Zedong. Large-scale purges of officials occurred during the 1970s.

Enver Hoxha, the nation's ruler for 4 decades, died Apr. 11, 1985. Eventually the new regime introduced some liberalization, including measures in 1990 providing for freedom to travel abroad. Efforts were begun to improve ties with the outside world. March 1991 elections left the former Communists in power, but a general strike and urban opposition led to the formation of a coalition cabinet including non-Communists.[21]

Albania's former Communists were routed in elections Mar. 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest. Sali Berisha was elected as the first non-Communist president since WWII.

During NATO's air war against Yugoslavia, March-June 1999, Albania hosted some 465,000 Kosovar refugees. Victory by a pro-Berisha coalition in elections July 3, 2005, ended 8 years of Socialist Party rule. Crowds in Tirana, June 10, 2007, welcomed George W. Bush, the first sitting U.S. president to visit Albania.

Geography Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Serbia to the north
Geographic coordinates: 41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Serbia 115 km
Coastline: 362 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
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
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)
Irrigated land: 3,530 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 41.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 1.71 cu km/yr (27%/11%/62%)
per capita: 546 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Politics

The Albanian republic is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. Elections are now held every four years to a unicameral 140-seat chamber, the People’s Assembly.In June 2002, a compromise candidate, Alfred Moisiu, former Army General, was elected to succeed President Rexhep Meidani. Parliamentary elections in July 2005 brought Sali Berisha, as leader of the Democratic Party, back to power. The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU membership bid has been set as a priority by the European Commission. Albania, along with Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia, hopes to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2008.[22]

The workforce of Albania has continued to migrate to Greece, Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and North America. However, the migration flux is slowly decreasing, as more and more opportunities are emerging in Albania itself as its economy steadily develops. Albanian emigrants have achieved great success in multiple geographies and disciplines abroad. In particular, there is now a significant Albanian community in the United Kingdom, in cities such as Birmingham and Manchester. The Albanian Diaspora is most prevalent in Liverpool, where Albanian cuisine has something of a cult following. Pulitzer prize winning journalist Caroline Thorpe, who is currently an emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool, recently noted that 'Albanian food has become as synonymous with Liverpool as Bill Shankley or the Beatles!'.

People Population: 3,600,523 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.1% (male 454,622/female 413,698)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 1,228,497/female 1,170,489)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 154,352/female 178,865) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 29.2 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 29.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.529% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 15.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.33 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.099 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.863 male(s)/female
total population: 1.042 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 20.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.6 years
male: 74.95 years
female: 80.53 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.03 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
Religions: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice
Languages: Albanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Literacy: definition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
Government Country name: 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
Government type: emerging democracy
Capital: name: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Independence: 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912)
Constitution: adopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal system: has a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections: president elected by the People's Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; People's Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes
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)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 56, PS 42, PR 11, PSD 7, LSI 5, other 19
Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, Supreme Court (chairman is elected by the People's Assembly for a four-year term), and multiple appeals and district courts
Political parties and leaders: Agrarian Environmentalist Party or PAA [Lufter XHUVELI]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nard NDOKA]; Communist Party of Albania or PKSH [Hysni MILLOSHI]; Democratic Alliance Party or AD [Neritan CEKA]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIA]; Liberal Union Party or BLD [Arjan STAROVA]; Movement for National Development or LZhK [Dashamir SHEHI]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Adriatik ALIMADHI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQIRI]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party of Albania or PDSSh [Paskal MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNj [Vangjel DULE]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Citizens Advocacy Office [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kastriot MUCO]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement; Omonia [Jani JANI]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participation: BSEC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Aleksander SALLABANDA
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. John L. WITHERS, II
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 247285
FAX: [355] (4) 232222
Flag description: red with a black two-headed eagle in the center
Culture

The cultural resistance was first of all expressed through the elaboration of the Albanian language in the area of church texts and publications, mainly of the Catholic confessional region in the North, but also of the Orthodox in the South. The Protestant reforms invigorated hopes for the development of the local language and literary tradition when cleric Gjon Buzuku brought into the Albanian language the Catholic liturgy, trying to do for the Albanian language what Luther did for German.

Excerpt from Meshari by Gjon Buzuku.

Meshari (The Missal) by Gjon Buzuku, published by him in 1555, is considered to date as the first literary work of written Albanian. The refined level of the language and the stabilised orthography must be a result of an earlier tradition of writing Albanian, a tradition that is not known. But there are some fragmented evidence, dating earlier than Buzuku, which indicate that Albanian was written at least since 14th century AD. The first known evidence dates from 1332 AD and deals with the French Dominican Guillelmus Adae, Archbishop of Antivari, who in a report in Latin writes that Albanians use Latin letters in their books although their language is quite different from Latin. Of special importance in supporting this are: a baptizing formula (Unte paghesont premenit Atit et Birit et spertit senit) of 1462, written in Albanian within a text in Latin by the bishop of Durrës, Pal Engjëlli; a glossary with Albanian words of 1497 by Arnold von Harff, a German who had travelled through Albania, and a 15th century fragment from the Bible from the Gospel of Matthew, also in Albanian, but in Greek letters.

Albanian writings of these centuries must not have been religious texts only, but historical chronicles too. They are mentioned by the humanist Marin Barleti, who, in his book Rrethimi i Shkodrës (The Siege of Shkodër) (1504), confirms that he leafed through such chronicles written in the language of the people (in vernacula lingua). Despite the obstacles generated by the Counter-Reformation which was opposed to the development of national languages in Christian liturgy[citation needed], this process went on uninterrupted. During the 16th to 17th centuries, the catechism E mbësuame krishterë (Christian Teachings) (1592) by Lekë Matrënga, Doktrina e krishterë (The Christian Doctrine) (1618) and Rituale romanum (1621) by Pjetër Budi, the first writer of original Albanian prose and poetry, an apology for George Castriot (1636) by Frang Bardhi, who also published a dictionary and folklore creations, the theological-philosophical treaty Cuneus Prophetarum (The Band of Prophets) (1685) by Pjetër Bogdani, the most universal personality of Albanian Middle Ages, were published in Albanian.

Economy 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 (purchasing power parity): $19.76 billion
note: Albania has a large gray economy that may be as large as 50% of official GDP (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $11.2 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 20.3%
services: 58% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (September 2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 58%
industry: 15%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 25% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 24.4% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 26.7 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 23.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $2.752 billion
expenditures: $3.129 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 53.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Industries: food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate: 2% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 5.385 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 2.9%
hydro: 97.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 3.323 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 300 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 371 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 7,006 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 29,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 1,240 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports: 21,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 198.1 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 28.77 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 814.7 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$918 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $962 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners: Italy 67.7%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.8%, Greece 5.4% (2006)
Imports: $3.42 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners: Italy 32%, Greece 17.7%, Turkey 8.1%, Germany 5.7% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: ODA: $318.7 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.084 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $1.55 billion (2004)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke
Currency code: ALL
Exchange rates: leke per US dollar - 92.668 (2007), 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 353,600 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.53 million (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains low with roughly 10 lines per 100 people; however, cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective; combined fixed line and mobile telephone density is approximately 60 telephones per 100 persons
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile phone service has been available since 1996; by 2003 two companies were providing mobile services at a greater density than some of Albania's Balkan neighbors; Internet broadband services initiated in 2005; internet cafes are popular in Tirana and have started to spread outside the capital
international: country code - 355; submarine cable provides connectivity to Italy, Croatia, and Greece; the Trans-Balkan Line, a combination submarine cable and land fiber optic system, provides additional connectivity to Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Turkey; international traffic carried by fiber-optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)
Radios: 1 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations: 65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)
Televisions: 700,000 (2001)
Internet country code: .al
Internet hosts: 852 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 10 (2001)
Internet users: 471,200 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 11 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 339 km; oil 207 km (2007)
Railways: total: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Waterways: 43 km (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 56,550 GRT/85,521 DWT
by type: cargo 23, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 3 (Georgia 2, Panama 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Durres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Military Military branches: Land Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Defense Command, General Staff Headquarters (includes Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 19 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service: males age 19-49: 809,524
females age 19-49: 784,199 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 19-49: 668,526
females age 19-49: 648,334 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 37,407
females age 19-49: 34,587 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.49% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: the Albanian Government calls for the protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians in neighboring countries, and the peaceful resolution of interethnic disputes; some ethnic Albanian groups in neighboring countries advocate for a "greater Albania," but the idea has little appeal among Albanian nationals; the mass emigration of unemployed Albanians remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy
Illicit drugs: increasingly active transshipment point for Southwest Asian opiates, hashish, and cannabis transiting the Balkan route and - to a lesser extent - cocaine from South America destined for Western Europe; limited opium and growing cannabis production; ethnic Albanian narcotrafficking organizations active and expanding in Europe; vulnerable to money laundering associated with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband, and illegal aliens