Albania (GPS: 41 00 N, 20 00 E) is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, between Greece to the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north. The country’s area measurements are total: 28,748 sq km; land: 27,398 sq km, water: 1,350 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly smaller than Maryland. The total irrigated land is 3,310 sq km (2012).
One of Albania’s essential features: Strategic location along the Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea).
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Tirana’s GPS coordinates are 41 19 N 19 49 E. Tirana’s local time is 6 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+1, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.
Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912 but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and occupied by Germany in 1943. Communist partisans 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 isolated communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents.
Albania has made progress in its democratic development since it first held multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. Most of Albania’s post-communist elections were marred by electoral fraud claims; However, international observers judged elections to be mostly free and fair since the restoration of political stability following pyramid schemes’ collapse in 1997. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and, in June 2014, became an EU candidate. In April 2017, Albania received a European Commission recommendation to open EU accession negotiations following the passage of historic EU-mandated justice reforms in 2016. Although Albania’s economy continues to grow, it has slowed, and the country is still one of the poorest in Europe. A large informal economy and a weak energy and transportation infrastructure remain obstacles.
Albania’s names conventional long form: the Republic of Albania, traditional short form: Albania, local long form: Republika e Shqiperise, local short state: Shqiperia, former: People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, etymology: the English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; the native term “Shqiperia” is popularly interpreted to mean “Land of the eagles.” The English-language country name seems to be derived from the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani; The native name “Shqiperia” is derived from the Albanian word “Shqiponje” (“Eagle”) and is popularly interpreted to mean “Land of the Eagles.”
Albania’s terrain is typically mostly mountains and hills; small plains along the coast. The country’s mean elevation: 708 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Adriatic Sea 0 m, highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m.
The country’s general climate is mild temperate: cold, cloudy, wet winters: hot, clear, dry summers: the interior is colder and wetter.
The total number of border countries is 4, Greece 212 km, Kosovo 112 km, North Macedonia 181 km, Montenegro 186 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Albania’s coastline is 362 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: 41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011). Land use: agricultural land: 43.8%; arable land 22.7%; permanent crops 2.7%; permanent pasture 18.4%; forest: 28.3%; other: 27.9% (2011 estimate).
The population in Albania 3,057,220 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 57.4% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: TIRANA (capital) 454,000 (2015), while Albania has a reasonably even distribution, with somewhat higher concentrations of people in the western and central parts of the country. Their spoken languages are Albanian 98.8% (official language – derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Roma, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 estimate).
Main religions in Albania are Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%, atheist 2.5%, Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%, other 5.7%, unspecified 16.2%note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967, and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice (2011 estimate). The nation uses a civil law system except in the northern rural areas where customary law is known as the “Code of Leke.” It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 28 November (1912), also known as Flag Day.
Economic overview for the country: Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is a developing country with a modern open-market economy. Albania managed to weather the first waves of the global financial crisis, but its adverse effects caused a significant economic slowdown. Since 2014, Albania’s economy has steadily improved, and economic growth reached 3.8% in 2017. However, close trade, remittance, and banking sector ties with Greece and Italy make Albania vulnerable to spillover effects of possible debt crises and weak growth in the eurozone. Remittances, a significant catalyst for economic growth, declined from 12-15% of GDP before the 2008 financial crisis to 5.8% of GDP in 2015, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy.
The agricultural sector, which accounts for more than 40% of employment but less than one-quarter of GDP, is limited to small family operations and subsistence farming because of a lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Complex tax codes and licensing requirements, a weak judicial system, endemic corruption, poor enforcement of contracts and property issues, and antiquated infrastructure contribute to Albania’s low business environment making attracting foreign investment difficult. Since 2015, Albania has launched an ambitious program to increase tax compliance and bring more businesses into the formal economy. In July 2016, Albania passed constitutional amendments reforming the judicial system to strengthen the rule of law and reduce profoundly entrenched corruption. Albania’s electricity supply is uneven despite upgraded transmission capacities with neighboring countries. However, the government has recently taken steps to stem non-technical losses and has begun to upgrade the distribution grid. Better enforcement of electricity contracts has improved the sector’s financial viability, decreasing its reliance on budget support. With international donors’ help, the government is taking steps to improve the low road and rail networks, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. Inward foreign direct investment has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms.
The government is focused on simplifying licensing requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with the IMF for additional financial and technical support. Albania’s three-year IMF program, an extended fund facility arrangement, was successfully concluded in February 2017. The Albanian Government has strengthened tax collection amid moderate public wage and pension increases to reduce its budget deficit. The country continues to face high public debt, exceeding its former statutory limit of 60% of GDP in 2013 and reaching 72% in 2016.
Natural resources of Albania: petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land.
Main export partners for Albania, Europe are Italy 43.4%, Kosovo 9.8%, US 7.7%, China 6.2%, Greece 5.3%, Spain 4.8% (2015) for textiles, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco, while the main import partners for the country are: Italy 33.5%, China 10.1%, Greece 9%, Turkey 6.7%, Germany 5.2% (2015) for machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals.
When you visit this country in Europe, consider the natural hazards in Albania: Destructive earthquakes, tsunamis occur along the southwestern coast, floods, drought, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Albania faces the following environmental issues: Deforestation, Soil erosion, water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents, Air pollution from industrial and power plants, Loss of biodiversity due to lack of resources for sound environmental management.