Country Profile

Country’s Official name: Republic of Albania


Political system: Parliamentary Republic


President: Bujar NISHANI


Prime Minister: Edi RAMA

Capital: Tirana

Other important cities: Durres, Shkodra, Vlora, Korca, Fier, Gjirokastra, etc.

The official language: Albanian

The national Currency: Lek

Population: 2 821 977 (Source: INSTAT)

Main Investment areas and sectors: Energy, Mining Industry, Oil and Gas, Tourism, Agriculture and Food, Manufacturing, BPO Industries, Telecommunications etc.

 

Location and climate

Albania is a small country situated in South Eastern Europe in the West of Balkan Peninsula. It encompasses an area of 28,748 square kilometers, between 390 38’ and 420 39’ of North Latitude and 190 16’ to 210 40’ latitude, with a maximum length from north to south of about 340 kilometers and a maximum width of about 154 km.

Bordering Countries: northwest Montenegro, northeast Kosovo, east Macedonia, and to the southeast and south by Greece. To the west and southwest, the Adriatic and Ionian seas border Albania. Albania’s immediate western neighbor, Italy, lies some 80 km across the Adriatic. From the geographical position point of view, Albania represents a strategic point in crossing roads from Western Mediterranean Countries to Balkan and Small Asia.

Albania resides between two climatic areas: Mediterranean zone and Continental zone of Central Europe. Average annual temperature is around 13-14 degrees. Higher temperatures existing in the western part of the country decrease with almost 5 degrees in North and East Albania. July is hottest month, whereas January and sometimes February the coldest ones. Average annual rainfall is about 1.485 mm with a stable distribution. July and rarely August is the driest month of the year, whereas November and sometimes December are the wettest ones.

 

Historical background

Albanians refer to themselves as shqiptarë, meaning “sons of eagles,” and to their country as Shqipëria. Descended from the ancient Illyrians, they have a rich history and culture. Owing to its location on the Adriatic Sea, Albania has long served as a bridgehead for various nations and empires seeking conquest abroad. In the 2nd century BC the Illyrians were conquered by the Romans, and from the end of the 4th century AD they were ruled by the Byzantine Empire. After suffering centuries of invasion by Visigoths, Huns, Buglers, and Slavs, the Albanians were finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century.

Turkish rule cut off Albania from Western civilization for more than four centuries, but in the late 19th century the country began to remove itself from Ottoman Orientals and to rediscover old affinities and common interests with the West. Albania was declared independent in 1912, but the following year the demarcation of the boundaries of the new country by the Great Powers of Europe assigned about half its territory and people to neighboring states.

Ruled as a monarchy between the world wars, Albania emerged from the violence of World War II as a communist state (November 1944) in which the ruling party controlled almost all aspects of life. But with the collapse of other communist regimes beginning in 1989, new social forces and democratic political parties emerged in Albania. This shift reflected the country’s continuing orientation toward the West, and it accorded with the Albanian people’s long-standing appreciation of Western technology and cultural achievements—even while retaining their own ethnic identity, cultural heritage, and individuality.

 

Demography

The first official registration of the population of Albania was made in 1923. At that time Albania accounted for approximately 804.000 habitants. In 1945 it counted 1.122.000 habitants and before the years ’90 around 3.000.000. As of 1 April 2001, the population of Albania is 3.078.159 persons of whom 1.539.980 are males and 1.547.179 females. Urban population accounts for 42% while the remaining 58% is rural. More than 500 000 Albanians have emigrated outside the country during this decade, mostly in Greece and Italy. The recent census has showed that the total population of Albania resident in the country has decreased as compared to 1989, because of the massive external migration. INSTAT’s Survey (2012) on population accounts for 2 821 977 inhabitants.