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Flag of Malta
Map of Malta
Introduction Malta
Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. island staunchly supported UK through both World Wars and remained in Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about mid-1980s, island has become a freight transshipment point, financial center, and tourist destination. It is an official candidate for EU membership.
Geography Malta
Southern Europe, islands in Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
Geographic coordinates:
35 50 N, 14 35 E
Map references:
total: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 316 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
196.8 km (does not include 56.01 km for island of Gozo)
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 25 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to depth of exploitation
Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers
mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Ta'Dmejrek 253 m (near Dingli)
Natural resources:
limestone, salt, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 31.25%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 65.62% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
very limited natural fresh water resources; increasing reliance on desalination
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
country comprises an archipelago, with only three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing commercial exploitation of continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
People Malta
Total Population:
400,420 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.5% (male 40,448; female 37,623)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 136,221; female 134,142)
65 years and over: 13% (male 21,730; female 30,256) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 37.2 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 38.8 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.73% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
12.75 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
7.8 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
Population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 5.87 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 78.43 years
male: 75.94 years
female: 81.14 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.91 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2001 est.)
noun: Maltese (singular and plural)
adjective: Maltese
Ethnic groups:
Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock)
Roman Catholic 98%
Maltese (official), English (official)
definition: age 10 and over can read and write
Population: 92.8%
male: 92%
female: 93.6% (2003 est.)
Government Malta
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
none (administered directly from Valletta); note - Local Councils carry out administrative orders
21 September 1964 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 21 September (1964)
1964 constitution substantially amended on 13 December 1974 and again in 1987
Legal system:
based on English common law and Roman civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Guido DE MARCO (since 4 April 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Eddie FENECH ADAMI (since 6 September 1998); Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 4 April 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president on advice of prime minister
elections: president elected by House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held NA April 1999 (next to be held by April 2004); following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by president for a five-year term; deputy prime minister is appointed by president on advice of prime minister
election results: Guido DE MARCO elected president; percent of House of Representatives vote - 54%
Legislative branch:
unicameral House of Representatives (usually 65 seats; note - additional seats are given to party with largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority; members are elected by popular vote on basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 12 April 2003 (next to be held by April 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - PN 51.7%, MLP 47.6%, AD 0.7%; seats by party - PN 34, MLP 31
Judicial branch:
Constitutional Court; Court of Appeal; judges for both courts are appointed by president on advice of prime minister
Political parties and leaders:
Alternativa Demokratika/Alliance for Social Justice or AD [Harry VASSALLO]; Malta Labor Party or MLP [Alfred SANT]; Nationalist Party or PN [Edward FENECH ADAMI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John LOWELL
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 387-5470
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611, 3612
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Anthony H. GIOIA
embassy: 3rd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, Malta VLT 01
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta, Malta
telephone: [356] 21-235-960
FAX: [356] 2124-3229
Flag description:
two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in upper hoist-side corner is a representation of George Cross, edged in red
Economy Malta
Economy - overview:
Major resources are limestone, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited fresh water supplies, and has no domestic energy sources. economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism. Malta is privatizing state-controlled firms and liberalizing markets in order to prepare for membership in European Union. island remains divided politically, however, over question of joining EU. Continued sluggishness in globel economy is holding back exports, tourism, and overall growth.
buying power parity - $6.818 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $17,200 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 25.5%
services: 71.7% (1999)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.4% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
160,000 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 24%, services 71%, agriculture 5% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7% (2002 est.)
revenues: $1.5 billion
expenditures: $1.6 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2000)
tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
1.768 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.644 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
20,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
$2 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures
Exports - partners:
Singapore 17.3%, US 11.4%, UK 9.4%, Germany 9%, France 7.2%, China 6.5%, Italy 6% (2002)
$2.8 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, and tobacco
Imports - partners:
Italy 18.3%, France 12.1%, South Korea 11.3%, UK 7.5%, Singapore 5.3%, Germany 5.2%, Japan 5%, US 4.6%, Spain 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$130 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Maltese lira (MTL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.43 (2002), 0.45 (2001), 0.44 (2000), 0.4 (1999), 0.39 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Malta
Telephones - main lines in use:
187,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
17,691 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: automatic system satisfies normal requirements
domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
international: 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)
255,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (2000)
280,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2002)
Internet users:
59,000 (2002)
Transportation Malta
0 km
total: 2,254 km
paved: 1,972 km
unpaved: 282 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Marsaxlokk, Valletta
Merchant marine:
total: 1,234 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 25,885,128 GRT/42,467,864 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 4, Austria 6, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 3, Bulgaria 19, Canada 2, China 16, Croatia 14, Cuba 1, Cyprus 7, Denmark 3, Estonia 5, Finland 1, Germany 54, Greece 627, Hong Kong 12, Iceland 3, India 10, Iran 2, Israel 26, Italy 36, Japan 2, Latvia 24, Lebanon 6, Monaco 29, Netherlands 10, Nigeria 2, Norway 43, Poland 29, Portugal 2, Romania 15, Russia 85, Saudi Arabia 1, Slovenia 2, South Korea 5, Spain 1, Switzerland 54, Syria 4, Turkey 84, Ukraine 25, UAE 3, UK 4, US 10 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 459, cargo 280, chemical tanker 45, combination bulk 10, combination ore/oil 10, container 80, liquefied gas 3, livestock carrier 3, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 236, refrigerated cargo 37, roll on/roll off 41, short-sea passenger 7, vehicle carrier 15
1 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2002)
Military Malta
Military branches:
Armed Forces (including land forces [with subordinate air squadron and maritime squadron] and Revenue Security Corps), Maltese Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 99,312 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 79,080 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$60 million (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.7% (2000)
Transnational Issues Malta
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe