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Who's On? > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Malta
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Map of Malta
IntroductionTop
Background:Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May of 2004.
GeographyTop
Location:Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily (Italy)
Geographic coordinates:35 50 N, 14 35 E
Map references:Europe
Area:total: 316 sq km
land: 316 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:0 km
Coastline:196.8 km (does not include 56.01 km for the island of Gozo)
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm

Climate:Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers
Terrain: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: 28.13%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 68.74% (2001)

Irrigated land:20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:NA
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 the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
PeopleTop
Population:398,534 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 17.6% (male 36,056/female 34,097)
15-64 years: 68.8% (male 138,537/female 135,666)
65 years and over: 13.6% (male 23,184/female 30,994) (2005 est.)

Median age:total: 38.36 years
male: 36.91 years
female: 39.84 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:0.42% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:10.17 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:8 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:2.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:total: 3.89 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.38 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:total population: 78.86 years
male: 76.7 years
female: 81.15 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:1.5 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:0.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:less than 500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality: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)
Religions:Roman Catholic 98%
Languages:Maltese (official), English (official)
Literacy:definition: age 10 and over can read and write
total population: 92.8%
male: 92%
female: 93.6% (2003 est.)

GovernmentTop
Country name:conventional long form: Republic of Malta
conventional short form: Malta
local long form: Repubblika ta' Malta
local short form: Malta

Government type:republic
Capital:Valletta
Administrative divisions:none (administered directly from Valletta); note - Local Councils carry out administrative orders
Independence:21 September 1964 (from UK)
National holiday:Independence Day, 21 September (1964)
Constitution:1964 constitution, amended many times
Legal system:based on English common law and Roman civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Eddie FENECH ADAMI (since 4 April 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI (since 23 March 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
elections: president elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term; election last held 29 March 2004 (next to be held by April 2009); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president for a five-year term; the deputy prime minister is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister
election results: Eddie FENECH ADAMI elected president; percent of House of Representatives vote - 33 out of 65 votes

Legislative branch:unicameral House of Representatives (usually 65 seats; note - additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority; members are elected by popular vote on the 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 the president on the advice of the 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 [Lawrence GONZI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:Australia Group, C, CE, EBRD, EIB, EU (new member), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, NSG, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (observer affiliate), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Flag description:two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in red
EconomyTop
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. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism. Continued sluggishness in the European economy is holding back exports, tourism, and overall growth.
GDP:purchasing power parity - $7.223 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:purchasing power parity - $18,200 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 3%
industry: 23%
services: 74% (2003 est.)

Labor force:160,000 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 5%, industry 24%, services 71% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:7% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.9% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):26.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Budget:revenues: $2.27 billion
expenditures: $2.549 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)

Agriculture - products:potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs
Industries:tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production:2.15 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:2 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:20,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Current account balance:$-241 million (2004 est.)
Exports:$2.625 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:machinery and transport equipment, manufactures
Exports - partners:Singapore 15.5%, US 12%, France 10.5%, UK 10.1%, Germany 9%, China 5.8% (2004)
Imports:$3.407 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:machinery and transport equipment, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, and tobacco
Imports - partners:Italy 18.2%, France 17.9%, UK 9.7%, Germany 9.2%, Singapore 6.9%, China 5.7% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$2.865 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:$130 million (1997)
Currency (code):Maltese lira (MTL)
Currency code:MTL
Exchange rates:Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.3444 (2004), 0.3773 (2003), 0.4337 (2002), 0.4501 (2001), 0.4382 (2000)
Fiscal year:1 April - 31 March
CommunicationsTop
Telephones - main lines in use:208,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:290,000 (2003)
Telephone system:general assessment: automatic system satisfies normal requirements
domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands
international: country code - 356; 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 1, FM 18, shortwave 6 (1999)
Radios:255,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:6 (2000)
Televisions:280,000 (1997)
Internet country code:.mt
Internet hosts:7,156 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):6 (2002)
Internet users:120,000 (2002)
TransportationTop
Highways:total: 2,222 km
paved: 2,000 km
unpaved: 222 km (2002)

Ports and harbors:Marsaxlokk, Valletta
Merchant marine:total: 1,140 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 25,102,401 GRT/41,176,791 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 438, cargo 303, chemical tanker 70, combination ore/oil 2, container 54, liquefied gas 8, livestock carrier 1, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 13, petroleum tanker 162, refrigerated cargo 43, roll on/roll off 26, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 13
foreign-owned: 1,080 (Austria 3, Azerbaijan 1, Bangladesh 3, Belgium 12, British 1, Bulgaria 18, Canada 9, China 15, Croatia 10, Cyprus 2, Czech Republic 2, Estonia 2, Finland 1, France 5, Germany 51, Greece 527, Hong Kong 1, Iceland 7, Iran 4, Israel 26, Italy 17, Japan 2, Latvia 30, Lebanon 6, Madagascar 1, Monaco 3, Netherlands 3, Norway 42, Pakistan 2, Poland 24, Portugal 4, Romania 5, Russia 64, Slovenia 3, South Korea 4, Sweden 3, Switzerland 32, Syria 6, Taiwan 1, Turkey 87, Ukraine 25, UAE 5, United Kingdom 8, United States 3)
registered in other countries: 3 (2005)

Airports:1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)

MilitaryTop
Military branches:Armed Forces of Malta (AFM; includes air and maritime elements) (2005)
Military manpower - military age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Military manpower - availability:males age 18-49: 90,651 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 18-49: 74,525 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:$31.1 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:0.7% (2004)
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none
Illicit drugs:minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

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