Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Introduction Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government was charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing internal functions. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place although troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002.
Geography Bosnia and Herzegovina
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia
Geographic coordinates:
44 00 N, 18 00 E
Map references:
total: 51,129 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 51,129 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
total: 1,459 km
border countries: Croatia 932 km, Serbia and Montenegro 527 km
20 km
Maritime claims:
hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast
mountains and valleys
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maglic 2,386 m
Natural resources:
coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, forests, copper, chromium, lead, zinc, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 9.8%
permanent crops: 2.94%
other: 87.26% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from metallurgical plants; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; water shortages and destruction of infrastructure because of the 1992-95 civil strife
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro (Montenegro), and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east
People Bosnia and Herzegovina
note: all data dealing with population are subject to considerable error because of the dislocations caused by military action and ethnic cleansing (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.8% (male 403,391; female 382,037)
15-64 years: 70.6% (male 1,432,559; female 1,366,224)
65 years and over: 9.6% (male 161,659; female 218,518) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.76% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
12.76 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
23.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.02 years
female: 74.93 years (2002 est.)
male: 69.3 years
Total fertility rate:
1.71 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.04% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: Bosnian(s)
adjective: Bosnian
Ethnic groups:
Serb 37.1%, Bosniak 48%, Croat 14.3%, other 0.5% (2000)
note: Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam
Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, Protestant 4%, other 10%
Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian
definition: NA
total population: NA%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Bosnia and Herzegovina
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Bosnia and Herzegovina
local long form: none
local short form: Bosna i Hercegovina
Government type:
emerging federal democratic republic
Administrative divisions:
there are two first-order administrative divisions and one internationally supervised district* - Brcko district (Brcko Distrikt)*, the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosna i Hercegovina) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska; note - Brcko district is in northeastern Bosnia and is an administrative unit under the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina; it is not part of either Republika Srpska or the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the district remains under international supervision
1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia; referendum for independence was completed 1 March 1992; independence was declared 3 March 1992)
National holiday:
National Day, 25 November (1943)
the Dayton Agreement, signed 14 December 1995, included a new constitution now in force; note - each of the entities also has its own constitution
Legal system:
based on civil law system
16 years of age, if employed; 18 years of age, universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Chairman of the Presidency Mirko SAROVIC (chairman since 5 October 2002, presidency member since 5 October 2002 - Serb); other members of the three-member rotating (every eight months) presidency: Sulejman TIHIC (since 5 October 2002 - Bosniak) and Dragan COVIC (since 5 October 2002 - Croat)
elections: the three members of the presidency (one Bosniak, one Croat, one Serb) are elected by popular vote for a four-year term; the member with the most votes becomes the chairman unless he or she was the incumbent chairman at the time of the election, but the chairmanship rotates every eight months; election last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA 2006); the chairman of the Council of Ministers is appointed by the presidency and confirmed by the National House of Representatives
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers Adnan TERZIC (since 20 December 2002), position rotates every eight months
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the council chairman; approved by the National House of Representatives
election results: percent of vote - Mirko SAROVIC with 35.5% of the Serb vote was elected chairman of the collective presidency for the first eight months; Dragon COVIC received 61.5% of the Croat vote; Sulejman TIHIC received 37% of the Bosniak vote
note: President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Niko LOZANCIC (since 27 January 2003); Vice Presidents Sahbaz DZIHANOVIC (since NA 2003) and Desnica RADIVOJEVIC (since NA 2003); note - president and vice president rotate every year; President of the Republika Srpska: Dragan CAVIC (since 28 November 2002)
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliamentary Assembly or Skupstina consists of the National House of Representatives or Predstavnicki Dom (42 seats - 14 Serb, 14 Croat, and 14 Bosniak; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Peoples or Dom Naroda (15 seats - 5 Bosniak, 5 Croat, 5 Serb; members elected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives and the Republika Srpska's National Assembly to serve four-year terms); note - Bosnia's election law specifies four-year terms for the state and first-order administrative division entity legislatures; officials elected in 2000 and previously were elected to two-year terms on the presumption that a permanent law would be in place before 2002
election results: National House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - SDA 21.9%, SDS 14.0%, SBiH 10.5%, SDP 10.4%, SNSD 9.8%, Koalicija 9.5%, PDP 4.6%, others 19.3%; seats by party/coalition - SDA 10, SDS 5, SBiH 6, SDP 4, SNSD 3, Koalicija 5, PDP 2, others 7; House of Peoples - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA%; seats by party/coalition - NA
elections: National House of Representatives - elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held in NA 2006); House of Peoples - last constituted after the 11 November 2000 elections (next to be constituted in the fall of 2002)
note: the Bosniak/Croat Federation has a bicameral legislature that consists of a House of Representatives (98 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006); percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party/coalition - SDA 32, HDZ-BiH 16, SDP 15, SBH 15, other 20; and a House of Peoples (74 seats - 30 Bosniak, 30 Croat, and 14 others); last constituted November 2000; the Republika Srpska has a National Assembly (83 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held in the fall of 2006); percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party/coalition - SDS 26, SNSD 19, PDP 9, SDA 6, SRS 4, SPRS 3, DNS 3, SBiH 4, SDP 3, others 6; Bosnia's election law specifies four-year terms for the state and first-order administrative division entity legislatures; officials elected in 2000 and prior were elected to two-year terms on the presumption that a permanent law would be in place before 2002
Judicial branch:
BiH Constitutional Court (consists of nine members: four members are selected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives, two members by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and three non-Bosnian members by the president of the European Court of Human Rights)
note: a new state court, mandated in November 2000, has jurisdiction over cases related to state-level law and appellate jurisdiction over cases initiated in the entities; the entities each have a Supreme Court; each entity also has a number of lower courts; there are 10 cantonal courts in the Federation, plus a number of municipal courts; the Republika Srpska has five municipal courts
Political parties and leaders:
Bosnian Party or BOSS [Mirnes AJANOVIC]; Bosnian Patriotic Party or BPS [Sefer HALILOVIC]; Civic Democratic Party of BiH or GDS [Ibrahim SPAHIC]; Croat Christian Democratic Union or HKDU BiH [Ante PASALIC]; Croatian Democratic Union of BiH or HDZ-BiH [Ante JELAVIC; note - not recognized by the international community]; Croatian Party of Rights of BiH or HSP-BiH [Zdravko HRSTIC]; Croatian Peasants Party of BiH or HSS-BiH [Ilija SIMIC]; Democratic National Alliance or DNS [Dragan KOSTIC]; Democratic Party of Pensioners or DPS [Alojz KNEZOVIC]; Democratic Party of RS or DSRS [Dragomir DUMIC]; Democratic Peoples Union or DNZ [Fikret ABDIC]; Democratic Socialist Party or DSP [Nebojsa RADMANOVIC]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDS [Rasim KADIC]; New Croatian Initiative or NHI [Kresimir ZUBAK]; Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina or SBH [Safet HALILOVIC]; Party of Democratic Action or SDA [Sulejman TIHIC]; Party of Democratic Progress or PDP [Mladen IVANIC]; Party of Independent Social Democrats or SNSD [Milorad DODIK]; Pensioners' Party of FBiH [Husein VOJNIKOVIC]; Pensioners' Party of SR [Stojan BOGOSAVAC]; People's Party-Working for Progress or NS-RZB [Mladen IVANKOVIC]; Republican Party of BiH or RP [Stjepan KLJUIC]; Serb Democratic Party or SDS [Dragan KALINIC]; Serb National Alliance (Serb People's Alliance) or SNS [Branislav LULIC]; Social Democratic Party of BIH or SDP-BiH [Zlatko LAGUMDZIJA]; Socialist Party of Republika Srpska or SPRS [Zivko RADISIC]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
BIS, CE (guest), CEI, EBRD, ECE, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Igor DAVIDOVIC
chancery: 2109 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 337-1500
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 337-1502
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Clifford J. BOND
embassy: Alipasina 43, 71000 Sarajevo
mailing address: use street address
telephone: [387] (33) 445-700
FAX: [387] (33) 659-722
branch office(s): Banja Luka, Mostar
Flag description:
a wide medium blue vertical band on the fly side with a yellow isosceles triangle abutting the band and the top of the flag; the remainder of the flag is medium blue with seven full five-pointed white stars and two half stars top and bottom along the hypotenuse of the triangle
Government - note:
The Dayton Agreement, signed in Paris on 14 December 1995, retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's exterior border and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government - based on proportional representation similar to that which existed in the former socialist regime - is charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. The Dayton Agreement also recognized a second tier of government, comprised of two entities - a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska (RS) - each presiding over roughly one-half the territory. The Federation and RS governments are charged with overseeing internal functions. The Bosniak/Croat Federation is further divided into 10 cantons. The Dayton Agreement established the Office of the High Representative (OHR) to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. About 250 international and 450 local staff members are employed by the OHR.
Economy Bosnia and Herzegovina
Economy - overview:
Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked next to The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav federation. Although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. Industry has been greatly overstaffed, one reflection of the socialist economic structure of Yugoslavia. TITO had pushed the development of military industries in the republic with the result that Bosnia hosted a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants. The bitter interethnic warfare in Bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1990 to 1995, unemployment to soar, and human misery to multiply. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000 and 2001. GDP remains far below the 1990 level. Economic data are of limited use because, although both entities issue figures, national-level statistics are limited. Moreover, official data do not capture the large share of activity that occurs on the black market. The marka - the national currency introduced in 1998 - is now pegged to the euro, and the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina has dramatically increased its reserve holdings. Implementation of privatization, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the communist-era payments bureaus were shut down. The country receives substantial amounts of reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.
purchasing power parity - $7 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 16%
industry: 28%
services: 56% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
1.026 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
40% (2001 est.)
revenues: $1.9 billion
expenditures: $2.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)
steel, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, manganese, bauxite, vehicle assembly, textiles, tobacco products, wooden furniture, tank and aircraft assembly, domestic appliances, oil refining
Industrial production growth rate:
9% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
2.615 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 38%
hydro: 62%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
2.577 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
205 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
350 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, fruits, vegetables; livestock
$1.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
miscellaneous manufactures, crude materials
Exports - partners:
Croatia, Switzerland, Italy, Germany
$3.1 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, industrial products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy
Debt - external:
$2.8 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$650 million (2001 est.)
marka (BAM)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
marka per US dollar - 2.161 (October 2001), 2.124 (2000), 1.837 (1999), 1.760 (1998), 1.734 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Bosnia and Herzegovina
Telephones - main lines in use:
303,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
9,000 (1997)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telephone and telegraph network needs modernization and expansion; many urban areas are below average as contrasted with services in other former Yugoslav republics
domestic: NA
international: no satellite earth stations
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 16, shortwave 1 (1998)
940,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
33 (plus 277 repeaters) (September 1995)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
45,000 (2002)
Transportation Bosnia and Herzegovina
total: 1,021 km (795 km electrified; operating as diesel or steam until grids are repaired)
standard gauge: 1,021 km 1.435-m gauge; note - many segments still need repair and/or reconstruction because of war damage (2000 est.)
total: 21,846 km
paved: 14,020 km
note: road system is in need of maintenance and repair (2001)
unpaved: 7,826 km
NA km; large sections of the Sava blocked by downed bridges, silt, and debris
crude oil 174 km; natural gas 90 km (1992)
Ports and harbors:
Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, and Brcko (all inland waterway ports on the Sava), Orasje
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
27 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 19
under 914 m: 11 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
5 (2002)
Military Bosnia and Herzegovina
Military branches:
VF Army (the air and air defense forces are subordinate commands within the Army), VRS Army (the air and air defense forces are subordinate commands within the Army)
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,131,537 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 898,117 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 29,757 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Bosnia and Herzegovina
Disputes - international:
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro have delimited about half of their boundary, but several segments, particularly along the meandering Drina River, remain in dispute; discussions continue with Croatia on the disputed boundary in the Una River near Kostajnica, Hrvatska Dubica, and Zeljava; protests Croatian claim to the tip of the Klek Peninsula and several islands near Neum
Illicit drugs:
minor transit point for marijuana and opiate trafficking routes to Western Europe; organized crime launders money, but the lack of a well-developed financial infrastructure limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003