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Flag of Malta
Map of Malta
Introduction Malta
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 become a freight transshipment point, financial center, and tourist destination. It is an official candidate for EU membership.
Geography Malta
Southern Europe, islands in the 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 the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
196.8 km (does not include 56.01 km for the 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 the 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 the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, 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
People Malta
397,499 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 19.7% (male 40,609; female 37,882)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 135,047; female 133,207)
65 years and over: 12.8% (male 21,215; female 29,539) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.73% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
12.76 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.77 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.36 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
5.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.26 years
female: 80.96 years (2002 est.)
male: 75.78 years
Total fertility rate:
1.91 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.52% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 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
total population: 88.76%
male: 86.91%
female: 89.55% (1995 census)
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 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 NA April 1999 (next to be held by April 2004); 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: 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 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 5 September 1998 (next to be held by September 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - PN 51.8%, MLP 46.9%, AD 1.2%; seats by party - PN 35, MLP 30
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 [Edward FENECH ADAMI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador George SALIBA; note - newly-appointed Ambassador John LOWELL is expected to present his credentials in early 2003
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 the 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, CMR 01
telephone: [356] 2561-4000
FAX: [356] 2124-3229
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
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. The 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 the European Union. The island remains divided politically, however, over the question of joining the EU. Continued sluggishness in the global economy is holding back exports and tourism.
purchasing power parity - $7 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $17,000 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 26%
services: 72% (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, including 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:
1.75 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.628 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
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:
US 20.2%, Germany 14.1%, France 10.2%, UK 8.8%, Italy 3.4% (2001)
$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 19.9%, France 15.0%, US 11.6%, UK 10.0%, Germany 8.7% (2001)
Debt - external:
$130 million (1997) (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Maltese lira (MTL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.4542 (January 2002), 0.4499 (2001), 0.4376 (2000), 0.3994 (1999), 0.3885 (1998), 0.3857 (1997)
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: 1,742 km
paved: 1,677 km
unpaved: 65 km (1997)
Ports and harbors:
Marsaxlokk, Valletta
Merchant marine:
total: 1,323 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 27,208,819 GRT/44,617,877 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, United Arab Emirates 3, United Kingdom 4, United States 10 (2002 est.)
ships by type: bulk 440, cargo 334, chemical tanker 54, combination bulk 10, combination ore/oil 12, container 75, liquefied gas 4, livestock carrier 3, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 270, refrigerated cargo 39, roll on/roll off 45, short-sea passenger 9, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 17
1 (2001)
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 the Revenue Security Corps), Maltese Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 99,107 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 78,909 (2002 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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003