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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 transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May of 2004.
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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
contiguous zone: 24 nm
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: 28.13%
permanent crops: 3.13%
other: 68.74% (2001)
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, 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
396,851 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.1% (male 36,891; female 34,912)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 137,259; female 134,611)
65 years and over: 13.4% (male 22,691; female 30,487) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 38 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 39.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.42% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
10.09 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.93 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 4.45 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.68 years
male: 76.51 years
female: 80.98 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.49 children born/woman (2004 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
total 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 Eddie FENECH ADAMI (since 4 April 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister Lawrence GONZI
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:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the 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 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
telephone: [356] 21-235-960
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, tourism, and overall growth.
purchasing power parity - $7.082 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $17,700 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 23%
services: 74% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
23.1% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.4% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
160,000 (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 5%, industry 24%, services 71% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7% (2003 est.)
revenues: $2.086 billion
expenditures: $2.367 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
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 (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
20,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
$-250 million (2004 est.)
$2.175 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactures
Exports - partners:
Singapore 17.4%, US 11.6%, UK 9.4%, Germany 8.8%, France 7.5%, China 7% (2003)
$2.761 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured and semi-manufactured goods; food, drink, and tobacco
Imports - partners:
Italy 19.3%, France 13.7%, UK 8.5%, Germany 6.6%, Singapore 6.1%, Japan 5.7%, South Korea 5.5%, US 4.1% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$2.429 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$130 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Maltese lira (MTL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Maltese liri per US dollar - 0.3772 (2003), 0.4336 (2002), 0.4501 (2001), 0.4382 (2000), 0.3989 (1999)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Malta
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)
255,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (2000)
280,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
7,156 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2002)
Internet users:
120,000 (2002)
Transportation Malta
total: 2,254 km
paved: 1,972 km
unpaved: 282 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Marsaxlokk, Valletta
Merchant marine:
total: 1,176 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 25,102,401 GRT/41,176,791 DWT
by type: bulk 468, cargo 251, chemical tanker 46, combination bulk 8, combination ore/oil 8, container 74, liquefied gas 4, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional large load carrier 1, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 210, refrigerated cargo 40, roll on/roll off 35, short-sea/passenger 6, vehicle carrier 15
registered in other countries: 18 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Australia 4, Austria 6, Bangladesh 3, Belgium 13, Bulgaria 19, Canada 8, China 14, Croatia 9, Cyprus 6, Denmark 4, Estonia 1, Finland 1, France 1, Germany 52, Greece 603, Hong Kong 3, Iceland 5, India 4, Indonesia 2, Iran 4, Israel 20, Italy 24, Japan 3, South Korea 2, Latvia 25, Lebanon 6, Madagascar 1, Monaco 14, Netherlands 5, Nigeria 1, Norway 32, Pakistan 1, Poland 30, Portugal 3, Romania 8, Russia 69, Saudi Arabia 1, Singapore 2, Slovenia 3, Switzerland 30, Syria 4, Taiwan 1, Turkey 108, Ukraine 22, United Kingdom 2, United States 8
1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Malta
Military branches:
Armed Forces: Land Forces (including Air Squadron and Maritime Squadron), Revenue Security Corps
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 99,324 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 79,128 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$33.3 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.7% (2003)
Transnational Issues Malta
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
minor transshipment point for hashish from North Africa to Western Europe

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004