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Kuwait    Introduction Top of Page
Background: Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91.
Kuwait    Geography Top of Page
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 N, 45 45 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total:  17,820 sq km

land:  17,820 sq km

water:  0 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries: total:  462 km

border countries:  Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km
Coastline: 499 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
Terrain: flat to slightly undulating desert plain
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  Persian Gulf 0 m

highest point:  unnamed location 306 m
Natural resources: petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
Land use: arable land:  0.73%

permanent crops:  0.11%

other:  99.16% (2001 est.)
Irrigated land: 60 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April; they bring inordinate amounts of rain which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August
Environment - current issues: limited natural fresh water resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection 

signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping

Geography - note: strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
Kuwait    People Top of Page
Population: 2,335,648

note:  includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.2% (male 323,382/female 311,700) 

15-64 years: 70.1% (male 1,045,589/female 591,243) 

65 years and over: 2.7% (male 40,439/female 23,295) (2005 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.44%

note:  this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2005 est.)
Birth rate: 21.88 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate: 2.42 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate: 14.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female 

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 

15-64 years: 1.77 male(s)/female 

65 years and over: 1.74 male(s)/female 

total population: 1.52 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.03 years 

male: 76.01 years 

female: 78.1 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.97 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.12% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun:  Kuwaiti(s)

adjective:  Kuwaiti
Ethnic groups: Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
Religions: Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
Languages: Arabic (official), English widely spoken
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over can read and write

total population:  83.5%

male:  85.1%

female:  81.7% (2003 est.)
Kuwait    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  State of Kuwait

conventional short form:  Kuwait

local long form:  Dawlat al Kuwayt

local short form:  Al Kuwayt
Government type: nominal constitutional monarchy
Capital: Kuwait
Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Farwaniyah, Al 'Asimah, Al Jahra', Hawalli
Independence: 19 June 1961 (from UK)
National holiday: National Day, 25 February (1950)
Constitution: approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
Legal system: civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: adult males who have been naturalized for 30 years or more or have resided in Kuwait since before 1920 and their male descendants at age 21

note:  only 10% of all citizens are eligible to vote; in 1996, naturalized citizens who do not meet the pre-1920 qualification but have been naturalized for 30 years were eligible to vote for the first time
Executive branch: chief of state:  Amir JABIR al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 31 December 1977)

head of government:  Prime Minister SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 13 July 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior NAWWAF al-Ahmad Al Sabah (since 2003); Deputy Prime Ministers JABIR MUBARAK al-Hamad Al Sabah (since 2001) and Muhammad Dayfallah al-SHARAR (since 2003) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the monarch.

elections:  none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections:  last held 6 July 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)

election results:  percent of vote - NA%; seats - Islamists 21, government supporters 14, liberals 3, and independents 12; note - all cabinet ministers are also ex officio members of the National Assembly
Judicial branch: High Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders: none; formation of political parties is illegal
Political pressure groups and leaders: several political groups act as de facto parties: Bedouins, merchants, Sunni and Shi'a activists, and secular leftists and nationalists
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Richard LEBARON 

embassy: Bayan, Area 14, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City mailing 

address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000 

telephone: [965] 539-5307, 5308 

FAX: [965] 538-0282

Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Richard LEBARON 

embassy: Bayan, Area 14, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City mailing 

address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000 

telephone: [965] 539-5307, 5308 

FAX: [965] 538-0282

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side
Kuwait    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of about 96 billion barrels - 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. Kuwait continues its discussions with foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $48 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.8% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $21,300 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  0.4%

industry:  60.5%

services:  39.1% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  NA

highest 10%:  NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (2004 est.)
Labor force: 1.42 million (1998 est.)

note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 80% of the labor force (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate: 2.2% (official 2004 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $35.82 billion

expenditures:  $19.53 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004)
Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate: -5% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production: 32.43 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - consumption: 30.16 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2002)
Exports: $27.42 billion f.o.b.(2004 est.)
Exports - commodities: oil and refined products, fertilizers
Exports - partners: Japan 22%, South Korea 15.4%, US 11.9%, Singapore 10.2%, Taiwan 9.6%, Pakistan 4% (2003)
Imports: $11.12 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Imports - partners: US 14.5%, Japan 10.1%, Germany 9.4%, China 6.5%, UK 6%, Saudi Arabia 5.5%, Italy 4.9%, France 4.1% (2003)
Debt - external: $15.02 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: NA (2001)
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (KWD)
Currency code: KWD
Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.2947 (2004), 0.298 (2003), 0.3039 (2002), 0.3067 (2001), 0.3068 (2000)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Kuwait    Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: 486,900 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.42 million (2003)
Telephone system: general assessment:  the quality of service is excellent

domestic:  new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, open wire, and fiber-optic cable; a cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well supplied with pay telephones

international:  country code: 965; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean, 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 2 Arabsat
Radio broadcast stations: AM 6, FM 11, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
Internet country code: .kw
Internet Hosts: 3,437 (2001)
Internet users: 567,000 (2003)
Kuwait    Transportation Top of Page
Highways: total:  4,450 km

paved:  3,587 km

unpaved:  863 km (1999 est.)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: gas 169 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Kuwait, Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi, Mina' Su'ud
Merchant marine: total: 39 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 2,319,082 GRT/3,768,828 DWT by type: bulk carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 5, livestock carrier 5, petroleum tanker 20 

registered in other countries: 19 (2005)

Airports: 7 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total:  4

over 3,047 m:  1

2,438 to 3,047 m:  2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  3

1,524 to 2,437 m:  1

under 914 m:  2 (2004 est.)
Heliports: 3 (2004 est.)
Kuwait    Military Top of Page
Military branches: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force (including Air Defense Force), National Guard (Jan 2002)
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Military manpower - availability: males age 18-49: 864,745 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 18-49: 737,292 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 18,743 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $2,584.5 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 5.3% (2004)
Kuwait    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf