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Introduction - Kuwait:




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. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power in 1991, and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive.

Location - Kuwait:


Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates

29 30 N, 45 45 E

Map references

Middle East


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


499 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm


dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters


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: 0.84%
permanent crops: 0.17%
other: 98.99% (2005)

Irrigated land

130 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy 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 worlds largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification

Environment international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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

People - Kuwait:


note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.7% (male 340,814/female 328,663)
15-64 years: 70.5% (male 1,128,231/female 636,967)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 44,542/female 26,342) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 26 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 22.4 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2007 est.)

Birth rate

21.95 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

2.39 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

16.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.037 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.771 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.691 male(s)/female
total population: 1.526 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.47 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.36 years
male: 76.25 years
female: 78.52 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.86 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.12% (2001 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids


Hiv aids deaths



noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti

Ethnic groups

Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%


Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shia 30%), other (includes Christian, Hindu, Parsi) 15%


Arabic (official), English widely spoken


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.3%
male: 94.4%
female: 91% (2005 census)

Government - Kuwait:

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

constitutional emirate


name: Kuwait
geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra, Hawalli, Mubarak Al Kabir


19 June 1961 (from UK)

National holiday

National Day, 25 February (1950)


approved and promulgated 11 November 1962

Legal system

civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


NA years of age; universal (adult); note - males in the military or police are not allowed to vote; adult females were allowed to vote as of 16 May 2005; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years

Executive branch

chief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah
head of government: Prime Minister NASIR MUHAMMAD al-Ahmad al-Sabah (since 3 April 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister JABIR Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 9 February 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers MUHAMMAD al-Sabah al-Salim al-Sabah (since 9 February 2006) and Faysal al-HAJJI (since 5 April 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir
elections: none; the amir is hereditary; the amir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers

Legislative branch

unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; all cabinet ministers are also ex officio voting members of the National Assembly)
elections: last held 29 June 2006 (next election to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by bloc - NA; seats by bloc - Islamic Bloc (Sunni) 17, Popular Bloc 9, National Action Bloc (liberals) 8, independents 16

Judicial branch

High Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders

none; formation of political parties is in practice illegal, but is not forbidden by law

Political pressure groups and leaders

a number of political groups act as de facto parties; several legislative blocs operate in the National Assembly: tribal groups, merchants, Shia activists, Islamists, secular liberals and pro-government deputies; in mid-2006, a coalition of Islamists, liberals, and Shia campaigned successfully for electoral reform to reduce corruption

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 966-0517

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Richard LEBARON
embassy: Bayan 36302, 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] 259-1001
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; design, which dates to 1961, based on the Arab revolt flag of World War I

Economy - Kuwait:

Economy overview

Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with self-reported 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. Kuwaits 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. High oil prices in recent years have helped build Kuwaits budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. As a result of this positive fiscal situation, the need for economic reforms is less urgent and the government has not earnestly pushed through new initiatives.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$55.91 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$60.72 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

12.6% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$23,100 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 48.3%
services: 51.3% (2006 est.)

Labor force

1.136 million
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 80% of the labor force (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate

2.2% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

3% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

26.4% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $59.58 billion
expenditures: $33.62 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

8.1% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

practically no crops; fish


petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials

Industrial production growth rate

13.1% (2005 est.)

Electricity production

40.37 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

37.54 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

2.418 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil consumption

335,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

2.2 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

96.5 billion bbl (2006 est.)

Natural gas production

9.7 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

9.7 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

1.572 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$40.75 billion (2006 est.)


$56.06 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

oil and refined products, fertilizers

Exports partners

Japan 20.2%, South Korea 16%, Taiwan 11.5%, Singapore 9.6%, US 8.9%, Netherlands 5.1%, China 4.1% (2006)


$19.12 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing

Imports partners

US 14.1%, Japan 7.8%, Germany 7.7%, Saudi Arabia 6.8%, China 5.7%, UK 5.4%, Italy 4.6% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$11.08 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$19.7 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient


Currency code

Kuwaiti dinar (KD)

Exchange rates

Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.29 (2006), 0.292 (2005), 0.2947 (2004), 0.298 (2003), 0.3039 (2002)

Communications - Kuwait:

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Telephones main lines in use

510,300 (2005)

Telephones mobile cellular

2.536 million (2006)

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, and 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


Internet hosts

2,310 (2006)

Internet users

816,700 (2006)

Transportation - Kuwait:


7 (2006)

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 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2006)


5 (2006)


gas 269 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2006)


total: 5,749 km
paved: 4,887 km
unpaved: 862 km (2004)

Merchant marine

total: 38 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,424,983 GRT/3,996,755 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 2, cargo 1, container 6, liquefied gas 5, livestock carrier 3, petroleum tanker 21
registered in other countries: 28 (Bahrain 3, Comoros 1, Liberia 1, Libya 1, Panama 2, Qatar 7, Saudi Arabia 5, UAE 8) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Ash Shuaybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina Saud), Mina Abd Allah, Mina al Ahmadi

Military - Kuwait:

Military branches

Land Forces, Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya), National Guard (2007)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; reserve obligation to age 40 with 1 month annual training; women have served in police forces since 1999 (2006)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 864,745
females age 18-49: 467,120 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 737,292
females age 18-49: 405,207 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 18,743
females age 18-49: 20,065 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

5.3% (2006)

Disputes international

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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