Saudi Arabia

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Introduction - Saudi Arabia:
CountrySaudi Arabia
BackgroundSaudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islams two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The kings official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman AL SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. A male descendent of Ibn Saud, his son ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz, rules the country today as required by the countrys 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraqs invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide from February through April 2005 for half the members of 179 municipal councils. In December 2005, King ABDALLAH completed the process by appointing the remaining members of the advisory municipal councils. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds approximately 25% of the worlds proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabias accession to the WTO in December 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are all ongoing governmental concerns.
Location - Saudi Arabia:
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Geographic coordinates25 00 N, 45 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Areatotal: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area comparativeslightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundariestotal: 4,431 km
border countries: Iraq 814 km, Jordan 744 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,458 km
Coastline2,640 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climateharsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
Terrainmostly uninhabited, sandy desert
Elevation extremeslowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda 3,133 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land usearable land: 1.67%
permanent crops: 0.09%
other: 98.24% (2005)
Irrigated land16,200 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsfrequent sand and dust storms
Environment current issuesdesertification; depletion of underground water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography noteextensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
People - Saudi Arabia:
Population27,601,038
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 38.2% (male 5,369,285/female 5,162,585)
15-64 years: 59.4% (male 9,316,694/female 7,089,370)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 348,827/female 314,277) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 21.4 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.06% (2007 est.)
Birth rate29.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate2.55 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-5.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.314 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.11 male(s)/female
total population: 1.196 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 12.41 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 75.88 years
male: 73.85 years
female: 78.02 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate3.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.01% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsNA
Hiv aids deathsNA
Nationalitynoun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groupsArab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
ReligionsMuslim 100%
LanguagesArabic
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)
Government - Saudi Arabia:
Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
local short form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah
Government typemonarchy
Capitalname: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 38 N, 46 43 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Madinah, Al Qasim, Ar Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province), Asir, Hail, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk
Independence23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holidayUnification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)
Constitutiongoverned according to Islamic law; the Basic Law that articulates the governments rights and responsibilities was promulgated by royal decree in 1992
Legal systembased on Sharia law, several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage21 years of age; male
Executive branchchief of state: King and Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 1 August 2005); Heir Apparent Crown Prince SULTAN bin Abd al- Aziz Al Saud (half brother of the monarch, born 5 January 1928) note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 1 August 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch every four years and includes many royal family members
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; note - a new Allegiance Commission created by royal decree in October 2006 established a committee of Saudi princes that will play a role in selecting future Saudi kings, but the new system will not take effect until after Crown Prince Sultan becomes king
Legislative branchConsultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 members and a chairman appointed by the monarch for four-year terms); note - though the Council of Ministers announced in October 2003 its intent to introduce elections for half of the members of local and provincial assemblies and a third of the members of the national Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura, incrementally over a period of four to five years, to date no such elections have been held or announced
Judicial branchSupreme Council of Justice
Political parties and leadersnone
Political pressure groups and leadersnone
International organization participationABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, BIS, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Adil al-Ahmad al-JUBAYR
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3113
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Ford FRAKER
embassy: Collector Road M, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh
mailing address: American Embassy, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
telephone: [966] (1) 488-3800
FAX: [966] (1) 488-3989
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)
Flag descriptiongreen, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (translated as There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God) above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932
Economy - Saudi Arabia:
Economy overviewSaudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses 25% of the worlds proven petroleum reserves, ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 75% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. About 40% of GDP comes from the private sector. Roughly 5.5 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors. The government is encouraging private sector growth to lessen the kingdoms dependence on oil and to increase employment opportunities for the swelling Saudi population. The government is promoting private sector and foreign participation in the power generation, telecom, natural gas, and petrochemical industries. As part of its effort to attract foreign investment and diversify the economy, Saudi Arabia acceded to the WTO in December 2005 after many years of negotiations. With high oil revenues enabling the government to post large budget surpluses, Riyadh has substantially boosted spending on job training and education, infrastructure development, and government salaries. The government has announced plans to establish six economic cities in different regions of the country to promote development and diversification.
Gdp purchasing power parity $366.2 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $276.9 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate2.4% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $13,600 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 3.3%
industry: 67%
services: 29.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force7.125 million
note: more than 35% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 12%
industry: 25%
services: 63% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate13% among Saudi males only (local bank estimate; some estimates range as high as 25%) (2004 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 1.9% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 16.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $189.2 billion
expenditures: $107.6 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt32.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture productswheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Industriescrude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals; ammonia, industrial gases, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), cement, fertilizer, plastics; metals, commercial ship repair, commercial aircraft repair, construction
Industrial production growth rate1.9% (2006 est.)
Electricity production155.2 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption144.4 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production9.475 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil consumption1.845 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil exports8.554 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil imports0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil proved reserves261.9 billion bbl (1 January 2005 est.)
Natural gas production65.68 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption65.68 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves6.654 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance$103.8 billion (2006 est.)
Exports$204.5 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiespetroleum and petroleum products 90%
Exports partnersJapan 17.6%, US 15.8%, South Korea 9.6%, China 7.2%, Singapore 4.4%, Taiwan 4.4% (2006)
Imports$64.16 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesmachinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports partnersUS 12.2%, Germany 8.5%, China 7.9%, Japan 7.2%, UK 4.8%, Italy 4.8% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$31.63 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid donorsince 2000, Saudi Arabia has committed $307 million for assistance to the Palestinians; pledged $230 million to development in Afghanistan; pledged $1 billion in export guarantees and soft loans to Iraq; pledged $133 million in direct grant aid, $187 million in concessional loans, and $153 million in export credits for Pakistan earthquake relief; pledged a total of $1.59 billion to Lebanon in assistance and deposits to the Central Bank of Lebanon in 2006 and pledged an additional $1.1 billion in early 2007
Debt external$47.39 billion (2006 est.)
Currency code Saudi riyal (SAR)
Exchange ratesSaudi riyals per US dollar - 3.745 (2006), 3.747 (2005), 3.75 (2004), 3.75 (2003), 3.75 (2002)
Communications - Saudi Arabia:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use4.5 million (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular19.663 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern system
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and fiber-optic cable systems
international: country code - 966; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; submarine cable to Djibouti, Egypt and Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 43, FM 31, shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations117 (1997)
Internet country code.sa
Internet hosts10,931 (2006)
Internet users4.7 million (2006)
Transportation - Saudi Arabia:
Airports208 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 73
over 3,047 m: 32
2,438 to 3,047 m: 13
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 135
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 75
914 to 1,523 m: 40
under 914 m: 12 (2006)
Heliports6 (2006)
Pipelinescondensate 212 km; gas 1,880 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 4,531 km; refined products 1,150 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 1,392 km
standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 152,044 km
paved: 45,461 km
unpaved: 106,583 km (2000)
Merchant marinetotal: 60 ships (1000 GRT or over) 837,272 GRT/1,064,377 DWT
by type: cargo 5, chemical tanker 15, container 4, passenger/cargo 8, petroleum tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 9
foreign-owned: 9 (Egypt 2, Kuwait 5, Sudan 1, UAE 1)
registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 12, Comoros 3, Dominica 3, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 1, Liberia 24, Marshall Islands 1, Norway 3, Panama 8) (2006)
Ports and terminalsAd Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jiddah, Yanbu al Sinaiyah
Military - Saudi Arabia:
Military branchesLand Forces (Army), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, National Guard, Ministry of Interior Forces (paramilitary)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 7,648,999
females age 18-49: 5,417,922 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 6,592,709
females age 18-49: 4,659,347 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 247,334
females age 18-49: 234,500 (2005 est.)
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 240,015 (Palestinian Territories) (2006)
Military expenditures percent of gdp10% (2005 est.)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Saudi Arabia is a destination country for workers from South and Southeast Asia who are subjected to conditions that constitute involuntary servitude including being subjected to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, confinement, and withholding of passports as a restriction on their movement; domestic workers are particularly vulnerable because some are confined to the house in which they work unable to seek help; Saudi Arabia is also a destination country for Nigerian, Yemeni, Pakistani, Afghan, Somali, Malian, and Sudanese children trafficked for forced begging and involuntary servitude as street vendors; some Nigerian women were reportedly trafficked into Saudi Arabia for commercial sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 3 - Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so
Disputes internationalSaudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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