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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.
Geography 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 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
People Kuwait
note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.9% (male 331,768/female 319,895)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 1,085,721/female 613,746)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 42,460/female 24,803) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 25.9 years
male: 28 years
female: 22.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
21.94 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
2.41 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
15.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 1.71 male(s)/female
total population: 1.52 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.71 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.72 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.2 years
male: 76.13 years
female: 78.31 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.91 children born/woman (2006 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%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
Arabic (official), English widely spoken
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.5%
male: 85.1%
female: 81.7% (2003 est.)
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 hereditary emirate
name: Kuwait
geographic coordinates: 29 20 N, 47 59 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
adult males who are not in the military forces, and adult females (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-Sabah
head of government: Prime Minister NASIR al-Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah (since 7 February 2006) 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 Ismail al-SHATTI (since 10 July 2006)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir
elections: none; the amir is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the amir
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 29 June 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - NA; 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:
a number of political groups act as de facto parties; several legislative blocs operate in the National Assembly: tribal groups, merchants, Shi'a activists, Islamists, and secular liberals
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, 259-1002
FAX: [965] 259-1438, 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. 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):
$47.36 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$52.76 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
8.3% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$20,300 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 47.9%
services: 51.6% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
1.67 million
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 80% of the labor force (2005 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):
4.1% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
14.3% of GDP (2005 est.)
revenues: $47.21 billion
expenditures: $20.77 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
12.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
practically no crops; fish
petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, desalination, food processing, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate:
13.1% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
38.19 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
35.52 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
2.418 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
305,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.97 million bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
96.5 billion bbl (2005 est.)
Natural gas - production:
8.3 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
8.3 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
1.572 trillion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:
$26.92 billion (2005 est.)
$44.43 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
oil and refined products, fertilizers
Exports - partners:
Japan 19.6%, South Korea 15.3%, US 11.8%, Taiwan 11%, Singapore 9.5%, Netherlands 4.7% (2005)
$12.23 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
Imports - partners:
US 14%, Germany 10.7%, Japan 8.4%, Saudi Arabia 6.2%, UK 5.6%, France 4.8%, China 4.5% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$8.972 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$16.12 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$NA (2001)
Currency (code):
Kuwaiti dinar (KD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.292 (2005), 0.2947 (2004), 0.298 (2003), 0.3039 (2002), 0.3067 (2001)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Kuwait
Telephones - main lines in use:
510,300 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.38 million (2005)
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)
1.175 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)
875,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2,439 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2000)
Internet users:
700,000 (2005)
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 169 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2004)
total: 4,450 km
paved: 3,587 km
unpaved: 863 km (1999)
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 Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi
Military Kuwait
Military branches:
Land Forces, Navy, Air Force (includes air defense force), National Guard (2002)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; 1 month annual training to age 40; women have served in police forces since 1999 (2001)
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 - dollar figure:
$3.01 billion (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.2% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Kuwait
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 2 November, 2006


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