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The World Factbook (1990)/Malta



World Factbook (1990) Malta.jpg

See regional map V


Total area: 320 km²; land area: 320 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 140 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 25 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs

Natural resources: limestone, salt

Land use: 38% arable land; 3% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 59% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: numerous bays provide good harbors; fresh water very scarce—increasing reliance on desalination

Note: strategic location in central Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily, 290 km north of Libya


Population: 353,465 (July 1990), growth rate 0.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 15 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 1 migrant/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 8 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 74 years male, 78 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Maltese (sing. and pl.); adjective—Maltese

Ethnic divisions: mixture of Arab, Sicilian, Norman, Spanish, Italian, English

Religion: 98% Roman Catholic

Language: Maltese and English (official)

Literacy: 83%

Labor force: 125,674; 30% services, 24% manufacturing, 21% government (except job corps), 8% construction, 5% utilities and drydocks, 4% agriculture (1987)

Organized labor: about 40% of labor force


Long-form name: Republic of Malta

Type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Valletta

Administrative divisions: none (administration directly from Valletta)

Independence: 21 September 1964 (from UK)

Constitution: 26 April 1974, effective 2 June 1974

Legal system: based on English common law and Roman civil law; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Freedom Day, 31 March

Executive branch: president, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Representatives

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal

Leaders: Chief of State—President Vincent (Censu) TABONE (since 4 April 1989);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Dr. Edward (Eddie) FENECH ADAMI (since 12 May 1987); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Guido DE MARCO (since 14 May 1987)

Political parties and leaders: Nationalist Party, Edward Fenech Adami; Malta Labor Party, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: House of Representatives—last held on 9 May 1987 (next to be held by May 1992); results—NP 51.1%, MLP 48.9%; seats—(usually 65 total, but additional seats are given to the party with the largest popular vote to ensure a legislative majority; current total 69) MLP 34, NP 31 before popular vote adjustment; MLP 34, NP 35 after adjustment

Communists: fewer than 100 (est.)

Member of: CCC, Commonwealth, Council of Europe, FAO, G-77, GATT, IBRD, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTERPOL, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, NAM, UN, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Salvatore J. STELLINI; Chancery at 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 462-3611 or 3612; there is a Maltese Consulate General in New York; US—Ambassador Sally J. NOVETZKE; Embassy at 2nd Floor, Development House, St. Anne Street, Floriana, Valletta (mailing address is P. O. Box 535, Valletta); telephone [356] 623653 or 620424, 623216

Flag: 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


Overview: Significant resources are limestone, a favorable geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies, and has no domestic energy sources. Consequently, the economy is highly dependent on foreign trade and services. Manufacturing and tourism are the largest contributors to the economy. Manufacturing accounts for about 30% of GDP, with the textile and clothing industry a major contributor. In 1988 inflation was held to a low 0.9%. Per capita GDP at $5,100 places Malta in the middle-income range of the world's nations.

GDP: $1.9 billion, per capita $5,100; real growth rate 7.1% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 4.4% (1987)

Budget: revenues $844 million; expenditures $938 million, including capital expenditures of $226 million (1989 est.)

Exports: $710 million (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—clothing, textiles, footwear, ships; partners—FRG 31%, UK 14%, Italy 14%

Imports: $1,360 million (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—food, petroleum, nonfood raw materials; partners—FRG 19%, UK 17%, Italy 17%, US 11%

External debt: $90 million, medium and long-term (December 1987)

Industrial production: growth rate 6.2% (1987)

Electricity: 328,000 kW capacity; 1,110 million kWh produced, 2,990 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: tourism, ship repair yard, clothing, construction, food manufacturing, textiles, footwear, clothing, beverages, tobacco

Agriculture: overall, 20% self-sufficient; main products—potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers, hogs, poultry, eggs; generally adequate supplies of vegetables, poultry, milk, pork products; seasonal or periodic shortages in grain, animal fodder, fruits, other basic foodstuffs

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-81), $172 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $332 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $76 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $48 million

Currency: Maltese lira (plural—liri); 1 Maltese lira (LM) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Maltese liri (LM) per US$1—0.3332 (January 1990), 0.3483 (1989), 0.3306 (1988), 0.3451 (1987), 0.3924 (1986), 0.4676 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Highways: 1,291 km total; 1,179 km paved (asphalt), 77 km crushed stone or gravel, 35 km improved and unimproved earth

Ports: Valletta, Marsaxlokk

Merchant marine: 314 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 3,677,797 GRT/6,357,733 DWT; includes 3 passenger, 4 short-sea passenger, 127 cargo, 2 container, 1 passenger-cargo, 13 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 2 vehicle carrier, 6 refrigerated cargo, 7 chemical tanker, 4 combination ore/oil, 1 specialized tanker, 61 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 72 bulk, 11 combination bulk; note—a flag of convenience registry; China owns 1 ship, Cuba owns 8, and Vietnam owns 1

Civil air: 8 major transport aircraft

Airports: 1 with permanent-surface runways 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: modern automatic system centered in Valletta; 153,000 telephones; stations—9 AM, 3 FM, 2 TV; 1 submarine cable; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Armed Forces, Police, Paramilitary Dejima Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 92,610; 74,256 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 1.3% of GDP, or $25 million (1989 est.)