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Countries > Kuwait Kuwait Flag

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Capital: Kuwait City
Population: 2,100,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Kuwait Map


Location: 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: 464 km
border countries: Iraq 242 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%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures : 8%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 92% (1998 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: Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping

Geography - note: strategic location at head of Persian Gulf


Population: 2,111,561
note: includes 1,159,913 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.3% (male 304,200; female 292,900)
15-64 years : 69.2% (male 934,115; female 527,331)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 34,106; female 18,909) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.33%
note : this rate reflects the continued post-Gulf crisis return of expatriates

Birth rate: 21.84 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 2.46 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 13.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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: 1.8 male(s)/female
total population : 1.52 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 10.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.46 years
male: 76.46 years
female: 77.39 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.14 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti

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

Religions: Muslim 85% (Shi'a 30%, Sunni 45%, other 10%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%

Languages: Arabic (official), English widely spoken

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.6%
male : 82.2%
female: 74.9% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form : State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt

Data code: KU

Government type: nominal constitutional monarchy

National capital: Kuwait

Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al Jahrah, Al Kuwayt, Hawalli, Al Farwaniyah

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 t heir 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 and Crown Prince SAAD al-Abdallah al-Salim Al Sabah (since 8 February 1978); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah (since 17 October 1992); Deputy Prime Ministers JABIR MUBARAK al-Hamud Al Sabah (since NA) and MUHAMMAD KHALID al-Hamed Al Sabah (since NA)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir
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 3 July 1999 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - independents 50; 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

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber 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 H. JONES
embassy: Bneid al-Gar (opposite the Kuwait International Hotel), Kuwait City
mailing address: P.O. Box 77, SAFAT, 13001 SAFAT, Kuwait; Unit 6900, APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 539-5307 or 539-5308
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


Economy - overview: Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of 94 billion barrels - 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 90% of export revenues, and 75% 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. Higher oil prices put the FY99/00 budget into a $2 billion surplus. The FY00/01 budget covers only nine months because of a change in the fiscal year. The budget for FY01/02 envisioned higher expenditures for salaries, construction, and other general categories. Kuwait continues its discussions with foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $30.9 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $15,100 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:0.3% (2000)
industry : 60%
services: 39.7%

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 2.7% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 1.3 million (1998 est.)
note: 68% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.)
by occupation: industry and agriculture 25%, services 25%, government and social services 50% (1994 est.)
note: 72.07% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (official 1996 est.)

revenues: $11.5 billion
expenditures : $17.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY01/02)

Industries: petroleum, petrochemicals, desalination, food processing, construction materials, salt, construction

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1997 est.)

Electricity - capacity: 6.99 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 31.2 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 29.016 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: practically no crops; extensive fishing in territorial waters

total value: $16.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities : oil
partners: Japan 23%, US 14%, South Korea 13%, Singapore 7%, Netherlands 6%, Pakistan 6%, Indonesia 4%, UK 2% (2000)

total value: $7.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
partners : US 12%, Japan 8%, UK 8%, Germany 7%, China 5%, France 4%, Australia 3%, Netherlands 2% (2000)

Debt - external: $6.9 billion (2000 est.)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Kuwaiti dinar (KD) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Kuwaiti dinars per US dollar - 0.3075 (January 2002), 0.3066, (2001), 0.3067 (2000), 0.3044 (1999), 0.3047 (1998), 0.3033 (1997)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


Telephones: 412,000 (1997)

Telephone system: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: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)

Radios: 1.175 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 13 (plus several satellite channels) (1997)

Televisions: 875,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

total:4,450 km
paved:3,590 km
unpaved : 860 km (1999 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 877 km; petroleum products 40 km; natural gas 165 km

Ports and harbors: Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Kuwait, Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi, Mina' Su'ud

Merchant marine:
total: 38 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,274,515 GRT/3,627,835 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 1, container 6, liquefied gas 6, livestock carrier 5, petroleum tanker 19

Airports: 7 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m : 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2001)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

Heliports: 3 (2001)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Ministry of Interior Forces, Coast Guard

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49 : 812,059 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 486,906 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 18,309 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1,967,300,000 (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:5.5% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: in November 1994, Iraq formally accepted the UN-demarcated border with Kuwait which had been spelled out in Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 773 (1993), and 883 (1993); this formally ends earlier claims to Kuwait and to Bubiyan and Warbah islands; ownership of Qaruh and Umm al Maradim islands disputed by Saudi Arabia

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