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This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007


Map of Saudi Arabia



Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's 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 country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's 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 world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's 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.
   Geography    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
25 00 N, 45 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 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
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
2,640 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
mostly uninhabited, sandy desert
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 1.67%
permanent crops: 0.09%
other: 98.24% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
16,200 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
frequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
desertification; 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 agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party 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 - note:
Definition Field Listing
extensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
   People    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27,601,038
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 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 age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 21.4 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.06% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
29.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.55 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-5.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at 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 rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 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 birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 75.88 years
male: 73.85 years
female: 78.02 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 100%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Arabic
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)
   Government    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional 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 type:
Definition Field Listing
monarchy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
name: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 38 N, 46 43 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Madinah, Al Qasim, Ar Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Unification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
governed according to Islamic law; the Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was promulgated by royal decree in 1992
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Shari'a law, several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age; male
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief 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 branch:
Definition Field Listing
Consultative 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 branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Council of Justice
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
none
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
none
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, BIS, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, 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 US:
Definition Field Listing
chief 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 US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador James C. OBERWETTER
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 description:
Definition Field Listing
green, 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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses 25% of the world's 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 kingdom's 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$374 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$286.2 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.9% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$13,800 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 67%
services: 29.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.125 million
note: more than 35% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 12%
industry: 25%
services: 63% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13% among Saudi males only (local bank estimate; some estimates range as high as 25%) (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.9% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.2% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $189.2 billion
expenditures: $107.6 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
32.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
crude 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 rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.9% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
155.2 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
144.4 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.475 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.845 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.92 million bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
262.7 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
65.68 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
65.68 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.654 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$103.8 billion (2006 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$204.5 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 16.8%, Japan 16.5%, South Korea 9.3%, China 7.1%, Singapore 5.2%, Taiwan 4.3% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$64.16 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 14.8%, Japan 9%, Germany 8.2%, China 7.4%, UK 4.7% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$31.63 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$47.39 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing
since 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
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Saudi riyal (SAR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi riyals per US dollar - 3.745 (2006), 3.747 (2005), 3.75 (2004), 3.75 (2003), 3.75 (2002)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.5 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.3 million (2005)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general 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 stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 43, FM 31, shortwave 2 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
117 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.sa
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,931 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.2 million (2006)
   Transportation    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
208 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 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 runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 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)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
6 (2006)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
condensate 212 km; gas 1,880 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 4,531 km; refined products 1,150 km (2006)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,392 km
standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 152,044 km
paved: 45,461 km
unpaved: 106,583 km (2000)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 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 terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jiddah, Yanbu' al Sinaiyah
   Military    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Land Forces (Army), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, National Guard, Ministry of Interior Forces (paramilitary)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 7,648,999
females age 18-49: 5,417,922 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 6,592,709
females age 18-49: 4,659,347 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 247,334
females age 18-49: 234,500 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Saudi Arabia Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 240,015 (Palestinian Territories) (2006)
Trafficking in persons:
Definition Field Listing
current 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
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
death penalty for traffickers; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement

This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007


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