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Saudi Arabia Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Saudi Arabia
Background:
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.
People Saudi Arabia
Population:
27,601,038
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
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:
total: 21.4 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.06% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
29.1 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
2.55 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
-5.95 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
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:
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:
total population: 75.88 years
male: 73.85 years
female: 78.02 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.94 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groups:
Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%
Religions:
Muslim 100%
Languages:
Arabic
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)
Government Saudi Arabia
Country name:
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:
monarchy
Capital:
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:
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:
23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
National holiday:
Unification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)
Constitution:
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:
based on Shari'a law, several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
21 years of age; male
Executive branch:
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:
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:
Supreme Council of Justice
Political parties and leaders:
none
Political pressure groups and leaders:
none
International organization participation:
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:
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:
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:
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
Communications Saudi Arabia
Telephones - main lines in use:
4.5 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
13.3 million (2005)
Telephone system:
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:
AM 43, FM 31, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios:
6.25 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
117 (1997)
Televisions:
5.1 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.sa
Internet hosts:
10,931 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
22 (2003)
Internet users:
3.2 million (2006)
Transportation Saudi Arabia
Airports:
208 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
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:
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:
6 (2006)
Pipelines:
condensate 212 km; gas 1,880 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 4,531 km; refined products 1,150 km (2006)
Railways:
total: 1,392 km
standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2005)
Roadways:
total: 152,044 km
paved: 45,461 km
unpaved: 106,583 km (2000)
Merchant marine:
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:
Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jiddah, Yanbu' al Sinaiyah
Military Saudi Arabia
Military branches:
Land Forces (Army), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, National Guard, Ministry of Interior Forces (paramilitary)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 7,648,999
females age 18-49: 5,417,922 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 6,592,709
females age 18-49: 4,659,347 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 247,334
females age 18-49: 234,500 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$18 billion (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
10% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Saudi Arabia
Disputes - international:
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:
refugees (country of origin): 240,015 (Palestinian Territories) (2006)
Trafficking in persons:
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:
death penalty for traffickers; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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