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Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen

Geographic coordinates: 25 00 N, 45 00 E

Map references: Middle East

total: 1,960,582 sq km
land: 1,960,582 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US

Land boundaries:
total: 4,415 km
border countries: Iraq 814 km, Jordan 728 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,458 km

Coastline: 2,640 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: harsh, dry desert with great extremes of temperature

Terrain: mostly uninhabited, sandy desert

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 56%
forests and woodland: 1%
other: 41% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 4,350 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: frequent sand and dust storms

Environment—current issues: 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:
party to: Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: extensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal


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Population: 20,785,955 (July 1998 est.)
note: includes 5,244,058 non-nationals (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 43% (male 4,547,971; female 4,398,628)
15-64 years: 55% (male 6,738,820; female 4,591,477)
65 years and over: 2% (male 268,136; female 240,923) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.41% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 37.63 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.02 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.44 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.46 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.11 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 41.34 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.03 years
male: 68.19 years
female: 71.96 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.38 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

Ethnic groups: Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Religions: Muslim 100%

Languages: Arabic

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.8%
male: 71.5%
female: 50.2% (1995 est.)


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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

Data code: SA

Government type: monarchy

National capital: Riyadh

Administrative divisions: 13 provinces (mintaqah, singular—mintaqat); Al Bahah, Al Hudud Ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Madinah, Al Qasim, Ar Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province), 'Asir, Hail, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk

Independence: 23 September 1932 (unification)

National holiday: Unification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)

Constitution: governed according to Shari'a (Islamic law); the Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was introduced in 1993

Legal system: based on Islamic law, several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: none

Executive branch:
chief of state: King and Prime Minister FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 13 June 1982); Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (half-brother to the king, heir to the throne since 13 June 1982, regent from 1 January to 22 February 1996); note—the king is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: King and Prime Minister FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 13 June 1982); Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (half-brother to the king, heir to the throne since 13 June 1982, regent from 1 January to 22 February 1996); note—the king is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers is appointed by the king and includes many royal family members
elections: none; the king is an absolute monarch

Legislative branch: a consultative council (90 members and a chairman appointed by the king for four-year terms)

Judicial branch: Supreme Council of Justice

Political parties and leaders: none allowed

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, BIS (pending member), CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-19, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador BANDAR bin Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud
chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800
consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Wyche FOWLER, Jr.
embassy: Collector Road M, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh
mailing address: American Embassy-Riyadh, Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307; International Mail: P. O. Box 94309, Riyadh 11693
telephone: [966] (1) 488-3800
FAX: [966] (1) 488-7360
consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)

Flag description: green with large white Arabic script (that may be 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); green is the traditional color of Islam


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Economy—overview: This is a well-to-do oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. About 35% of GDP comes from the private sector. Economic (as well as political) ties with the US are especially strong. The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 75% of budget revenues, 35% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves of petroleum in the world (26% of the proved total), ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. For the 1990s the government intends to bring its budget, which has been in deficit since 1983, back into balance, and to encourage private economic activity. Roughly 4 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, for example, in the oil and service sectors. Helped by production above its OPEC quota, Saudi Arabia continued to bring its finances closer into balance in 1997, recording a $1.6 billion budget deficit and a $200 million current account surplus. For 1998, the country looks to its policies of maintaining moderate fiscal reforms, restraining public spending, and encouraging nonoil exports. Shortages of water and rapid population growth will constrain government efforts to increase self-sufficiency in agricultural products.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$206.5 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,300 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 46%
services: 48% (1996)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 0% (1997 est.)

Labor force: 7 million
by occupation: government 40%, industry, construction, and oil 25%, services 30%, agriculture 5%
note: 35% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $47.5 billion
expenditures: $52.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

Industries: crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, cement, two small steel-rolling mills, construction, fertilizer, plastics

Industrial production growth rate: 16% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 20.9 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 65 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,470 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk

total value: $56.7 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: petroleum and petroleum products 90%
partners: Japan 17%, US 15%, South Korea 10%, Singapore 8%, France 5% (1996 est.)

total value: $25.4 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
partners: US 22%, UK 12%, Japan 9%, Germany 8%, Italy 5%, France 4% (1996 est.)

Debt—external: $NA

Economic aid:
donor: pledged $100 million in 1993 to fund reconstruction of Lebanon

Currency: 1 Saudi riyal (SR) = 100 halalah

Exchange rates: Saudi riyals (SR) per US$1—3.7450 (fixed rate since June 1986)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 1.46 million (1993)

Telephone system: modern system
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay and coaxial and fiber-optic cable systems
international: 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 13, shortwave 0

Radios: 5 million (1993 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 80

Televisions: 4.5 million (1993 est.)


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total: 1,390 km
standard gauge: 1,390 km 1.435-m gauge (448 km double track) (1992)

total: 162,000 km
paved: 69,174 km
unpaved: 92,826 km (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 6,400 km; petroleum products 150 km; natural gas 2,200 km (includes natural gas liquids 1,600 km)

Ports and harbors: Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Duba, Jiddah, Jizan, Rabigh, Ra's al Khafji, Al Mishab, Ras Tanura, Yanbu' al Bahr, Yanbu' al Sinaiyah

Merchant marine:
total: 76 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,009,059 GRT/1,329,377 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 13, chemical tanker 6, container 3, liquefied gas tanker 1, livestock carrier 5, oil tanker 22, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 4, roll-on/roll-off cargo 12, short-sea passenger 8 (1997 est.)

Airports: 202 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 70
over 3,047 m: 30
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 132
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 77
914 to 1,523 m: 36
under 914 m: 13 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 4 (1997 est.)






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