The Southeastern-European Republic of Albania is bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. Coastal areas include shores along the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. The country has candidate status for membership status within the European Union.
In 2010, Albania's population amounted to 2.87 million, but it is projected to decrease slightly through 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund. This is likely due to a low fertility rate and a rapidly increasing median age of the population, which usually suggests lower mortality rates and an improved health system.
With just under half a million inhabitants, Albania's capital Tirana is also the country’s largest city, greatly exceeding the population of other cities within the country as of 2011. Overall, Albanians have been relocating more and more to urban areas, and in 2014, more than half of the population was counted as urban. Taking Albania's unusually high unemployment rate into account, this fact is hardly surprising. Most of the country's GDP is generated by the services sector, like tourism, followed by agriculture and, finally industry.
The economy of Albania is relatively stable and shows potential for economic growth. Its transition from socialism to capitalism is also considered to be quite a success. In 2012, its GDP was at 13.24 billion U.S. dollars and is projected to increase up through 2020. Italy is the country’s most important trading partner. In 2016, Albania had a trade deficit of 2.71 billion U.S. dollars, although the height of the country’s trade deficit occurred in 2008 with a minus of almost 4 billion U.S. dollars. However, Albania has been steadily increasing its exports since 2006.
In 2015, the national debt of Albania amounted to 73.68 percent of its GDP. One of the five convergence criteria to join the Euro area is a debt to GDP ratio of not more than 60 percent, a goal the country is likely to achieve over the next few years.
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