Kuwait

 

Britain oversaw foreign relations and defence for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and re-established an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive.

 

Geography:
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 29 30 N, 45 45 E
People:
Population: 2,646,314 (July 2012 est.)

note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals

Age structure: 0-14 years:  25.8% (male 348,816/female 321,565)

15-64 years: 72.2% (male 1,153,433/female 720,392)

65 years and over: 2% (male 25,443/female 25,979) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: State of Kuwait

conventional short form: Kuwait

local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt

local short form: Al Kuwayt

Government type: constitutional emirate
Capital: name: Kuwait

geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 566,300 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 4.4 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 7 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 4

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Land Forces, Kuwaiti Navy, Kuwaiti Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya), National Guard (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for compulsory and 18-25 years of age for voluntary military service; women age 18-30 may be subject to compulsory military service; conscription suspended in 2001 (2009)

Economy:

Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with self-reported crude oil reserves of about 104 billion barrels – 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. High oil prices in recent years have helped build Kuwait’s budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. As a result of this positive fiscal situation, the need for economic reforms is less urgent and the government has not earnestly pushed through new initiatives.

 

Despite its vast oil reserves, Kuwait experienced power outages during the summer months in 2006 and 2007 because demand exceeded power generating capacity. Power outages are likely to worsen, given its high population growth rates, unless the government can increase generating capacity. In May 2007 Kuwait changed its currency peg from the US dollar to a basket of currencies in order to curb inflation and to reduce its vulnerability to external shocks.

Transnational Issues:

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue negotiating a joint maritime boundary with Iran; no maritime boundary exists with Iraq in the Persian Gulf