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Saudi Arabia-The King

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Saudi Arabia Index

As one of world's last absolute monarchs, the Saudi Arabian king exercised very broad powers. He was both head of state and head of government. Ultimate authority in virtually every aspect of government rested with the king. All legislation was enacted either by royal decree or by ministerial decree, which had to be sanctioned by the king. In his capacity as prime minister, the king appointed all cabinet ministers, other senior government officials, and the governors of the provinces. In his capacity as commander in chief of the armed forces, the king appointed all military officers above the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also appointed all Saudi Arabia's ambassadors and other foreign envoys. All foreign diplomats in the country were accredited to the king. In addition, the king acted as the final court of appeal and had the power of pardon.

The legitimacy of the king's rule was based on the twin pillars of religion and the dynastic history of the Al Saud. The family's most important early ancestor, Muhammad ibn Saud (1710- 65), had been a relatively minor local ruler in Najd before establishing a political and family alliance with the puritanical Muslim preacher and reformer Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703-87) in 1744. Muhammad ibn Saud and his descendants--the Al Saud-- ardently supported the preacher and his descendants--the Al ash Shaykh--and were determined to introduce a purified Islam, which opponents called Wahhabism (see Glossary), throughout Arabia. Religious fervor facilitated the conquest of Najd and at the height of their power in the early nineteenth century, the Al Saud had extended their control over most of the Arabian Peninsula (see The Saud Family and Wahhabi Islam, 1500-1818 , ch. 1). Subsequent conflict with the Ottoman Empire and dynastic rivalries both diminished and enhanced the political fortunes of the Al Saud throughout the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, the Saudi alliance with the Al ash Shaykh endured.

The founder of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, Abd al Aziz ibn Abd ar Rahman Al Saud (1876-1953), was a grandson of the last effective nineteenth-century Saudi ruler, Faisal ibn Turki (1810- 66). Abd al Aziz restored the family from virtual political extinction by reintroducing the crusading zeal of Wahhabi Islam (see The Rise of Abd al Aziz, 1890-1926 , ch. 1). By 1924, when the Ikhwan, a select force of beduin religious fighters created by Abd al Aziz, conquered the Hijaz, almost all the territory of the present-day Saudi state was under Abd al Aziz's authority. In 1932 he proclaimed this territory the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and himself its king.

Abd al Aziz ruled until his death in 1953. Although he had named his eldest son, Saud ibn Abd al Aziz Al Saud (1902-69), crown prince, he had not instituted an mechanism for orderly succession. Because Abd al Aziz was survived by more than thirty sons, the lack of a process for passing on the mantle of kingship constituted a source of potential political instability for the country. Problems emerged soon after King Saud began his reign. Like his father, Saud had more than thirty sons, and he was ambitious to place them in positions of power and influence. The new king's numerous brothers, who believed their nephews were too young and inexperienced to head ministries and major government departments, deeply resented their exclusion from power. The political and personal tensions among the Al Saud, combined with the extravagance and poor judgment of Saud, climaxed in a 1964 family coup. A number of brothers joined together to depose Saud and install as king the next eldest brother, Faisal ibn Abd al Aziz Al Saud (1904-75). The transfer of power was endorsed by Saudi Arabia's ulama, or religious authorities.

King Faisal strengthened the powers of the monarchy during his eleven-year reign. Although he had acted as prime minister during most of Saud's rule, he issued a royal decree stipulating that the king would serve both as head of state and as head of government. Faisal also increased central control over the provinces by making local officials responsible to the king, creating a Ministry of Justice to regulate the autonomous religious courts, and establishing a national development plan to coordinate construction projects and social services throughout the country. Faisal's concern for orderly government and durable institutions extended to the monarchy. In 1965 he persuaded his brothers to observe the principle of birth order among themselves to regulate the succession, although the next eldest brother, Muhammad (born 1910), voluntarily stepped down in favor of Khalid (1912-82).

Faisal's rule ended abruptly in 1975 when he was assassinated by one of his nephews. A meeting of senior Al Saud princes, the sons and surviving brothers of Abd al Aziz, acclaimed Crown Prince Khalid the new king. Because some of Khalid's brothers, who would have been next in line of succession according to age, renounced their right to the throne, the king and the princes designated a younger brother, Fahd (born 1921), crown prince. Fahd ascended to the throne in 1982 after Khalid suffered a fatal heart attack. In consultation with his brothers, Fahd named Abd Allah (born 1923) crown prince and Sultan (born 1927) third in line of succession. The relatively smooth transitions following the deaths of Faisal and Khalid thus seemed to have resolved the issue of succession among the sons of Abd al Aziz. In 1992, however, Fahd altered the procedure for designating future kings. In the same royal decree that announced the impending appointment of a majlis, Fahd declared that the king would henceforth name and could remove the crown prince. Furthermore, the crown prince would not automatically succeed on the death of the king, but serve as provisional ruler until he, or a descendant of Abd al Aziz deemed more suitable, was enthroned.

Fahd's decree on succession established two precedents: a royal prerogative to choose and to withdraw approval for the crown prince; and an acknowledgement that the more than sixty grandsons of Abd al Aziz were legitimate claimants to the throne. Previously, Saudi kings had not asserted the right to dismiss a designated crown prince. By proclaiming such a right, Fahd revived persistent rumors originating in the 1970s that he and his half brother Abd Allah disagreed on many political issues. To forestall speculation that his intent was to remove Abd Allah as crown prince and replace him with his full brother Sultan, Fahd reaffirmed Abd Allah's position. However, in declaring that successor kings would be chosen from the most suitable of Abd al Aziz's sons and grandsons, Fahd implied that Abd Allah or any future crown prince was not necessarily the presumed heir to the throne. The decision to include the grandsons in the selection process and as potential candidates for the throne symbolized the readiness of Fahd and his surviving brothers to pass substantive decision-making responsibilities to a younger generation of the Al Saud. However, this decision also introduced more uncertainty into the succession process. At least a dozen men of this Al Saud younger generation, including sons of Faisal, Fahd, Abd Allah, and Sultan, were actively involved in the Saudi government and presumably had a personal interest in the question of succession.

Data as of December 1992

BackgroundSaudi 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 king instituted an Inter-Faith Dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in February 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds more than 20% 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.
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen
Area(sq km)total: 2,149,690 sq km
land: 2,149,690 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Geographic coordinates25 00 N, 45 00 E
Land boundaries(km)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(km)2,640 km

Climateharsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper
Land use(%)arable land: 1.67%
permanent crops: 0.09%
other: 98.24% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)16,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)2.4 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 17.32 cu km/yr (10%/1%/89%)
per capita: 705 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardsfrequent sand and dust storms
Environment - current issuesdesertification; 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 agreementsparty 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 - noteextensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 38% (male 5,557,453/female 5,340,614)
15-64 years: 59.5% (male 9,608,032/female 7,473,543)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 363,241/female 343,750) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 21.6 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.9 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.848% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)28.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)2.47 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-7.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 82% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.29 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1.18 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 11.57 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 76.3 years
male: 74.23 years
female: 78.48 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)3.83 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
Ethnic groups(%)Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Religions(%)Muslim 100%

Country nameconventional 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 typemonarchy
Capitalname: Riyadh
geographic coordinates: 24 38 N, 46 43 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah, Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk
Constitutiongoverned according to Islamic law; the Basic Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was promulgated by royal decree in 1992

Legal systembased on sharia law, several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage21 years of age; male
Executive branchchief 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); 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); Deputy Prime Minister SULTAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud; Second Deputy Prime Minister NAYIF bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud
cabinet: Council of Ministers is appointed by the monarch every four years and includes many royal family members
elections: none; the monarchy 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 branchConsultative 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 branchSupreme Council of Justice

Political pressure groups and leadersAnsar Al Marah (supports women's rights)
other: gas companies; religious groups
International organization participationABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptiongreen, 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 - overviewSaudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses more than 20% 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 80% of budget revenues, 45% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. About 40% of GDP comes from the private sector. Roughly 6.4 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors. High oil prices through mid-2008 have boosted growth, government revenues, and Saudi ownership of foreign assets, while enabling Riyadh to pay down domestic debt. The government is encouraging private sector growth - especially in power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemicals - to lessen the kingdom's dependence on oil exports and to increase employment opportunities for the swelling Saudi population, nearly 40% of which are youths under 15 years old. Unemployment is high, and the large youth population generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs. Riyadh has substantially boosted spending on job training and education, infrastructure development, and government salaries. 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. The government has announced plans to establish six "economic cities" in different regions of the country to promote development and diversification. The last five years of high oil prices have given the Kingdom ample financial reserves to manage the impact of the global financial crisis, but tight international credit, falling oil prices, and the global economic slowdown will reduce Saudi economic growth in 2009.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$577.9 billion (2008 est.)
$553.5 billion (2007 est.)
$535.8 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$469.4 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)4.4% (2008 est.)
3.3% (2007 est.)
3.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$20,500 (2008 est.)
$20,100 (2007 est.)
$19,800 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 3.1%
industry: 61.9%
services: 35% (2008 est.)
Labor force6.74 million
note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 6.7%
industry: 21.4%
services: 71.9% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)11.8% (2008 est.)
13% (2004 est.)
note: data are for Saudi males only (local bank estimates; some estimates range as high as 25%)
Population below poverty line(%)NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)19.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $293.7 billion
expenditures: $136 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)9.9% (2008 est.)
4.1% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$113.2 billion (31 December 2008)
$102.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$134.3 billion (31 December 2008)
$109.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$NA (31 December 2008)
$66.94 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$246.3 billion (31 December 2008)
$515.1 billion (31 December 2007)
$326.9 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$26.29 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)18.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
75% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Industriescrude 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(%)2.4% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$132.6 billion (2008 est.)
$96.77 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$313.4 billion (2008 est.)
$234.1 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Exports - partners(%)US 17.1%, Japan 15.2%, South Korea 10.1%, China 9.3%, India 7%, Singapore 4.4% (2008)
Imports$108.3 billion (2008 est.)
$82.6 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Imports - partners(%)US 12.2%, China 10.5%, Japan 7.7%, Germany 7.4%, South Korea 5.1%, Italy 4.8%, India 4.2%, UK 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$30.59 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$34.01 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$82.13 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$58.6 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$108.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$92 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$18.07 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$16.99 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesSaudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar - 3.75 (2008 est.), 3.745 (2007), 3.745 (2006), 3.747 (2005), 3.75 (2004)

Currency (code)Saudi riyal (SAR)

Telephones - main lines in use4.1 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular36 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern system
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and fiber-optic cable systems; mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly
international: country code - 966; landing point for the international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and for both the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable networks providing connectivity to Asia, Middle East, Europe, and US; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2008)
Internet country code.sa
Internet users7.7 million (2008)
Airports217 (2009)
Pipelines(km)condensate 212 km; gas 1,880 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 4,239 km; refined products 1,148 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 221,372 km
paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)
unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsAd Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jiddah, Yanbu' al Sinaiyah
Military branchesMinistry of Defense and Aviation Forces: Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Naval Forces (includes Marine Forces and Special Forces), Royal Saudi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Malakiya as-Sa'udiya), Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Rocket Forces, Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age (est.); no conscription (2004)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 8,547,441
females age 16-49: 6,381,098 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 7,486,622
females age 16-49: 5,652,819 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 278,179
female: 267,905 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)10% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalSaudi 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 personsrefugees (country of origin): 240,015 (Palestinian Territories) (2007)
Trafficking in personscurrent 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; the government continues to lack adequate anti-trafficking laws and, despite evidence of widespread trafficking abuses, did not report any criminal prosecutions, convictions, or prison sentences for trafficking crimes committed against foreign domestic workers (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)179.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)165.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)10.78 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)2.38 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)8.728 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)79,250 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Economic aid - donorsince 2002, Saudi Arabia has provided more than $480 million in budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority, supported Palestinian refugees through contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), provided more than $250 million to Arab League funds for the Palestinians, and pledged $500 million in assistance over the next three years at the Donors Conference in Dec 2007; 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

Oil - proved reserves(bbl)266.7 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)80.44 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)80.44 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)7.319 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)

Education expenditures(% of GDP)6.8% of GDP (2004)

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