World Factbook

Saudi Arabia

Introduction

Middle East :: 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. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2005. 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. The king instituted an interfaith dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The 2010-12 uprisings across Middle Eastern and North African countries sparked modest incidents in Saudi cities, predominantly by Shia demonstrators calling for the release of detainees and the withdrawal from Bahrain of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force. Protests in general were met by a strong police presence, with some arrests, but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. In response to the unrest, King ABDALLAH in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits to Saudi citizens including funds to build affordable housing, salary increases for government workers, and unemployment entitlements. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils. Also in September, the king announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. During 2012, Shia protests increased in violence, while peaceful Sunni protests expanded. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 17% 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 ongoing governmental concerns.

Geography

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

Area:
Total: 2,149,690 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 13
Land: 2,149,690 sq km
Water: 0 sq km

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

Land boundaries:
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:
2,640 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: not specified

Climate:
harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

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: 1.45%
Permanent crops: 0.11%
Other: 98.44% (2011)

Irrigated land:
16,200 sq km (2004)

Total renewable water resources:
2.4 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Total: 23.67 cu km/yr (9%/3%/88%)
Per capita: 928.1 cu m/yr (2006)

Natural hazards:
frequent sand and dust storms
Volcanism: despite many volcanic formations, there has been little activity in the past few centuries; volcanoes include Harrat Rahat, Harrat Khaybar, Harrat Lunayyir, and Jabal Yar

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: 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 - note:
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal

People and Society

Nationality:
Noun: Saudi(s)
Adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

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

Languages:
Arabic (official)

Religions:
Muslim (official) 100%

Population:
26,939,583 (July 2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 46
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.2% (male 3,890,771/female 3,703,725)
15-24 years: 19.6% (male 2,823,458/female 2,450,629)
25-54 years: 44.8% (male 6,927,445/female 5,148,565)
55-64 years: 4.3% (male 639,051/female 524,058)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 429,951/female 401,930) (2013 est.)

Dependency ratios:
Total dependency ratio: 46.9 %
Youth dependency ratio: 42.6 %
Elderly dependency ratio: 4.2 %
Potential support ratio: 23.6 (2013)

Median age:
Total: 26 years
Male: 27 years
Female: 24.8 years (2013 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.51% (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 81

Birth rate:
19.01 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 95

Death rate:
3.32 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 218

Net migration rate:
-0.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 140

Urbanization:
Urban population: 82.3% of total population (2011)
Rate of urbanization: 2.38% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:
RIYADH (capital) 4.725 million; Jeddah 3.234 million; Mecca 1.484 million; Medina 1.104 million; Ad Dammam 902,000 (2009)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.15 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.36 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.08 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.21 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
24 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 134

Infant mortality rate:
Total: 15.08 deaths/1,000 live births
Country comparison to the world: 111
Male: 17.31 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 12.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 74.58 years
Country comparison to the world: 109
Male: 72.58 years
Female: 76.68 years (2013 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.21 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 103

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
23.8% (2007)

Health expenditures:
4.3% of GDP (2010)
Country comparison to the world: 162

Physicians density:
0.94 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density:
2.2 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source:
Improved:
urban: 97% of population
Unimproved:
urban: 3% of population (2010 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
Improved:
urban: 100% of population (2010 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.01% (2001 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 165

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
33% (2008)
Country comparison to the world: 19

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
5.3% (2005)
Country comparison to the world: 87

Education expenditures:
5.6% of GDP (2008)
Country comparison to the world: 51

Literacy:
Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 87.2%
Male: 90.8%
Female: 82.2% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Total: 15 years
Male: 15 years
Female: 15 years (2011)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
Total: 28.2%
Country comparison to the world: 32
Male: 23.6%
Female: 45.8% (2008)

Government

Country name:
Conventional long form: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Conventional short form: Saudi Arabia
Local long form: Al Mamlakah al Arabiyah as Saudiyah
Local short form: Al Arabiyah as Saudiyah

Government type:
monarchy

Capital:
Name: Riyadh
Geographic coordinates: 24 39 N, 46 42 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 (Northern Border), Al Jawf, Al Madinah (Medina), Al Qasim, Ar Riyad (Riyadh), Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah (Mecca), 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:
Islamic (sharia) legal system with some elements of Egyptian, French, and customary law; note - several secular codes have been introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees

International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

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 SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, born 31 December 1935) ; note - the monarch is both 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 SALMAN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 19 June 2012); Second Deputy Prime Minister MUQRIN bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since February 2013)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch every four years and includes many royal family members
Elections: none; the monarchy is hereditary; note - an 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 system will not take effect until after King ABDALLAH's successor inherits the throne

Legislative branch:
Consultative Council or Majlis al-Shura (150 members and a chairman appointed by the monarch to serve four-year terms); note - though the Council of Ministers announced in October 2003 its intent to introduce elections for a third of the Majlis al-Shura incrementally over a period of four to five years, to date no such elections have been held or announced

Judicial branch:
Highest court(s): High Court (consists of the court chief and organized into circuits with 3-judge panels except the criminal circuit which has a 5-judge panel for cases involving major punishments)
note - in 2005, King Abdullah issued decrees approving an overhaul of the judicial system and which were incorporated in the Judiciary Law of 2007; one change was the replacement of the Supreme Council of Justice with the High Court
Judge selection and term of office: the High Court chief and chiefs of the High Court Circuits appointed by royal decree following the recommendation of the Supreme Judiciary Council, a 10-member body of high level judges and other judicial heads; new judges and assistant judges serve 1- and 2- year probations, respectively, before permanent assignment
Subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; first-degree courts composed of general, criminal, personal status, and commercial courts, and the Labor Court; hierarchy of administrative courts

Political parties and leaders:
none

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Ansar Al Marah (supports women's rights)

Other: gas companies; religious groups

International organization participation:
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BIS, CAEU, CP, FAO, G-20, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, 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 (NGOs), 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 B. SMITH
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) 488-7360
Consulate(s) general: Dhahran, Jiddah (Jeddah)

National symbol(s):
palm tree surmounting two crossed swords

National anthem:
Name: "Aash Al Maleek" (Long Live Our Beloved King)

Lyrics/music: Ibrahim KHAFAJI/Abdul Rahman al-KHATEEB
note: music adopted 1947, lyrics adopted 1984

Economy

Economy - overview:
Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy with strong government controls over major economic activities. It possesses about 17% 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. Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Diversification efforts are focusing on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. Over 5 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors, while Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals. Saudi officials are particularly focused on employing its large youth population, which generally lacks the education and technical skills the private sector needs. Riyadh has substantially boosted spending on job training and education, most recently with the opening of the King Abdallah University of Science and Technology - Saudi Arabia's first co-educational university. As part of its effort to attract foreign investment, Saudi Arabia acceded to the WTO in 2005. The government has begun establishing six "economic cities" in different regions of the country to promote foreign investment and plans to spend $373 billion between 2010 and 2014 on social development and infrastructure projects to advance Saudi Arabia''s economic development.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$921.7 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 20
$863 billion (2011 est.)
$795.5 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$727.3 billion (2012 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
6.8% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 31
8.5% (2011 est.)
7.4% (2010 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$31,800 (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 46
$30,400 (2011 est.)
$28,900 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars

Gross national saving:
53.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 4
54.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
49.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:
Household consumption: 26.4%
Government consumption: 19.7%
Investment in fixed capital: 26.6%
Investment in inventories: 4.3%
Exports of goods and services: 55.9%
Imports of goods and services: -28.6%
(2012 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
Agriculture: 1.9%
Industry: 64.8%
Services: 33.3% (2012 est.)

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

Industries:
crude 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:
7.1% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 27

Labor force:
8.012 million
Country comparison to the world: 60
note: about 80% of the labor force is non-national (2012 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
Agriculture: 6.7%
Industry: 21.4%
Services: 71.9% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:
10.6% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 113
10.9% (2011 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%

Budget:
Revenues: $326.5 billion
Expenditures: $234.8 billion (2012 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
44.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 25

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
12.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 6

Public debt:
11.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 142
11.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4% (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 124
4.9% (2011 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
2.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.8% (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 124
7.2% (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$236.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 18
$202.9 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$360.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 28
$326.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$74.71 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 61
$27.54 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$338.9 billion (31 December 2011)
Country comparison to the world: 25
$353.4 billion (31 December 2010)
$318.8 billion (31 December 2009)

Current account balance:
$150 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 3
$158.5 billion (2011 est.)

Exports:
$395 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 15
$364.7 billion (2011 est.)

Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products 90%

Exports - partners:
US 14.3%, China 13.7%, Japan 13.7%, South Korea 9.9%, India 8.2%, Singapore 4.3% (2012)

Imports:
$136.8 billion (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 31
$120 billion (2011 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles

Imports - partners:
China 13.5%, US 13.2%, South Korea 6.7%, Germany 6.5%, India 6.3%, Japan 6% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$656.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 4
$541.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Debt - external:
$134 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 41
$113.7 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$221.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 24
$204.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$20.81 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 46
$17.72 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Exchange rates:
Saudi riyals (SAR) per US dollar -
3.75 (2012 est.)
3.75 (2011 est.)
3.75 (2010 est.)
3.75 (2009)
3.75 (2008)

Energy

Electricity - production:
212.3 billion kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 20

Electricity - consumption:
186.1 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 19

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 122

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 125

Electricity - installed generating capacity:
44.49 million kW (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 20

Electricity - from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 33

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 169

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 192

Electricity - from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 180

Crude oil - production:
10 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 2

Crude oil - exports:
6.88 million bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 1

Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 115

Crude oil - proved reserves:
264.6 billion bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 1

Refined petroleum products - production:
1.914 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 11

Refined petroleum products - consumption:
2.817 million bbl/day (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 7

Refined petroleum products - exports:
951,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 6

Refined petroleum products - imports:
160,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 35

Natural gas - production:
99.23 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 9

Natural gas - consumption:
99.23 billion cu m (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 8

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 170

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 122

Natural gas - proved reserves:
8.028 trillion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 5

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
478.4 million Mt (2010 est.)
Country comparison to the world: 11

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
4.633 million (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 32

Telephones - mobile cellular:
53.706 million (2011)
Country comparison to the world: 25

Telephone system:
General assessment: modern system including a combination of extensive microwave radio relays, coaxial cables, and fiber-optic cables
Domestic: 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) (2011)

Broadcast media:
broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Internet country code:
.sa

Internet hosts:
145,941 (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 79

Internet users:
9.774 million (2009)
Country comparison to the world: 30

Transportation

Airports:
214 (2013)
Country comparison to the world: 26

Airports - with paved runways:
Total: 82
Over 3,047 m: 33
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
1,524 to 2,437 m: 27
914 to 1,523 m: 2
Under 914 m: 4 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
Total: 132
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 72
914 to 1,523 m: 37
Under 914 m:
16 (2013)

Heliports:
10 (2013)

Pipelines:
condensate 209 km; gas 2,940 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,183 km; oil 5,117 km; refined products 1,151 km (2013)

Railways:
Total: 1,378 km
Country comparison to the world: 81
Standard gauge: 1,378 km 1.435-m gauge (with branch lines and sidings) (2008)

Roadways:
Total: 221,372 km
Country comparison to the world: 22
Paved: 47,529 km (includes 3,891 km of expressways)
Unpaved: 173,843 km (2006)

Merchant marine:
Total: 72
Country comparison to the world: 61
By type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 25, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 7
Foreign-owned: 15 (Egypt 1, Greece 4, Kuwait 4, UAE 6)
Registered in other countries: 55 (Bahamas 16, Dominica 2, Liberia 20, Malta 2, Norway 3, Panama 11, Tanzania 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals:
Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Jeddah, Yanbu al Bahr

Military

Military branches:
Ministry 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:
17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Manpower available for military service:
Males age 16-49: 8,644,522
Females age 16-49: 6,601,985 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
Males age 16-49: 7,365,624
Females age 16-49: 5,677,819 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Male: 261,105
Female: 244,763 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
9.1% of GDP (2012)
Country comparison to the world: 5

Transnational Issues

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; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Refugees (country of origin): 291,000 (Palestinian Territories) (2009)
Stateless persons: 70,000 (2012); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness

Trafficking in persons:
Current situation: Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution; men and women from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and many other countries voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia as domestic servants or other low-skilled laborers, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude (many are forced to work months or years beyond their contract term because employers withhold passports and required exit visas); women, primarily from Asian and African countries, are believed to be forced into prostitution in Saudi Arabia; others were reportedly kidnapped and forced into prostitution after running away from abusive employers; Yemeni, Nigerian, Pakistani, Afghan, Chadian, and Sudanese children were subjected to forced labor as beggars and street vendors in Saudi Arabia, facilitated by criminal gangs
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; fewer victims were identified and referred to protection services than in the previous reporting period; the sponsorship system, including the exit visa requirement, continues to restrict the freedom of movement of migrant workers and hamper the ability of victims to pursue legal cases against their employers; however, the government has implemented regulations mandating the formation of unified recruitment companies to replace the sponsorship model; no specialized shelter was available to victims of sex trafficking or male victims of trafficking (2013)

Illicit drugs:
death penalty for traffickers; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement

Flag of Saudi Arabia



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; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides
note: one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay