Facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina

World Facts Index

Sarajevo, Bosnia-HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "Greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Peace Accords retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission was to deter renewed hostilities. European Union peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR in December 2004; their mission is to maintain peace and stability throughout the country. EUFOR's mission changed from peacekeeping to civil policing in October 2007, with its presence reduced from nearly 7,000 to 2,500 troops.

Geography of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Location:
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia
Coordinates:
44 00 N, 18 00 E
Area:
total: 51,129 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 51,129 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
total: 1,459 km
border countries: Croatia 932 km, Serbia and Montenegro 527 km
Coastline:
20 km
Climate:
hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast
Terrain:
mountains and valleys
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maglic 2,386 m
Natural resources:
coal, iron, bauxite, manganese, forests, copper, chromium, lead, zinc, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 9.8%
permanent crops: 2.94%
other: 87.26% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from metallurgical plants; sites for disposing of urban waste are limited; water shortages and destruction of infrastructure because of the 1992-95 civil strife
Geography - note:
within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro (Montenegro), and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east

Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Population:
4,590,310 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.5% (male 359,739/female 336,978)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 1,590,923/female 1,564,665)
65 years and over: 14.4% (male 265,637/female 381,034)
Median age:
38.4 years
Growth rate:
1.35%
Infant mortality:
9.82 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.33 years
male: 74.74 years
female: 82.19 years
Total fertility rate:
1.22 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Bosnian(s), Herzegovinian(s)
adjective: Bosnian, Herzegovinian
Ethnic groups:
Bosniak 48%, Serb 37.1%, Croat 14.3%, other 0.6% (2000)
note: Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam
Religions:
Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%
Languages:
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian

Government

Country name:
conventional short form: Bosnia and Herzegovina
local short form: Bosna i Hercegovina
Government type:
emerging federal democratic republic
Capital:
Sarajevo
Administrative divisions:
there are two first-order administrative divisions and one internationally supervised district* - Brcko district (Brcko Distrikt)*, the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosna i Hercegovina) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska; note - Brcko district is in northeastern Bosnia and is an administrative unit under the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the district remains under international supervision
Independence:
1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia; referendum for independence was completed 1 March 1992; independence was declared 3 March 1992)
National holiday:
National Day, 25 November (1943)
Constitution:
the Dayton Agreement, signed 14 December 1995, included a new constitution now in force; note - each of the entities also has its own constitution
Legal system:
based on civil law system
Suffrage:
16 years of age, if employed; 18 years of age, universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Chairman of the Presidency Haris SILAJDZIC (chairman since 6 March 2008; presidency member since 1 October 2006 - Bosniak); other members of the three-member presidency rotating (every eight months): Nebojsa RADMANOVIC (presidency member since 1 October 2006 - Serb); and Zeljko KOMSIC (presidency member since 1 October 2006 - Croat)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers Nikola SPIRIC (since 11 January 2007)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the council chairman; approved by the National House of Representatives
elections: the three members of the presidency (one Bosniak, one Croat, one Serb) are elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible for a second term, but then ineligible for four years); the chairmanship rotates every eight months and resumes where it left off following each national election; election last held 1 October 2006 (next to be held in 2010); the chairman of the Council of Ministers is appointed by the presidency and confirmed by the National House of Representatives
election results: percent of vote - Nebojsa RADMANOVIC with 53.3% of the votes for the Serb seat; Zeljko KOMSIC received 39.6% of the votes for the Croat seat; Haris SILAJDZIC received 62.8% of the votes for the Bosniak seat
note: President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Borjana KRISTO (since 21 February 2007); Vice Presidents Spomenka MICIC (since NA 2007) and Mirsad KEBO (since NA 2007); President of the Republika Srpska: Rajko KUSMANOVIC (since 28 December 2007)
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliamentary Assembly or Skupstina consists of the National House of Representatives or Predstavnicki Dom (42 seats - elected by proportional representation, 28 seats allocated from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 14 seats from the Republika Srpska; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Peoples or Dom Naroda (15 seats - 5 Bosniak, 5 Croat, 5 Serb; members elected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives and the Republika Srpska's National Assembly to serve four-year terms); note - Bosnia's election law specifies four-year terms for the state and first-order administrative division entity legislatures
Judicial branch:
BiH Constitutional Court (consists of nine members: four members are selected by the Bosniak/Croat Federation's House of Representatives, two members by the Republika Srpska's National Assembly, and three non-Bosnian members by the president of the European Court of Human Rights); BiH State Court (consists of nine judges and three divisions - Administrative, Appellate and Criminal - having jurisdiction over cases related to state-level law and appellate jurisdiction over cases initiated in the entities; note - a War Crimes Chamber may be added at a future date)
note: the entities each have a Supreme Court; each entity also has a number of lower courts; there are 10 cantonal courts in the Federation, plus a number of municipal courts; the Republika Srpska has five municipal courts

Economy

Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked next to Macedonia as the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav federation. Although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. The private sector is growing and foreign investment is slowly increasing, but government spending, at nearly 40% of adjusted GDP, remains unreasonably high. The interethnic warfare in Bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-07 when GDP growth exceeded 5% per year. National-level statistics are limited and do not capture the large share of black market activity. The konvertibilna marka (convertible mark or BAM)- the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro, and confidence in the currency and the banking sector has increased. Implementing privatization, however, has been slow, particularly in the Federation, although more successful in the Republika Srpska. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the Communist-era payments bureaus were shut down; foreign banks, primarily from Western Europe, now control most of the banking sector. A sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious macroeconomic problems. On 1 January 2006 a new value-added tax (VAT) went into effect. The VAT has been successful in capturing much of the gray market economy and has developed into a significant and predictable source of revenues for all layers of government. Bosnia and Herzegovina became a full member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement in September 2007. The country receives substantial reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.

GDP:
$27.7 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
5.3%
GDP per capita:
$6,100
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.2%
industry: 30.8%
services: 55%
Inflation rate:
4.4%
Labor force:
1.026 million
Unemployment:
45.5% official rate; grey economy may reduce actual unemployment to 25-30%
Budget:
revenues: $4.373 billion
expenditures: $4.401 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 53.5%
hydro: 46.5%
other: 0% 
Industries:
steel, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, manganese, bauxite, vehicle assembly, textiles, tobacco products, wooden furniture, tank and aircraft assembly, domestic appliances, oil refining (2001)
Agriculture:
wheat, corn, fruits, vegetables; livestock
Exports:
metals, clothing, wood products
Export partners:
Croatia 19.4%, Italy 17.8%, Germany 14.1%, Slovenia 13.7%, Austria 6.8%, Hungary 5.7%, China 4.4% (2005)
Imports:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs
Import partners:
Croatia 25.5%, Germany 14.2%, Slovenia 13.3%, Italy 11%, Austria 7%, Hungary 5.7% (2005)
Currency:
marka (BAM)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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