Bosnia and Herzegovina

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Bosnia 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.


Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia

Geographic coordinates:

44 00 N, 18 00 E


total: 51,129 sq km
land: 51,129 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 1,459 km
border countries: Croatia 932 km, Serbia and Montenegro 527 km


20 km


hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast


mountains and valleys

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maglic 2,386 m

Natural resources:

coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, cobalt, manganese, nickel, clay, gypsum, salt, sand, forests, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 19.61%
permanent crops: 1.89%
other: 78.5% (2005)

Irrigated land:

30 sq km (2003)

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; deforestation

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


4,498,976 (July 2006 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) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.4 years
male: 37.2 years
female: 39.5 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.35% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

8.77 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

8.27 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

13.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 9.82 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 78 years
male: 74.39 years
female: 81.88 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.22 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people with HIV/AIDS:

900 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

100 (2001 est.)


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


Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%


Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.6%
male: 98.4%
female: 91.1% (2000 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Bosnia and Herzegovina
local long form: none
local short form: Bosna i Hercegovina
former: People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Government type:

emerging federal democratic republic



Administrative divisions:

2 first-order administrative divisions and 1 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


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)


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


18 years of age, universal

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
elections: national House of Representatives - elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held in 2006); House of Peoples - last constituted in January 2003 (next to be constituted in 2007)
election results: national House of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - SDA 21.9%, SDS 14.0%, SBiH 10.5%, SDP 10.4%, SNSD 9.8%, HDZ-BH 9.5%, PDP 4.6%, other 19.3%; seats by party/coalition - SDA 10, SDS 5, SBiH 6, SDP 4, SNSD 3, HDZ-BH 5, PDP 2, other 7; House of Peoples - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by party/coalition - NA
note: the Bosniak/Croat Federation has a bicameral legislature that consists of a House of Representatives (98 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held in October 2006); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party/coalition - SDA 32, HDZ-BH 16, SDP 15, SBiH 15, other 20; and a House of Peoples (60 seats - 30 Bosniak, 30 Croat); last constituted December 2002; the Republika Srpska has a National Assembly (83 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms); elections last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held in the fall of 2006); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party/coalition - SDS 26, SNSD 19, PDP 9, SDA 6, SRS 4, SBH 4, SPRS 3, DNZ 3, SDP 3, other 6; as a result of the 2002 constitutional reform process, a 28-member Republika Srpska Council of Peoples (COP) was established in the Republika Srpska National Assembly including eight Croats, eight Bosniaks, eight Serbs, and four members of the smaller communities

Judicial branch:

BH 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); BH 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 opened in March 2005
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 - overview:

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. Industry remains greatly overstaffed, a holdover from the socialist economic structure of Yugoslavia. TITO had pushed the development of military industries in the republic with the result that Bosnia was saddled with a host of industrial firms with little commercial potential. 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 2003-05. 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. Implementation of privatization, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions. 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 economic problems. The country receives substantial amounts of reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$28.59 billion
note: Bosnia has a large informal sector that could also be as much as 50% of official GDP (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$8.68 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$6,800 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 14.2%
industry: 30.8%
services: 55% (2002)

Labour force:

1.026 million (2001)

Unemployment rate:

45.5% official rate; grey economy may reduce actual unemployment to 25-30% (31 December 2004 est.)

Population below poverty line:

25% (2004 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

26.2 (2001)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.4% (2005 est.)


revenues: $4.373 billion
expenditures: $4.401 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

wheat, corn, fruits, vegetables; livestock


steel, coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, manganese, bauxite, vehicle assembly, textiles, tobacco products, wooden furniture, tank and aircraft assembly, domestic appliances, oil refining

Industrial production growth rate:

5.5% (2003 est.)

Electricity - production:

10.51 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

8.849 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:

3.2 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:

2.271 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - consumption:

21,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

160 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

300 million cu m (2001 est.)

Current account balance:

-$2.375 billion (2005 est.)


$2.7 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

metals, clothing, wood products

Exports - partners:

Italy 22.2%, Croatia 21.1%, Germany 20.8%, Austria 7.4%, Slovenia 7.1%, Hungary 4.8% (2004)


$6.8 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, foodstuffs

Imports - partners:

Croatia 23.8%, Slovenia 15.8%, Germany 14.8%, Italy 11.4%, Austria 6.6%, Hungary 6.1% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$3.1 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$650 million (2001 est.)

Currency (code):

marka (BAM)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

928,000 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1.05 million (2003)

Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone and telegraph network needs modernization and expansion; many urban areas are below average as contrasted with services in other former Yugoslav republics
domestic: NA
international: country code - 387; no satellite earth stations

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 8, FM 16, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

33 (plus 277 repeaters) (September 1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

8,525 (2005)

Internet users:

225,000 (2005)


27 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 11 (2005)


5 (2005)


total: 1,021 km (795 km electrified)
standard gauge: 1,021 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)


total: 21,846 km
paved: 11,425 km
unpaved: 10,421 km (1999)


Sava River (northern border) open to shipping but use limited (2006)

Ports and terminals:

Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, and Brcko (all inland waterway ports on the Sava), Orasje

Military branches:

VF Army (the air and air defence forces are subordinate commands within the Army), VRS Army (the air and air defence forces are subordinate commands within the Army)

Disputes - international:

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro have delimited most of their boundary, but sections along the Drina River remain in dispute; discussions continue with Croatia on several small disputed sections of the boundary related to maritime access that hinder ratification of the 1999 border agreement

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 19,213 (Croatia)
IDPs: 309,200 (Bosnian Croats, Serbs, and Muslims displaced in 1992-95 war) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

minor transit point for marijuana and opiate trafficking routes to Western Europe; remains highly vulnerable to money-laundering activity given a primarily cash-based and unregulated economy, weak law enforcement, and instances of corruption