Macedonia's transportation infrastructure includes 5,540 kilometers (3,450 miles) of paved roads with 133 kilometers (83 miles) of expressways and 699 kilometers (417 miles) of railroads, with a new 56-kilometer (35-mile) railroad line under construction to the Bulgarian border in 2000. Due to the old Yugoslav policy of keeping Macedonia economically dependent on Serbia and isolated from Bulgaria, most infrastructure runs north-south, while the improvement of the east-west transport corridor connecting Italy and Albania with Bulgaria and Turkey has only been included since the introduction of EU infrastructure development programs. The government claimed US$106.9 million in compensation from NATO for the use of its infrastructure during the 1999 Kosovo crisis and is planning to spend the money on new infrastructure projects. International airports operate in Skopje and Ohrid.
Macedonia has only 10 kilometers (6 miles) of oil and gas pipelines. The energy sector is state-owned and produced 6.664 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 1998 in thermal plants (85.37 percent) and hydro-electric facilities (14.63 percent). Electricity consumption was estimated at 6.198 billion kWh in 1998. Privatization is planned for ESM, the national electric utility, and in September 2000 the government began passing it into shareholder ownership. Talks have also been held with 2 potential foreign purchasers, Enron (U.S.) and RWE (Germany).
Of the international telecommunications operators interested in the privatization of the state-owned monopoly Makedonski Telekomunikacii (MT), the favorites are OTE (Greece), Matav (Hungary, owned by Deutsche Telekom), and Telekom Slovenije (Slovenia). A final decision on the bid was due to be made in 2001, with Matav considered the front-runner.
Growth in demand for transport and telecommunications services reflects the continuing logistical requirements of the international operations in Kosovo. The deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) peacekeepers and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in 1999 required huge spending on transportation, energy, and telecommunications (as did the presence of the UN preventive deployment force in 1993).
|Country||Newspapers||Radios||TV Sets a||Cable subscribers a||Mobile Phones a||Fax Machines a||Personal Computers a||Internet Hosts b||Internet Users b|
|a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.|
|b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|