Education in MOLDOVA – Country Background

Moldova is a land-locked country in the southeastern Europe. Strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, between the Danube, Prut and Nistru, the Republic of Moldova occupies a territory of 33,700 sq. km – 350 km from North to South and 150 km from East to West. It borders on Romania in the West and Ukraine in the East and South.

Moldova’s independence was declared on August 27, 1991, and soon it was recognized widely abroad by 170 countries. Moldova has become member of the UN and joined the NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program. In November 1994 the EU and the Government of Moldova signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. In July, 1995 Moldova was admitted to the Council of Europe. Moldova is a member of the World Trade Organization since 2001.

A new Moldova’s Constitution was approved by the Parliament on July 28, 1994. Under the Constitution, Moldova is an independent, territorially integral and neutral state. The President is elected by the Parliament (since July 2000) and the President nominates the Prime Minister as the head of the Government based on the parliamentary majority. The Parliament is one chamber (101 seats). Elections occur every four years.

Moldova has a population of 4,762,000 (July 2001 est.) consisting of the following ethnic groups: 64.5 % Moldovans, Ukrainians (13.8%), Russians (13%), Gagauzi (3.5%), Bulgarian (2%), Jewish (1.5 %) and 1.7% other, including Byelorussians, Germans, Pole, Turks and Gypsies. The population is fairly divided between urban and rural areas, at 46.6% and 53.4%. The official language of Moldova is Romanian. Many Moldovans, especially in urban areas, speak excellent Russian. The official religion is Eastern Orthodox (98.5%), but there are some other confessions, too: Jewish, Baptist, Catholic, etc.

The capital of the Republic of Moldova is Chisinau. Chisinau is a city of 800,000 people. Other cities of Moldova include Tiraspol with 194,000; Balti with 157,000; and Bender (Tighina) with 137,000 people.
Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland, but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco. Moldova must import all of its supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas, largely from Russia. GNP is $1,500,000,000 (2000 est.). It is divided by sectors as follows: agriculture (31.4%), industry (34.9%, of which manufacturing 27.8%) and services (33.7%). GNP per capita is $353.5 (2000 est.).

The main industrial activity is agricultural processing, in particular wine production and the processing of fruits and vegetables. Other industries include food processing, agricultural machinery, foundry equipment, refrigerators and freezers, washing machines, hosiery, sugar, vegetable oil, shoes, textiles. Agricultural products: vegetables, fruits, wine, grain, sugar beets, sunflower seed, tobacco, beef, milk. Export commodities are: foodstuffs, wine, tobacco, textiles and footwear, machinery. Exports partners: Russia, Romania, Germany, Ukraine, Italy, and Belarus. Imports commodities: mineral products and fuel, machinery and equipment, chemicals, textiles.

By major sectors, the economy is structured as follows: major mineral deposits and natural resources consist of cement components and gypsum, limestone, sand and raw materials for bricks and tiles. However, the Republic’s greatest natural resource is its fertile ‘chernozem’ soils (the world’s most fertile soil) which cover nearly 75% of its territory, 86% of which is being utilized by agriculture.