France Military, Economy and Transportation

France Military, Economy and Transportation


Economy overview: France is in transition from an economy with a lot of state participation and intervention to an economy that relies more on market mechanisms. The state retains significant influence in a number of sectors of the economy, especially in energy, public transport and the military-industrial complex, but since the mid-1980s. gradually lose control. The socialist government sold part of the state holdings France Telecom, Air France, Thales, Thomson Multimedia. The telecommunications sector is gradually opening up to competition. The French leadership remains committed to capitalism, in which it promotes social equality through laws, tax and social policies, that mitigate income inequality and the impact of the free market on health and welfare. The rather high level of taxation and the transition to a 35-hour work week raises concerns about the possible reduction in the competitiveness of French companies. See to know more about France Business.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $1.448 trillion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 3.1% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $24,400 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 3.3%; industry: 26.1%; services: 70.6% (1998).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: per 10% of the poorest families: 2.8%; by the top 10% of families: 25.1% (1995).
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 1.7% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 25 million people (2000).
Employment structure: services 71%, industry 25%, agriculture 4% (1997).
Unemployment rate: 9.7% (2000 est.).
Budget: revenues: $210 billion; expenditures: $240 billion, including capital investment – NA (2000 est.).
Economic sectors: mechanical engineering, chemical industry, automotive industry, metallurgy, aircraft manufacturing, electronics industry, textile industry, food production; tourism.
Growth in industrial production: 3.5% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 497.26 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 9.69%; hydropower: 14.39%; nuclear fuel: 75.43%; others: 0.49% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 398.752 billion kWh (1999).
Export of electricity: 68.7 billion kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 5 billion kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: wheat, other cereals, sugar beets, potatoes, wine; beef, dairy products; fish.
Exports: $325 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: machinery and transport equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, medicines, iron and steel; beverages.
Export partners: EU 63% (Germany 16%, UK 10%, Italy 9%, Spain 9%, Belgium and Luxembourg 8%), US 8% (1999).
Imports: $320 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Import articles: machinery and equipment, automobiles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals.
Import partners: EU 62% (Germany 16%, Belgium and Luxembourg 11%, Italy 9%, UK 8%), US 7% (2000 est.).
External debt: $106 billion (1998)
Economic Aid Donor: Official Development Support $6.3 billion (1997).
Currency: French franc, euro; note: on January 1, 1999, the EU introduced a common currency used by financial institutions in some countries; fixed rate of 6.55957 French francs per euro; the euro in 2002 will replace the local currencies in the eurozone countries.
Currency code: FRF; EUR.
Exchange rate: EUR/USD – 1.0659 (January 2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); FRF/USD – 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996).
Fiscal year: calendar year.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 34.86 million (end 1998).
Mobile cell phones: 11.078 million (end 1998).
Telephone system: highly developed; domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay, extensive network of fiber optic cables, domestic satellite communication system; international: satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (total 5 antennas: 2 for the Indian Ocean and 3 for the Atlantic Ocean), Eutelsat (no data on the number), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region); high-frequency radiotelephone communication with more than 20 countries.
Broadcast stations: AM – 41, FM – about 3,500 (this number is approximate and includes many repeaters), shortwave – 2 (1998).
Radio receivers: 55.3 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 584 (and 9,676 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 34.8 million (1997)
Internet country code: fr
Internet service providers: 62 (2000).
Number of users: 9 million (2000).


Transport Railways: total: 31,939 km (31,939 km operated by the “French National Railways” [SNCF]; 14,176 km of these are electrified and 12,132 km with two or more tracks); with standard gauge: 31,840 km (1.435 m gauge); narrow gauge: 99 km (1,000 m gauge) (1998).
Roads: total: 892,900 km; paved: 892,900 km (including 9,900 km of expressways); unpaved: 0 km (1998 est.).
Waterways: 14,932 km (6,969 km are heavily used).
Pipelines: for crude oil – 3,059 km; for oil products – 4,487 km; for natural gas – 24,746 km.
Ports and harbors: Bordeaux, Boulogne, Le Havre, Dijon, Dunkirk, La Pallice, Lyon, Marseille, Mulhouse, Nantes, Paris, Rouen, Cherbourg, Saint-Malo, Saint-Nazaire, Strasbourg.
Merchant fleet: total: 46 vessels (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 942,333 gross register tons / 1,304,754 long tons of gross tonnage; different types of ships: bulk carriers – 3, cargo ships – 4, chemical tankers – 6, combination carriers – 1, container ships – 1, liquefied gas tankers – 3, multipurpose heavy cargo ships – 1, passenger ships – 3, oil tankers – 17, ferries for the transportation of loaded vehicles – 4, coastal passenger ships – 3; note: including foreign vessels registered here for flag of convenience reasons: Germany 1 (2000 est.).
Airports: 475 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 268; over 3,047 m: 14; from 2438 to 3047 m: 30; from 1524 to 2437 m: 94; from 914 to 1,523 m: 72; less than 914 m: 58 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 207; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4; from 914 to 1523 m:73; less than 914 m: 130 (2000 est.). Helipads: 3 (2000 est.).

Armed forces

Branches of the armed forces: army (including marines), navy (including naval aviation), air force (including air defense), national gendarmerie.
Enlistment age: 18 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 14,573,199 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 12,127,793 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 390,064 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $39.831 billion (1997)
Military spending as part of GDP: 2.5% (1997).

International Issues

International issues International disputes: Madagascar claims the islands of Bassas da India, the island of Europe, the islands of Glorieuses, the island of Juan de Nova and the island of Tromelin; Comoros claims the island of Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana; France has territorial claims in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Matthew Island and Hunter Island east of New Caledonia are contested by France and Vanuatu.
Illicit drugs: transit point and user of cocaine from South America and heroin from Southwest Asia.

France Military