Kuwait

$name - General

Background:
 
Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the ruling Kuwaiti AL-SABAH dynasty from 1899 until independence in 1961. Kuwait was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990. Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coalition began a ground assault on 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwait spent more than $5 billion to repair oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH family has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assertive. The country witnessed the historic election in 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless Arabs, known as bidun, staged small protests in February and March 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals. Youth activist groups - supported by opposition legislators - rallied repeatedly in 2011 for the prime minister's dismissal amid allegations of widespread government corruption. Demonstrators forced the prime minister to resign in late 2011. In late 2012, Kuwait witnessed unprecedented protests in response to the Amir's changes to the electoral law by decree reducing the number of votes per person from four to one. The opposition, led by a coalition of Sunni Islamists, tribalists, some liberals, and myriad youth groups, largely boycotted legislative elections in 2012 and 2013 ushering in legislatures more amenable to the government's agenda. Since 2006, the Amir has dissolved the National Assembly on five occasions (the Constitutional Court annulled the Assembly in June 2012 and again in June 2013) and shuffled the cabinet over a dozen times, usually citing political stagnation and gridlock between the legislature and the government.


Government

Country name:
 
conventional long form: State of Kuwait
conventional short form: Kuwait
local long form: Dawlat al Kuwayt
local short form: Al Kuwayt
 

Government type:

constitutional emirate
 

Capital:

name: Kuwait City
geographic coordinates: 29 22 N, 47 58 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC,during Standard Time)
 

Administrative divisions:

6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al 'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
 

Independence:

19 June 1961 (from the UK)
 

National holiday:

National Day, 25 February (1950)
 

Constitution:

approved and promulgated 11 November 1962 (2013)
 

Legal system:

mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law
 

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 

Suffrage:

21 years of age; universal; note - members of the military or police by law cannot vote; all voters must have been citizens for 20 years
 

Executive branch:

chief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29 January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (born 25 June 1937)
head of government: Prime Minister JABIR AL-MUBARAK al-Hamad al-Sabah (since 30 November 2011); First Deputy Prime Minister SABAH Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah; Deputy Prime Ministers KHALD al-Jarrah al-Sabah, MUHAMMAD AL-KHALID al-Hamad al-Sabah, Abdulmohsen MUDEJ
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister and approved by the amir; new cabinet formed in January 2014
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: none; the amir is chosen from within the ruling family and confirmed by parliamentary vote; the amir appoints the prime minister and deputy prime ministers
 

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (65 seats; 50 members elected by popular vote to serve 4-year terms and 16 cabinet ministers serve as ex officio members on most issues, two of whom are also elected MPs, appointed by the prime minister)
elections: last held 27 July 2013 (next to be held in July 2017)
election results: voter turnout 52%; seats won - pro-government 30, liberals 9, Shiites 8, Sunni 3
 

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Constitutional Court (five judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with five judges)
judge selection and term of office: all Kuwaiti judges appointed by the Amir upon recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a consultative body comprised of Kuwaiti judges and Ministry of Justice officials
subordinate courts: High Court of Appeal; Court of First Instance; Summary Court
 

Political parties and leaders:

none; while the formation of political parties is not permitted, they are not forbidden by law
 

Political pressure groups and leaders:

other: Islamists; merchants; political groups; secular liberals and pro-governmental deputies; Shia activists; tribal groups
 

International organization participation:

ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC, CAEU, CD, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador SALIM al-Abdallah al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 10 October 2001)
chancery: 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 966-0702
FAX: [1] (202) 364-2868
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
 

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew H. TUELLER (since 9 September 2011)
embassy: Bayan 36302, Block 13, Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa Street (near the Bayan palace), Kuwait City
mailing address: P. O. Box 77 Safat 13001 Kuwait; or PSC 1280 APO AE 09880-9000
telephone: [965] 2259-1001
FAX: [965] 2538-0282
 

Flag description:

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a black trapezoid based on the hoist side; colors and design are based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I; green represents fertile fields, white stands for purity, red denotes blood on Kuwaiti swords, black signifies the defeat of the enemy
 

National symbol(s):

golden falcon
 

National anthem:

name: 'Al-Nasheed Al-Watani' (National Anthem)


lyrics/music: Ahmad MUSHARI al-Adwani/Ibrahim Nasir al-SOULA
note: adopted 1978; the anthem is only used on formal occasions

Geography

Location:
 

Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
 

Geographic coordinates:

29 30 N, 45 45 E
 

Map references:

Middle East
 

Area:

total: 17,818 sq km
country comparison to the world: 158
land: 17,818 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than New Jersey
 

Land boundaries:

total: 462 km
border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km
 

Coastline:

499 km
 

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
 

Climate:

dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
 

Terrain:

flat to slightly undulating desert plain
 

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 306 m
 

Natural resources:

petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
 

Land use:

arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 99.1% (2011)
 

Irrigated land:

86 sq km (2007)
 

Total renewable water resources:

0.02 cu km (2011)
 

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.91 cu km/yr (47%/2%/51%)
per capita: 441.2 cu m/yr (2005)
 

Natural hazards:

sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy rain, which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year but are most common between March and August
 

Environment - current issues:

limited natural freshwater resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification
 

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
 

Geography - note:

strategic location at head of Persian Gulf

Demographics and Population Development

Nationality:
 
noun: Kuwaiti(s)
adjective: Kuwaiti
 

Ethnic groups:

Kuwaiti 31.3%, other Arab 27.9%, Asian 37.8%, African 1.9%, other 1.1% (includes European, North American, South American, and Australian) (2013 est.)
 

Languages:

Arabic (official), English widely spoken
 

Religions:

Muslim (official) 76.7%, Christian 17.3%, other and unspecified 5.9%
note: represents the total population; about 69% of the population consists of immigrants (2013 est.)
 

Population:

2,742,711
country comparison to the world: 141
note: Kuwait's Public Authority for Civil Information estimates the country's total population to be 3,996,899 for 2014, with immigrants accounting for almost 69% (July 2014 est.)
 

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.4% (male 363,001/female 334,851)
15-24 years: 15.3% (male 230,628/female 188,892)
25-54 years: 52.3% (male 910,832/female 524,690)
55-64 years: 4.7% (male 73,816/female 54,678)
65 years and over: 2.1% (male 29,312/female 32,011) (2014 est.)
population pyramid:  
 

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 37.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 33.8 %
elderly dependency ratio: 3.3 %
potential support ratio: 30.4 (2014 est.)
 

Median age:

total: 28.9 years
male: 30.1 years
female: 26.8 years (2014 est.)
 

Population growth rate:

1.7%
country comparison to the world: 73
note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2014 est.)
 

Birth rate:

20.26 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
 

Death rate:

2.16 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223
 

Net migration rate:

-1.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
 

Urbanization:

urban population: 98.3% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.42% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population:

KUWAIT (capital) 2.406 million (2011)
 

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.22 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.74 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.42 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.43 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
 

Maternal mortality rate:

14 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 145
 

Infant mortality rate:

total: 7.51 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 159
male: 7.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.76 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
 

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 77.64 years
country comparison to the world: 64
male: 76.37 years
female: 78.96 years (2014 est.)
 

Total fertility rate:

2.53 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 

Health expenditures:

2.7% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 182
 

Physicians density:

1.79 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
 

Hospital bed density:

2 beds/1,000 population (2009)
 

Drinking water source:

improved: 
urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved: 
urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2012 est.)
 

Sanitation facility access:

improved: 
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
0% of population
0% of population
0% of population (2012 est.)
 

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% (2001 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
 

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

NA
 

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

42% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 10
 

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

2.2% (2012)
country comparison to the world: 120
 

Education expenditures:

3.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 116
 

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.9%
male: 95%
female: 91.8% (2008 est.)
 

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2004)
 

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 11.3%
country comparison to the world: 103
male: 11.8%
female: 10% (2005)

Economy

Economy - overview:
 
Kuwait has a geographically small, but wealthy, relatively open economy with crude oil reserves of about 102 billion barrels - more than 6% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 95% of government income. Kuwaiti officials have committed to increasing oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020. Budget surpluses have stayed around 30% of GDP, which has led to higher budget expenditures, particularly wage hikes for many public sector employees, as well as increased allotments to Kuwait’s Future Generations Fund. Kuwait has done little to d

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$165.8 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
$159.6 billion (2012 est.)
$144.8 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
 

GDP (official exchange rate):

$179.5 billion (2013 est.)
 

GDP - real growth rate:

2.3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
8.3% (2012 est.)
10.2% (2011 est.)
 

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$42,100 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
$41,800 (2012 est.)
$39,200 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
 

Gross national saving:

54.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
58.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
58.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
 

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 23.9%
government consumption: 16.4%
investment in fixed capital: 16.2%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 68.5%
imports of goods and services: -25.1%
(2013 est.)
 

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 0.3%
industry: 50.6%
services: 49.1% (2013 est.)
 

Agriculture - products:

fish
 

Industries:

petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water desalination, food processing, construction materials
 

Industrial production growth rate:

4.1% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 

Labor force:

2.38 million
country comparison to the world: 114
note: non-Kuwaitis represent about 60% of the labor force (2013 est.)
 

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
 

Unemployment rate:

3.4% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
2.9% (2010)
 

Population below poverty line:

NA%
 

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 

Budget:

revenues: $114.1 billion
expenditures: $61.81 billion (2013 est.)
 

Taxes and other revenues:

63.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
 

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

29.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
 

Public debt:

6.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
6.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
 

Fiscal year:

1 April - 31 March
 

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

2.8% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
2.9% (2012 est.)
 

Central bank discount rate:

1.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
3% (31 December 2009 est.)
 

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

4.9% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
5% (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of narrow money:

$31.68 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$27.55 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of broad money:

$110.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$105.9 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of domestic credit:

$90.63 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
$89.13 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$97.09 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
$100.9 billion (31 December 2011)
$NA (31 December 2010 est.)
 

Current account balance:

$69.13 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
$80.33 billion (2012 est.)
 

Exports:

$112 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$121 billion (2012 est.)
 

Exports - commodities:

oil and refined products, fertilizers
 

Exports - partners:

South Korea 16.1%, India 15.7%, Japan 13.4%, US 11.7%, China 9.2%, Singapore 4.2% (2013 est.)
 

Imports:

$24.42 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
$22.79 billion (2012 est.)
 

Imports - commodities:

food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
 

Imports - partners:

US 11.8%, China 9.2%, Saudi Arabia 8.6%, Japan 8.2%, South Korea 6.9%, German 5.1%, India 4.6%, UAE 4.4% (2013 est.)
 

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$34.35 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
$29 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Debt - external:

$34.41 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69
$35.29 billion (2012 est.)
 

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$5.677 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
$5.212 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$60.76 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$52.59 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
 

Exchange rates:

Kuwaiti dinars (KD) per US dollar -
0.2838 (2013 est.)
0.2799 (2012 est.)
0.2866 (2010 est.)
0.2877 (2009)
0.2679 (2008)

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use:
 
510,000 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 96
 

Telephones - mobile cellular:

5.526 million (2012)
country comparison to the world: 105
 

Telephone system:

general assessment: the quality of service is excellent
domestic: new telephone exchanges provide a large capacity for new subscribers; trunk traffic is carried by microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and open-wire and fiber-optic cable; a mobile-cellular telephone system operates throughout Kuwait, and the country is well supplied with pay telephones
international: country code - 965; linked to international submarine cable Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); linked to Bahrain, Qatar, UAE via the Fiber-Optic Gulf (FOG) cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 6 (3 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean, 1 Inmarsat - Atlantic Ocean, and 2 Arabsat) (2011)
 

Broadcast media:

state-owned TV broadcaster operates 4 networks and a satellite channel; several private TV broadcasters have emerged since 2003; satellite TV available with pan-Arab TV stations especially popular; state-owned Radio Kuwait broadcasts on a number of channels in Arabic and English; first private radio station emerged in 2005; transmissions of at least 2 international radio broadcasters are available (2007)
 

Internet country code:

.kw
 

Internet hosts:

2,771 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 156
 

Internet users:

1.1 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 96

Transportation

Airports:
 
7 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 168
 

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
 

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 
2 (2013)
 

Heliports:

4 (2013)
 

Pipelines:

gas 261 km; oil 540 km; refined products 57 km (2013)
 

Roadways:

total: 6,608 km (2010)
country comparison to the world: 148
 

Merchant marine:

total: 34
country comparison to the world: 82
by type: bulk carrier 2, carrier 3, container 6, liquefied gas 4, petroleum tanker 19
registered in other countries: 45 (Bahamas 1, Bahrain 5, Comoros 1, Libya 1, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 2, Panama 12, Qatar 6, Saudi Arabia 4, UAE 10) (2010)
 

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Ash Shu'aybah, Ash Shuwaykh, Az Zawr (Mina' Sa'ud), Mina' 'Abd Allah, Mina' al Ahmadi

Energy

Electricity - production:
 
55.55 billion kWh (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 

Electricity - consumption:

46.71 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
 

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
 

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

13.5 million kW (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
 

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
 

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
 

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
 

Crude oil - production:

2.797 million bbl/day (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 

Crude oil - exports:

1.395 million bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
 

Crude oil - imports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
 

Crude oil - proved reserves:

104 billion bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
 

Refined petroleum products - production:

915,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
 

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

339,000 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
 

Refined petroleum products - exports:

656,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 

Refined petroleum products - imports:

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
 

Natural gas - production:

13.53 billion cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
 

Natural gas - consumption:

14.22 billion cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 

Natural gas - imports:

688 million cu m (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 

Natural gas - proved reserves:

1.798 trillion cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
 

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

82.37 million Mt (2011 est.)

General

Annual Exports








Top 20 Sectors exported from Kwazulu-Natal in 2014

#DescriptionChapter CodeTotal (in Rands)
1Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, etc27 R 14,485,338.00
2Miscellaneous chemical products38 R 7,970,894.00
3Inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotopes28 R 6,914,442.00
4Pharmaceutical products30 R 4,130,544.00
5Meat and edible meat offal02 R 2,331,314.00
6Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal44 R 1,296,212.00
7Vehicles other than railway, tramway87 R 1,010,244.00
8Iron and steel72 R 869,877.00
9Miscellaneous edible preparations21 R 814,630.00
10Paper & paperboard, articles of pulp, paper and board48 R 526,135.00
11Sugars and sugar confectionery17 R 159,543.00
12Plastics and articles thereof39 R 74,504.00
13Electrical, electronic equipment85 R 62,700.00
14Cereals10 R 46,529.00
15Cereal, flour, starch, milk preparations and products19 R 34,505.00
16Rubber and articles thereof40 R 16,587.00
17Cocoa and cocoa preparations18 R 16,049.00
18Articles of apparel, accessories, not knit or crochet62 R 13,500.00
19Headgear and parts thereof65 R 9,500.00
20Organic chemicals29 R 9,021.00

Visa Requirements

Visa Required:  Yes

Period/Purpose: 

Visa Fee: Yes

Visa Issuing Authority:  

Embassy of Kuwait

890 Arcadia Street

Tel 012-4303534

Fax 012-3420876

Compulsory Vaccination Requirement(s): None

Recommended Vaccination Requirement(s)None

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