Africa :: Algeria
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Algeria
Location of Algeria
Map of Algeria
Introduction ::Algeria
After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962. Algeria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), has dominated politics ever since. Many Algerians in the subsequent generation were not satisfied, however, and moved to counter the FLN's centrality in Algerian politics. The surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting spurred the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. The government later allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties, but did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 and which resulted in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000. However, small numbers of armed militants persist in confronting government forces and conducting ambushes and occasional attacks on villages. The army placed Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA in the presidency in 1999 in a fraudulent election but claimed neutrality in his 2004 landslide reelection victory. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA in his second term, including large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing activities of extremist militants. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in 2006 merged with al-Qaida to form al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which since has launched an ongoing series of kidnappings and bombings - including high-profile, mass-casualty suicide attacks targeted against the Algerian government and Western interests. Algeria must also diversify its petroleum-based economy, which has yielded a large cash reserve but which has not been used to redress Algeria's many social and infrastructure problems.
Geography ::Algeria
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
28 00 N, 3 00 E
total: 2,381,741 sq km
country comparison to the world: 11
land: 2,381,741 sq km
water: 0 sq km
slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas
total: 6,343 km
border countries: Libya 982 km, Mali 1,376 km, Mauritania 463 km, Morocco 1,559 km, Niger 956 km, Tunisia 965 km, Western Sahara 42 km
998 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 nm
arid to semiarid; mild, wet winters with hot, dry summers along coast; drier with cold winters and hot summers on high plateau; sirocco is a hot, dust/sand-laden wind especially common in summer
mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
lowest point: Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
arable land: 3.17%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 96.55% (2005)
5,690 sq km (2003)
14.3 cu km (1997)
total: 6.07 cu km/yr (22%/13%/65%)
per capita: 185 cu m/yr (2000)
mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; desertification; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes, and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; Mediterranean Sea, in particular, becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)
People ::Algeria
34,178,188 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
0-14 years: 25.4% (male 4,436,591/female 4,259,729)
15-64 years: 69.5% (male 11,976,965/female 11,777,618)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 798,576/female 928,709) (2009 est.)
total: 26.6 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 26.8 years (2009 est.)
1.196% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
16.9 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
4.64 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
urban population: 65% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 27.73 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 80
male: 30.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 74.02 years
country comparison to the world: 92
male: 72.35 years
female: 75.77 years (2009 est.)
1.79 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
21,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian
Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%
note: almost all Algerians are Berber in origin, not Arab; the minority who identify themselves as Berber live mostly in the mountainous region of Kabylie east of Algiers; the Berbers are also Muslim but identify with their Berber rather than Arab cultural heritage; Berbers have long agitated, sometimes violently, for autonomy; the government is unlikely to grant autonomy but has offered to begin sponsoring teaching Berber language in schools
Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.9%
male: 79.6%
female: 60.1% (2002 est.)
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)
5.1% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 64
Government ::Algeria
conventional long form: People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
conventional short form: Algeria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Sha'biyah
local short form: Al Jaza'ir
name: Algiers
geographic coordinates: 36 45 N, 3 03 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
48 provinces (wilayat, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Ain Defla, Ain Temouchent, Alger, Annaba, Batna, Bechar, Bejaia, Biskra, Blida, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Bouira, Boumerdes, Chlef, Constantine, Djelfa, El Bayadh, El Oued, El Tarf, Ghardaia, Guelma, Illizi, Jijel, Khenchela, Laghouat, Mascara, Medea, Mila, Mostaganem, M'Sila, Naama, Oran, Ouargla, Oum el Bouaghi, Relizane, Saida, Setif, Sidi Bel Abbes, Skikda, Souk Ahras, Tamanghasset, Tebessa, Tiaret, Tindouf, Tipaza, Tissemsilt, Tizi Ouzou, Tlemcen
5 July 1962 (from France)
Revolution Day, 1 November (1954)
8 September 1963; revised 19 November 1976; effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, 28 November 1996, 10 April 2002, and 12 November 2008
socialist, based on French and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts in ad hoc Constitutional Council composed of various public officials including several Supreme Court justices; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmed OUYAHIA (since 23 June 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; note - a November 2008 constitutional amendment abolished presidential term limits; election last held 9 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA reelected president for third term; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA 90.2%, Louisa HANOUNE 4.2%, Moussa TOUATI 2.3%, Djahid YOUNSI 1.4%, Ali Fawzi REBIANE less than 1%, Mohamed SAID less than 1%
bicameral Parliament consists of the Council of Nations (Senate) (144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote to serve six-year terms; the constitution requires half the council to be renewed every three years) and the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Al-Shabi Al-Watani (389 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National People's Assembly - last held 17 May 2007 (next to be held in 2012); Council of Nations (Senate) - last held 28 December 2006 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: National People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FLN 136, RND 61, MSP 52, PT 26, RCD 19, FNA 13, other 49, independents 33; Council of Nations - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FLN 29, RND 12, MSP 3, RCD 1, independents 3, presidential appointees (unknown affiliation) 24; note - Council seating reflects the number of replaced council members rather than the whole Council
Supreme Court
Ahd 54 [Ali Fauzi REBAINE]; Algerian National Front or FNA [Moussa TOUATI]; National Democratic Rally (Rassemblement National Democratique) or RND [Ahmed OUYAHIA]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Abdelaziz BELKHADEM, secretary general]; National Reform Movement or Islah (formerly MRN) [Ahmed ABDESLAM]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SADI]; Renaissance Movement or EnNahda Movement [Fatah RABEI]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine Ait AHMED]; Society of Peace Movement or MSP [Boudjerra SOLTANI]; Workers Party or PT [Louisa HANOUNE]
note: a law banning political parties based on religion was enacted in March 1997
The Algerian Human Rights League or LADDH [Hocine ZEHOUANE]; SOS Disparus [Nacera DUTOUR]
chief of mission: Ambassador Abdallah BAALI
chancery: 2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-2800
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2174
chief of mission: Ambassador David D. PEARCE
embassy: 05 Chemin Cheikh Bachir, El-Ibrahimi, El-Biar 16000 Algiers
mailing address: B. P. 408, Alger-Gare, 16030 Algiers
telephone: [213] 770-08-2000
FAX: [213] 21-60-7355
two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-color boundary; the colors represent Islam (green), purity and peace (white), and liberty (red); the crescent and star are also Islamic symbols, but the crescent is more closed than those of other Muslim countries because the Algerians believe the long crescent horns bring happiness
Economy ::Algeria
The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the eighth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the fourth-largest gas exporter; it ranks 15th in oil reserves. Sustained high oil prices in recent years have helped improve Algeria's financial and macroeconomic indicators. Algeria is running substantial trade surpluses and building up record foreign exchange reserves. Algeria has decreased its external debt to less than 5% of GDP after repaying its Paris Club and London Club debt in 2006. Real GDP has risen due to higher oil output and increased government spending. The government's continued efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, however, has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. Structural reform within the economy, such as development of the banking sector and the construction of infrastructure, moves ahead slowly hampered by corruption and bureaucratic resistance.
$232.9 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 49
$225.1 billion (2007 est.)
$218.3 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$159.7 billion (2008 est.)
3.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
3.1% (2007 est.)
2.1% (2006 est.)
$6,900 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
$6,700 (2007 est.)
$6,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 8.3%
industry: 62.3%
services: 29.4% (2008 est.)
9.464 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
agriculture 14%, industry 13.4%, construction and public works 10%, trade 14.6%, government 32%, other 16% (2003 est.)
12.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
11.8% (2007 est.)
23% (2006 est.)
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.8% (1995)
35.3 (1995)
country comparison to the world: 86
26.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
revenues: $70.06 billion
expenditures: $56.04 billion (2008 est.)
9.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
37.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
4.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
3.5% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 123
4% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
8% (31 December 2007)
$60.91 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
$55.43 billion (31 December 2007)
$30.36 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 43
$28.59 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
3.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
34.98 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
28.34 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
273 million kWh (2007 est.)
279 million kWh (2007 est.)
2.18 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
299,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
1.891 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
14,320 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
12.2 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
86.5 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
26.83 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
59.67 billion cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
4.502 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$34.99 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$30.6 billion (2007 est.)
$78.23 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$60.6 billion (2007 est.)
petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
US 23.9%, Italy 14.9%, Spain 11.1%, Canada 9.6%, France 8.6%, Netherlands 4.5% (2008)
$39.16 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
$26.4 billion (2007 est.)
capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
France 19.8%, Italy 10.9%, China 9%, Spain 7.6%, Germany 5.4% (2008)
$143.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$110.6 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$2.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
$3.957 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$13.76 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
$11.91 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$1.162 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
$962 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Algerian dinars (DZD) per US dollar - 63.25 (2008 est.), 69.9 (2007), 72.647 (2006), 73.276 (2005), 72.061 (2004)
Communications ::Algeria
3.314 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 46
31.871 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
general assessment: a weak network of fixed-main lines, which remains at roughly 10 telephones per 100 persons, is offset by the rapid increase in mobile cellular subscribership; in 2008, combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density surpassed 100 telephones per 100 persons
domestic: privatization of Algeria's telecommunications sector began in 2000; three mobile cellular licenses have been issued and, in 2005, a consortium led by Egypt's Orascom Telecom won a 15-year license to build and operate a fixed-line network in Algeria; the license will allow Orascom to develop high-speed data and other specialized services and contribute to meeting the large unfulfilled demand for basic residential telephony; Internet broadband services began in 2003
international: country code - 213; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-4 fiber-optic submarine cable system that provides links to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; microwave radio relay to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia; coaxial cable to Morocco and Tunisia; participant in Medarabtel; satellite earth stations - 51 (Intelsat, Intersputnik, and Arabsat) (2008)
AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)
46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)
510 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 172
4.1 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 51
Transportation ::Algeria
143 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 39
total: 57
over 3,047 m: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
total: 86
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 41
under 914 m: 23 (2009)
2 (2009)
condensate 1,937 km; gas 14,648 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,933 km; oil 7,579 km (2008)
total: 3,973 km
country comparison to the world: 43
standard gauge: 2,888 km 1.435-m gauge (283 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,085 km 1.055-m gauge (2008)
total: 108,302 km
country comparison to the world: 38
paved: 76,028 km (includes 645 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,274 km (2004)
total: 33
country comparison to the world: 83
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 8, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 9, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 18 (Jordan 7, UK 11) (2008)
Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda
Military ::Algeria
People's National Army (Armee Nationale Populaire, ANP), Land Forces (Forces Terrestres, FT), Navy of the Republic of Algeria (Marine de la Republique Algerienne, MRA), Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jaza'eriya, QJJ), Territorial Air Defense Force (2009)
19-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (6 months basic training, 12 months civil projects) (2006)
males age 16-49: 9,736,757
females age 16-49: 9,590,978 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 8,317,473
females age 16-49: 8,367,005 (2009 est.)
male: 375,852
female: 362,158 (2009 est.)
3.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 41
Transnational Issues ::Algeria
Algeria, and many other states, rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; the Polisario Front, exiled in Algeria, represents the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; Algeria remains concerned about armed bandits operating throughout the Sahel who sometimes destabilize southern Algerian towns; dormant disputes include Libyan claims of about 32,000 sq km still reflected on its maps of southeastern Algeria and the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco
refugees (country of origin): 90,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the southwestern Algerian town of Tindouf)
IDPs: undetermined (civil war during 1990s) (2007)
current situation: Algeria is a transit country for men and women trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude; Algerian children are trafficked internally for the purpose of domestic servitude or street vending
tier rating: Tier 3 - Algeria did not report any serious law enforcement actions to punish traffickers who force women into commercial sexual exploitation or men into involuntary servitude in 2007; the government again reported no investigations of trafficking of children for domestic servitude or improvements in protection services available to victims of trafficking; Algeria still lacks victim protection services, and its failure to distinguish between trafficking and illegal migration may result in the punishment of victims of trafficking (2008)