Africa :: Algeria
page last updated on August 3, 2010
Flag 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 this did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 resulting 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. Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA, with the backing of the military, won the presidency in 1999 in an election widely viewed as fraudulent and was reelected in a landslide victory in 2004. BOUTEFLIKA was overwhelmingly reelected to a third term in 2009 after the government amended the constitution in 2008 to remove presidential term limits. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA, 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-Qai'da to form al-Qai'da in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which has launched an ongoing series of kidnappings and bombings - including high-profile, mass-casualty suicide attacks targeting the Algerian Government and Western interests.
Geography ::Algeria
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 3 00 E
Map references:
total: 2,381,741 sq km
country comparison to the world: 11
land: 2,381,741 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
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
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 nm
Current Weather
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Land use:
arable land: 3.17%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 96.55% (2005)
Irrigated land:
5,690 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
14.3 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 6.07 cu km/yr (22%/13%/65%)
per capita: 185 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
Environment - current issues:
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
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, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)
People ::Algeria
34,586,184 (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.7% (male 4,363,048/female 4,187,919)
15-64 years: 70.1% (male 12,232,774/female 12,025,525)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 819,997/female 956,921) (2010 est.)
Median age:
total: 27.1 years
male: 26.8 years
female: 27.3 years (2010 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.177% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
Birth rate:
16.71 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
Death rate:
4.66 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
Net migration rate:
-0.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 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.)
Sex ratio:
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 (2010 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.75 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 81
male: 29.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.26 years
country comparison to the world: 97
male: 72.57 years
female: 76.04 years (2010 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.76 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
21,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian
Ethnic groups:
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.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)
Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 63
Government ::Algeria
Country name:
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
Government type:
name: Algiers
geographic coordinates: 36 45 N, 3 03 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
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)
National holiday:
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
Legal system:
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
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999) note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; a November 2008 constitutional amendment separated the position of head of government from that of the prime minister
head of government: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
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elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; note - a November 2008 constitutional amendment abolished presidential term limits; election last held on 9 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014)
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA was reelected president for a 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%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the Council of the Nation (upper house; 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 (lower house; 389 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Council of the Nation - last held on 29 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2012); National People's Assembly - last held on 17 May 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Council of the Nation - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; 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;
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
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 [Ahmed ABDESLAM] (formerly MRN); 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
Political pressure groups and leaders:
The Algerian Human Rights League or LADDH [Hocine ZEHOUANE]; SOS Disparus [Nacera DUTOUR]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Abdallah BAALI
chancery: 2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-2800
FAX: [1] (202) 667-2174
Diplomatic representation from the US:
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
Flag description:
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
Economy - overview:
The state dominates most areas of the Algerian economy. Gradual liberalization since the mid-1990's has opened up more of the economy to private domestic and foreign participation, but recent government actions impose stricter controls on foreign investment. Hydrocarbons are 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. Weak global hydrocarbon prices during 2009 contributed to a 40% drop in government revenue, although the government continues to enjoy a financial cushion provided by about $150 billion in foreign currency reserves and a large hydrocarbons stabilization fund. Algeria's external debt is only about 1% of GDP. The government's 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. A Complementary Finance Law, enacted in July, imposed tight restrictions on imports and required that new foreign investment must be in the form of joint ventures with at least 51% share of ownership by Algerian partners. That law and a January, 2009 ban on importing pharmaceutical products that are also locally produced have contributed to some domestic goods shortages and prompted foreign investors and businesses to reconsider activities in Algeria. Development of the banking sector, the construction of infrastructure, and other structural reforms are hampered by corruption and bureaucratic resistance.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$239.6 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$233.5 billion (2008 est.)
$227.1 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$136.4 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
2.8% (2008 est.)
3.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$7,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
$6,900 (2008 est.)
$6,800 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.4%
industry: 61.2%
services: 30.4% (2009 est.)
Labor force:
9.748 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 13.4%
construction and public works: 10%
trade: 14.6%
government: 32%
other: 16% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
10.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
11.3% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line:
23% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.8% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
35.3 (1995)
country comparison to the world: 86
Investment (gross fixed):
28.4% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
revenues: $63.08 billion
expenditures: $75.76 billion (2009 est.)
Public debt:
20% of GDP (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
13.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
4.4% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
4% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 115
8% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$60.91 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 23
$55.43 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$30.36 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 47
$28.59 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
1.1% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
Electricity - production:
34.98 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
Electricity - consumption:
28.34 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
Electricity - exports:
273 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
279 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
2.125 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Oil - consumption:
325,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Oil - exports:
1.891 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Oil - imports:
14,320 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
Oil - proved reserves:
12.2 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Natural gas - production:
86.5 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Natural gas - consumption:
26.83 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
Natural gas - exports:
59.67 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
Natural gas - proved reserves:
4.502 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Current account balance:
-$4.262 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
$34.45 billion (2008 est.)
$43.69 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$78.59 billion (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
Exports - partners:
US 23.2%, Italy 17.23%, Spain 10.83%, France 7.97%, Canada 7.65%, Netherlands 5.19%, Turkey 4.22% (2009)
$39.1 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$37.99 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
France 19.7%, China 11.72%, Italy 10.19%, Spain 8.13%, Germany 5.77%, Turkey 5.05% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$149.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$143.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.389 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
$3.753 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$16.26 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
$14.56 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.485 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
$1.285 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Algerian dinars (DZD) per US dollar - 72.5695 (2009), 63.25 (2008), 69.9 (2007), 72.647 (2006), 73.276 (2005)
Communications ::Algeria
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.314 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 46
Telephones - mobile cellular:
31.871 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
Telephone system:
general assessment: 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
domestic: a limited network of fixed lines with a teledensity of roughly 10 telephones per 100 persons is offset by the rapid increase in mobile-cellular subscribership; in 2008, combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity surpassed 100 telephones per 100 persons
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)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:
46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
510 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 172
Internet users:
4.1 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 51
Transportation ::Algeria
143 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 39
Airports - with paved runways:
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)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
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 (2009)
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: 39
paved: 76,028 km (includes 645 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,274 km (2004)
Merchant marine:
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)
Ports and terminals:
Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda
Military ::Algeria
Military branches:
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)
Military service age and obligation:
19-30 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 18 months (6 months basic training, 12 months civil projects) (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 10,113,472
females age 16-49: 9,959,693 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 8,481,036
females age 16-49: 8,508,245 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 365,503
female: 352,009 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 38
Transnational Issues ::Algeria
Disputes - international:
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 and internally displaced persons:
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)
Trafficking in persons:
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; criminal networks of sub-Saharan nationals in southern Algeria facilitate transit by arranging transportation, forged documents, and promises of employment
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Algeria is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List because it does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in January 2009, the government approved new legislation that criminalizes trafficking in persons for the purposes of labor and sexual exploitation representing an important step toward complying with international standards; despite these efforts, the government did not show overall progress in punishing trafficking crimes and protecting trafficking victims and continued to lack adequate measures to protect victims and prevent trafficking (2009)

Source: The World Factbook (CIA)