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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 6.07 cu km/yr (22%/13%/65%)
per capita: 185 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
14.3 cu km (1997)

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

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

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

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 3 00 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m

mostly high plateau and desert; some mountains; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

Geography - note:
second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)

total: 2,381,740 sq km
land: 2,381,740 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia

998 km

Area - comparative:
slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas

Irrigated land:
5,690 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 nm

Natural hazards:
mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season

Land use:
arable land: 3.17%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 96.55% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.82 children born/woman (2008 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 (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
9,100 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.77 years
male: 72.13 years
female: 75.49 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.9%
male: 79.6%
female: 60.1% (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 26 years
male: 25.8 years
female: 26.2 years (2008 est.)

33,769,668 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (1999)

Population growth rate:
1.209% (2008 est.)

Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Death rate:
4.62 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 28.75 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.3% (male 4,528,919/female 4,349,746)
15-64 years: 68.7% (male 11,699,701/female 11,509,619)
65 years and over: 5% (male 779,467/female 902,217) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
17.03 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%

noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Revolution Day, 1 November (1954)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
The Algerian Human Rights League or LADDH [Hocine ZEHOUANE]; SOS Disparus [Nacera DUTOUR]

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

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Al-Shabi Al-Watani (389 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and 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)
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

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

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
note: the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion)

5 July 1962 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
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

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 (formerly MRN) [Mohamed BOULAHIA]; 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

name: Algiers
geographic coordinates: 36 45 N, 3 03 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

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

Executive branch:
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 (eligible for a third term under 2008 amendment to constitution); election last held 8 April 2004 (next to be held in April 2009); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA reelected president for second term; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA 85%, Ali BENFLIS 6.4%, Abdellah DJABALLAH 5%

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 29.4%, Italy 13.8%, Spain 9.6%, Canada 8.4%, France 7.4%, Netherlands 5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
26.91 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
4% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
382 million kWh (2006 est.)

Current account balance:
$35.8 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$2.913 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
12.9% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
1.844 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$7,100 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
24.8% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$240.2 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$171.3 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
35.3 (1995)

Exchange rates:
Algerian dinars (DZD) per US dollar - 63.25 (2008 est.), 69.9 (2007), 72.647 (2006), 73.276 (2005), 72.061 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
3.4% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$55.43 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
9.44 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
France 18.7%, China 9%, Italy 8.5%, Spain 6%, US 5.5%, Germany 5.3%, Russia 4.6%, Turkey 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.1%
industry: 62.5%
services: 29.4% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
13,110 bbl/day (2005 est.)

$75.06 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
26.3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Algerian dinar (DZD)

Economy - overview:
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.

Natural gas - exports:
59.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods

petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing

Electricity - exports:
300 million kWh (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line:
25% (2005 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$28.59 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
33.12 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$36.87 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
12.2 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 14%, industry 13.4%, construction and public works 10%, trade 14.6%, government 32%, other 16% (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
4.502 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$150.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
279,800 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.162 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
13.8% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$14.11 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.8% (1995)

Exports - commodities:
petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%

Economic aid - recipient:
$370.6 million (2005 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.7%
hydro: 0.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
85.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $73.26 billion
expenditures: $51.19 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
2.173 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
3.5 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
3.068 million (2007)

3.1 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)

7.1 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
27.563 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)

Telephone system:
general assessment: a weak network of fixed-main lines, which remains low at less than 10 telephones per 100 persons, is partially offset by the rapid increase in mobile cellular subscribership; in 2007, combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density surpassed 90 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 with approximately 200,000 subscribers in 2006
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) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)

Internet hosts:
477 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

condensate 1,532 km; gas 13,861 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,408 km; oil 6,878 km (2007)

total: 3,973 km
standard gauge: 2,888 km 1.435-m gauge (283 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,085 km 1.055-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda

2 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 33
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)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 52
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 27
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

total: 108,302 km
paved: 76,028 km (includes 645 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,274 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 98
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 44
under 914 m: 25 (2007)

150 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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: 9,736,757
females age 16-49: 9,590,978 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 8,141,864
females age 16-49: 8,215,895 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
National Popular Army (ANP; includes Land Forces), Algerian National Navy (MRA), Air Force (QJJ), Territorial Air Defense Force (2005)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 374,365
female: 360,942 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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; 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)

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