Flag of Algeria

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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 crack down 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 the ethnic minority Berbers' ongoing autonomy campaign, large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing - although significantly degraded - activities of extremist militants. 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.


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

Geographic coordinates:

28 00 N, 3 00 E


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

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


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)

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

Geography - note:

second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)


32,930,091 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 28.1% (male 4,722,076/female 4,539,713)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 11,133,802/female 10,964,502)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 735,444/female 834,554) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 24.9 years
male: 24.7 years
female: 25.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.22% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

17.14 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

4.61 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 29.87 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 73.26 years
male: 71.68 years
female: 74.92 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.89 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.1% ; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

9,100 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 500 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: cutaneous leishmaniasis is a high risk in some locations (2005)


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: 70%
male: 78.8%
female: 61% (2003 est.)

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:




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, and 28 November 1996

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

Legislative branch:

bicameral Parliament consisting of the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani (389 seats - formerly 380 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; members serve six-year terms; the constitution requires half the council to be renewed every three years)
elections: National People's Assembly - last held 30 May 2002 (next to be held in 2007); Council of Nations (Senate) - last held 30 December 2003 (next to be held in 2006)
election results: National People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FLN 199, RND 47, Islah 43, MSP 38, PT 21, FNA 8, EnNahda 1, PRA 1, MEN 1, independents 30; Council of Nations - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party NA

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

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 seventh-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second-largest gas exporter; it ranks 14th in oil reserves. Sustained high oil prices in recent years, along with macroeconomic policy reforms supported by the IMF, have helped improve Algeria's financial and macroeconomic indicators. Algeria is running substantial trade surpluses and building up record foreign exchange reserves. 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. The population is becoming increasingly restive due to the lack of jobs and housing and frequently stages protests, which have resulted in arrests and injuries, including some deaths as government forces intervened to restore order. 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$233.9 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$86.37 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

6% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$7,200 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 10%
industry: 59.5%
services: 30.5% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

10.15 million (2005 est.)

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:

22.5% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

25% (2005 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)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

4.7% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

22.8% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $42.05 billion
expenditures: $30.75 billion; including capital expenditures of $5.8 billion (2005 est.)

Public debt:

14.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

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:

25.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

26.99 billion kWh (2003 est.)

Electricity - consumption:

24.9 billion kWh (2003 est.)

Electricity - exports:

400 million kWh (2003 est.)

Electricity - imports:

200 million kWh (2003 est.)

Oil - production:

1.373 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

246,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - exports:

1.127 million bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

12.46 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

82.4 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

21.32 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

57.98 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

4.531 trillion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$21.83 billion (2005 est.)


$49.59 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%

Exports - partners:

US 22.6%, Italy 17.2%, France 11.4%, Spain 10.1%, Canada 7.5%, Brazil 6.1%, Belgium 4.6% (2004)


$22.53 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods

Imports - partners:

France 30.3%, Italy 8.2%, Germany 6.5%, Spain 5.4%, US 5.2%, China 5.1%, Turkey 4.3% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$61.01 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$21.54 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$122.8 million (2002 est.)

Currency (code):

Algerian dinar (DZD)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

2.288 million (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

4,682,700 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: telephone density in Algeria is very low, not exceeding five telephones per 100 persons; the number of fixed main lines increased in the last few years to a little more than 2 million, but only about two-thirds of these have subscribers; much of the infrastructure is outdated and inefficient
domestic: good service in north but sparse in south; domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations (20 additional domestic earth stations are planned)
international: country code - 213; submarine cables - 5; 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) (2005)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)

Television broadcast stations:

46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

1,175 (2005)

Internet users:

845,000 (2005)


137 (2005)

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 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 85
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 38
under 914 m: 19 (2005)


1 (2005)


condensate 1,344 km; gas 85,946 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,213 km; oil 6,496 km (2004)


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 (2004)


total: 104,000 km
paved: 71,656 km
unpaved: 32,344 km (1999)

Merchant marine:

total: 52 ships (1000 GRT or over) 840,484 GRT/880,151 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 13, chemical tanker 4, liquefied gas 9, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 6, roll on/roll off 6 (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda

Military branches:

People's National Army (ANP; includes Land Forces), Algerian National Navy (MRA), Air Force (QJJ), Territorial Air Defense Force (2005)

Disputes - international:

Algeria supports the exiled Sahrawi Polisario Front and rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; most of the approximately 102,000 Western Saharan Sahrawi refugees are sheltered in camps in Tindouf, Algeria; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring militants and arms smuggling; in an attempt to improve relations, Morocco, in mid-2004, unilaterally lifted the requirement that Algerians visiting Morocco possess entry visas - a gesture not reciprocated by Algeria; 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): 102,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the southwestern Algerian town of Tindouf)
IDPs: 400,000-600,000 (conflict between government forces, Islamic insurgents) (2005)