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The World Factbook. 2008.


Flag of Algeria                                Map of Algeria
Background: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 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 activities of extremist militants. The 2006 merger of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) with al-Qaida (followed by a change of name to al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb) signaled an increase in 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.
Location:Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Geographic coordinates:28 00 N, 3 00 E
Map references:Africa
Area:total: 2,381,740 sq km
land: 2,381,740 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
Coastline:998 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 nm
Climate: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
Terrain: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)
Population:33,333,216 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 27.2% (male 4,627,479/female 4,447,468)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 11,413,121/female 11,235,096)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 752,058/female 857,994) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 25.5 years
male: 25.2 years
female: 25.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:1.216% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:17.11 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:4.62 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:-0.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.016 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.877 male(s)/female
total population: 1.015 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 28.78 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 32.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 73.52 years
male: 71.91 years
female: 75.21 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:1.86 children born/woman (2007 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.)
HIV/AIDS—deaths:less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality: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
Religions:Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
Languages:Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.9%
male: 79.6%
female: 60.1% (2002 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:republic
Capital: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
Independence:5 July 1962 (from France)
National holiday:Revolution Day, 1 November (1954)
Constitution: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
Suffrage:18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:chief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Abdelaziz BELKHADEM
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); 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%
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
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]; Islamic Salvation Front or FIS (outlawed April 1992) [Ali BELHADJ, Dr. Abassi MADANI, Rabeh KEBIR]; National Entente Movement or MEN [Ali BOUKHAZNA]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Abdelaziz BELKHADEM, secretary general]; National Reform Movement or Islah (formerly MRN) [Mohamed BOULAHIA]; National Renewal Party or PRA [Mohamed BENSMAIL]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SADI]; Renaissance Movement or EnNahda Movement [Fatah RABEI]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine Ait AHMED]; Social Liberal Party or PSL [Ahmed KHELIL]; 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]; Somoud [Ali MERABET]
International organization participation:ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BIS, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Amine KHERBI
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 Robert S. FORD
embassy: 5 Chemin Cheikh Bachir, El-Ibrahimi, El-Biar 16000 Algiers
mailing address: B. P. 408, Alger-Gare, 16030 Algiers
telephone: [213] 70-08-2000
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
note: the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion)
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 14th 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 10% 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$268.9 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$125.9 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:4.6% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$8,100 (2007 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:agriculture: 8.1%
industry: 61%
services: 30.9% (2007 est.)
Labor force:9.38 million (2007 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:14.1% (2007 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):4.6% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):23.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:revenues: $58.5 billion
expenditures: $41.35 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:9.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture—products:wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
Industries:petroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:5% (2007 est.)
Electricity—production:31.91 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity—consumption:27.52 billion kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity—exports:275 million kWh (2005 est.)
Electricity—imports:359 million kWh (2005 est.)
Oil—production:2.09 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:250,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—exports:1.724 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—imports:12,390 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil—proved reserves:11.35 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:84.4 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:21.8 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:62.6 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:4.359 trillion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:$31.5 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:$63.3 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports—commodities:petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
Exports—partners:US 27.2%, Italy 17%, Spain 9.7%, France 8.8%, Canada 8.1%, Belgium 4.3% (2006)
Imports:$26.08 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports—commodities:capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports—partners:France 22%, Italy 8.6%, China 8.5%, Germany 5.9%, Spain 5.9%, US 4.8%, Turkey 4.5% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$99.33 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt—external:$3.358 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$14.37 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$834 million (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:$NA
Economic aid—recipient:$370.6 million (2005 est.)
Currency (code):Algerian dinar (DZD)
Exchange rates:Algerian dinars per US dollar – 69.9 (2007), 72.647 (2006), 73.276 (2005), 72.061 (2004), 77.395 (2003)
Fiscal year:calendar year
Telephones—main lines in use:2.841 million (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:20.998 million (2006)
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 2006, combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density surpassed 70 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)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 25, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1999)
Television broadcast stations:46 (plus 216 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country
Internet hosts:2,077 (2007)
Internet users:2.46 million (2006)
Airports:150 (2007)
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)
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)
Heliports:2 (2007)
Pipelines:condensate 1,532 km; gas 13,861 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,408 km; oil 6,878 km (2007)
Railways: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)
Roadways:total: 108,302 km
paved: 76,028 km
unpaved: 32,274 km (2004)
Merchant marine:total: 35 ships (1000 GRT or over) 694,686 GRT/707,251 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 8, chemical tanker 2, liquefied gas 9, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 12 (UK 12) (2007)
Ports and terminals:Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda
Military branches:National Popular Army (ANP; includes Land Forces), Algerian National Navy (MRA), Air Force (QJJ), Territorial Air Defense Force (2005)
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 19-49: 8,033,049
females age 19-49: 7,926,351 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 19-49: 6,590,079
females age 19-49: 6,711,285 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 374,639
females age 19-49: 369,021 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:3.3% (2006)
Transnational Issues
Disputes—international:Algeria supports the Polisario Front exiled in Algeria and who represent the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Algeria rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; most of the approximately 90,000 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; 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: 400,000-600,000 (conflict between government forces, Islamic insurgents) (2006)
Trafficking in persons:current situation: Algeria is a transit and destination country for men, women, and children from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation; many victims willingly migrate to Algeria en route to European countries with the help of smugglers, where they are often forced into prostitution, labor, and begging to pay off their smuggling debt; some Algerian children are reportedly trafficked within the country for domestic servitude
tier rating: Tier 3 – Algeria does not adequately identify trafficking victims among illegal immigrants; the government did not take serious law enforcement actions to punish traffickers who force women into commercial sexual exploitation or men into involuntary servitude; the government reported no investigations of trafficking of children for domestic servitude or improvements in protection services for victims of trafficking