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

Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 3 00 E

Map references: Africa

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:
exclusive fishing zone: 32-52 nm
territorial sea: 12 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 Meghrir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 2%
other: 82% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 5,550 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mud slides

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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban

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


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Population: 31,133,486 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 37% (male 5,911,910; female 5,696,538)
15-64 years: 59% (male 9,255,702; female 9,063,954)
65 years and over: 4% (male 559,570; female 645,812) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.1% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 27 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 5.52 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 43.82 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.24 years
male: 68.07 years
female: 70.46 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.27 children born/woman (1999 est.)

noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian

Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%

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

Languages: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61.6%
male: 73.9%
female: 49% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria
conventional short form: Algeria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Shabiyah
local short form: Al Jaza'ir

Data code: AG

Government type: republic

Capital: Algiers

Administrative divisions: 48 provinces (wilayas, 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: Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 November (1954)

Constitution: 19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, and 28 November 1996; note—referendum approving the revisions of 28 November 1996 was signed into law 7 December 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 Liamine ZEROUAL (appointed president 31 January 1994, elected president 16 November 1995)
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Smail HAMDANI (since 15 December 1998); note—appointed as interim prime minister until April 1999 presidential elections
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 16 November 1995 (next to be held NA April 1999; note—ZEROUAL announced in September 1998 his intention to step down after early presidential elections); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Liamine ZEROUAL elected president; percent of vote—Liamine ZEROUAL 61.3%

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the National People's Assembly or Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani (380 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the Council of Nations (144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote; members serve six-year terms; created as a result of the constitutional revision of November 1996)
elections: National People's Assembly—last held 5 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2001); elections for two-thirds of the Council of Nations—last held 25 December 1997 (next to be held NA 2003)
election results: National People's Assembly—percent of vote by party—NA%; seats by party—RND 156, MSP 69, FLN 62, Nahda Movement 34, FFS 20, RCD 19, PT 4, Republican Progressive Party 3, Union for Democracy and Freedoms 1, Liberal Social Party 1, independents 11; Council of Nations—percent of vote by party—NA%; seats by party—RND 80, FLN 10, FFS 4, MSP 2 (remaining 48 seats appointed by the president, party breakdown NA)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: Islamic Salvation Front or FIS (outlawed April 1992) [Ali BELHADJ, Dr. Abassi MADANI, Rabeh KEBIR (self-exile in Germany)]; National Liberation Front or FLN [Boualem BENHAMOUDA, secretary general]; Socialist Forces Front or FFS [Hocine Ait AHMED, secretary general (self-exile in Switzerland)]; Movement of a Peaceful Society or MSP [Mahfoud NAHNAH, chairman]; Rally for Culture and Democracy or RCD [Said SAADI, secretary general]; Algerian Renewal Party or PRA [Noureddine BOUKROUH, chairman]; Nahda Movement or Al Nahda [Abdallah DJABALLAH, president]; Democratic National Rally or RND [Mohamed BENBAIBECHE, chairman]; Movement for Democracy in Algeria or MDA [Ahmed Ben BELLA]; Workers Party or PT [Louisa HANOUN]; Republican Progressive Party [Khadir DRISS]; Union for Democracy and Freedoms [Mouley BOUKHALAFA]; Liberal Social Party [Ahmed KHELIL]
note: the government established a multiparty system in September 1989 and, as of 31 December 1990, over 50 legal parties existed; a new party law was enacted in March 1997

International organization participation: ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OAU, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ramtane LAMAMRA
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 Cameron R. HUME
embassy: 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, Algiers
mailing address: B. P. Box 549, Alger-Gare, 16000 Algiers
telephone: [213] (2) 69-11-86, 69-12-55, 69-18-54, 69-38-75
FAX: [213] (2) 69-39-79

Flag description: two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white with a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam (the state religion)


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Economy—overview: The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 52% of budget revenues, 25% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks fourteenth for oil reserves. Algiers' efforts to reform one of the most centrally planned economies in the Arab world began after the 1986 collapse of world oil prices plunged the country into a severe recession. In 1989, the government launched a comprehensive, IMF-supported program to achieve economic stabilization and to introduce market mechanisms into the economy. Despite substantial progress toward economic adjustment, in 1992 the reform drive stalled as Algiers became embroiled in political turmoil. In September 1993, a new government was formed, and one priority was the resumption and acceleration of the structural adjustment process. Burdened with a heavy foreign debt, Algiers concluded a one-year standby arrangement with the IMF in April 1994 and the following year signed onto a three-year extended fund facility which ended 30 April 1998. Progress on economic reform, a Paris Club debt rescheduling in 1995, and oil and gas sector expansion have contributed to a recovery since 1995. Investments in developing hydrocarbon resources have spurred growth, but the economy remains heavily dependent on volatile oil and gas revenues. The government has continued efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector in order to reduce high unemployment and improve living standards.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$140.2 billion (1998 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3.2% (1998 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,600 (1998 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 51%
services: 37% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: 22.6% (1995 est.)

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9% (1998 est.)

Labor force: 7.8 million (1996 est.)

Labor force—by occupation: government 29.5%, agriculture 22%, construction and public works 16.2%, industry 13.6%, commerce and services 13.5%, transportation and communication 5.2% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 30% (1998 est.)

revenues: $14.4 billion
expenditures: $15.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $4.4 million (1998 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: -4% (1997 est.)

Electricity—production: 18.4 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—production by source:
fossil fuel: 98.91%
hydro: 1.09%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1996)

Electricity—consumption: 18.13 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—exports: 490 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—imports: 220 million kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle

Exports: $14 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

Exports—commodities: petroleum and natural gas 97%

Exports—partners: Italy 18.8%, US 14.8%, France 11.8%, Spain 8%, Germany 7.9% (1995 est.)

Imports: $8.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

Imports—commodities: capital goods, food and beverages, consumer goods

Imports—partners: France 29%, Spain 10.5%, Italy 8.2%, US 8%, Germany 5.6% (1995 est.)

Debt—external: $31.4 billion (1998 est.)

Economic aid—recipient: $897.5 million (1994)

Currency: 1 Algerian dinar (DA) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Algerian dinars (DA) per US$1—61.264 (January 1999), 58.739 (1998), 57.707 (1997), 54.749 (1996), 47.663 (1995), 35.059 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 1,381,342 (5,200 cellular telephone subscribers) (1997)

Telephone system:
domestic: good service in north but sparse in south; domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations (20 additional domestic earth stations are planned)
international: 5 submarine cables; microwave radio relay to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia; coaxial cable to Morocco and Tunisia; participant in Medarabtel; satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik, and 1 Arabsat

Radio broadcast stations: AM 23, FM 1, shortwave 8 (1998 est.)

Radios: 3.5 million (1998 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 18 (not including low-power stations) (1997)

Televisions: 2 million (1998 est.)


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total: 4,772 km
standard gauge: 3,616 km 1.435-m gauge (301 km electrified; 215 km double track)
narrow gauge: 1,156 km 1.055-m gauge

total: 102,424 km
paved: 70,570 km (including 608 km of expressways)
unpaved: 31,854 km (1995 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 6,612 km; petroleum products 298 km; natural gas 2,948 km

Ports and harbors: Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Beni Saf, Dellys, Djendjene, Ghazaouet, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda, Tenes

Merchant marine:
total: 78 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 933,672 GRT/1,094,104 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 27, chemical tanker 7, liquefied gas tanker 11, oil tanker 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 13, short-sea passenger 5, specialized tanker 1 (1998 est.)

Airports: 137 (1998 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 51
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 24
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 1 (1998 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 86
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 40
under 914 m: 19 (1998 est.)

Heliports: 1 (1998 est.)


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Military branches: National Popular Army, Navy, Air Force, Territorial Air Defense, National Gendarmerie

Military manpower—military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 8,237,682 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 5,046,931 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 359,592 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $1.3 billion (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.7% (1994)

Transnational Issues

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Author: Taoufik Nadji

Last Updated:

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