[Country map of Algeria]



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

Map references: Africa

total area: 2,381,740 sq km
land area: 2,381,740 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas

Land boundaries: total 6,343 km, 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

International disputes: Libya claims part of southeastern Algeria; land boundary dispute with Tunisia settled in 1993

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

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

Land use:
arable land: 3%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 13%
forest and woodland: 2%
other: 82%

Irrigated land: 3,360 sq km (1989 est.)

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
natural hazards: mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides
international agreements: party to - Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Note: second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)


Population: 28,539,321 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 41% (female 5,678,879; male 5,885,246)
15-64 years: 56% (female 7,887,885; male 8,033,508)
65 years and over: 3% (female 557,636; male 496,167) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.25% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 29.02 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.05 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.49 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 50.3 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.01 years
male: 66.94 years
female: 69.13 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.7 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Algerian(s)
adjective: Algerian

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

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

Languages: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 57%
male: 70%
female: 46%

Labor force: 6.2 million (1992 est.)
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)


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

Digraph: AG

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 and 23 February 1989

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 Lamine ZEROUAL (since 31 January 1994); next election to be held by the end of 1995
head of government: Prime Minister Mokdad SIFI (since 11 April 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral; note - suspended since 1992
National People's Assembly (Al-Majlis Ech-Chaabi Al-Watani): elections first round held on 26 December 1991 (second round canceled by the military after President BENDJEDID resigned 11 January 1992, effectively suspending the Assembly); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (281 total); the fundamentalist FIS won 188 of the 231 seats contested in the first round; note - elections (provincial and municipal) were held in June 1990, the first in Algerian history; results - FIS 55%, FLN 27.5%, other 17.5%, with 65% of the voters participating

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Supreme)

Political parties and leaders: Islamic Salvation Front (FIS, outlawed April 1992), Ali BELHADJ, Dr. Abassi MADANI, Abdelkader HACHANI (all under arrest), Rabeh KEBIR (self-exile in Germany); National Liberation Front (FLN), Abdelhamid MEHRI, Secretary General; Socialist Forces Front (FFS), Hocine Ait AHMED, Secretary General
note: the government established a multiparty system in September 1989 and, as of 31 December 1990, over 50 legal parties existed


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Osmane BENCHERIF
chancery: 2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 265-2800

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald E. NEUMANN
embassy: 4 Chemin Cheikh Bachir El-Ibrahimi, Algiers
mailing address: B. P. Box 549, Alger-Gare, 16000 Algiers
telephone: [213] (2) 69-11-86, 69-18-54, 69-38-75
FAX: [213] (2) 69-39-79
consulate(s): none (Oran closed June 1993)

Flag: 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)


Overview: The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 57% of government revenues, 25% of GDP, and almost all export earnings; Algeria has the fifth largest reserves of natural gas in the world and ranks fourteenth for oil. 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 macroeconomic stabilization and to introduce market mechanisms into the economy. Despite substantial progress toward macroeconomic 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. Buffeted by the slump in world oil prices and burdened with a heavy foreign debt, Algiers concluded a one-year standby arrangement with the IMF in April 1994.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $97.1 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 0.2% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $3,480 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 30% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 30% (1994 est.)

revenues: $14.3 billion
expenditures: $17.9 billion (1995 est.)

Exports: $9.1 billion (f.o.b., 1994)
commodities: petroleum and natural gas 97%
partners: Italy 21%, France 16%, US 14%, Germany 13%, Spain 9%

Imports: $9.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: capital goods 39.7%, food and beverages 21.7%, consumer goods 11.8% (1990)
partners: France 29%, Italy 14%, Spain 9%, US 9%, Germany 7%

External debt: $26 billion (1994)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%; accounts for 35% of GDP (including hydrocarbons)

capacity: 5,370,000 kW
production: 18.3 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 587 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 12% of GDP (1993) and employs 22% of labor force; products- wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits, sheep, cattle; net importer of food - grain, vegetable oil, sugar

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-85), $1.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $925 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $1.8 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $2.7 billion; net official disbursements (1985-89), $375 million

Currency: 1 Algerian dinar (DA) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Algerian dinars (DA) per US$1 - 42.710 (January 1995), 35.059 (1994), 23.345 (1993), 21.836 (1992), 18.473 (1991), 8.958 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 4,733 km
standard gauge: 3,576 km 1.435-m gauge (299 km electrified; 215 km double track)
narrow gauge: 1,157 km 1.055-m gauge

total: 95,576 km
paved: concrete, bituminous 57,346 km
unpaved: gravel, crushed stone, earth 38,230 km

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

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

Merchant marine:
total: 75 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 903,179 GRT/1,064,211 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 27, chemical tanker 7, liquefied gas tanker 9, oil tanker 5, roll-on/roll-off cargo 12, short-sea passenger 5, specialized tanker 1

total: 139
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 9
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 23
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 5
with paved runways under 914 m: 20
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 24
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 41


Telephone system: 822,000 telephones; excellent domestic and international service in the north, sparse in the south
local: NA
intercity: 12 domestic satellite links; 20 additional satellite links are planned
international: 5 submarine cables; microwave radio relay to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia; coaxial cable to Morocco and Tunisia; 2 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik, 1 ARABSAT earth station

broadcast stations: AM 26, FM 0, shortwave 0
radios: 5.2 million

broadcast stations: 18
televisions: 1.6 million

Defense Forces

Branches: National Popular Army, Navy, Air Force, Territorial Air Defense, National Gendarmerie

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 7,124,894; males fit for military service 4,373,272; males reach military age (19) annually 313,707 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $1.3 billion, 2.7% of GDP (1994)