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Whitaker's Almanack: Algeria

Information on Algeria

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Al-Jumhuriyah al-Jaza'iriyah ad Dimuqratiyah ash Sha'biyah – People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Whitaker's Almanack Definitions

  • Area – 2,381,741 sq. km
  • Capital – Algiers (El Djazair, Al Jaza’ir); population, 2,740,000 (2009 est)
  • Major cities – Djelfa, Batna, Constantine (Qacentina), Oran (Wahran)
  • Currency – Algerian dinar (DA) of 100 centimes
  • Population – 34,994,937 rising at 1.17 per cent a year (2011 est); Arab-Berber (99 per cent) (est)
  • Religion – Muslim (Sunni 99 per cent); Christian and Jewish (1 per cent) (est)
  • Language – Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
  • Population density – 15 per sq. km (2010)
  • Urban population – 66.5 per cent (2010 est)
  • Median age (years) – 27.6 (2011 est)
  • National anthem – 'Kassaman' ['We Pledge']
  • National day – 1 November (Revolution Day)
  • Death penalty – Retained (not used since 1993)
  • CPI score – 2.9 (2011)

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Climate and Terrain

Algeria, the second-largest country in Africa after Sudan, is dominated by the Sahara desert, which covers over 80 per cent of its territory. Elevation extremes range from 3,003m (Mt Tahat) to −40m (Chott Melrhir, a salt lake). The mountains are subject to earthquakes, and to flooding during the rainy season (November–March). The temperate northern coastal areas receive the greatest and most frequent rainfall, whereas the interior plateaux are drier and experience cold winters and hot summers.

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History and Politics

Algeria's 1976 constitution was amended in 1989 to reintroduce political pluralism, and was revised in 2008, most notably to remove the limit on presidential terms. The president is directly elected for a five-year term, which may be renewed. The bicameral Barlaman comprises the National People's Assembly, the lower house, and the National Council. The assembly has 389 members, directly elected for a five-year term. The National Council has 144 members; 48 are appointed by the president, and 96 are indirectly elected for a six-year term by electoral colleges formed by local councils; half of these elected members are re-elected every three years. Although Algeria is no longer a one-party state, parties based on religion or on race, language, gender or region, are banned under the constitution.

In the 2012 legislative election, the ruling National Liberation Front-led coalition won the most seats and retained control in both houses. In 2009, President Bouteflika was re-elected for a third term, although the coalition suffered a blow in early 2012 after the Movement of Society for Peace party pulled out of the presidential alliance citing political differences.


President, Defence, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, elected 15 April 1999, re-elected 2004, 2009


Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia
Deputy Prime Minister, Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni
Finance, Karim Djoudi
Foreign Affairs, Mourad Medelci


54 Holland Park, London W11 3RS
T 020-7221 7800 E W
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, HE Amar Abba, apptd 2010


3 Chemin Capitaine Hocine Slimane, Ex Chemin des Glycines, Algiers
T (+213) (770) 085 000 E W
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, HE Martyn Roper, apptd 2010

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All aged 16–49, 2010 estMalesFemales
Available for military service10,273,12910,114,552
Fit for military service8,622,8978,626,222

Military expenditure – US$8,170m (2011)
Conscription – 19–30 years of age; 18 months

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Economy and Trade

Recent economic reforms and the initiation of a privatisation programme in 1997, combined with high oil prices, resulted in trade surpluses, record foreign exchange reserves and the reduction of foreign debt for Algeria, but diversification away from the energy sector and development of the financial system is slow because of difficulty in attracting foreign investment. A wave of economic protests at the start of 2011 prompted the government to offer more than US$23bn (£14.5bn) in public grants and retroactive benefit increases.

Algeria has substantial oil and gas reserves and the hydrocarbon industry accounts for 30 per cent of GDP, nearly 60 per cent of government revenue and over 95 per cent of export earnings. Services provide 30.2 per cent of GDP, industry 61.5 per cent and agriculture 8.3 per cent. Industries other than oil and gas production and processing include mining, electrical goods, food processing and light industries.

Algeria’s main trading partners are the USA, France, Italy, other EU countries and China. The chief imports are capital goods, foodstuffs and consumer goods.

GNI – US$155,537; US$4,450 per capita (2010)
Annual average growth of GDP – 2.9 per cent (2011 est)
Inflation rate – 4 per cent (2011 est)
Population below poverty line – 23 per cent (2006 est)
Unemployment – 10 per cent (2010 est)
Total external debt – US$4,421 (2011 est)
Imports – US$40,228m (2010)
Exports – US$57,718m (2010)


Trade – US$17,490m surplus (2010)
Current Account – US$411m surplus (2009)

Trade with UK20102011
Imports from UK£345,666,316£574,130,392
Exports to UK£592,122,932£1,498,994,225

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Education and Health

Literacy rate – 7.6.2 per cent (2008 est)
Gross enrolment ratio (percentage of relevant age group) – primary 110 per cent; tertiary 31 per cent (2010 est)
Health expenditure (per capita) – US$268 (2009)
Hospital beds (per 1,000 people) – 1.7 (2004–9)
Life expectancy (years) – 74.26 (2010 est)
Mortality rate – 4.69 (2011 est)
Birth rate – 16.69 (2011 est)
Infant mortality rate – 25.81 (2011 est)

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International airports – 11, including Algiers and Constantine

Telecommunications – 2.923 million fixed lines (2009); there were 4.7 million internet users in 2009

Internet code – dz; 213 (from UK), 44 (to UK)

Major broadcaster – Enterprise Nationale de Télévision

WPFI score – 47,33 (133)

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