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Info Africa - ALGERIA
Algeria Algeria is Africa’s second largest country, located in North Africa. With the Mediterranean Sea to its north, Algeria is surrounded by Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Western Sahara. This former French colony, which received independence in 1962, acts as a gateway between Africa and Europe. Algeria’s journey to independence has been a rough one because the French settlers were very attached to this area. Over a million Algerians died in the fight for independence. Politically, Algeria is stable, although some internal conflicts have frequently risen since gaining independence. Originally, Algeria was inhabited by Berbers before the Arabs conquered North Africa in the 7th century.
Over the centuries, the Berbers, who account for 30% of Algeria’s population, have preserved their language and culture. In the 1950s, oil and gas reserves were found in the Sahara Desert and since then Algeria has been a large supplier of natural gases and energy. This desert, which is considered Algeria’s most striking feature, covers over four-fifths of the land. Most Algerians, however, live on the northern coast of the country. The capital of Algeria, Algiers, has been a port since the Roman era and remarkable ruins such as those at Djemila, Timgad and Tipasa, can still be seen. Algiers has a Maghreb feel to it, with its numerous mosques, zig-zag alleys, Turkish houses, palaces and mosques. The Bardo Ethnographic and Local Art Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Algiers are amongst the finest museums in northern Africa. Algeria’s culture is a mixture of Arabic and French influences as a result of its history and this is seen in the country’s music and literature. The traditional food of Algeria also shows the historic influences of the Berbers, Arabs, Turkish and French with some spicy foods and some mild foods. Couscous is a staple food in Algeria.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Algeria's Flag

Two equal vertical bands of green and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-colour boundary. The crescent, star and the colour green are traditional symbols of Islam.

Nationality: Algerian

Capital: Algiers

Population: 32,930,091 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 28.1%
  • 15-64 years: 67.1%
  • 65 years and over: 4.8% (2006 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.22% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 70% of the population is literate (male: 78.8%, female: 61%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Sunni Muslim 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%

Languages: Arabic (official), French and Berber Dialects

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 2,381,740 sq km
  • land: 2,381,740 sq km
  • water: 0 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: double the size of Ontario

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

Environmental Issues: desertification; soil erosion from overgrazing and other poor farming practices; dumping of raw sewage, petroleum refining wastes, and other industrial effluents is leading to the pollution of rivers and coastal waters; the Mediterranean Sea is becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion and fertilizer runoff; insufficient supplies of potable water.

Economy

Algeria has the seventh largest natural gas reserves in the world and is the world’s second-largest gas exporter, ranking 14 in oil reserves. The backbone of this economy is in fact the hydrocarbons sector, accounting to over 95% of export earnings and 30% of GDP. Algeria’s GDP is growing as a result of higher oil output and increased government spending. The government continues to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside of the energy sector; however, this has not been very successful in reducing the high unemployment rate and in improving the living standards.

Major industries:

  • petroleum
  • natural gas
  • light industries
  • mining
  • electrical
  • petrochemical
  • food processing

Agricultural products:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • oats
  • grapes
  • olives
  • citrus
  • fruits
  • sheep
  • cattle

Oil production: 1.373 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways: 3,973 km

Road map: 104,000 km (paved: 71, 656 km, unpaved: 32, 344 km)

Currency: Algerian Dinar

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 2.288 million (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 4,682,700 (2004)

Television Stations: 46 (and 216 repeaters) (1995)

Radio Stations: AM 25 , FM 1, Shortwave 8 (1999)

Internet users: 845,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.1% ; note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 9, 100 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ag.html