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 re-election victory. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA in his second term, including the ethnic minority Berbers’ on-going 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) signalled 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
Area: total: 2,381,741 sq. km

land: 2,381,741sq. 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: 5,700 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: largest country in Africa


34 178 188 (June 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.4% (male 4,436,591/female 4,259,729)

15-64 years: 69.5% (male 11,976,965/female 11,777,618)

65 years and over: 5.1% (male 798,576/female 928,709)

Median age: total: 26.6 years

male: 26.3 years

female: 26.8 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.20% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 16.9 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 4.64 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 27.73 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.86 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 24.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.02 years

male: 72.35 years

female: 75.77 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.79 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1%; note – no country specific models provided (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 21,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths:  

fewer than 1,000

(2007 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)

Telephones – main lines in use: 3,059,000 (2011)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 35,406,000 (2011)
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) (2011)

Airports: 142 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 60

over 3,047 m: 12

2,438 to 3,047 m: 28

1,524 to 2,437 m: 15

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 82

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 18

914 to 1,523 m: 39

under 914 m: 23 (2012)

Heliports: 3 (2012)
Pipelines: condensate 2,600 km; gas 16,360 km; liquid petroleum gas 3,447 km; oil 7,611 km; refined products 144 km (2010)
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 (2008)

Roadways: total: 111,261 km

paved: 81,732 km (includes 645 km of expressways)

unpaved: 29,529 km (2004)

Merchant marine: total: 38 ships (1000 GRT or over) 694,686 GRT/707,251 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 8, chemical tanker 3, liquefied gas 11, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 4, roll on/roll off 3

foreign-owned: 15 (UK 15) (2010)

Ports and terminals: Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda
Military branches: People’s National Army (Armee Nationale Populaire, ANP), Land Forces (Forces Terrestres, FT), Navy of the Republic of Algeria (Marine de la Republique Algerienne, MRA), Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jaza’eriya, QJJ), Territorial Air Defence Force (2009)
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 16-49: 10,273,129

females age 16-49: 10,114,552 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49:  8,622,897

females age 16-49: 8,626,222 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 16-49: 342,895

females age 16-49:  330,098 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: 3.3% (2006)


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.

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 harbouring 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 south-eastern Algeria and the FLN’s assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in south-eastern Morocco
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 90,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the south-western Algerian town of Tindouf);30,000(Mali)(2010)

IDPs: undetermined (civil war during 1990s) (2012)

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 labour 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, labour, 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