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Algeria Index

Algeria's chronic housing shortage, which has ranked high on the government's priority list because of its social implications, has had a consistent impact on the construction industry. The population over the years has been unevenly distributed: about 87 percent of the population lives in the coastal and subcoastal regions, which comprise 17 percent of the country's total area (see Urbanization and Density , ch. 2). The influx of Algerians moving from rural areas into urban housing left vacant by the French and other Europeans, coupled with rapid economic development and high birth rates, has dramatically accelerated the pace of urbanization.

Government attention to housing was not evident, however, until it was included in economic development plans in the 1980s. The five-year plans for 1980-84 and 1985-89 outlined a number of objectives for housing policies: reduction of construction delays, integration of housing within social services designed to raise living standards, control of expansion of housing developments to preserve agricultural land, and sale of government-owned dwellings to their occupants. In addition, the plans sought to improve the efficiency of the construction sector and the financial institutions involved in housing and to develop the construction material industry.

The seriousness with which the government viewed the housing problem was underlined in 1992 when a new minister of housing was appointed and assigned the responsibility of urban development in addition to the traditional function of overseeing housing construction. Even with governmental encouragement of manufacturers of building materials to produce more, the public sector has been unable to meet the constantly growing demand for new housing--estimated at about 250,000 units a year. In 1993 there was a shortage of 2 million housing units. A major obstacle was a chronic shortage of inputs in cement production, which was controlled by four regional Enterprises for Cement and Derivatives (Entreprises des Ciments et Dérives). Private-sector firms have been active, however, in introducing prefabricated construction techniques under the umbrella of the National Office to Promote Prefabricated Construction (Office National de la Promotion de la Construction en Préfabriqué).

Data as of December 1993

BackgroundAfter 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 this did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 resulting 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. Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA, with the backing of the military, won the presidency in 1999 in an election widely viewed as fraudulent and was reelected in a landslide victory in 2004. BOUTEFLIKA was overwhelmingly reelected to a third term in 2009 after the government amended the constitution in 2008 to remove presidential term limits. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA, including large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing activities of extremist militants. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in 2006 merged with al-Qaida to form al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which has launched an ongoing series of kidnappings and bombings - including high-profile, mass-casualty suicide attacks targeting the Algerian Government and Western interests.
LocationNorthern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia
Area(sq km)total: 2,381,741 sq km
land: 2,381,741 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Geographic coordinates28 00 N, 3 00 E
Land boundaries(km)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(km)998 km

Climatearid 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

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Chott Melrhir -40 m
highest point: Tahat 3,003 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Land use(%)arable land: 3.17%
permanent crops: 0.28%
other: 96.55% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)5,690 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)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 hazardsmountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; mudslides and floods in rainy season
Environment - current issuessoil 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 agreementsparty 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 - notesecond-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)
Population34,178,188 (July 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) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 26.6 years
male: 26.3 years
female: 26.8 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.196% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)16.9 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)4.64 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 65% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)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(deaths/1,000 live births)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(years)total population: 74.02 years
male: 72.35 years
female: 75.77 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.79 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: 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

Country nameconventional 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 typerepublic
Capitalname: Algiers
geographic coordinates: 36 45 N, 3 03 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions48 provinces (wilayat, 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
Constitution8 September 1963; revised 19 November 1976; effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, 28 November 1996, 10 April 2002, and 12 November 2008

Legal systemsocialist, 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

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999) note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; a November 2008 constitutional amendment separated the position of head of government from that of the prime minister
head of government: President Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA (since 28 April 1999)
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; note - a November 2008 constitutional amendment abolished presidential term limits; election last held 9 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014)
election results: Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA reelected president for third term; percent of vote - Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA 90.2%, Louisa HANOUNE 4.2%, Moussa TOUATI 2.3%, Djahid YOUNSI 1.4%, Ali Fawzi REBIANE less than 1%, Mohamed SAID less than 1%

Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of the National Council (upper house; 144 seats; one-third of the members appointed by the president, two-thirds elected by indirect vote to serve six-year terms; the constitution requires half the Council to be renewed every three years) and the National People's Assembly (lower house; 389 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - last held 28 December 2006 (next to be held 29 December 2009); National People's Assembly - last held 17 May 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FLN 136, RND 61, MSP 52, PT 26, RCD 19, FNA 13, other 49, independents 33;

Judicial branchSupreme Court

Political pressure groups and leadersThe Algerian Human Rights League or LADDH [Hocine ZEHOUANE]; SOS Disparus [Nacera DUTOUR]
International organization participationABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, BIS, FAO, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OPEC, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Flag descriptiontwo equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and white; a red, five-pointed star within a red crescent centered over the two-color boundary; the colors represent Islam (green), purity and peace (white), and liberty (red); the crescent and star are also Islamic symbols, but the crescent is more closed than those of other Muslim countries because the Algerians believe the long crescent horns bring happiness

Economy - overviewThe 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 15th 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 5% 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$233.5 billion (2008 est.)
$225.6 billion (2007 est.)
$218.8 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$159.7 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)3.5% (2008 est.)
3.1% (2007 est.)
2.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$6,900 (2008 est.)
$6,800 (2007 est.)
$6,600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 8.3%
industry: 62.3%
services: 29.4% (2008 est.)
Labor force9.464 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture 14%, industry 13.4%, construction and public works 10%, trade 14.6%, government 32%, other 16% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)12.8% (2008 est.)
11.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)23% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 26.8% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index35.3 (1995)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)26.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $70.06 billion
expenditures: $56.04 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)4.4% (2008 est.)
3.5% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$60.91 billion (31 December 2008)
$55.43 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$30.36 billion (31 December 2008)
$28.59 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Economic aid - recipient$370.6 million (2005 est.)

Public debt(% of GDP)8.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
37.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
Industriespetroleum, natural gas, light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, food processing

Industrial production growth rate(%)3.2% (2008 est.)

Current account balance$35.27 billion (2008 est.)
$30.6 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$78.23 billion (2008 est.)
$60.6 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
Exports - partners(%)US 23.9%, Italy 15.5%, Spain 11.4%, France 8%, Netherlands 7.8%, Canada 6.8% (2008)
Imports$39.16 billion (2008 est.)
$26.4 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners(%)France 16.5%, Italy 11%, China 10.3%, Spain 7.4%, Germany 6.1%, US 5.5% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$143.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$110.6 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$3.753 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$3.957 billion (31 December 2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$13.76 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$11.91 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.162 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$962 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesAlgerian dinars (DZD) per US dollar - 63.25 (2008 est.), 69.9 (2007), 72.647 (2006), 73.276 (2005), 72.061 (2004)

Currency (code)Algerian dinar (DZD)

Telephones - main lines in use3.314 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular31.871 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: a weak network of fixed-main lines, which remains at roughly 10 telephones per 100 persons, is offset by the rapid increase in mobile cellular subscribership; in 2008, combined fixed-line and mobile telephone density surpassed 100 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
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) (2008)
Internet country code.dz
Internet users4.1 million (2008)
Airports143 (2009)
Pipelines(km)condensate 1,937 km; gas 14,648 km; liquid petroleum gas 2,933 km; oil 7,579 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 108,302 km
paved: 76,028 km (includes 645 km of expressways)
unpaved: 32,274 km (2004)

Ports and terminalsAlgiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaia, Djendjene, Jijel, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda
Military branchesPeople'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 Defense Force (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)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 servicemales age 16-49: 9,736,757
females age 16-49: 9,590,978 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 8,317,473
females age 16-49: 8,367,005 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 375,852
female: 362,158 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)3.3% of GDP (2006)
Disputes - internationalAlgeria, and many other states, rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; the Polisario Front, exiled in Algeria, represents the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic; Algeria's border with Morocco remains an irritant to bilateral relations, each nation accusing the other of harboring 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 southeastern Algeria and the FLN's assertions of a claim to Chirac Pastures in southeastern Morocco

Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 90,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi, mostly living in Algerian-sponsored camps in the southwestern Algerian town of Tindouf)
IDPs: undetermined (civil war during 1990s) (2007)
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Algeria is a transit country for men and women trafficked from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude; Algerian children are trafficked internally for the purpose of domestic servitude or street vending
tier rating: Tier 3 - Algeria did not report any serious law enforcement actions to punish traffickers who force women into commercial sexual exploitation or men into involuntary servitude in 2007; the government again reported no investigations of trafficking of children for domestic servitude or improvements in protection services available to victims of trafficking; Algeria still lacks victim protection services, and its failure to distinguish between trafficking and illegal migration may result in the punishment of victims of trafficking (2008)
Electricity - production(kWh)34.98 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 99.7%
hydro: 0.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)28.34 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)273 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)279 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)2.18 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)299,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)1.891 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)14,320 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)12.2 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)86.5 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)26.83 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)59.67 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)4.502 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.1%; note - no country specific models provided (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS21,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 1,000 (2007 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 69.9%
male: 79.6%
female: 60.1% (2002 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2005)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.1% of GDP (1999)

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