See regional map VII


Total area: 2,381,740 km²; land area: 2,381,740 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas

Land boundaries: 6,343 km total; 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

Disputes: Libya claims about 19,400 km² in southeastern Algeria

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: crude oil, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc

Land use: 3% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 13% meadows and pastures; 2% forest and woodland; 82% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: mountainous areas subject to severe earthquakes; desertification

Note: second largest country in Africa (after Sudan)


Population: 25,566,507 (July 1990), growth rate 2.8% (1990)

Birth rate: 37 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1, 000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 87 deaths/ 1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 61 years male, 64 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 5.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Algerian(s); adjective—Algerian

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

Religion: 99% Sunni Muslim (state religion); 1% Christian and Jewish

Language: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

Literacy: 52%

Labor force: 3,700,000; 40% industry and commerce, 24% agriculture, 17% government, 10% services (1984)

Organized labor: 16-19% of labor force claimed; General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) is the only labor organization and is subordinate to the National Liberation Front


Long-form name: Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria

Type: republic

Capital: Algiers

Administrative divisions: 31 provinces (wilayat, singular—wilaya); Adrar, Alger, Annaba, Batna, Béchar, Bejaïa, Biskra, Blida, Bouira, Constantino, Djelfa, El Asnam, Guelma, Jijel, Laghouat, Mascara, Médéa, Mostaganem, M'sila, Oran, Ouargla, Oum el Bouaghi, Saïda, Setif, Sidi Bel Abbès, Skikda, Tamanrasset, Tébessa, Tiaret, Tizi Ouzou, Tlemcen; note—there may now be 48 provinces with El Asnam abolished, and the addition of 18 new provinces named Ain Delfa, Ain Temouchent, Bordjbou, Boumerdes, Chief, El Bayadh, El Oued, El Tarf, Illizi, Jijel, Khenchela, Mila, Naama, Relizane, Souk Ahras, Tindouf, Tipaza, Tissemsilt

Independence: 5 July 1962 (from France)

Constitution: 19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976

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

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 1 November (1954)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Assembly (Assembled Nationale Populaire)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Cour Suprême)

Leaders: Chief of State—President Chadli BENDJEDID (since 7 February 1979);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Mouloud HAMROUCHE (since 9 September 1989)

Political parties and leaders: National Liberation Front (FLN), Col. Chadli Bendjedid, chairman; Abdelhamid Mehri, secretary general; the government established a multiparty system in September 1989 and as of 1 February 1990 19 legal parties existed

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held on 22 December 1988 (next to be held December 1993); results—President Bendjedid was reelected without opposition;

People's National Assembly—last held on 26 February 1987 (next to be held by February 1992); results—FLN was the only party; seats—(281 total) FLN 281; note—the government has promised to hold multiparty elections (municipal and wilaya) in June 1990, the first in Algerian history

Communists: 400 (est.); Communist party banned 1962


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Abderrahmane BENSID; Chancery at 2118 Kalorama Road NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 328-5300; US—Ambassador Christopher W. S. ROSS; Embassy at 4 Chemin Cheich Bachir Brahimi, Algiers (mailing address is B. P. Box 549, Alger-Gare, 16000 Algiers); telephone [213] (2) 601-425 or 255, 186; there is a US Consulate in Oran

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 exploitation of oil and natural gas products forms the backbone of the economy. Algeria depends on hydro-carbons for nearly all of its export receipts, about 30% of government revenues, and nearly 25% of GDP. In 1973-74 the sharp increase in oil prices led to a booming economy that helped to finance an ambitious program of industrialization. Plunging oil and gas prices, combined with the mismanagement of Algeria's highly centralized economy, have brought the nation to its most serious social and economic crisis since independence. The government has promised far-reaching reforms, including giving public sector companies more autonomy, encouraging private-sector activity, boosting gas and non-hydro-carbon exports, and a major overhaul of the banking and financial systems. In 1988 the government started to implement a new economic policy to dismantle large state farms into privately operated units.

GDP: $54.1 billion, per capita $2,235; real growth rate -1.8% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.9% (1988)

Unemployment rate: 19% (1988)

Budget: revenues $17.4 billion; expenditures $22.0 billion, including capital expenditures of $8.0 billion (1988)

Exports: $9.1 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—petroleum and natural gas 98%; partners—Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Italy, France, US

Imports: $7.8 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—capital goods 35%, consumer goods 36%, food 20%; partners—France 25%, Italy 8%, FRG 8%, US 6-7%

External debt: $26.2 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.4% (1986)

Electricity: 4,333,000 kW capacity; 14,370 million kWh produced, 580 kWh per capita (1989)

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

Agriculture: accounts for 8% of GDP and employs 24% of labor force; net importer of food grain, vegetable oil, and sugar; farm production includes wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits, sheep, and cattle

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-85), $1.4 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $8.2 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $1.8 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $2.7 billion

Currency: Algerian dinar (plural—dinars); 1 Algerian dinar (DA) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Algerian dinars (DA) per US$1—8.0086 (January 1990), 7.6086 (1989), 5.9148 (1988), 4.8497 (1987), 4.7023 (1986), 5.0278 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 4,146 km total; 2,632 km standard gauge (1.435 m), 1,258 km 1.055-meter gauge, 256 km 1.000-meter gauge; 300 km electrified; 215 km double track

Highways: 80,000 km total; 60,000 km concrete or bituminous, 20,000 km gravel, crushed stone, unimproved earth

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

Ports: Algiers, Annaba, Arzew, Bejaïa, Jijel, Mers el Kebir, Mostaganem, Oran, Skikda

Merchant marine: 75 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 900,957 GRT/1,063,994 DWT; includes 5 passenger, 27 cargo, 2 vehicle carrier, 10 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 5 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 9 liquefied gas, 7 chemical tanker, 9 bulk, 1 specialized liquid cargo

Civil air: 42 major transport aircraft

Airports: 147 total, 136 usable; 53 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,660 m; 29 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 68 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: excellent domestic and international service in the north, sparse in the south; 693,000 telephones; stations—26 AM, no FM, 113 TV; 1,550,000 TV sets; 3,500,000 receiver sets; 6 submarine cables; coaxial cable or radio relay to Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, and Tunisia; satellite earth stations—1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Intersputnik, 1 ARABSAT, and 15 domestic

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie

Military manpower: males 15-49, 5,886,334; 3,638,458 fit for military service; 293,476 reach military age (19) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.8% of GDP, or $974 million (1989 est.)