Algeria

ALGERIA

RSS NEWS
+ ADD TO YOUR WEBSITE
+ ADD TO WORDPRESS
                     

Algeria Wikipedia



See also: Algeria portal and Outline of Algeria
Coordinates: 28°N 2°E / 28°N 2°E / 28; 2
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
جمهورية الجزائر الديمقراطية الشعبية  (Arabic)


Tagduda Tadzayrit Tugduyant Tagherfant  (Berber)
FlagEmblem
Motto: بالشّعب وللشّعب (Arabic)


"By the people and for the people"
Anthem: "Kassaman"


"We Pledge" by: Moufdi Zakaria


External audio file
Capital


and largest city
Algiers


36°42′N 3°13′E / 36.700°N 3.217°E / 36.700; 3.217
Official languagesArabic
Other languages
  • Berber language (Tamazight) (constitutionally national)
  • French (business and education)
Ethnic groups
  • 99% Arab-Berber[a]
  • 1% European and others
DemonymAlgerian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential republic
 - PresidentAbdelaziz Bouteflika
 - Prime MinisterAbdelmalek Sellal
LegislatureParliament
 - Upper houseCouncil of the Nation
 - Lower housePeople's National Assembly
Independence from France
 - Recognized3 July 1962 
 - Declared5 July 1962 
Area
 - Total2,381,741 km2 (10th)


919,595 sq mi
 - Water (%)negligible
Population
 - 2014 estimate38,700,000 (34th)
 - 2013 census37,900,000
 - Density15.9/km2 (208th)


37.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$302.476 billion
 - Per capita$7,816
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$219.453 billion
 - Per capita$5,670
Gini (1995)35.3


medium
HDI (2013)Increase 0.713


high · 93rd
CurrencyAlgerian dinar (DZD)
Time zoneCET (UTC+01)
Drives on theright
Calling code+213
ISO 3166 codeDZ
Internet TLD
  • .dz
  • الجزائر.
a.^ The CIA World Factbook states that about 15% of Algerians, a minority, identify as Berber even though almost all Algerians have Berber origins instead of Arab origins. The Factbook explains that of the approximately 15% who identify as Berber, most live in Kabylie, more closely identify with Berber heritage instead of Arab heritage, and are Muslim.
Algeria (Listeni/ælˈdʒɪəriə/ or /ɔːl-/; Literary Arabic: الجزائرal-Jazāʼir; Tamazight: Dzayer, ⴷⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ; French: Algérie), officially People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa on the Mediterranean coast. Its capital and most populous city is Algiers. With a total area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa and in the Mediterranean. The country is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea.

The territory of today's Algeria was the home of many ancient prehistoric cultures, including Aterian and Capsian cultures. Its area has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Berber Numidians, Phoenecians, Lybio-Punic Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arab Umayyads, Arab Abbasids, Arab Fatimids, Berber Almoravids, Berber Almohads, Turkish Ottomans and the French colonial empire. Algeria is a semi-presidential republic, it consists of 48 provinces and 1541 communes. With a population of 37.9 million, it is the 35th most populated country on Earth. Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been the President of Algeria since 1999 and has won four consecutive elections. However, according to the Democracy Index Algeria is an authoritarian regime.

Algeria's economy is largely based on hydrocarbons, due to which manufacturing has suffered from Dutch disease. The country supplies large amounts of natural gas to Europe and energy exports are the backbone of the economy. According to OPEC Algeria has 17th largest reserves of oil in the world, and second largest in Africa, while it has the 9th largest reserves of natural gas. Sonatrach, the national oil company, is the largest company in Africa.

Algeria has the second largest military in North Africa with the largest defense budget in Africa. Algeria has had a peaceful nuclear program since the 1990s. Algeria is a member of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC and the United Nations, and is a founding member of the Arab Maghreb Union.

Contents

              Etymology

              The country's name derives from the city of Algiers. The city's name in turn derives from the Arabic al-Jazā'ir (الجزائر, "The Islands"), a truncated form of the older Jazā'ir Banī Mazghanna (جزائر بني مزغنة, "Islands of the Mazghanna Tribe"),[page needed][page needed] employed by medieval geographers such as al-Idrisi.

              History

              Main article: History of Algeria

              Ancient history

              Main articles: Prehistoric North Africa and North Africa during Antiquity



              Detail of Tassili rock paintings dating from about 3000 BC relating a probably lost civilization in what was known as the Green Sahara
              At Ain Hanech region (Saïda Province), early remnants (200,000 BC) of hominid occupation in North Africa were found. Neanderthal tool makers produced hand axes in the Levalloisian and Mousterian styles (43,000 BC) similar to those in the Levant.

              Algeria was the site of the highest state of development of Middle Paleolithic Flake tool techniques. Tools of this era, starting about 30,000 BC, are called Aterian (after the archeological site of Bir el Ater, south of Tebessa).

              The earliest blade industries in North Africa are called Iberomaurusian (located mainly in Oran region). This industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of the Maghreb between 15,000 and 10,000 BC. Neolithic civilization (animal domestication and agriculture) developed in the Saharan and Mediterranean Maghrib between 6000 and 2000 BC. This life, richly depicted in the Tassili n'Ajjer paintings, predominated in Algeria until the classical period.

              The amalgam of peoples of North Africa coalesced eventually into a distinct native population that came to be called Berbers, who are the indigenous peoples of northern Africa.



              Ancient Roman Empire ruins of Timgad. Street leading to the Arch of Trajan.



              Ancient Roman theatre in Djémila
              From their principal center of power at Carthage, the Carthaginians expanded and established small settlements along the North African coast; by 600 BC, a Phoenician presence existed at Tipasa, east of Cherchell, Hippo Regius (modern Annaba) and Rusicade (modern Skikda). These settlements served as market towns as well as anchorages.

              As Carthaginian power grew, its impact on the indigenous population increased dramatically. Berber civilization was already at a stage in which agriculture, manufacturing, trade, and political organization supported several states. Trade links between Carthage and the Berbers in the interior grew, but territorial expansion also resulted in the enslavement or military recruitment of some Berbers and in the extraction of tribute from others.



              Numidia along with Egypt, Rome, and Carthage 200 BCE
              By the early 4th century BC, Berbers formed the single largest element of the Carthaginian army. In the Revolt of the Mercenaries, Berber soldiers rebelled from 241 to 238 BC after being unpaid following the defeat of Carthage in the First Punic War. They succeeded in obtaining control of much of Carthage's North African territory, and they minted coins bearing the name Libyan, used in Greek to describe natives of North Africa. The Carthaginian state declined because of successive defeats by the Romans in the Punic Wars.

              In 146 BC the city of Carthage was destroyed. As Carthaginian power waned, the influence of Berber leaders in the hinterland grew. By the 2nd century BC, several large but loosely administered Berber kingdoms had emerged. Two of them were established in Numidia, behind the coastal areas controlled by Carthage. West of Numidia lay Mauretania, which extended across the Moulouya River in modern day Morocco to the Atlantic Ocean. The high point of Berber civilization, unequaled until the coming of the Almohads and Almoravids more than a millennium later, was reached during the reign of Massinissa in the 2nd century BC.

              After Masinissa's death in 148 BC, the Berber kingdoms were divided and reunited several times. Massinissa's line survived until 24 AD, when the remaining Berber territory was annexed to the Roman Empire.



              Berber King Masinissa .
              For several centuries Algeria was ruled by the Romans, who founded many colonies in the region. Like the rest of North Africa, Algeria was one of the breadbaskets of the empire, exporting cereals and other agricultural products. The Vandals of Geiseric moved into North Africa in 429, and by 435 controlled coastal Numidia. They did not make any significant settlement on the land. The region was later recaptured by the Eastern Roman Empire, which ruled it until the Muslim Conquest in the 7th century.



              Jugurtha

              Middle Ages

              Main article: Medieval Muslim Algeria



              Mansourah mosque, Tlemcen



              Fatimid Caliphate 969 A.D.
              Muslim Arabs conquered Algeria in the mid-7th century and a large number of locals converted to the new faith. After the fall of the Umayyad Arab Dynasty in 751, numerous local Berber dynasties emerged, including the Aghlabids, Almohads, Abdalwadid, Zirids, Rustamids, Hammadids, Almoravids and the Fatimids.[citation needed] Having converted the Berber Kutama of the Petite Kabylie to its cause, the Shia Fatimids overthrew the Rustamids and conquered Egypt, leaving Algeria and Tunisia to their Zirid vassals. When the latter rebelled, the Fatimids sent in the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym Arabian tribes who unexpectedly defeated the Zirids.

              During the Middle Ages the Fatimids or the sons of Fatima bent Muhammad as they were descended from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, according to Fatimid claims came to the Maghreb. These "Fatimids" went on to found a long lasting dynasty stretching across the Maghreb, Hejaz, and the Levant, boasting a secular inner government, and a powerful military and navy, primarily made up of the native North Africans or the Imazighen. The Indigenous Imazighen depending on location and time controlled varying parts of the Maghreb, at times even unifying it (as under the Fatimids) as well as overseas conquests of Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Sicily, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen. Caliphates from Northern Africa traded tit for tat with the other empires of their time, as well as forming part of a confederated support and trade network with other Islamic states during the highly competitive Islamic Era.

              The "Berbers" or Imazighen consisted of several tribes. The two main branches were the Botr and Barnès tribes, who were divided into tribes, and again into sub-tribes. Each region of the Maghreb contained several tribes (for example, Sanhadja, Houaras, Zenata, Masmouda, Kutama, Awarba, and Berghwata). All these tribes were independent and made territorial decisions.

              Several Berber dynasties emerged during the Middle Ages in the Maghreb and other nearby lands. Ibn Khaldun provides a table summarizing the Berber dynasties of the Maghreb region, the Zirid, Banu Ifran, Maghrawa, Almoravid, Hammadid, Almohad, Merinid, Abdalwadid, Wattasid, Meknassa and Hafsid dynasties.

              In the early 16th century, Spain constructed fortified outposts (presidios) on or near the Algerian coast. Spain took control of Mers el Kebir in 1505; Oran in 1509; and Tlemcen, Mostaganem, and Ténès, in 1510. In the same year, the merchants of Algiers ceded one of the rocky islets in their harbor to Spain, which built a fort on it. The presidios in North Africa turned out to be a costly and largely ineffective military endeavor that did not guarantee access for Spain's merchant fleet.

              Ottoman Algeria

              Main article: Ottoman Algeria



              Hayreddin Barbarossa



              Old Algiers in the 16th century, with the Spanish-built Peñón of Algiers in the forefront
              In 1516 the Muslim privateer brothers Aruj and Hayreddin Barbarossa, who operated successfully under the Hafsids, moved their base of operations to Algiers. When Aruj was killed in 1518 during his invasion of Tlemcen, Hayreddin succeeded him as military commander of Algiers. The Ottoman sultan gave him the title of beylerbey and a contingent of some 2,000 janissaries. With the aid of this force, Hayreddin subdued the coastal region between Constantine and Oran (although the city of Oran remained in Spanish hands until 1791).

              The next beylerbey was Hayreddin's son Hasan, who assumed the position in 1544. Until 1587 the area was governed by officers who served terms with no fixed limits. Subsequently, with the institution of a regular Ottoman administration, governors with the title of pasha ruled for three-year terms. The pasha was assisted by janissaries, known in Algeria as the ojaq and led by an agha. Discontent among the ojaq rose in the mid-1600s because they were not paid regularly, and they repeatedly revolted against the pasha. As a result, the agha charged the pasha with corruption and incompetence and seized power in 1659.

              Plague had repeatedly struck the cities of North Africa. Algiers lost from 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants to the plague in 1620–21, and suffered high fatalities in 1654–57, 1665, 1691, and 1740–42.

              In 1671, the taifa rebelled, killed the agha, and placed one of its own in power. The new leader received the title of dey. After 1689, the right to select the dey passed to the divan, a council of some sixty notables. It was at first dominated by the ojaq; but by the 18th century, it had become the dey's instrument. In 1710, the dey persuaded the sultan to recognize him and his successors as regent, replacing the pasha in that role. Although Algiers remained a part of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman government ceased to have effective influence there.

              The dey was in effect a constitutional autocrat. The dey was elected for a life term, but in the 159 years (1671–1830) that the system survived, fourteen of the twenty-nine deys were assassinated. Despite usurpation, military coups, and occasional mob rule, the day-to-day operation of government was remarkably orderly. Although the regency patronized the tribal chieftains, it never had the unanimous allegiance of the countryside, where heavy taxation frequently provoked unrest. Autonomous tribal states were tolerated, and the regency's authority was seldom applied in the Kabylie.

              Privateers era



              Christian slaves in Algiers, 1706
              The Barbary pirates preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea. The pirates often took the passengers and crew on the ships and sold them or used them as slaves. They also did a brisk business in ransoming some of the captives. According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th century, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. They often made raids, called Razzias, on European coastal towns to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire.

              In 1544, Hayreddin captured the island of Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population. In 1551, Turgut Reis enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island of Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending the captives to Libya. In 1554, pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy and took an estimated 7,000 captives as slaves.

              In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella (Minorca), destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and took 3,000 survivors as slaves to Istanbul. Barbary pirates often attacked the Balearic Islands, and in response, the residents built many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches. The threat was so severe that residents abandoned the island of Formentera.

              Between 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates. In the 19th century, the pirates forged affiliations with Caribbean powers, paying a "license tax" in exchange for safe harbor of their vessels. One American slave reported that the Algerians had enslaved 130 American seamen in the Mediterranean and Atlantic from 1785 to 1793.

              Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the United States initiating the First (1801–1805) and Second Barbary Wars (1815). Following those wars, Algeria was weaker, and Europeans, with an Anglo-Dutch fleet commanded by the British Lord Exmouth, attacked Algiers. After a nine-hour bombardment, they obtained a treaty from the Dey that reaffirmed the conditions imposed by Decatur (US navy) concerning the demands of tributes. In addition, the Dey agreed to end the practice of enslaving Christians.

              French Algeria

              Main articles: French Algeria and Algerian War



              Arrival of Marshal Randon in Algiers in 1857
              On the pretext of a slight to their consul, the French invaded and captured Algiers in 1830. The conquest of Algeria by the French was long and resulted in considerable bloodshed. A combination of violence and disease epidemics caused the indigenous Algerian population to decline by nearly one-third from 1830 to 1872.[unreliable source?] The population of Algeria, which stood at about 1.5 million in 1830, reached nearly 11 million in 1960. French policy was predicated on "civilizing" the country. Algeria's social fabric suffered during the occupation: literacy plummeted. During this period, a small but influential French-speaking indigenous elite was formed, made up of Berbers mostly from Kabyles. In the French policy of "divide to reign," its government favored the Kabyles. About 80% of Indigenous Schools were constructed for Kabyles.



              Emir Abdelkaderin 1865
              From 1848 until independence, France administered the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria as an integral part and département of the nation. One of France's longest-held overseas territories, Algeria became a destination for hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, who became known as colons and later, as Pied-Noirs. Between 1825 and 1847, 50,000 French people emigrated to Algeria.[page needed] These settlers benefited from the French government's confiscation of communal land from tribal peoples, and the application of modern agricultural techniques that increased the amount of arable land.

              Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Muslim population, which lacked political and economic status in the colonial system, gave rise to demands for greater political autonomy, and eventually independence, from France. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1954, when the first violent events of what was later called the Algerian War began. Historians have estimated that between 30,000 and 150,000 Harkis and their dependents were killed by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) or by lynch mobs in Algeria. The FLN used terrorist attacks in Algeria and France as part of its war, and the French conducted severe reprisals and repression. The war concluded in 1962, when Algeria gained complete independence following the March 1962 Evian agreements and the July 1962 self-determination referendum.

              Independence

              Main article: History of Algeria (1962–99)



              Houari Boumediene
              Algeria's first president was the FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella. Morocco's claim to portions of western Algeria led to the Sand War in 1963. Ben Bella was overthrown in 1965 by Houari Boumediene, his former ally and defense minister. Under Ben Bella, the government had become increasingly socialist and authoritarian; Boumédienne continued this trend. But, he relied much more on the army for his support, and reduced the sole legal party to a symbolic role. He collectivised agriculture and launched a massive industrialization drive. Oil extraction facilities were nationalized. This was especially beneficial to the leadership after the international 1973 oil crisis.

              In the 1960s and 1970s under President Houari Boumediene, Algeria pursued a programme of industrialisation within a state-controlled socialist economy. Boumediene's successor, Chadli Bendjedid, introduced some liberal economic reforms. He promoted a policy of Arabisation in Algerian society and public life. Teachers of Arabic, brought in from other Muslim countries, spread radical Islamic thought in schools and sowed the seeds of political Islamism.

              The Algerian economy became increasingly dependent on oil, leading to hardship when the price collapsed during the 1980s oil glut. Economic recession caused by the crash in world oil prices resulted in Algerian social unrest during the 1980s; by the end of the decade, Bendjedid introduced a multi-party system. Political parties developed, such as the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a broad coalition of Islamist groups.

              Civil War and aftermath

              Main article: Algerian Civil War
              In December 1991 the Islamic Salvation Front dominated the first of two rounds of legislative elections. Fearing the election of an Islamist government, the authorities intervened on 11 January 1992, cancelling the elections. Bendjedid resigned and a High Council of State was installed to act as Presidency. It banned the FIS, triggering a civil insurgency between the Front's armed wing, the Armed Islamic Group, and the national armed forces, in which more than 100,000 persons are thought to have died. The Islamist militants conducted a violent campaign of civilian massacres. At several points in the conflict, the situation in Algeria became a point of international concern, most notably during the crisis surrounding Air France Flight 8969, a hijacking perpetrated by the Armed Islamic Group. The Armed Islamic Group declared a ceasefire in October 1997.

              Algeria held elections in 1999, considered biased by international observers and most opposition groups which were won by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He worked to restore political stability to the country and announced a 'Civil Concord' initiative, approved in a referendum, under which many political prisoners were pardoned, and several thousand members of armed groups were granted exemption from prosecution under a limited amnesty, in force until 13 January 2000. The AIS disbanded and levels of insurgent violence fell rapidly. The Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat (GSPC), a splinter group of the Group Islamic Armée, continued a terrorist campaign against the Government.



              Algeria is seemingly stable but popular angst is rapidly growing against the governing elite.
              Bouteflika was re-elected in the April 2004 presidential election after campaigning on a programme of national reconciliation. The programme comprised economic, institutional, political and social reform to modernise the country, raise living standards, and tackle the causes of alienation. It also included a second amnesty initiative, the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, which was approved in a referendum in September 2005. It offered amnesty to most guerrillas and Government security forces.

              In November 2008, the Algerian Constitution was amended following a vote in Parliament, removing the two-term limit on Presidential incumbents. This change enabled Bouteflika to stand for re-election in the 2009 presidential elections, and he was re-elected in April 2009. During his election campaign and following his re-election, Bouteflika promised to extend the programme of national reconciliation and a $150-billion spending programme to create three million new jobs, the construction of one million new housing units, and to continue public sector and infrastructure modernisation programmes.

              A continuing series of protests throughout the country started on 28 December 2010, inspired by similar protests across the Middle East and North Africa. On 24 February 2011, the government lifted Algeria's 19-year-old state of emergency. The government enacted legislation dealing with political parties, the electoral code, and the representation of women in elected bodies. In April 2011, Bouteflika promised further constitutional and political reform. However, elections are routinely criticized by opposition groups as unfair and international human rights groups say that media censorship and harassment of political opponents continue.

              Geography

              Main article: Geography of Algeria


              Algeria is the largest country in Africa, the Arab world, and the Mediterranean Basin. Its southern part includes a significant portion of the Sahara. To the north, the Tell Atlas form with the Saharan Atlas, further south, two parallel sets of reliefs in approaching eastbound, and between which are inserted vast plains and highlands. Both Atlas tend to merge in eastern Algeria. The vast mountain ranges of Aures and Nememcha occupy the entire northeastern Algeria and are delineated by the Tunisian border. The highest point is Mount Tahat (3,003 m).



              The Sahara, the Ahaggar and the Atlas mountains compose the Algerian relief
              Algeria lies mostly between latitudes 19° and 37°N (a small area is north of 37°), and longitudes 9°W and 12°E. Most of the coastal area is hilly, sometimes even mountainous, and there are a few natural harbours. The area from the coast to the Tell Atlas is fertile. South of the Tell Atlas is a steppe landscape ending with the Saharan Atlas; farther south, there is the Sahara desert.

              The Ahaggar Mountains (Arabic: جبال هقار‎), also known as the Hoggar, are a highland region in central Sahara, southern Algeria. They are located about 1,500 km (932 mi) south of the capital, Algiers, and just west of Tamanghasset. Algiers, Oran, Constantine, and Annaba are Algeria's main cities.

              Climate and hydrology

              Main article: Climate of Algeria



              An oasis in the Hoggar



              Lake Agoulmime, Tikjda.
              In this region, midday desert temperatures can be hot year round. After sunset, however, the clear, dry air permits rapid loss of heat, and the nights are cool to chilly. Enormous daily ranges in temperature are recorded.

              The highest official temperature was 50.6 °C (123.1 °F) at In Salah.

              Rainfall is fairly plentiful along the coastal part of the Tell Atlas, ranging from 400 to 670 mm (15.7 to 26.4 in) annually, the amount of precipitation increasing from west to east. Precipitation is heaviest in the northern part of eastern Algeria, where it reaches as much as 1,000 mm (39.4 in) in some years.

              Farther inland, the rainfall is less plentiful. Algeria also has ergs, or sand dunes, between mountains. Among these, in the summer time when winds are heavy and gusty, temperatures can get up to 110 °F (43.3 °C).[citation needed]

              Fauna and flora

              Main article: Wildlife of Algeria



              Cedrus of Chélia in the Aures
              The varied vegetation of Algeria includes coastal, mountainous and grassy desert-like regions which all support a wide range of wildlife. Many of the creatures comprising the Algerian wildlife live in close proximity to civilization. The most commonly seen animals include the wild boars, jackals, and gazelles, although it is not uncommon to spot fennecs (foxes), and jerboas. Algeria also has a few, leopard and cheetah populations, but these are seldom seen.

              A variety of bird species makes the country an attraction for bird watchers. The forests are inhabited by boars and jackals. Barbary macaques are the sole native monkey. Snakes, monitor lizards, and numerous other reptiles can be found living among an array of rodents throughout the semi arid regions of Algeria. Many animals are now extinct, among which the Barbary lions and bears.

              In the north, some of the native flora includes Macchia scrub, olive trees, oaks, cedars and other conifers. The mountain regions contain large forests of evergreens (Aleppo pine, juniper, and evergreen oak) and some deciduous trees. Fig, eucalyptus, agave, and various palm trees grow in the warmer areas. The grape vine is indigenous to the coast. In the Sahara region, some oases have palm trees. Acacias with wild olives are the predominant flora in the remainder of the Sahara.

              Camels are used extensively; the desert also abounds with poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes, scorpions, and numerous insects.

              Politics

              Main article: Politics of Algeria



              The People's National Assembly
              Algeria is an authoritarian regime, according to the Democracy Index 2010. The Freedom of the Press 2009 report gives it rating "Not Free".

              Elected politicians are considered to have relatively little sway over Algeria. Instead, a group of unelected civilian and military "décideurs", known as "le pouvoir" ("the power"), actually rule the country, even deciding who should be president. The most powerful man may be Mohamed Mediène, head of the military intelligence. In recent years, many of these generals have died or retired. After the death of General Larbi Belkheir, Bouteflika put loyalists in key posts, notably at Sonatrach, and secured constitutional amendments that make him re-electable indefinitely.

              The head of state is the president of Algeria, who is elected for a five-year term. The president was formerly limited to two five-year terms, but a constitutional amendment passed by the Parliament on 11 November 2008 removed this limitation. Algeria has universal suffrage at 18 years of age. The President is the head of the army, the Council of Ministers and the High Security Council. He appoints the Prime Minister who is also the head of government.

              The Algerian parliament is bicameral; the lower house, the People's National Assembly, has 462 members who are directly elected for five-year terms, while the upper house, the Council of the Nation, has 144 members serving six-year terms, of which 96 members are chosen by local assemblies and 48 are appointed by the president. According to the constitution, no political association may be formed if it is "based on differences in religion, language, race, gender, profession or region". In addition, political campaigns must be exempt from the aforementioned subjects.

              Parliamentary elections were last held in May 2012, and were judged to be largely free by international monitors, though local groups alleged fraud and irregularities. In the elections, the FLN won 221 seats, the military-backed National Rally for Democracy won 70, and the Islamist Green Algeria Alliance won 47.

              Foreign relations

              Main article: Foreign relations of Algeria



              For over 30 years, several tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees have been living in the region of Tindouf in the heart of the desert.
              In October 2009, Algeria cancelled a weapons deal with France over the possibility of inclusion of Israeli parts in them.

              Tensions between Algeria and Morocco in relation to the Western Sahara have been an obstacle to tightening the Arab Maghreb Union, nominally established in 1989, but which has carried little practical weight.

              Algeria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. Giving incentives and rewarding best performers, as well as offering funds in a faster and more flexible manner, are the two main principles underlying the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) that came into force in 2014. It has a budget of €15.4 billion and provides the bulk of funding through a number of programmes.

              Military

              Main article: Military of Algeria



              Algerian Air Force Su-30MKA
              The military of Algeria consists of the People's National Army (ANP), the Algerian National Navy (MRA), and the Algerian Air Force (QJJ), plus the Territorial Air Defense Force. It is the direct successor of the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN), the armed wing of the nationalist National Liberation Front which fought French colonial occupation during the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62).

              Total military personnel include 147,000 active, 150,000 reserve, and 187,000 paramilitary staff (2008 estimate). Service in the military is compulsory for men aged 19–30, for a total of 18 months (six training and 12 in civil projects). The military expenditure was 4.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. Algeria has the second largest military in North Africa with the largest defense budget in Africa ($10.3 billion).

              In 2007, the Algerian Air Force signed a deal with Russia to purchase 49 MiG-29SMT and 6 MiG-29UBT at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion. It also agreed to return old aircraft purchased from the former USSR. Russia is also building two 636-type diesel submarines for Algeria.

              Provinces and districts

              Main articles: Provinces of Algeria, Districts of Algeria and Municipalities of Algeria
              Algeria is divided into 48 provinces (wilayas), 553 districts (daïras) and 1,541 municipalities (baladiyahs). Each province, district, and municipality is named after its seat, which is usually the largest city.

              The administrative divisions have changed several times since independence. When introducing new provinces, the numbers of old provinces are kept, hence the non-alphabetical order. With their official numbers, currently (since 1983) they are

              #WilayaArea (km2)Populationmap#WilayaArea (km2)Population
              1Adrar402,197439,700
              Algeria provinces numbered2.png
              25Constantine2,187943,112
              2Chlef4,9751,013,71826Médéa8,866830,943
              3Laghouat25,057477,32827Mostaganem2,269746,947
              4Oum El Bouaghi6,768644,36428M'Sila18,718991,846
              5Batna12,1921,128,03029Mascara5,941780,959
              6Béjaïa3,268915,83530Ouargla211,980552,539
              7Biskra20,986730,26231Oran2,1141,584,607
              8Béchar161,400274,86632El Bayadh78,870262,187
              9Blida1,6961,009,89233Illizi285,00054,490
              10Bouïra4,439694,75034Bordj Bou Arréridj4,115634,396
              11Tamanrasset556,200198,69135Boumerdes1,591795,019
              12Tébessa14,227657,22736El Taref3,339411,783
              13Tlemcen9,061945,52537Tindouf58,193159,000
              14Tiaret20,673842,06038Tissemsilt3,152296,366
              15Tizi Ouzou3,5681,119,64639El Oued54,573673,934
              16Algiers2732,947,46140Khenchela9,811384,268
              17Djelfa66,4151,223,22341Souk Ahras4,541440,299
              18Jijel2,577634,41242Tipaza2,166617,661
              19Sétif6,5041,496,15043Mila9,375768,419
              20Saïda6,764328,68544Ain Defla4,897771,890
              21Skikda4,026904,19545Naâma29,950209,470
              22Sidi Bel Abbès9,150603,36946Ain Timouchent2,376384,565
              23Annaba1,439640,05047Ghardaia86,105375,988
              24Guelma4,101482,26148Relizane4,870733,060

              Economy

              Main article: Economy of Algeria



              Graphical depiction of the country's exports in 28 colour-coded categories.
              Algeria is classified as an upper middle income country by the World Bank. Algeria’s currency is the dinar (DZD). The economy remains dominated by the state, a legacy of the country's socialist post-independence development model. In recent years, the Algerian government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy.

              Algeria has struggled to develop industries outside hydrocarbons in part because of high costs and an inert state bureaucracy. The government's efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector have done little to reduce high youth unemployment rates or to address housing shortages. The country is facing a number of short-term and medium-term problems, including the need to diversify the economy, strengthen political, economic and financial reforms, improve the business climate and reduce inequalities amongst regions.

              A wave of economic protests in February and March 2011 prompted the Algerian government to offer more than $23 billion in public grants and retroactive salary and benefit increases. Public spending has increased by 27% annually during the past 5 years. The 2010–14 public-investment programme will cost US$286 billion, 40% of which will go to human development.

              The Algerian economy grew by 2.6% in 2011, driven by public spending, in particular in the construction and public-works sector, and by growing internal demand. If hydrocarbons are excluded, growth has been estimated at 4.8%. Growth of 3% is expected in 2012, rising to 4.2% in 2013. The rate of inflation was 4% and the budget deficit 3% of GDP. The current-account surplus is estimated at 9.3% of GDP and at the end of December 2011, official reserves were put at US$182 billion. Inflation, the lowest in the region, has remained stable at 4% on average between 2003 and 2007.



              Algeria, trends in the Human Development Index 1970-2010
              In 2011 Algeria announced a budgetary surplus of $26.9 billion, 62% increase in comparison to 2010 surplus. In general, the country exported $73 billion worth of commodities while it imported $46 billion.

              Thanks to strong hydrocarbon revenues, Algeria has a cushion of $173 billion in foreign currency reserves and a large hydrocarbon stabilization fund. In addition, Algeria's external debt is extremely low at about 2% of GDP. The economy remains very dependent on hydrocarbon wealth, and, despite high foreign exchange reserves (US$178 billion, equivalent to three years of imports), current expenditure growth makes Algeria's budget more vulnerable to the risk of prolonged lower hydrocarbon revenues.

              In 2011, the agricultural sector and services recorded growth of 10% and 5.3%, respectively. About 14% of the labor force are employed in the agricultural sector. Fiscal policy in 2011 remained expansionist and made it possible to maintain the pace of public investment and to contain the strong demand for jobs and housing.

              Algeria has not joined the WTO, despite several years of negotiations.

              In March 2006, Russia agreed to erase $4.74 billion of Algeria's Soviet-era debt during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the country, the first by a Russian leader in half a century. In return, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika agreed to buy $7.5 billion worth of combat planes, air-defense systems and other arms from Russia, according to the head of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

              Hydrocarbons

              See also: Mining industry of Algeria
              Algeria, whose economy is reliant on petroleum, has been an OPEC member since 1969. Its crude oil production stands at around 1.1 million barrels/day, but it is also a major gas producer and exporter, with important links to Europe. Hydrocarbons have long been the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the 10th-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the sixth-largest gas exporter. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in 2005, Algeria had 160 trillion cubic feet (4.5×10^12 m3) of proven natural-gas reserves. It also ranks 16th in oil reserves.

              Non-hydrocarbon growth for 2011 was projected at 5%. To cope with social demands, the authorities raised expenditure, especially on basic food support, employment creation, support for SMEs, and higher salaries. High hydrocarbon prices have improved the current account and the already large international reserves position.

              Income from oil and gas rose in 2011 as a result of continuing high oil prices, though the trend in production volume is downwards. Production from the oil and gas sector in terms of volume, continues to decline, dropping from 43.2 million tonnes to 32 million tonnes between 2007 and 2011. Nevertheless, the sector accounted for 98% of the total volume of exports in 2011, against 48% in 1962, and 70% of budgetary receipts, or USD 71.4 billion.

              The Algerian national oil company is Sonatrach, which plays a key role in all aspects of the oil and natural gas sectors in Algeria. All foreign operators must work in partnership with Sonatrach, which usually has majority ownership in production-sharing agreements.

              Labour market

              Despite a decline in total unemployment, youth and women unemployment is high. Unemployment particularly affects the young, with a jobless rate of 21.5% among the 15–24 age group.

              The overall rate of unemployment was 10% in 2011, but remained higher among young people, with a rate of 21.5% for those aged between 15 and 24. The government strengthened in 2011 the job programmes introduced in 1988, in particular in the framework of the programme to aid those seeking work (Dispositif d'Aide à l'Insertion Professionnelle).

              Tourism

              Main article: Tourism in Algeria



              Djanet
              The development of the tourism sector in Algeria had previously been hampered by a lack of facilities, but since 2004 a broad tourism development strategy has been implemented resulting in many hotels of a high modern standard being built.

              There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Algeria including Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad, the first capital of the Hammadid empire; Tipasa, a Phoenician and later Roman town; and Djémila and Timgad, both Roman ruins; M'Zab Valley, a limestone valley containing a large urbanized oasis; also the Casbah of Algiers is an important citadel. The only natural World Heritage Sites is the Tassili n'Ajjer, a mountain range.

              Transport

              Main article: Transport in Algeria



              Algiers Metro



              The main highway relaying the Moroccan to the Tunisian borders, was a part of the Cairo–Dakar Highway project
              The Algerian road network is the most dense of the African continent, its length is estimated at 180,000 km of highways, with a rate of more than 3 756 structures and paving of 85%. This network should be complemented by a major highway infrastructure being completed, the East-West Highway. It is a 3-way 1 216 km, linking the city of Annaba in the extreme east to the city of Tlemcen in the far West. Algeria is also crossed by the Trans-Sahara Highway, which is now totally paved. This road is pushed forward by the Algerian government to increase trade between the six countries crossed (Algeria, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Tunisia).

              Demographics

              Main article: Demographics of Algeria
              Historical populations (in thousands)
              YearPop.  ±% p.a.  
              18562,496—    
              18722,416−0.20%
              18863,752+3.19%
              19064,721+1.16%
              19265,444+0.72%
              19315,902+1.63%
              19366,510+1.98%
              19487,787+1.50%
              19548,615+1.70%
              196612,022+2.82%
              197716,948+3.17%
              198723,051+3.12%
              199829,113+2.15%
              Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algeria )
              Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
              Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

              Latest Algeria News