+213 is the dialing code for Algeria.
Algeria is Africa’s largest country and extends from the Mediterranean to the Sahara. Oil and gas constitute the country’s economic backbone. Most of them live on the coast, where urban development bears witness to more than a hundred years of French rule, which ended with a bitter war in 1954–1962. A violent conflict raged in the 1990s, since the military put an end to an Islamist election victory. In 2019, the military’s continued power over society brought about a popular movement that required democratization.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Algeria, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Algeria is Africa’s largest surface country, just over five times the size of Sweden. From the 100 km long Mediterranean coast in the north it is almost 200 km to the southern border of the Sahara. It is equally distant between the country’s easternmost and westernmost points. The contrast is dramatic between the northern mountain regions and the deserts of the south, which occupy over four-fifths of the land area.
There are no navigable rivers in Algeria. The longest watercourse, Chelif, still measures just over 70 km and flows towards the Mediterranean in the northwest.
Most of the population lives in the fertile Tell area to the north. The best agricultural areas are found in valleys that lead to the coast, especially the Mitidja plain and the area around the city of Béjaia. The coastal belt is bounded on the south by the Tell-Atlas mountain range, which is an offshoot of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Another offshoot is the Sahara Atlas at the edge of the deserts in the south. High plateaus are spread between the mountain ranges, which in the south consist of salt marsh and steppe.
Earthquakes occur in the mountain areas. Sub-Saharan Atlas takes up 150 kilometers of desert and continues down to the border with Mali and Niger. The southern part of the desert is scarier and more fertile than the northern one.
|Cultivated land||17.3 %|
|Land area||2381741 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||1.84 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||70.7 %|
|Death rate||4.31 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||77.96 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||75.29 years|
|Birth rate||26.67 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||20.98 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||53990 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||1237 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||79650 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||16.7 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||96 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||114 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||11% of the workforce|
|GDP||14500 per resident|
|Primary occupations||14 %|
|Secondary profession||13.4 %|
|Tertiary professions||72.6 %|
In the southwest lies the stone desert Tanezrouft, which completely lacks watercourses and oases. Tademait, a north-south limestone plateau, separates the sandy deserts Grand erg oriental and Grand erg occidental. “Erg” is called a desert area with large drifting dunes. In the south-east, the landscape is characterized by a hard-to-reach “lunar landscape” in the Hoggar (Ahaggar) mountain range with a maximum point of almost 3,000 meters above sea level. Since 1987, the area dominated by the massive national park status – as large as Sweden on the surface.
On the coast there is a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. However, temperature and precipitation can vary widely with the height above the sea.
Almost all rain falls during the winter; in the summer, drought often prevails for three to four months. Then siroccon sweeps in from the Sahara’s sandy expanses – a dry, hot and dusty wind that can push the temperature up to 45 degrees. However, the word sirocco is rarely used; there are local names on the desert winds.
Further south there is a desert climate with very hot summers and cool winters. In much of the Sahara, hardly any precipitation falls at all. The temperature in the desert often varies greatly during the day from roast day to chilly night.
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
2 381 741 km2 (2018)
Adjacent country (s)
Morocco, Western Sahara Territory, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, Tunisia
Capital with number of residents
Algae 3 335 000
Other major cities
Constantine 465,000, Oran 641,000 (2012 estimate)
Mount Tahat (in Hoggar 2918 meters)
Algae 760 mm
Algiers 15 °C (Jan), 29 °C (July)
Bouteflika in hospital
Bouteflika is hospitalized in France but returns home after two days. From an official point of view it is silent on the matter.
Reduced powers of the intelligence service
President Bouteflika further cuts the DRS intelligence service and relocates, among other things, the interception power to the Ministry of Justice (see September 2013).
Kravall police in the oasis town of Ghardaia strike, in protest of low wages and brother-in-law. In Alger, police go to the presidential palace in solidarity and demanded to form a trade union. Several public servants have protested, but it is unusual for the police to openly demonstrate dissatisfaction.
Report on election fraud
Benflis submits a 270-page report describing the election fraud he claimed occurred in the presidential election (see April 2014). Among other things, evidence is presented that deceased persons were included in the electoral rolls and that men voted for women without authorization. According to the report, state assets have been used to drive Bouteflika’s campaign, and local authorities have been forced to support the president.
French tourist beheaded
The 55-year-old French tourist Hervé Gourdel is abducted by Jund al-Khilafa, a militant group with links to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. The group threatens to kill Gourdel unless France ceases its air strikes against IS positions in Iraq. After a few days, a video is released showing how Gourdel is beheaded. In December, authorities say three Jund al-Khilafa members who were behind the murder were killed.
Jail sentences after election protests
Twenty-six people are sentenced, some in their absence, to between six months and two years in prison for participating in “an armed rally” and violence against police. They have participated in the protests against Bouteflika’s re-election.
Virus alarm after pilgrimage
The first two cases of the deadly virus are reported in Algeria, in people returning from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, nearly 300 people have died from the virus.
Proposed constitutional reform
The government presents a proposal for constitutional reforms, which include increased power for the Prime Minister and greater influence for the opposition. Around 150 politicians, lawyers and human rights activists should have received a copy of the proposal. A 13-party opposition alliance says no to participate in talks on the reforms, and says the proposal diverts attention from more important issues.
New government takes office
When a new government is formed, half of the 34 ministers from the previous government will return. Seven ministers are women. Prime Minister Sellal has tried unsuccessfully to get opposition parties to join the government. This applies to both FFS and RCD, MSP and the Labor Party PT.
The Prime Minister reinstated
Almost two weeks after the election, Abdelmalek Sellal is re-elected as head of government.
Soldiers killed in Islamist attack
Fourteen soldiers are killed in the Tizi Ouzou region east of Algiers. The military was in search of militant Islamists and the perpetrators are suspected to belong to the al-Qaeda group Aqim. The attack is one of the bloodiest the military has faced in years.
Expected victory for Bouteflika in the presidential election
A total of five opposition candidates are running for president, but no one seriously poses any threat to Bouteflika. The president wins as expected and receives 81.5 percent of the vote. In second place is Ali Benflis with just over 12 percent. Benflis is a former FLN member who was prime minister in 2000–2003 and presidential candidate also in 2004. Several parties boycott the election.
Increasing MRI crime before the election
Amnesty International reports on increasing restrictions on freedom of expression before the election. Critics are silenced and the state stiffens all forms of social concern. Several foreign journalists find it difficult to obtain a visa, and representatives of human rights organizations such as Amnesty have long been denied entry.
Protests against Bouteflika’s candidacy
Thousands of opposition supporters demonstrate that Bouteflika is seeking a fourth term in office. Demonstrations of similar kind are rare in Algeria. Demands are being made for political reform and voters are urged to boycott the election. Both Islamists and non-religious protesters participate in the protest rally, and the hostility between the groups is evident. The privately owned newspaper Le Matin protests through a satirical image of Bouteflika as an Algerian variant of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
The Prime Minister resigns
Abdelmalek Sellal resigns to lead Bouteflika’s re-election campaign. Youcef Yousfi is appointed new head of government.
Parties call for election boycotts
Three opposition parties – the Cultural and Democratic Assembly (RCD) and the two Islamist parties MSP and Ennahda – are all calling for a boycott of the elections.
Bouteflika stands in the election
After Prime Minister Sellal confirmed that Bouteflika is a candidate in the election, the debate on his role intensified. Some Algerians believe that Bouteflika is too fragile to rule the country, others are worried that stability would be threatened if he did not remain.
Many dead in military plane crash
77 people are killed when a military plane crashes in northeastern Algeria. Only one survives the crash. On board were military personnel and family members.
Benflis candidate in the election
Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis (see Modern History) announces that he is running for president.