Africa: Algeria

About Algeria

After a century of rule by France, Algeria became independent in 1962. The surprising first round success of the fundamentalist FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) party in December 1991 balloting caused the army to intervene, crack down on the FIS, and postpone the subsequent elections. The FIS response has resulted in a continuous low-grade civil conflict with the secular state apparatus, which nonetheless has allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties. FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded itself in January 2000 and many armed militants surrendered under an amnesty program designed to promote national reconciliation. Nevertheless, residual fighting continues. Other concerns include large-scale unemployment and the need to diversify the petroleum-based economy.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Algiers
Population: 31,736,053 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 23% (1999 est.)
Language: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
Date of independence: 5 July 1962 (from France)
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: president
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc
Environmental 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, b
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle
Imports: capital goods, food and beverages, consumer goods
Exports: petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: France 30%, Italy 9%, Germany 7%, Spain 6%, US 5%, Turkey 5% (1999)
EXPORTS: Italy 22%, US 15%, France 12%, Spain 11%, Brazil 8%, Netherlands 5% (1999)


Algeria Headlines

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