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Geography—note: second-largest country in Africa (after Sudan)

total: 2,381,740 sq km
land: 2,381,740 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas

Coastline: 998 km

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: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, zinc

Environment—current 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, becoming polluted from oil wastes, soil erosion, and fertilizer runoff; inadequate supplies of potable water

Population: 30,480,793 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 38% (male 5,923,087; female 5,709,614)
15-64 years: 58% (male 8,931,896; female 8,752,014)
65 years and over: 4% (male 542,012; female 622,170) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.14% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 27.51 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.63 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 45.44 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.93 years
male: 67.78 years
female: 70.12 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.38 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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

Religions: Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%

Languages: Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 61.6%
male: 73.9%
female: 49% (1995 est.)

National capital: Algiers

Independence: 5 July 1962 (from France)

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

Constitution: 19 November 1976, effective 22 November 1976; revised 3 November 1988, 23 February 1989, and 28 November 1996; note—referendum approving the revisions of 28 November 1996 was signed into law 7 December 1996

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Political parties and leaders: Islamic Salvation Front (FIS, outlawed April 1992), Ali BENHADJ, Dr. Abassi MADANI, Rabeh KEBIR (self-exile in Germany); National Liberation Front (FLN), Boualem BENHAMOUDA, secretary general; Socialist Forces Front (FFS), Hocine Ait AHMED, secretary general (self-exile in Switzerland); Movement of a Peaceful Society (MSP or Hamas), Mahfoud NAHNAH, chairman; Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), Said SAADI, secretary general; Algerian Renewal Party (PRA), Noureddine BOUKROUH, chairman; Nahda Movement (Al Nahda), Abdallah DJABALLAH, president; Democratic National Rally (RND), Abdelkader BENSALAH, chairman; Movement for Democracy in Algeria (MDA), Ahmed Ben BELLA; Workers Party (PT), Louisa HANOUN; Republican Progressive Party, Khadir DRISS; Union for Democracy and Freedoms, Mouley BOUKHALAFA; Liberal Social Party, Ahmed KHELIL
note: the government established a multiparty system in September 1989 and, as of 31 December 1990, over 50 legal parties existed; a new party law was enacted in March 1997

Economy—overview: The hydrocarbons sector is the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 57% of government revenues, 25% of GDP, and almost all export earnings. Algeria has the fifth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the second largest gas exporter; it ranks fourteenth for oil reserves. Algiers' efforts to reform one of the most centrally planned economies in the Arab world began after the 1986 collapse of world oil prices plunged the country into a severe recession. In 1989, the government launched a comprehensive, IMF-supported program to achieve economic stabilization and to introduce market mechanisms into the economy. Despite substantial progress toward economic adjustment, in 1992 the reform drive stalled as Algiers became embroiled in political turmoil. In September 1993, a new government was formed, and one priority was the resumption and acceleration of the structural adjustment process. Burdened with a heavy foreign debt, Algiers concluded a one-year standby arrangement with the IMF in April 1994 and the following year signed onto a three-year extended fund facility. Progress on economic reform, a Paris Club debt rescheduling in 1995, and oil and gas sector expansion have contributed to a recovery since 1995. Investments in developing hydrocarbon resources are likely to maintain growth and export earnings. Continuing but gradual government efforts to attract foreign and domestic investment outside that sector seek to diversify the economy and tackle problems of high unemployment and falling living standards, problems as yet untouched by the macroeconomic turnaround.

GDP—real growth rate: 2.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 50%
services: 38% (1995 est.)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle

total value: $13.1 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: petroleum and natural gas 97%
partners: Italy 18.8%, US 14.8%, France 11.8%, Spain 8%, Germany 7.9% (1995 est.)

total value: $10 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: capital goods, food and beverages, consumer goods
partners: France 29%, Spain 10.5%, Italy 8.2%, US 8%, Germany 5.6% (1995 est.)

Debt—external: $33 billion (1997 est.)

Currency: 1 Algerian dinar (DA) = 100 centimes

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 7,949,708 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 4,871,931 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $1.3 billion (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.7% (1994)

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