Algeria at the 2010 World Cup
Algeria Travel Guide from Lexicorient
Libya 982 km, Mali 1,376 km, Mauritania 463 km, Morocco 1,559 km, Niger 956 km, Tunisia 965 km, and Western Sahara 42 km.
Algeria covers 2,381,741 sq km, slightly less than 3.5 times the size of Texas. It is the second largest country in Africa (after Sudan). Algeria's climate is arid to semiarid with mild, wet winters and very hot, dry summers along coast. Further inland Algeria gets increasingly drier with cold winters and hot summers on the high plateau. The sirocco is a hot, sand-laden wind that's especially common in the summer. Algeria's lowest point is at Chott Melrhir which lies at -40 m. Algeria's highest point is Tahat at 3,003 m. Natural hazards in the mountainous area include severe earthquakes; with mudslides and floods in the rainy season.
More than 34 million people live in Algeria. Life expectancy is around 74 years. Birth rate is on average 1.79 per woman. Literacy rate is 80% for men and around 60% for women.
Arabic (official), Berber and French widely understood by educated classes.
Arab-Berber 99%, European less than 1%.
Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%
A Quick History:
After more than a century of rule by France, Algerians fought through much of the 1950s to achieve independence in 1962. Algeria's primary political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), has dominated politics ever since. Many Algerians in the subsequent generation were not satisfied, however, and moved to counter the FLN's centrality in Algerian politics. The surprising first round success of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the December 1991 balloting spurred the Algerian army to intervene and postpone the second round of elections to prevent what the secular elite feared would be an extremist-led government from assuming power. The army began a crackdown on the FIS that spurred FIS supporters to begin attacking government targets. The government later allowed elections featuring pro-government and moderate religious-based parties, but this did not appease the activists who progressively widened their attacks. The fighting escalated into an insurgency, which saw intense fighting between 1992-98 resulting in over 100,000 deaths - many attributed to indiscriminate massacres of villagers by extremists. The government gained the upper hand by the late-1990s and FIS's armed wing, the Islamic Salvation Army, disbanded in January 2000. Abdelaziz BOUTEFLIKA, with the backing of the military, won the presidency in 1999 in an election widely viewed as fraudulent and was reelected in a landslide victory in 2004. BOUTEFLIKA was overwhelmingly reelected to a third term in 2009 after the government amended the constitution in 2008 to remove presidential term limits. Longstanding problems continue to face BOUTEFLIKA, including large-scale unemployment, a shortage of housing, unreliable electrical and water supplies, government inefficiencies and corruption, and the continuing activities of extremist militants. The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) in 2006 merged with al-Qaida to form al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb, which has launched an ongoing series of kidnappings and bombings - including high-profile, mass-casualty suicide attacks targeting the Algerian Government and Western interests.
The state dominates most areas of the Algerian economy, although gradual liberalization since the mid-1990's has opened up more of the economy to private domestic and foreign participation. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP, and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the eighth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the fourth-largest gas exporter; it ranks 15th in oil reserves. Weak global hydrocarbon prices during 2009 contributed to a 40% drop in government revenue, although the government continues to enjoy a financial cushion provided by almost $150 billion in foreign currency reserves and a large hydrocarbons stabilization fund. Algeria's external debt is only about 1% of GDP. The government's efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, however, has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. A Complementary Finance Law, enacted in July, imposed tight restrictions on imports and required that foreign investors and importers divest at least 51% share of ownership to Algerian partners. The law has contributed to some domestic goods shortages and prompted foreign investors and businesses to reconsider activities in Algeria. Development of the banking sector, the construction of infrastructure, and other structural reforms are hampered by corruption and bureaucratic resistance.
Source: CIA World Factbook