Coat of Arms
»Unitary semi-presidential republic
»2,381,741 km2 (10th)
»$551.720 billion (33)
» Per capita -$14,256
» Per capita -$5,886
»Algerian dinar (DZD)
Algeria officially People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in 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), 90% of which is desert, Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, and the largest in Africa (following the partition of Sudan) and on 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 prehistoric cultures, including Aterian and Capsian and the Proto-Berber cultures.
Its area has known many empires and dynasties, including ancient Numidians, Phoenicians,Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Hammadi’s, Almoravids, Almohads,Ottomans and the French colonial empire.
In recent decades, Algeria has experienced increased identity recognition demands, in response to which, Tamazight, the language of their 13,000-year old people, has been constitutionalized as a national language. Algeria is a semi-presidential republic consisting 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.
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.
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 benefits 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.
Africa’s largest country lies just a short hop from Europe and, with tourists still a novelty.
The capital, Algiers, is one of the Maghreb’s most urbane and charismatic cities, with a heady, nostalgic mix of colonial and modernist architecture, and a traditional medina at its vertiginous heart. Across the north are stunning coastlines, lush rural hinterland and a number of well-preserved Roman cities.
Algeria’s trump card is, though, its extraordinary Saharan region. Whether it’s a glimpse of the sand seas that surround Timimoun, or a plunge headlong into the far south from Tamanrasset, these are the desert landscapes of dream and legend.
Perhaps best of all, Algerians welcome visitors with warmth and a genuine curiosity. For accessible adventure and a complex, enthralling cultural odyssey, head for Algeria now.
- Similar to that of Libya, Algerian tourism is best known for its ancient ruins—principally those from the Phoenician, Roman, and Byzantine eras. Some of the most famous include Timgad near Batna, Hippo Regius at Annaba, Djemila at Sétif, Calama atGuelma, and ruins from all three empires at Tipasa.
- While better known for the Roman ruins, Algeria’s greatest tourist possibilities lie in the Sahara; there simply is no other country on earth that can offer the sort of exciting and exotic adventures around the great desert.
- The crown jewel is the centre of Mozabite culture in the M’zab Valley.
- The five interconnected cities are a breathtaking architectural playground evocative of modern cubist and surrealist art. They simply must be seen in person.
- The landscapes are impressive as well: the harsh, rugged Saharan Atlas mountains, the endless desert and Hoggar Mountains around the country’s desert capital of Tamanrasset, the huge dune field of the Grand Erg Oriental at El-Oued, and the ancient rock carvings of Djelfa and the Saharan National Park of Tassili N’Ajjer.
- The Mediterranean beaches in Algeria are woefully underdeveloped, despite excellent potential, owing to the country’s poor security situation scaring off almost all tourists.
- But if you are in the country for a while, a bit of relaxation will at some point be in order, and there is no need to fly over to Tunisia. Oran (urban) on theTurquoise Coast, Annaba, and particularly Skikda and Ghazaouet all have nice beaches. The spot to go near Algiers is undoubtedly the resort town of Sidi Fredj.
- Of Algeria’s major cities, you may be surprised at just how little of interest there is to see—Algeria’s more exotic locales are a much bigger draw then its modern culture (stifled by conflict and abysmal government), Islamic heritage, and colonial legacy.
- Algiers, the famed White City, is actually a much less touristic city than one might expect, given its central role in the country’s economic, political, and cultural life. But all visitors will pass through anyway, so the Casbah—Algiers’ historic seventeenth century center—is certainly worth a visit.
- There are a few nice, more laid-back large cities in the northwest, particularly the country’s second largest city of Oran and the historic city of Tlemcen.
- In the northeast, Constantine is the one major city that deserves a spot on your itinerary.