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الجمهورية الجَزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية (Arabic)
ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵜⴰⵣⵣⴰⵢⵔⵉⵜ ⵜⴰⵎⴰⴳⴷⴰⵢⵜ ⵜⴰⵖⴻⵔⴼⴰⵏⵜ (Tamazight)

al-Jumhūrīya al-Jazā'irīya ad-Dīmūqrātīya asch-Schaʿbīya (Arabic)
Tagduda tazzayrit tamagdayt taɣerfant (Tamazight)
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
Flag of Algeria
Seal of Algeria
flag seal
Motto : من الشعب وللشعب / min aš-šaʿb wa-li-š-šaʿb
ⴳ ⵓⴳⴷⵓⴷ ⵖⴻⵔ ⵓⴳⴷⵓⴷ G ugdud ɣer ugdud
(Arabic and Tamazight 'From the people and for the people')
Official language Arabic and Tamazight
Capital Algiers
Form of government republic
Government system Semi-presidential system
Head of state President
Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Head of government Prime Minister
Abdelaziz Djerad
surface 2,381,741 km²
population 42,972,878 (projection July 2020)
Population density 17.5 inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.7% (2017) per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 173.7 billion ( 55th )
  • $ 652.8 billion ( 36th )
  • 4,081 USD ( 116. )
  • 15,332 USD ( 88. )
Human Development Index   0.759 ( 82nd ) (2019)
currency Algerian Dinar (DZD)
independence July 5, 1962 (from France )
National anthem Qassaman
National holiday November 1st (Revolution Day)
Time zone UTC + 1
License Plate Double room
ISO 3166 DZ , DZA, 012
Internet TLD .dz
Telephone code +213
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Algeria ( Arabic الجزائر al-Jazā'ir , DMG al-Ǧazāʾir  'the islands'; Berber ⴷⵣⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ Dzayer or ⵍⵣⵣⴰⵢⴻⵔ Ldzayer ; officially al-Jumhūrīya al-Jazā'irīya ad-Dīmūqrātīya asch-Schaʿbīya  /الجمهورية الجَزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية / 'Democratic People's Republic of Algeria', in Berber ⵜⴰⴳⴷⵓⴷⴰ ⵜⴰⵣⵣⴰⵢⵔⵉⵜ ⵜⴰⵎⴰⴳⴷⴰⵢⵜ ⵜⴰⵖⴻⵔⴼⴰⵏⵜ Tagduda tazzayrit tamagdayt taɣerfant ) is a state in northwestern Africa .

Algeria, as the mean of the Maghreb countries , the area of the largest state of the African continent and the tenth largest country in the world. In terms of inhabitants, Algeria was in eighth place within Africa in 2017 with a good 41 million. It borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Mauritania , Morocco and the Western Sahara claimed by Morocco to the west, Mali and Niger to the south, and Libya and Tunisia to the east . The country is named after its capital, Algiers ( French Alger ). Other major cities are Oran , Constantine , Annaba and Batna . The country became independent after the end of the Algerian War (1954–1962). With the 1996 constitution, a semi-presidential system of government came into force.


The main part of the population lives in the northern part of Algeria, on the southern coast of the Mediterranean and in the Atlas Mountains . The much larger southern part, called Le Grand Sud in Algeria , is only sparsely populated and is dominated by the desert regions of the Sahara .

The steeply rising Tell Atlas rises behind the narrow, bay-rich edge of the Mediterranean coast . The mountain range, divided by basins, longitudinal and transverse valleys, reaches an altitude of 2308 m east of Algiers in the wildly ravaged Kabylia and the Ouarsenis Mountains rise to 1963 m to the southwest of Algiers . The south side of the Tell Atlas falls to the Schotts highlands to 1000 m to 391 m. There are numerous drainless, marshy salt lakes, the so-called bulkheads . To the south of this up to 150 km wide highland is the Sahara Atlas ; it runs parallel to the coast and the Tell Atlas. Its highest mountain is 2328 m high.

The Algerian Sahara is spreading beyond the striking southern roof of the Atlas Mountains, which at Schott Melghir in the eastern lowlands drops to 35 m below sea level; With a good two million square kilometers, it takes up 85% of the country's area. A strip of desert steppe in the north is followed by the extensive, almost vegetation-free sand dune areas of the Eastern Great Erg , the Western Great Erg , Erg Iguidi and Erg Chech . To a large extent, the Sahara of Algeria is occupied by the stony plateaus such as the Hammada du Draa or the Hammada du Guir in the west and by step landscapes ( Tassili n'Ajjer in the southeast). In the south rises in the Tahat (highest mountain in Algeria) 2908 m high Ahaggar massif, a desert-like high mountain of volcanic origin, which is still endangered by earthquakes. South of the Tassili n'Ajjer are the large dune areas of the Chad Basin .

The Cheliff should be mentioned as the longest of the otherwise mostly short permanent rivers in the coastal region of the Tell Atlas . Further to the south, the river valleys of Algeria are mostly dry ( wadis ) and sometimes lined with oases ; Heavy rains - even in more distant areas - can suddenly turn a wadi into a torrent. The Wadi Igharghar has created one of the longest of these dry valleys .


The Ahaggar Mountains in southern Algeria

Algeria has a Mediterranean climate in the north and an extremely dry desert climate in the south. On the Mediterranean coast and the northern slopes of the Tell Atlas , the mean temperature in August is 25 ° C, in January 12 ° C; the precipitation (average 500 to 1000 mm) falls mainly in winter. In the highlands of the Schotts there is a winter-humid steppe climate with pronounced seasonal temperature fluctuations (January mean hardly above 0 ° C, August mean 30 ° C). The precipitation, mostly in the form of brief downpours, is only 350 mm here. The northern slope of the Sahara Atlas is heavily irrigated; on the south side, however, the transition to the hot, dry desert climate of the Sahara takes place quickly with daily temperature fluctuations of up to 20 ° C and more. Temperatures reach over 40 ° C in summer, and can drop below 0 ° C in winter. In some areas the long-term average precipitation is only 10 mm. The Scirocco , a dry, dust-laden wind, often blows from the Sahara during the summer months .

Flora and fauna

Bejaia, coastal city of Kabylia

Algeria today has a forest share of only 2%, about 80% of the country is almost without vegetation. Targeted reforestation measures such as the Barrage vert aim to slow the spread of the desert . Between 1990 and 2000 the forest population increased by 1.3%. Mediterranean bushes such as maquis , Aleppo pines , cork oaks and holm oaks as well as (over 1600 m) Atlas cedars grow on the north side of the Tell Atlas, which is sufficiently irrigated ; There are still contiguous forest areas in Kabylia .

In the Schotts highlands, steppes with half- grass and wormwood dominate . The mountain steppe of the Sahara Atlas merges south into the largely vegetation-free desert; Plants (especially date palms) only grow in peripheral zones and areas that are favored by groundwater ( oases ). The Ahaggar Mountains are woodless; in places there is Mediterranean vegetation.

Wild animals include gazelles , desert foxes ( fenneks ), mane sheep , barbary macaques , occasional cheetahs , jerboa , snakes , lizards , scorpions and various species of birds (including large birds of prey). Originally, Berber lions and atlas bears were also native to Algeria. The wild stocks, however, are extinct.

In the National Park Tassili n'Ajjer , the world natural and world heritage site of UNESCO , there are still stocks of Mane sheep and dunes gazelles and a few cheetahs.


Population development in millions
Population pyramid Algeria 2016.

The population of Algeria has grown from 6.1 million in 1926 to 42.2 million in 2018. As a result of the strong population growth, the proportion of under-15s was 25.4% in 2010. The birth rate in 2016 was 2.7 children per woman.

Almost all Algerians are of Berber origin; only about 40% profess their Berber identity. In the course of Islamization in the 7th and 8th centuries, Algeria experienced extensive Arabization in terms of culture, language and religion. Mostly people who call themselves Arabs (70%) and various Berber tribes (30%), some of which are Arabized, populate Algeria. Since the ethnic groups have increasingly mixed from the 20th century, it is sometimes difficult to assign an Algerian to a certain tribe. More and more of them have both Arabic and Berber roots. The number of Europeans , who under French rule made up 10% of the population in 1960, fell to around 20,000 after independence. After centuries of Ottoman rule, the number of the population of Ottoman origin known as Kulughli (with Turkish , Kurdish and partly Armenian roots) is estimated at 600,000 to 2 million.

The population in Algeria is very unevenly distributed. 96% of the inhabitants live in the north on a fifth of the national area. More than half (65% in 2008) - with an upward trend - already live in cities that are primarily located in the coastal area. An estimated 2.3 million Algerians live abroad, including over 1.5 million in France , where they are the main exponents of Islam in France . The main reasons for the high rate of emigration are increasing population pressure and a lack of job opportunities. In Algeria in 2017 only 0.6% of the population were foreigners. The country has a very low proportion of migrants.


The official languages ​​of Algeria are Arabic and various Tamazight . French plays an important role as an educational, commercial and lingua franca. Algeria is considered the country with the most French speakers outside of France; for political reasons, however, it does not commit to Francophonie . State television stations also broadcast news and documentaries in French; on state radio, one of the three main programs is in French. Tamazight has also had the status of a national language since 2002, and since 2016 it has been the official language in which radio programs and occasional television programs are also broadcast.

The main written languages ​​used are French and Standard Arabic ; Government initiatives have been promoting the use of standard Arabic and the suppression of French since the 1970s. Kabyle is a widespread written language, especially in Greater and Lesser Kabylia , but almost only young people are able to do so, as those over 30 have not yet been literate in Kabyle at school.

Today (as of 2014) the mother tongue of around 70% of the population is an Algerian dialect of Arabic ( Darja ), which differs significantly from standard Arabic, which is predominant in media, politics, administration and schools. The mother tongue of another 30% of the population is Tamazight. The south of the country is almost exclusively inhabited by Tamascheq - speaking Tuareg (who belong to the Amazigh).

French is understood by almost all Algerians; however, the degree of mastery varies widely. Older people who went to school before the school system was converted from French to Standard Arabic (1976), academically educated people and many residents of Kabylia mostly speak fluent French with almost native language competence. Younger people, on the other hand, often have a poor command of French in written form and use a Français régional , a mixed language of French and Darja .

A small minority in western Algeria speaks Korandje , the northernmost of the Songhai languages .


Al-Atik Mosque

According to official statistics, around 99% of the population profess Islam. A minority, mainly foreigners living in Algeria and converted Algerians, belong to Christianity in Algeria , traditionally the Catholic Church of Algeria . In the wake of the civil war that broke out in 1992 between the government and the Islamist Salvation Front (FIS), which did not shrink from mass murders of compatriots, some Algerians, v. a. in Kabylia , Protestant Christianity too. Some of the Protestant communities in Kabylia have existed since the 1930s. There is also a small number of residents of the Jewish faith (less than 0.1% of the population today). The Mozabites are an Islamic minority.

Algeria has declared Sunni Islam the state religion . In the second half of the 20th century, Islam gained increasing influence in the daily life of Algerians. Algeria's independence movement was already heavily influenced by Islam, which is why the religious leaders demanded more rights after the victory over France. Citizenship law has been in force on an Islamic basis since 1963; the Koran has been taught in all schools since 1964. Over time, the Sharia was also introduced as the basis of the legal system: Family law has been in force since 1984, which stipulates the discrimination or different treatment of women. A law that came into force on March 28, 2006 makes proselytizing Muslims by other religions subject to heavy penalties.


There is general social insurance for all employees; A retirement pension is paid from the age of 60. There are also disability and survivors' pensions. What is missing is unemployment benefits - a deficiency that, given the high level of unemployment (2016: 12.4%), has considerable social effects.


UIS literacy of the population of Algeria 1985-2015

There is general compulsory schooling for 6 to 15 year olds. This can be followed by three years at a secondary school. The languages ​​of instruction are French and Arabic . The educational and training differences between men and women and between urban and rural areas are still considerable. In Algeria, the median school attendance increased from 3.6 years in 1990 to 7.8 years in 2015. Literacy programs for adults and a higher school enrollment rate have slowly lowered the illiteracy rate to 13% for men and 27% for women in the past few decades. The country has twelve universities; the oldest was founded in Algiers in 1879 .

The reform of the Algerian school system with the aim of fundamentally modernizing school teaching has been promoted by the government since 2014. After the years of Arabization of the school system, European foreign languages are assigned an important role. French is the first, English second, German , Spanish or Italian third foreign language. In practice, the reform suffers from a shortage of skilled workers (migration of teachers abroad, stagnating student numbers / around 1.3 million in the 2014/15 academic year), the lack of modern foreign language didactics and frequent strikes by teaching staff. Only some of the Algerian teachers were trained at universities. In the 2015 PISA ranking , Algerian students achieved 71st place in mathematics, 71st place in science and 69th place in reading comprehension; the situation in a total of 72 states was examined in the study.


The standard of the healthcare system is still insufficient despite improvements. Despite the general free medical care of the population, a considerable urban-rural gap can be observed. Life expectancy in 2016 was 76.8 years; there has been a considerable increase here since the end of the colonial era. In 2006, government spending on health per capita was US $ 146 (purchasing power parity). The HIV infection rate is low.

Development of life expectancy
Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950-1955 42.9 1985-1990 65.9
1955-1960 45.0 1990-1995 67.2
1960-1965 47.3 1995-2000 69.1
1965-1970 49.5 2000-2005 71.5
1970-1975 51.5 2005-2010 73.9
1975-1980 54.9 2010-2015 75.3
1980-1985 61.6

Source: UN


Berbers, Phoenicians, Vandals and Eastern Romans

Ruins of the Arch of Trajan from Thamugadi (Timgad)

Originally the area of ​​today's Algeria was inhabited by Berber tribes, in the east of the Tuareg . From the 12th century BC The Phoenicians established trading bases on the coast and founded in 814 BC. The trading city of Carthage in today's Tunisia , which subsequently developed into a great power in the western Mediterranean . Around 202 BC The Berber tribes ( Moors ) united under Massinissa to form the Kingdom of Numidia and allied themselves with Rome against Carthage. The uprising of Carthage against Massinissa in 149 BC BC Rome provided the desired pretext for the Third Punic War , in the course of which Carthage was destroyed. 46 BC BC subdued Numidia and united it with Carthage to form the Roman province of Numidia-Mauretania. Until the invasion of the Vandals in 429 AD, this was the granary of Rome. The Vandal rule ended in 534 with the conquest by troops of the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I , making North Africa a Byzantine province.

Christianity had been gaining influence in North Africa since the 3rd century . Several dioceses had sprung up in the big cities: St. Augustine , the most influential Doctors of the Church in early Christianity, at the end of the 4th century Bishop of Hippo Regius , today's Annaba .

Islamization and Arabization

Around the middle of the 7th century, the Arabs advanced into the Maghreb . In 697 they conquered much of what is now Algeria. The population was largely Islamized. In the course of the 8th century there were repeated uprisings of the Berbers against the Arab conquerors: In 757 the Berber empires in the Atlas Mountains became independent from the caliphate , while the three emerging principalities of the Idrisids , Aghlabids and Zirids came under its rule.

In the 11th century, the Berber dynasty of the Almoravids prevailed in what is now Algeria; it ruled the country for almost 100 years until it was replaced by the Almohads in 1147 . This dynasty subsequently conquered the Maghreb and southern Spain ; in the second half of the 13th century, however, the empire fell apart. Eastern Algeria became part of a Tunisian principality, in the west the kingdom of the Abd-al-Wadids with the capital Tlemcen (today's Tilimsen ) was formed from 1269 on .

Ottoman rule

Bombing of Algiers (1816) by a British-Dutch squadron

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Spaniards tried to gain a foothold on the Algerian coast. Thereupon the country submitted to the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire in 1519 and became its vassal ; Algeria became the Eyâlet Cezayir within the Ottoman Empire and later transformed into a Vilâyet . It remained under Ottoman suzerainty until 1830, but was de facto independent from 1711. Until the 19th century, Algeria was able to successfully defend itself against attempts by the Spanish, Dutch , British and French to curb piracy .

French colonial rule

The first plans for the conquest of Algeria by France were drawn up under Napoleon Bonaparte . In 1830 the French invasion began. The background was Charles X's domestic political problems ; The reasons given for the attack on Algeria were above all the disrespectful behavior of the Algerian Dey (the famous blow with the fly whisk ), the piracy from the North African coasts and the aim of spreading Christianity. The Algerians, influenced by Sufism , saw the French advance as an attack by Christianity on the world of Islam. The young Abd el-Kader became their leader and called for jihad . After massive setbacks, Thomas Robert Bugeaud became the commander of the French troops. He defeated Abd el-Kader in 1847 through extremely cruel warfare, including against civilians. The great Kabylia was conquered by 1855. In the years that followed, Algerian uprisings were crushed, so that in 1881 the French gained complete control of northern Algeria.

The Algerian population suffered massive losses. The state and religious structures of Algeria were smashed, the common ownership of land was abolished. Numerous settlers, Italians, Spaniards, French and Maltese streamed into the settlement colony , while the local farmers were pushed into less fertile areas. At the turn of the century, the French also conquered the Sahara regions of Algeria. Thereafter, Algeria was divided into three departments .

The population of Algeria was divided by the Code de l'indigénat of 1875 into first and second class citizens, French citizens (initially only French, since 1889 also Italians, Maltese and Spaniards) and French subjects without citizenship ("Sujets"). On August 26, 1881, the three departments were declared part of France. After that they were no longer a colony, but rather French territory with the same rights and obligations as all other departments. The Sahara areas remained under military administration.

The non-French Europeans in Algeria quickly assimilated into French culture. The almost 40,000 Algerian Jews had an intermediate position. Anti-Semitism had been widespread among the settlers since the Dreyfus Affair ; there were riots against Jews and anti-Semitic newspapers were published.

In the period up to the Second World War, the Europeans acquired more and more farmland, partly through purchase and partly through legal tricks. In 1936 they held 40% of the fertile land. Yet the majority of European Algerians lived in the cities. The number of Muslim Algerians rose from two to nine million after 1870 and the number of Europeans to one million. The Muslim Algerians became impoverished in 100 years of French rule, so that malnutrition and famine were widespread. Almost all Muslims were excluded from education, which France glorified as its civilizing mission. Attempts at reforming French politics, whether by conservative or socialist forces, failed because they were mostly nationalistic in color and did not dare to question France's claim to rule over Algeria.

Marshal Randon in Algiers, 1857

At the beginning of World War I , around 30,000 Algerians were employed in France. During the war, the French government used the Algerian population as an economic and military reserve. A total of 120,000 Algerians were brought to work in France during this period. Another 173,000 served as volunteers or conscripts in the French armed forces. By 1939, the number of Algerian migrant workers in France then fell to around 32,000. From the group of these migrants the Étoile Nord-Africaine emerged , a political party of the Algerians with the aim of independence from France.

The independence movement gained momentum particularly after the Sétif massacre ; tens of thousands of Algerians had been killed by the French army during riots in Sétif , Kherrata and Guelma . In response to the rise of the independence movement in September 1947, the Algeria Statute granted all Algerians French citizenship , but this did not stop the struggle to break away from France. The Algerian War, which began in 1954 (until 1962), was fought with extreme severity on both sides. The Arab Algerians carried out terrorist attacks against European soldiers and civilians in Algeria. The French military employed what is known as the " French doctrine ", which included summary executions, torture and the wiping out of entire Algerian villages. This was initially militarily successful, but after the systematic human rights violations became known, it weakened France in domestic and foreign policy. Under the leadership of the National Liberation Front (FLN), which fought and eliminated competing groups of the independence movement, Algeria achieved independence, which was recognized in the Évian Agreement on March 18, 1962 and confirmed in two referendums - in France and in Algeria itself. Independence was officially proclaimed on July 5th (national holiday next to Revolution Day on November 1st) 1962. The total number of Muslims killed in Algeria was later given by France as 350,000, and by Algerian sources as up to 1.5 million.

The People's Socialist Republic

Algeria subsequently developed into a dictatorship led by the FLN . Ferhat Abbas became the first president . After his removal, Muhammad Ahmed Ben Bella followed in 1963 , until Defense Minister Colonel Houari Boumedienne came to power in a military coup in June 1965. His government initially tried to overcome Algeria's economic dependence on France by means of an intensified socialization policy and opening up to the Eastern bloc . From 1972 she followed a course of non-alignment and made contacts with the West. After Boumedienne's death in 1978, Rabah Bitat took over the office of president on a provisional basis until Colonel Chadli Bendjedid was elected president in February 1979 . Serious unrest broke out in mid-1988, which led to the abandonment of the FLN's monopoly of power . The causes were, among other things, high unemployment and the housing shortage. A democratization was launched and a new democratic constitution , the separation of party and state, parliamentary accountability, pluralism , political freedoms and guarantees of human rights foresaw created (Constitution of 19 November, which came three days later into force changes to the third November 1988, February 23, 1989 and November 26, 1996).

Civil war

The economic decline led to spontaneous riots in the capital, Algiers, in October 1988, which soon spread to other cities, killing hundreds. In the parliamentary elections in 1991/1992, the government feared a victory for the Islamist movement . After the emerging victory of the Islamic Salvation Front ( Front islamique du salut , FIS), the elections were canceled; President Chadli Bendjedid resigned under pressure from the military. This first appointed Muhammad Boudiaf as interim president , after his assassination Ali Kafi and finally General Liamine Zéroual in 1994 . In March 1992 the dissolution of the FIS was ordered, which then called for armed struggle. The civil war between Islamists and the Algerian military resulted in over 120,000 deaths. In February 1995, 95 prisoners and four guards died in the massacre in Serkadji Prison . The Algerian government used a " dirty war " approach.

As early as September 1998, the former GIA leader Hassan Hattab founded the “ Salafist Group for Sermon and Struggle ” (French: “Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat”, GSPC). It was formed on the advice of Osama bin Laden , the former leader of the international Islamist terrorist organization Al-Qaeda , with the aim of resuming the "holy war", jihad , against the Algerian state power in its original form.

The most important domestic political goal of Abd al-Aziz Bouteflika , who was elected president in April 1999 with the support of the military, was to end the violent conflicts through a "policy of national reconciliation". While the Algerian leadership had previously given the number of victims of the civil war mostly only around 30,000, he admitted that in 1999 it was around 100,000.

In September 1999, the “Law for the Reconciliation of the Citizens” (French: Loi de la Concorde Civile ) that he proposed was approved by the people in a referendum . It provides amnesty for terrorists who lay down their arms and have not committed serious crimes such as murder, rape or bombings.

A little later, the “ Islamic Salvation Army ” (French: Armée Islamique du Salut , AIS), the armed arm of the Islamic Salvation Front (French: Front Islamique du Salut , FIS) banned since 1992 , decided to lay down their arms. The “ Armed Islamic Group ” (French: Groupe Islamique Armé, GIA) continued to exist, but, according to Der Spiegel , its remnants had slipped into a kind of banditry in which religious motives were only used as a cover for crime.

After a period of relative calm in 1999/2000, the violent clashes increased again. In April 2001 demonstrations in Kabylia , a mountain region in northern Algeria mainly inhabited by Berbers , were suppressed by the state gendarmerie (around 60 dead).

Pacification of the country

In order to defuse the demands of the Berbers for more autonomy and democratic participation, Bouteflika pardoned the majority of the arrested demonstrators in August 2002. Bouteflika did not comply with the demands for the gendarmerie to be withdrawn from Kabylia.

In terms of economic policy, Bouteflika tried to push through a privatization program . In 2003, however, the responsible ministers Mourad Medelci and Abdelhamid Temmar had to resign under pressure from the influential trade union federation UGTA . In February 2003 - for the second time since the beginning of the decade - he organized a three-day general strike against the government's privatization program. Over 90% of the workers took part in the strike.

In the presidential election on April 8, 2004, Bouteflika was re-elected as the first president for a second term with 83% of the vote. His main competitor, former Prime Minister Ali Benflis , spoke of fraud. Election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ( OSCE ) spoke of a fair election.

After his re-election, Bouteflika continued his “reconciliation policy” with the submission of a “Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation”. It was adopted in a referendum in September 2005. It includes a general amnesty for state security forces and state-armed militias as well as for armed groups. It denies any responsibility of the security forces and the militias for serious human rights violations . She makes criticism of the security organs a criminal offense. The regulation that implements it prevents judicial investigation and clarification of the fate of thousands of people who “disappeared” in the course of the civil war. Lawsuits against members of the security forces must be dismissed by the courts. However, relatives of the “disappeared” can apply for compensation.

In terms of economic policy, attempts to move from a socialist planned economy to a more market-oriented economic order continued. Mourad Medelci and Abdelhamid Temmar, who were considered to be economic reformers and who had to resign in 2003, took over the finance and investment promotion ministry. They advocate the privatization of public companies and the opening of the oil and gas sector to private investments.

At the beginning of April 2009, Bouteflika won the presidential election in Algeria for the third time, according to official figures, with 90.24% of the vote and a turnout of 74.5%. The election was overshadowed by several violent incidents, and Bouteflika's five opponents had hardly been given the opportunity to distinguish themselves in the 19-day election campaign. The main opposition parties, the Rassemblement pour la culture et la démocratie (RCD) and the Front des forces socialistes (FFS), did not even run for election. The opposition questioned the result.

In the election on April 17, 2014, Bouteflika was confirmed in office for the fourth time, despite being weakened by a stroke ; According to the interior ministry, 81.5% of the votes went to the incumbent, 12.18% went to Ali Benflis . On April 2, 2019, the aged Bouteflika resigned after his renewed candidacy for the 2019 election was met with violent popular protests.

Political system

Under the 1996 constitution , Algeria is a semi-presidential republic headed by a head of state elected by the people every five years. He appoints and dismisses the prime minister , who is only responsible for him, as chairman of the executive branch . The parliament consists of the National People's Assembly ( Assemblée Populaire Nationale ) and the Council of the Nation ( Conseil de la Nation / Majlis al-'Umma ). The 389 members of the People's Assembly are elected every five years. In the Council of the Nation, 96 members are fully elected every six years and half every three years by the local councils, and the remaining 48 members are appointed by the head of state. All Algerians have the right to vote from the age of 18. The history of women's suffrage in North Africa and the Middle East in Algeria goes back to colonial times: in 1944, Christian women and Jews with French citizenship (Européennes) who lived in Algeria, which belongs to France, were given the right to vote; Muslimas were excluded. In July 1958, Charles de Gaulle put the loi-cadre Defferre , which also gave Muslims the right to vote, into force for Algeria. With the proclamation of independence on July 5, 1962, this right was confirmed. The active and passive right to vote for women in the new state of Algeria was thus established on July 5, 1962.

According to Article 9, the constitution is based on Islamic ethics and the values ​​of the November Revolution.

In Law French and consist Islamic law alongside each other. The judiciary provides for people's tribunals ( civil law ) and people's criminal courts ( criminal law ). The highest authority is the Supreme Court . Homosexuality in Algeria is socially outlawed and illegal there under current law. In recent years there have been several fatal attacks on homosexuals and a public stoning.


The first parliamentary elections after the Arab Spring were held in Algeria on May 10, 2012 . The ruling National Liberation Front achieved the highest share of the vote with 17.35% and received 221 seats in parliament. The National Democratic Collection achieved 70, the Islamist Alliance Green Algeria (from the Social Movement for Peace , Ennahda and Movement for National Reform ) 47, the Front Socialist Forces 21, the Independents 19, the Labor Party 17 and others 78 seats. Elections were held again in 2017. The 2019 presidential election was postponed several times and took place on December 12th. Abdelmadjid Tebboune won it in the first ballot. After the results were announced, the army sided with Tebboune. The Constitutional Court declared the election on December 16 to be legal.


Due to economic and social problems as well as dissatisfaction with the performance of the political system, Islamist movements are very successful in Algeria. These demand an Islamist state whose internal structure and foreign policy should be based on the rules of a radical interpretation of Islam . Most of them are forbidden, however, and at most represent something like an extra-parliamentary opposition . According to Amnesty International, several hundred deaths continue every year as a result of assassinations. They are now often attributed to the group “ al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb ”, to which the GSPC renamed itself in early 2007. In 2007 there were attacks on the official residence of the Algerian Prime Minister and a police station in Algiers in April. An attack was carried out on the UNHCR office in Algiers in December .

On February 23, 2011, the 19 year old state of emergency was lifted. This was a request from the opposition. In 1992 the state of emergency was enacted to fight armed Islamists.

On January 16, 2012, Islamists attacked a location belonging to the BP oil company and apparently took numerous foreigners hostage. The Algerian news agency APS reported that two people had been killed in the attack. One of the attackers said his group came from neighboring Mali, where France has been conducting a military operation against Islamists since the end of last week. According to their own information, the group of attackers brought 41 Western foreigners under their control, including 7 Americans.

Human rights and democracy

Freedom House rates Algeria as an “unfree” country (as of 2011). In the democracy index of 2019, Algeria ranks 113th out of 169 places and is described as a “hybrid regime”.

Werner Ruf , professor emeritus for international politics, criticized the political development in Algeria in an interview with the Tagesschau on the occasion of the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2008: "De facto the military still rules." Parliamentarism is a facade. “Behind it there is an opaque clique at the head of the military. These are people who get rich. The corruption is enormous. "The country remains" far removed from what we call a constitutional state , a democracy . "

Thomas Schiller, head of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's Algiers office , explained in 2008 that Algeria, on the other hand, has achieved a lot in the last 10 years, despite still considerable political, economic and, above all, social deficits - above all stability. The political stabilization since Bouteflika took office and an increasingly active civil society would help the country to return to normal. He describes Bouteflika's policy as "successful". They mix tough crackdown on terrorists with a “reconciliation policy”, securing Algerian independence with cautious reforms and economic opening.

Although the death penalty exists in Algeria, it has not been officially carried out for more than ten years. There has been a general ban on demonstrations in Algiers since 2001. The freedom of the press is noticeably restricted. There is censorship in Algeria . In the list of press freedom from Reporters Without Borders , Algeria was ranked 141st out of 180 countries in 2019 (2018: 136th). According to the NGO report, the press freedom situation in the country is "difficult".

In its November 2007 report on the human rights situation in Algeria, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern about numerous indications of secret detention centers. He also emphasized that there were many reports of torture and ill-treatment by the DRS military intelligence service. The committee also criticizes the fact that numerous journalists are victims of intimidation and that women continue to be discriminated against in their marriage (see literature, Amnesty International).

Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International accuse Bouteflika's “reconciliation policy” primarily of aiming to make people forget the violence of the 1990s, rather than to deal with the events in a legal manner. Criticism of this as well as demonstrations by relatives of the victims are suppressed by the government. The Bertelsmann Foundation report on the political and economic transformation in Algeria (“Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2003”) states: “The processing of human rights violations related to the domestic political conflict that has been going on since 1992 did not take place at the national level. Neither the Islamist crimes nor the state attacks as part of the measures to combat Islamist terrorism were discussed. "

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Algeria in 2017 by 180 countries, together with Bolivia , El Salvador , Niger and the Maldives on the 112th place, with 33 of a maximum of 100 points.

In June 2018 allegations became known that Algeria had taken at least 13,000 migrants, including pregnant women and children, to the desert in trucks since April 2017 and abandoned them without food or water. The people had been instructed to walk 15 kilometers through the desert towards the neighboring state of Niger , for example to the village of Assamaka . Police previously reportedly stole money and cell phones from migrants. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), only about 11,276 people arrived in Niger after often days of wandering. Eyewitnesses reported numerous deaths, mostly from exhaustion, and of people lost in the desert and never seen again. The EU is said to have been informed about the situation, but did not intervene with reference to the sovereignty of Algeria. The Algerian authorities deny the allegations.

Foreign policy

Algeria has been a member of the United Nations since 1962 and has observer status in the WTO . Otherwise, the country is a member of the African Union (AU), the Arab League , the Organization for Islamic Cooperation , the Organization of Petroleum Exporting States ( OPEC ) and the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting States ( OAPEC ). In addition to the member states of the African Union and the Arab League, Algeria has good relations with the European Union (EU), the United States , Russia and especially the People's Republic of China .

Algeria cooperates with the EU as part of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership . In 2002 the EU and Algeria signed an association agreement. It came into force in 2005. On March 13, 2017, at the Association Council, Algeria and the EU adopted their joint partnership priorities. The partnership priorities through 2020 include the following:

  • “Political dialogue, governance, the rule of law and the promotion of fundamental rights;
  • Cooperation, socio-economic development and trade relations including access to the European internal market
  • Energy issues, environmental protection and sustainable development
  • strategic and security policy dialogue
  • human dimension, including cultural and interreligious dialogue, as well as migration and mobility. "

Relations between Algeria and France are close. Both sides speak of a strategic partnership and a trusting cooperation despite the difficult colonial past. The already intensive economic relations are to be expanded further.

Algeria is an important player in the region due to its size, geographical location and richness in natural resources.

Algeria sees itself surrounded by various trouble spots and is concerned about stability and security as well as economic development in the region. In relations with its international partners, Algeria not only has to fight terrorism, but also economic interests (oil / gas exports and interest in foreign investments in Algeria).

Regional cooperation in the Maghreb continues to suffer from the tense relationship between Algeria and Morocco. The land borders between the two countries remain closed. In particular, differences over Western Sahara make rapprochement difficult. Algeria supports the Polisario Movement, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara, and provides shelter to leading members.

Relations between Algeria and Tunisia are based on partnership. There is an increased and well-functioning cooperation between the two countries in the area of ​​security, especially in securing the common borders.

The situation in Libya is of great concern to Algeria in view of the instability it emanates. Algeria rejects any military intervention and advocates a political solution based on dialogue between all Libyan parties. Algeria supports the relevant mediation efforts of the United Nations.

As chief mediator, Algeria had taken on a decisive role in the successful peace negotiations between the Malian government and groups in northern Mali, which culminated in June 2015 with the signing of a peace agreement in Algiers.

Algeria maintains good relations with the Syrian government and tries to prevent Syria from isolating itself in the Islamic world. Ex-Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi has been trying in vain to end the civil war in Syria as a UN special mediator since 2012 .


Armed forces

Coat of arms of the Algerian armed forces

The armed forces of 147,000 men are divided into army (127,000), air force (14,000) and navy (6,000). The Algerian Ministry of Defense also reports to the gendarmerie , the border guard and other paramilitary groups.

In 2017, Algeria spent almost 5.7 percent of its economic output or US $ 10 billion on its armed forces. A total of 16.1% of government spending went to the military, which is one of the highest proportions in the world and a major burden for the state budget. Algeria had the highest military spending in North Africa.

French nuclear weapons tests

There are two former French nuclear test sites on which France carried out a total of 17 nuclear tests between 1960 and 1966:

  • with Reggane : 1960-1961: four tests above ground
  • in In Ekker : 1961–1966: 13 tests, underground

On February 13, 1960, France tested its first atomic bomb (with an explosive force of 70 kt TNT equivalent) near Reggane. It was the most powerful bomb that ever detonated in a first test. For comparison: the first US test ( Trinity ) had a strength of 20 kt, the first USSR test ( RDS-1 ) was 22 kt, the first British test ( Hurricane ) was 25 kt. The Hiroshima bomb ( Little Boy ) was 13 kt and the Nagasaki ( Fat Man ) bomb was 22 kt. The other three above-ground bombs at Reggane were each less than 5 kt.

On November 7, 1961, the first of 13 underground tests took place at In Ekker in Hoggar. During the second test ( Béryl ) on May 1, 1962, the tunnel was not closed. Radioactive gases, dust and lava were emitted. The observers of the test were contaminated (including French ministers present). Three other tests did not go according to plan either, but according to the Ministry of Defense without leakage of radioactive substances: March 30, 1963 - “Amethyst” / October 20, 1963 - “Ruby” (100 kt) / and May 30, 1965 - “Jade ". The strongest test in In Ekker on February 25, 1965 was “Saphir” with 150 kt.

The tests in Algeria ended with the test on February 16, 1966. The tests were relocated to French Polynesia ( Mururoa and Fangataufa- Atoll), where tests were continued above ground (again underground from 1974).

It should be noted that there was a ban on atmospheric nuclear weapons tests between Great Britain, the USA and the USSR (released for signature on August 5, 1963, entered into force on October 10, 1963) to which they adhered (last atmospheric test: GB : September 23, 1958 / USA: June 9, 1963 / USSR: December 25, 1962). France and China did not adhere to it, continued to test above ground: France: July 2, 1966 to September 14, 1974: 41 tests, China: October 16, 1964 to October 16, 1980: 22 tests.

At the request of Algeria, the IAEA examined the area near Reggane and stated in its 2005 report that nothing could be done due to the very weak residual radioactivity, only in the case of major human activity in the area, access to the four explosion sites should be prohibited. The location of the Béryl accident at In Ekker still seems to have been contaminated and, at least in the past, poorly secured, so that the residual radiation can pose a threat to uninformed locals and tourists. The regions are used for tourism, although probably not every tourist is informed about the past and the radiation situation of the area.

Administrative division

Provinces of Algeria

The country is divided into 58 administrative districts ( Wilayat , Singular Wilaya ), each named after the capital. The Wilayat have their own parliaments, but are ultimately subordinate to the central government.

Below the administrative level of the Wilaya (province) there is the level Daïra (district) and the lowest level is the commune ( Arabic بلدية, DMG Baladiyah , French Commune algérienne ). Like the Wilayat, the municipalities have the status of collectivités territoriales ( regional authorities ).

In 2016, 71.3% of the population lived in cities or urban areas. The largest cities are (as of 2008 census):

  1. Algiers : 2,364,230 inhabitants
  2. Oran : 803,329 inhabitants
  3. Constantine : 448,028 inhabitants
  4. Annaba : 342,703 inhabitants
  5. Blida : 331,779 inhabitants


Bazaar in Algiers

Algeria is one of the richer countries in Africa in terms of per capita income . In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Algeria was ranked 86th out of 138 countries (2016-2017). In 2019, Algeria ranks 171st out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index . The country's economy is still not very liberalized.

The extraction and export of oil and natural gas are decisive for the Algerian economy. The export revenues from the hydrocarbon sector, which contributes around 27 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and generates around 60 percent of government revenue, make up around 94 percent of export revenues. Domestic energy consumption, which has been growing for years, is reducing revenues from oil and gas exports, in addition to the persistently low prices.

The Algerian government wants to increase industrial production in Algeria and create more jobs outside the oil and gas sector. The Algerian government is accelerating the mining of phosphate and ore deposits. In the long term, it is also intended to start producing shale gas, although there was resistance from the population to initial shale gas exploration. In addition, the generation of energy from renewable sources is to be expanded considerably. Rapid progress towards economic diversification and thus the reduction of the strong dependence on the oil and gas sector is urgently required in view of the deteriorating budgetary situation.

The government wants to improve the transfer of know-how and the training of qualified specialists. In vocational training, the focus is on the creation of training centers in partnership with companies, which should contribute to closer integration of the education sector with the economy and needs-based training. Industrial zones with cluster formation are being established across the country.

Due to falling government and foreign exchange revenues, the 2017 Budget Act provides for a number of savings measures and tax increases. In addition, the government limits the import of foreign goods by granting licenses for certain product groups such as new cars, but also cement, steel reinforcement and other products.

The unemployment rate was 5.7% in 2017, and underemployment is widespread. The unemployment rate for young people was 23.9% in the same year. The total number of employees is estimated at 11.8 million for 2017; 18.3% of them are women.

Order and production structure

Planned economy

After gaining independence, the ruling one party Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) relied on a planned state economy and “Algerian socialism ” for a long time . Thanks to the income from oil and gas exports, Algeria was initially able to afford an inefficient state economy. At the end of the 1980s, however, falling oil prices , high unemployment and housing shortages led to social tensions, which finally erupted in serious unrest in 1988 and contributed to the outbreak of civil war.

After the domestic political situation has stabilized significantly since the end of the 1990s, the government is making increasing efforts to liberalize and privatize the economy. The legacy of the earlier planned economy, the excessive bureaucracy, widespread corruption, the poorly performing banking sector and the still uncertain internal situation, however, do not create favorable conditions for the rapid development of private companies and foreign investment.

State company

Industry and banking are still largely dominated by state-owned companies. The industry’s privatization efforts focus on fertilizer manufacturers, petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies.

The banking system is dominated by six state institutions. The privatization of the bank Crédit Populaire d'Algérie, planned for mid-2007, had to be postponed due to the international financial market crisis. Since the six state banks continue to grant loans to unprofitable state-owned companies, “bad loans” that are not repaid and are partially bought up by the state make up over 30% of the total loan portfolio. In addition, the economy remains undersupplied with loans due to insufficient capitalization of the banks compared to its neighbors Tunisia or Morocco. Cash transactions dominate.

Energy industry

oil and gas

Algeria's economy continues to be extremely dependent on the energy sector , which is dominated by the state oil and gas company Sonatrach . In 2007, 98% of goods export revenues came from the energy sector.

The government planned to increase oil production from 1.3 million today to 2 million barrels per day and gas production to 85 billion cubic meters per year by 2010 . However, this could not be achieved. The global economic crisis from 2007 onwards , which massively reduced global economic growth and the oil price for several years and thus also the global demand for crude oil and natural gas, as well as new production methods that v. a. used in the USA ( fracking ) led to a massive oversupply of crude oil on the world market.

The gas sector is less affected than the oil market worldwide. In 2014, Algerian oil production was 1.2 million barrels (+4.7 percent year-on-year) and gas production was 82 billion cubic meters (+3.0 percent). In 2012 it was already 87 billion cubic meters. However, it then sank because In Aménas was hostage-taken in January 2013 . Over 100 international employees in the conveyor systems were held hostage. The Tiguentourine wet natural gas field was the main target. Algerian natural gas production has not yet been able to fully recover from this act of terrorism.

The amount of oil produced is more or less tied to the OPEC production quota. In May 2015, this was 30 million barrels per day for all 12 members of OPEC, although the details are complicated and the producing countries sometimes disagree on their strategy. The current quota is significantly higher than the world market requires, but the fallen oil price has made fracking in the USA unprofitable in most places. US shale oil production is expected to decline, US production increased by 4 million barrels due to the fracking boom and Canada also continued to expand its oil sands production. US dependence on Middle Eastern oil has been reduced to practically zero. However, due to the oversupply by OPEC, this support is expected to reach its temporary peak in April / May 2015 and then fall. This would enable OPEC to regain market share. Therefore, natural gas production in Algeria will probably increase in the coming years.

Terror remains a potential problem in the future. In Libya, a conflict is currently raging over control of the country and thus of the enormous oil and natural gas reserves. Islamist fundamentalists could try to conquer remote areas with smaller oil and gas fields in Algeria and sell the oil on the black market, as has long been the case in Syria and Iraq.

An increase to the original target of 2 million barrels would be prohibited by the OPEC quota, even if this output were technically and economically possible. This is because other countries (above all Iran and Venezuela) are also suffering from the low oil price, the oil price has fallen by almost 50 percent since the summer of 2014 and only recovered minimally by the beginning of May 2015. Algeria will therefore experience little to no production growth in the near future. That is also dependent on the production outside of OPEC (Russia, USA, China, Canada), the economic development and the demand for oil products especially in the USA, Europe, China and India.

Electricity supply

Algeria was 52nd in the world for annual generation in 2011 with 48.05 billion kWh and 48th in the world for installed capacity in 2013 with 15.2 GW . In 2011, 99.8% of the electricity was generated in gas-fired power plants. According to the Ministry of Energy, 48.87 billion kWh were produced in 2011, of which 9.65 billion (19.8%) were produced by steam power plants, 15.7 billion (32.1%) by combined cycle power plants , 22 billion (45 .1%) from gas turbines and 1.5 billion (3.0%) from other generation. The peak consumption rose from 4,965 MW in 2002 to 8,606 MW in 2011, which corresponds to an average annual increase of 6.3%.

The Société Algérienne de Production de l'Electricité (SPE), a subsidiary of the state-owned Sonelgaz , had a generation capacity of 8,445 MW in 2009 and generated 24.24 billion kWh in 2010. In 2011 it was by far the largest electricity producer in Algeria. In 2013, SPE signed a contract with GE which provides for the construction of 6 new combined cycle power plants with an installed capacity of 8 GW.

Algeria also intends to build nuclear power plants in the longer term . In 2014, an agreement was signed between the Russian ROSATOM and Algeria, which provides for cooperation in this area. Potential locations for nuclear power plants have already been examined for their suitability.

The grid Algeria is part of the South-Western Mediterranean block (SWMB), which includes the power grids of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Since 1997, the SWMB is connected to the European grid system synchronized, as a first phase current - submarine cables (400 kV , 700 MW was) from Spain moved to Morocco.

Renewable energy

In addition, renewable energies are to be expanded significantly. A program approved by the government in February 2015 envisages the construction of 22 GW of regenerative power plant capacity by 2030 . 13.5 GW of this is to be attributable to photovoltaics , 5 GW to wind energy , 2 GW to solar thermal power plants , 1 GW to bioenergy , 400 MW to combined heat and power plants and 15 MW to geothermal energy . In 2011, the Hassi R'Mel power plant was the world's first ISCC power plant to go online. H. a solar hybrid combined cycle power plant in which a conventional gas-fired combined cycle power plant is supported by additional solar heat. The construction of further and larger plants of this type is planned.


The diversification of the economy, the stronger development of the economy outside the energy industry, is therefore a main goal of the government. Special hopes are placed in the transport , tourism , construction and information technology sectors . The construction industry has already received strong growth impetus from a government investment program worth USD 60 billion, which includes the construction of a million new homes.

Foreign trade liberalization

With the implementation of the Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) that came into force on September 1, 2005 , the competitive pressure for Algerian companies is increasing. The contract with the EU provides that all trade barriers between the two partners will be removed within twelve years and that Algeria will become part of the intended free trade area. The envisaged accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will force Algeria to open its markets more.

The formation of the Mediterranean Union with the EU states clearly shows the importance of the resource-rich Mediterranean countries for the EU - especially with regard to energy supply. The EU's efforts to diversify its energy sources are making Algeria, which today already supplies around 25% of the EU's natural gas imports, an increasingly important trading partner.

On July 22nd, 2009 the Algerian government decided to move the weekend from Thursday / Friday to Friday / Saturday. This regulation is to apply from August 14, 2009. This should achieve a GDP growth of 1.2 percent. Since Algeria has only shared three days of the week with the western industrialized nations since 1976, annual losses of between 500 and 700 million US dollars have occurred according to World Bank calculations .

Overall Economic Development

Growth, inflation, labor market

In 2016, Algeria recorded an economic growth of 3.3%. Due to the lower oil price, growth was lower year-on-year when it was 3.8%. Production outside the oil and gas sector has risen steadily by around 4 to 5% since 2003. State investment programs, especially for the creation of living space and the expansion of infrastructure, make a significant contribution to this.

The rise in consumer prices accelerated in 2008 with a sharp rise in food prices, but remained relatively low at 4.4%. It should be noted that energy prices in Algeria, for example, are regulated by the state.

Combating unemployment is an ongoing challenge for the Algerian government . According to official information, it was 11.7% in 2019. Youth unemployment is particularly high; it was stated at 29.1% in 2019.

Export earnings

The overall economic development has benefited from the sharp rise in oil and gas prices since 2003. They ensured that export revenues doubled from 2003 to 2007 to around 60 billion US dollars. The surplus in the current account increased to almost a quarter of GDP, to which the remittances from Algerians employed abroad also contributed.

Thanks to the sharp rise in government revenues from the oil and gas sector, Algeria also had large surpluses in the national budget. Some of them flow as savings into the so-called “Income Regulation Fund” (FRR). Funds from this fund were also used to repay Algerian foreign debts, which were reduced from around 58% of GDP in 1999 to around 2.5% of GDP in 2009.

The international currency reserves reached around 150 billion US dollars as of December 31, 2009 thanks to high revenues from the oil and gas sector.

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to the equivalent of 66.45 billion US dollars, which was offset by income equivalent to 42.69 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 14.7% of GDP .

The national debt in 2016 was $ 32.8 billion, or 20.4% of GDP.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:

Sectoral economic development


The agriculture contributed to information from the German Office for Foreign Trade in 2006 at just under 8% of total output. It employs around 1.2 million people.

Intensive agricultural use is only possible on a narrow strip in the north. Only 3% of the country's area is arable and permanent cultivated land, which is mostly privately owned. The extensive , partly nomadic livestock focuses on the highlands of the bulkhead and the northern Sahara. In the forests of the Tell Atlas is cork won.

The most important agricultural products are cereals , sugar beets , potatoes , legumes , tomatoes , olives , dates , figs , tobacco , wine and citrus fruits . In greenhouses of plastic foil is early vegetables for export cultivated.

There are around 15 million date palms in Algeria, most of them in the oases . They produce around 500,000 tons of dates of varying quality every year. The soft, high-quality varieties are partially exported to Europe , the hard, resistant varieties are also sold in many countries in Black Africa , which are very popular there because of their durability in the tropical climate.

Less than 40% of food needs are covered by in-house production. Algeria is Africa's most important food importer : only 20% of grain and cereal products, 20% of vegetables , 60% of milk and 95% of red meat are produced domestically. 95% of the raw edible oil and practically all of the raw sugar and coffee are imported.

Energy industry and mining

The extraction of crude oil (third largest deposits in Africa) and natural gas in the Sahara are of particular importance . The oil reserves are estimated at 11.8 billion barrels and the gas reserves at 4.5 trillion cubic meters.

Gas exports are expected to increase from 85 billion cubic meters in 2010 to 100 billion cubic meters in 2015.

Algeria delivers around 95 percent of its natural gas production to Europe. This makes it Europe's third largest gas supplier after Russia and Norway. It provides around 30 percent of European consumption. Algeria contributes in particular to the supply of Portugal, Spain, Greece and France. Germany has not yet obtained any natural gas from Algeria.

Algeria sells around half of its gas exports as LNG in liquid form, and the trend is rising.

LNG plants that were destroyed in an accident in 2004 are to be replaced by production plants with a higher capacity by 2009. New tankers are also being bought.

In order to achieve the ambitious goals in the oil and gas sector, the country depends on foreign capital. The new Hydrocarbon Law (Loi sur les Hydrocarbures) passed on March 20, 2005 repealed the Nationalization Law of 1971. The state oil and gas company Sonatrach lost its role as a regulator in the hydrocarbon sector and its sales monopoly. After the law passed in 2005 allowed foreign companies to acquire 70 percent of the shares in mining facilities and systems, this reform was withdrawn a year later. Foreign oil and gas companies now have to be content with minority stakes in holdings in Algeria. There is also a special tax if the oil price is above $ 30 a barrel.

In addition to crude oil and natural gas, iron , copper , lead and zinc ores as well as mercury and phosphate are mined as mineral resources in Algeria .

Industry and Commerce

The focus in the industrial sector is on the processing of crude oil and natural gas as well as on the iron and steel industry and the metalworking branches based on it. Then there is the processing of agricultural products, for example an edible oil refinery and a sugar refinery in the port city of Oran , fertilizer production and the building materials industry .

In 2007, goods worth a total of US $ 59.9 billion, 98% crude oil , natural gas and petroleum products, were exported. The main customer countries were the USA (27%), Italy (15%), Spain (10%), Canada (8%) and France (7.5%).

In 2007, goods worth a total of US $ 25.2 billion were imported, including 37% equipment goods , 31% production goods , 18% foodstuffs , and 15% consumer goods. The main suppliers were 17% France, 9% Italy, 8% China, 8% the USA and 6% Germany.

Trade restrictions

In order to avoid undesirable and low-quality imports, the Central Bank of Algeria decided in February 2009 with the notification N ° 16 / DGC / 2009 that three documents are presented when goods are imported. The submission is mandatory with immediate effect if payment is made by “remise documentaire” (export debt collection) or “crédit documentaire” (export letter of credit). These are the three following certificates:

  • certificate phytosanitaire
  • certificat d'origine
  • certificat de contrôle de qualité de la marchandise

The certificates must be issued in the exporter's country for each delivery. The first two certificates were previously required for imports into Algeria, new is the obligatory submission of the “certificat de contrôle de qualité de la marchandise” for every delivery, it must be issued by an independent testing organization such as TÜV Hessen . If the three documents are not available when the goods are imported, "domiciliation" at the Algerian bank will not be accepted and the goods cannot be cleared through customs. According to the Algerian banks, the certificate must confirm the quality of the product and the conformity with Algerian standards or the corresponding international standards and norms.

Key figures

Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real World Bank
year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Change in% yoy 1.7 3.4 2.4 1.6 3.6 2.9 3.4 2.8 3.8 3.8 3.3 1.7
Development of GDP (nominal), World Bank
absolute (in billion USD) per inhabitant (in thousands of USD)
year 2015 2016 2017 year 2015 2016 2017
GDP in billions of dollars 165.9 159.0 170.4 GDP per inhabitant (in thousands of dollars) 4.2 3.9 4.1
Foreign Trade Development (GTAI)
in billion US dollars and its percentage change from the previous year
2014 2015 2016
Billion USD % yoy Billion USD % yoy Billion USD % year-on-year
import 58.6 +6.8 51.8 −11.6 47.1 −9.1
export 60.4 −8.5 34.8 −42.4 30.0 −13.8
balance +1.8 −17.0 −17.1
Main trading partner of Algeria (2016), source: GTAI
Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
ItalyItaly Italy 17.4 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 17.9
SpainSpain Spain 12.9 FranceFrance France 10.1
United StatesUnited States United States 12.9 ItalyItaly Italy 9.9
FranceFrance France 11.4 SpainSpain Spain 7.6
BrazilBrazil Brazil 5.4 GermanyGermany Germany 6.4
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 4.9 United StatesUnited States United States 4.9
TurkeyTurkey Turkey 4.5 TurkeyTurkey Turkey 4.1
other countries 30.6 other countries 39.1



Network of the main railway lines in Algeria

The transport network is concentrated in northern Algeria.

The most important port cities are Algiers , Annaba , Oran , Bejaia , Skikda and Béthioua , with ferry connections across the Mediterranean .

The rail network of the Algerian Railways (SNTF) has a length of 3810 kilometers, 386.3 kilometers of which are electrified. The most important railway line of Algerian rail traffic runs in a west-east direction mostly in the Tell Atlas parallel to the coast and has a connection to the Moroccan and Tunisian rail network. From it branch lines go both to the port cities and south to the edge of the Sahara. For the 160 km / h fast S-Bahn system, which opened in Algiers in 2009 , 64 four-part electric multiple units of type FLIRT were ordered from Stadler in Switzerland .

The roads (a total of 180,000 kilometers, around 85% of which are asphalt) mostly turn into desert slopes south of the Atlas Mountains. In 2007, the construction of a major infrastructure project, the 1216 km long, six-lane east-west A1 motorway (part of the " Transmaghrébine "), began and was largely completed in mid-2010 with the help of numerous international construction companies. The construction of a second east-west motorway began in early 2014. The paved roads in the south of the country run essentially in a north-south direction and connect Algeria with the neighboring states Niger ( N 1 ) and Mali ( N 6 ) as well as the border region between Mauritania and the Western Sahara claimed by Morocco ( N 50 ) .

There are international airports in Algiers ( ALG ), Oran (ORN), Annaba ( AAE ) and Chlef ( QAS ), among others .

Since the transport infrastructure is particularly hindering the economic development of Algeria, the government drew up a five-year plan in 2005 according to which the transport infrastructure is to be modernized through joint ventures with the private sector. There is also great potential for catching up in tourism compared with neighboring countries . 70 percent of today's tourists are Algerians visiting friends or family.


To increase its export capacities, Algeria is expanding its LNG plants and export pipelines and building additional export pipelines.

The two natural gas pipelines connecting Algeria with Europe are being expanded:

  • One is the 1070 km long Transmed pipeline, also known as the Enrico Mattei pipeline , from the Hassi R'Mel gas field in the Algerian Sahara via Tunisia to Sicily . The pipeline, which was built in 1978–1983 and, after being expanded in 1994, has an annual capacity of 24 billion cubic meters, is to be expanded to 33.5 billion cubic meters by 2012.
  • On the other hand, the 1375 km long Maghreb-Europe-Pipeline , also called Pedro-Duran-Farrel-Pipeline , from Hassi R'Mel via Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar to Andalusia . The pipeline, which opened in November 1996, has an annual capacity of 8.6 billion cubic meters, which is to be expanded to 11.7 billion cubic meters.

In addition to the expansion of the existing pipelines, new pipelines from Algeria to Italy and Spain are under construction or being planned.

  • The Medgaz pipeline, which runs between the Hassi R'Mel natural gas field in Algeria and mainland Spain on the coast of Almería, Spain, opened in 2011.
  • The GALSI pipeline from Hassi R'Mel via the Algerian El Kala to Sardinia and from there to northern Italy ; the approximately 1500 km long pipeline is expected to transport 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2010 at the latest.
  • A connection to the planned 4128 km long Transsahara pipeline from Nigeria to Algeria is planned in the longer term . It should be built by 2015 and provide up to 30 billion cubic meters of Nigerian natural gas for Europe.

Agence Spatiale Algérienne

The Agence spatiale Algérienne (ASAL), the Space Agency of Algeria. It was founded in 2002.


Mosque in Algiers

The Algerian culture is determined by influences of the former colonial power, Berber and Arab traditions. Since the 1980s there have been increasing clashes between Berbers and the central government, in which numerous people have been killed by the gendarmerie. In 2001, for example, over 100 people were shot dead on the street. In the course of the planned parliamentary elections in 2004, the Bouteflika government finally made concessions to the Berbers ( Berber language in schools). The Berber language has only recently become an officially recognized official language.


Mohammed Dib had to leave Algeria after his first novels appeared in the 1950s. Algerian literature today presents itself as exile , as the writers, with few exceptions, have sought the way abroad due to political repression. Well-known representatives are Assia Djebar , Rachid Boudjedra , Maïssa Bey , Yasmina Khadra or Boualem Sansal . Algerian literature is heavily influenced by Arab cultural heritage. However, there is also a cultural heritage of the Berber minority. Many Berber authors write in French and Tamazight .


Radio Algérienne is the national broadcaster of Algeria. His international service broadcasts Quran programs on several shortwave frequencies, which are broadcast via a station in Issoudun , France. Live audio streams in Arabic are available over the Internet. Radio Algérienne's domestic service broadcasts on long and medium wave.


Olympic games

So far, five Algerian athletes have won a gold medal at the Olympic Games :

  1. Hassiba Boulmerka ( 1992 - athletics , 1,500 m, women)
  2. Noureddine Morceli ( 1996 - athletics, 1500 m, men)
  3. Hocine Soltani (1996 - boxing , middleweight 71-75 kg, men)
  4. Nouria Mérah-Benida ( 2000 - athletics, 1500 m, women)
  5. Taoufik Makhloufi ( 2012 - athletics, 1500 m, men)


Algerian footballers have played an important role in the French professional league since the 1930s (see also here ) .

The Algerian national soccer team has so far qualified for the finals of a soccer world championship four times : 1982 , 1986 , 2010 and most recently in 2014 , where they made it into the round of 16 for the first time and lost 2-1 after extra time against Germany in a competitive game. In 2019 Algeria won the Africa Cup .

Kabyle Rabah Madjer was the first football player from Africa to win the European Cup, today's Champions League , with his Portuguese club FC Porto . His Hackentrick goal in the 1987 final in Vienna against FC Bayern Munich is still legendary . The three-time world footballer Zinédine Zidane was born the son of Algerian- Kabyle immigrants, but only played for France .


Since 1949, the Tour d'Algérie of cyclists has been held at irregular intervals , an international stage race .


The Paris-Dakar rally ran through Algeria until the end of the 1980s .

See also


  • WG Peace Research at the University of Kassel: Algeria reports; Algeria (Peace Council) .
  • Amnesty International: Algeria .
  • Birgit Agada: Culture and nature between the Mediterranean and the Sahara , travel guide, Trescher Verlag, Berlin, 2nd edition 2015, ISBN 978-3-89794-300-1 .
  • Donata Kinzelbach: Algeria - a country is catching up! (with photos), Mainz 2015, ISBN 978-3-942490-25-2 .
  • Bernhard Schmid: Colonial Algeria . Unrast, Münster 2006, ISBN 3-89771-027-7 .
  • Bernhard Schmid: Algeria - Frontline State in Global War? Neoliberalism, Social Movements and Islamist Ideology in a North African Country. Münster 2005, ISBN 3-89771-019-6 .
  • Eva Dingel: The Algerian Civil War 1992–2002: Background to a war without a name. 2004.
  • Romain Leick: Algeria: Salafists and GIA fighters. In: Spiegel special. 2/2004, June 29, 2004 (Spiegel Online) .
  • Khadija Katja Wöhler-Khalfallah: Islamic Fundamentalism, Islam and Democracy. Algeria and Tunisia: The Failure of Post-Colonial “Development Models” and the Striving for an Ethical Guide for Politics and Society. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2004.
  • Bertelsmann Stiftung: Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2003, Algeria .
  • Fabio Maniscalco (ed.): Protection of cultural property in Algerie. monographic series (= Mediterraneum. Protection and valorization of cultural heritage. vol 3) . Naples 2003, ISBN 88-87835-41-1 .
  • Thomas Hasel: Power Conflict in Algeria. (= Middle East Studies. 3). Hans Schiler Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-89930-190-0 .
  • Habib Souaidia: Dirty War in Algeria - Report by an ex-officer of the special forces of the army (1992-2000). Chronos-Verlag, 2001, ISBN 3-0340-0537-7 .
  • William Quandt: Société et pouvoir en Algérie. édité par Casbah, 1999.
  • Sabine Kebir : Algeria. Between dream and nightmare. 1998, ISBN 3-612-26194-0 .
  • Werner Ruf : The Algerian tragedy: the breakup of the state of a divided society . Agenda, Münster 1997.
  • Severine Labat: Les islamistes algeriens: Entre les urnes et les maquis. Edition du Seuil, Paris 1995.
  • Ursula and Wolfgang Eckert: Algerian Sahara. A travel guide. second, revised and expanded edition. DuMont Buchverlag, Cologne 1984, ISBN 3-7701-1317-9 .
  • Hans Strelocke: Algeria: Art, Culture and Landscape. From the sites of the Romans to the Touaregs of the central Sahara . DuMont Schauberg, Cologne 1974, ISBN 3-7701-0721-7 .

English speaking

  • Rachid Tlemçani: Algeria Under Bouteflika: Civil Strife and National Reconciliation. Carnegie Endowment Paper, March 2008.
  • Library of Congress - Federal Research Division Country Profile: Algeria, May 2008; LC (PDF; 191 kB)


Economy (English and French speaking)

Web links

Commons : Algeria  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Algeria  - Sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Algeria  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikimedia Atlas: Algeria  - geographical and historical maps
Wikivoyage: Algeria  - Travel Guide

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Coordinates: 27 °  N , 3 °  E