Algeria By | Tuesday, September 11   2012 at  01:06

Full Name
The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria (English)
al Jumhuriyya al Jazaa'iriyya al Dimuqratiyya ash Sha'biya (Arabic)
La République Algérienne Démocratique et Populaire (French)
Originally: Al-Djazâ’ir (Arabic for Islands) and changed to Algiers, after the city the French chose as its capital, in the 1830s

Current leader

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

AFP

Overview
Romans identified the original tribes of Algeria as the Berbers
Heavily influenced by the cultural impact of Arab civilisation
Former French Colony
Achieved independence on July 5, 1962

Facts

Form of Government
Republic
Head of State is the President who is elected every 5 years
The President is not limited by any term length

Government Structure
President, Prime minister, Bicameral parliament

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service: 15,959,400 People
Expenditures: $3,000,000,000 per year
Branches: National Popular Army (ANP; includes Land Forces), Algerian National Navy (MRA), Air Force (QJJ), Territorial Air Defence Force

Former Rulers
1963- 1965 Ahmed Ben Bella
1965- 1978 Houari Boumédienne
1979- 1992 Colonel Chadli Bendjedid
1992 –1994 Ali Kafi
1994 – 1999 Liamine Zéroual
1999 – Present Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Capital
Algiers (English), Alger (French), Al-Djazâ’ir (Arabic)
Altitude – 167 metres
Population – 1,977,663 people

Population
Size: 37,100,000 (Jan. 2012)
Life Expectancy: 75.7 (years)
Gender make-up: Female – 49%, Men – 51%

Geography
Area: 2,381,741sqkm
Land Boundaries: Libya 982km, Mali 1,376km, Mauritania 463km, Morocco 1,559km, Niger 956km, Tunisia 965km, Western Sahara 42km

GDP Per Capita

$ 7,400 (2011)

$ 7,400 (2010)

Major Languages
Arabic, French, Berber

Religious Portfolio
Sunni Muslim (99%), Christian and Jewish (1%)

National Make-up
Arab – Berber (99%), European (less than 1%)

Natural Resources
Petroleum, Natural gas, Iron ore, Phosphate, Uranium, Lead, Zinc

Main exports
Oil, Gas

Land Use
Arable land: 3.17%

Permanent crops: 0.28%
Other: 96.55%

Currency:
Algerian Dinar

Dialling Code:
+213

Internet Code:
.dz

Transport
Main Airport: Algiers (ALG) (Houari Boumediène) which is located 20km east of Algiers
Main Port: Algiers (Alger/El Djazair)

Modern issues

Environmental
Flooding
Desertification
Industrial pollution
Population pressures; deforestation soil erosion

Political

Algerian Islamists represent the largest national grouping of al-Qaeda
There have been repeated attacks by Islamic insurgents since 1992 when a military-backed government scrapped elections that radical Islamists were poised to win
For the first time since independence, Bouteflika announced sweeping media reforms that would t allow private radio and television stations to exist

Bouteflika promised deep reforms to strengthen democracy but he did not give an indication of when these would happen, delays have been blamed on the continued presence of the emergency law system that had been enforced after the cancelled 1991 elections.

Economic

Oil and gas sales have helped reduce foreign debt considerably
Government has embarked on a giant spending programme to double power-generation capacity

The country also welcomed a new metro system in 2011, the project had started 28 years ago

Social

State of emergency declared in 1992 still remains, thus there is a large amount of government suppression
Human Rights abuses; restrictions on freedom of speech, discrimination and violence towards women, restrictions on workers’ rights and limitations on religious freedom

Thousands demanded Bouteflika’s exit in 2011 and the government battled to contain popular protests against the lack of freedoms, high unemployment and corruption in the country

Foreign Policy

Strained relations with Morocco due to the Western Sahara issue; Algeria calls for their self-determination whilst Morocco stakes a claim to the territory
France supports the military regime in Algeria, which helps forge positive bonds, however, France did reject a call for an apology regarding colonial crimes

The Major Conflicts

Algerian War of Independence
When: (1954-1962)
Who : Algerian Nationalists (National Liberation Front) VS France
Why : War for nationalism and self-determination
Outcome: Guerilla type warfare resulted in the signing of a ceasefire in 1962 and a strong step
towards self-determination for the Algerians

Algerian Civil War:
When: 1992
Who: Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) VS Algerian Government (backed by the military)
Why: The government cancelled the parliamentary elections in which the FIS were set to win
Outcome: The FIS fractioned into various radical Islamic groups, which meant that, despite a unilateral truce being called by the FIS in 1997, there has been continued bloodshed

What to see
The Kasbah; architecturally beautiful Islamic City
Benin Yenned; small jewellery making village
Tassili Oua-n-Ahaggar; a place to see prehistoric cave paintings

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Volleyball
Handball
Athletics

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Noureddine Morceli - won the men’s 1,500m event at the 1996 Summer Games
Hassiba Boulmerka – won a gold medal in the women’s 1,500m run at the 1992 Barcelona Games. She was the first African or Arab woman to win an Olympic track-and-field event

Taoufik Makhloufi - won Algeria's first Olympic gold medal since 2000 when he won the men's 1500 metres in the 2012 London Olympics.

Taoufik Makhloufi AFP

Quirks
Franz Fanon was deeply involved with the FLN (National Liberation Front)