ALGERIA COUNTRY PROFILE
Algeria is considered to be the second largest country in the continent of Africa comprising of approximately two million three hundred and eighty one thousand, seven hundred and forty one square kilometers (2,381,741 Km2) which translates to nine hundred and nineteen thousand five hundred and ninety five square miles (919,595 sq. m). All these kilometers are in the form of land. This makes it the world’s tenth largest country. However, a better part of this land, approximately four-fifths, is desert. In spite of this, it has a coastline that is approximately nine hundred and ninety eight (998) kilometers long on its border to the north and along the Mediterranean Sea on its southern edge. In addition to this, the country has a territory of twelve nautical miles in the sea and boasts an exclusive thirty two to fifty two nautical miles of fishing zone.
Furthermore, towards the northern part, the country is quite mountainous and is characterized by the Atlas Mountains. Towards the south however, is the Sahara desert which is quite vast. The region to the north commonly referred to as the Tell region and which extends from the Morocco border on the eastern front, has been termed as the heart of the country. The region is comprised of hills and plains as well as intermediate valleys and basins in between the numerous Tell Atlas mountain ranges. Plateaus that stretch as far as six hundred kilometers are also a characteristic of the region on its southern part.
Moreover, the northeastern part of the country is extensively divided into mountains, plains as well as basins as compared to its western portion whose features are not parallel to the coast.
Finally, the Sahara desert portion of Algeria is quite vast as well as it stretches one thousand five hundred kilometers to the Niger and Mali borders with the country. This is south of the Southern Atlas.
Linguistic and religious geography
The national official language of Algeria is Arabic while the language for conducting business is French. Berber is also recognized as a national language but it is not official.
In matters religion, 99 per cent of the population is Muslim. The state religion therefore, is Sunni Islam. Comprising the remaining 1 per cent, are Christians; Roman Catholics, Methodists as well as Evangelical Christians. However, there also exists Jews in the country despite the dwindling numbers. They are estimated to be approximately 60 Jews in the entire country who subsequently practice the Jewish faith.
Restrictions by the government on religion only go as far as assembly by non-muslims without a license, importation of religious materials and the distribution of Muslim literature that encourages violence. The government has gone as far as monitoring the teachings in religious schools as well as preaching by Imams.
Based on the latest United Nations approximation, Algeria’s current population as of Wednesday, October 18th 2017, is forty one million, five hundred and twenty two thousand four hundred and seventy four (41,522,474). This is equivalent to 0.55 per cent of the world’s total population. Therefore, Algeria is ranked number thirty four in the list of countries as per its population.
17 per Kilometer squared or 45 people per miles squared is its population density. Approximately thirty million one hundred and sixty five thousand one hundred and thirty seven people, which constitutes 73 per cent of the population, lives in urban areas.
Currently, Algeria’s population is growing at a steady pace and it is expected to keep doing so until around 2060. It is thus believed that an estimated 10 million people will have been added to its population in twenty five years’ time.
Algeria is a multi-party state. It has a constitution as well as a stable presidency. The president is supposed to hold office for a five-year term and his or her stay in office was limited to two five year terms but the same was removed by an amendment to the constitution in 2008. The head of state is also the commander in chief of the army, the head of the council of Ministers as well as the High Security Council. He or she is also responsible for appointing the prime minister. The parliament of Algeria has two houses; the lowers house which is also known as the People’s National Assembly and the upper house which is also known as the Council of the Nation. However, all this came at a price. Over one hundred and fifty thousand people died during the 1992 Algerian revolt. However, in the early 2000s the government offered amnesty to all rebels and the violence finally came to an end.
The constitution of Algeria came into effect on November 19th 1976 and subsequently underwent modification in 1979. It was later on amended in 1988,1989 and 1996. Multi-partism has been mandated in the constitution whereas article 2 provides for Islam as the religion of the state.
For a party to be recognized under the law, the Minister of interior must approve and its membership must not be based on differences in religion, language, race, gender or region. In addition to this, parties in Algeria are not expected to violate basic liberties nor violate national unity. They are also expected to uphold national security and promote the integrity of their country’s borders.
The National Liberation Front (Front de Liberation Nationale) is deemed to be the most popular and influential party in the country. Other influential parties include; the Front of Socialist Forces, the National Rally for Democracy, the Movement of Society for Peace and the Movement for National Reform.
In the year 1992, the Islamic Salvation Front was outlawed by the government.
In total, Algeria has approximately 40 political parties.
Algeria has been termed as a middle income country and the Algerian dinar is the currency used there. For a long time, it economy has been under the extensive control of the state a result of the country’s adaptation of the socialist development model after attaining its independence. Over the years, Algeria’s economy has experienced a steady growth. Back in 2014, its economy grew by 4% up from 2.8% in the previous year. This unprecedented growth was as a result of the oil and gas sector. It therefore became quite obvious that Algeria’s economy is highly dependent on the hydrocarbon sector. This sector is believed to account for an estimated 60 per cent of the country’s revenues, 30 per cent of gross domestic product and accounts for 95 per cent of Algeria’s export. Approximately seventy seven billion dollars was realized in 2012 from the hydrocarbon sector