Country Focus Data: Algeria

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Algiers.

Demography: Population 31.2 million, 1.74% growth rate (2000 estimates); Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects; Sunni Muslim (state religion, 99%).

Geography: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Morocco and Tunisia; arid to semi-arid climate; mostly high plateau and desert.

Government: Republic. Chief of state is President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, head of government is Prime Minister Ali Benflis.

Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Said Berkat; OAIC (Office Algerian Interprofessional de Cereales), the government agency that imports wheat; and ERIAD, a state flour milling enterprise.

Economy: Algeria is a low-to middle-income country with huge reserves of natural gas and other hydrocarbons, a sector that accounts for more than 90% of Algeria’s export earnings and about 30% of its gross domestic product. Algeria is the largest supplier of natural gas to the E.U., and projects to increase oil and gas revenue should underpin the country’s economic recovery in the next 10 years. Agriculture employs 25% of the country’s work force and accounts for 12% of gross domestic product, but under 10% in drought years. Despite a troubled security situation in the 1990s, the government has embarked on an ambitious program to modernize and open up its economy in conjunction with the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment Program, the International Monetary Fund and ongoing negotiations for World Trade Organization membership.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$4,700 (purchasing power parity), 3.9% growth rate, 4.2% inflation, 30% unemployment (1999 estimates).

Currency: Algerian dinar. Aug. 16, 2001 exchange rate: 73.49 dinars per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$13.7 billion (f.o.b. 1999), petroleum, natural gas and products.

Imports: U.S.$9.3 billion (f.o.b.1999), capital goods, food and beverages, consumer goods.

Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, including durum; barley.

Wheat: Production is extremely variable from year to year, depending on weather. Average annual output in the past five years is 1.26 million tonnes, falling in a wide range of 670,000 to 2.2 million. Imports in the period averaged 4.8 million tonnes per year, with annual consumption at 6.2 million.

Coarse grains: Barley is the primary crop grown domestically, with maize and other coarse grains output insignificant. Annual barley production in the past five years averaged about 387,000 tonnes, with imports averaging 703,000 and consumption averaging about 1.1 million.

Transportation: Highways, 104,000 km, 71,656 paved; rail, 4,820 km, mostly 1.435-m gauge; Algiers, Beni Saf, Oran, Annaba are main ports.

(1,000 tonnes)










Wheat flour










2001-02 marketing year estimates, except wheat flour, 1998.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture;

International Grains Council (wheat flour).