Key Facts: Algeria

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: AlgiersPopulation: 34,178,188 (July 2009 est.)

Religions: Sunni Muslim (state religion) 99%, Christian and Jewish 1%.Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Tunisia.

Government: Republic; Chief of state and head of government: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (since April 28, 1999).

Economy: The state dominates most areas of the Algerian economy, although gradual liberalization since the mid-1990s has opened up more of the economy to private domestic and foreign participation. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 30% of GDP and over 95% of export earnings. Algeria has the eighth-largest reserves of natural gas in the world and is the fourth-largest gas exporter; it ranks 15th in oil reserves. Weak global hydrocarbon prices during 2009 contributed to a 40% drop in government revenue, although the government continues to enjoy a financial cushion provided by almost $150 billion in foreign currency reserves and a large hydrocarbons stabilization fund. Algeria’s external debt is only about 1% of GDP. The government’s efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, however, has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. A Complementary Finance Law, enacted in July, imposed tight restrictions on imports and required that foreign investors and importers divest at least 51% share of ownership to Algerian partners. The law has contributed to some domestic goods shortages and prompted foreign investors and businesses to reconsider activities in Algeria. Development of the banking sector, the construction of infrastructure and other structural reforms are hampered by corruption and bureaucratic resistance.

GDP per capita: $7,100 (2009 est.); inflation: 4.1% (2009 est.); unemployment 12.4% (2009 est.).

Currency: Algerian dinar (DZD). 73.2 Algerian dinars equal 1 U.S. dollar (Feb. 18, 2010).

Exports: $52.03 billion (2009 est.): petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products 97%.

Imports: $39.51 billion (2009 est.): capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods.

Major crops/agricultural products: Wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, citrus, fruits; sheep, cattle.

Agriculture: 8.3% of GDP and 14% of the labor force.

Internet: Code. .dz; 510 (2009) hosts and 4.1 million (2008) users.

Source: CIA World Factbook