Algeria is Africa’s largest country with a total area of 919,595 mi2. It is found in the northern region of the African continent. The country borders the Mediterranean Sea, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Libya, and Tunisia. The capital city of Algeria is Algiers. It is also the most populous city in the country. Algeria has 48 provinces which are further divided into 1,541 counties, and approximately 40.4 million inhabitants.
Geography of Algeria
The Sahara desert takes up a significant portion of southern Algeria. The Sahara Atlas and the Tell Atlas merge in the eastern part of the country. The northeastern part of Algeria comprises the great Nememcha and Aures mountain ranges. Ergs occur between these mountains. The coastal strip is mostly hilly with a few natural harbors. The area surrounded by these landforms consists of highlands and vast plains.
Algeria’s vegetation is varied, and the country is home to a variety of wildlife. Most of its wild animals live close to the human population. Spotting jackals, gazelles, and wild boars in Algeria is common. Sometimes, one can also see jerboas and foxes. The Barbary stag and Barbary macaques, a native monkey species, thrive in Algerian forests. A small population of the Saharan cheetah and the African leopard also inhabit the country. Besides these animals, Algeria is a paradise for bird watchers.
Algeria is a sovereign state headed by an elected president. The president presides over the High Security-Council, the army, and the Council of Ministers. He also appoints the Prime Minister who heads the government. The legislative wing of the country is bicameral, comprising a lower house and an upper house. The lower house, called the People’s National Assembly, consists of 462 members all of whom are elected by the people to serve five-year terms. The upper house, known as the Council of the Nation sits 144 members who serve for six-year terms. Local assemblies select 96 of these members while the rest are presidential appointees.
Economy of Algeria
The World Bank categorizes Algeria as an upper middle-income nation. The state dominates the country’s economy. Algeria is a member of OPEC and the Arab League, and its economy relies heavily on petroleum. Its oil reserves are 16th largest globally and second largest in the continent. It also has vast reserves of natural gas, ranked ninth largest in the world. Algeria’s national oil company, Sonatrach, is the biggest in Africa. The country produces around 1.1 million crude oil barrels every day. Hydrocarbons account for 30% of Algeria’s GDP and more than 95% of its export earnings. Of all the gas exporting countries in the world, Algeria is ranked sixth largest.
Tourism in Algeria
The country has been working on developing its tourism sector since 2004. In 2013, a total of 2.7 million foreign visitors toured the country. It was ranked as Africa’s fourth largest tourist destination by the World Tourism Organization in 2014. Approximately 3.9% of Algeria’s foreign exchange and 8.1% of its GDP comes from this sector. The Sahara desert is one of the primary tourist attractions in the country. Other attractions in Algeria include seven world heritage sites, architectural buildings, mosques and churches, and thermal resorts.