Country Profile: Algeria
by Mehmet Uğur Gürkaynak, Milling and Grain
Official Name: Democratic People's Republic of Algeria
Management Style: Republic
Official language: Arabic
Ethnicity: 70% Arab, 30% Barbary
Currency: Algerian Dinar (DZD)
GDP (2019): USD 183,687,000
Located in North Africa, Algeria is located on the Mediterranean coast between Morocco and Tunisia. Other neighbours of Algeria include Libya in the east, Niger in the southeast and Mauritania and Mali in the southwest. 80% of the country's territory is in the Sahara region. Most of the Sahara has semi-desert characteristics.
Algeria is a Republic governed by the Presidential system. The country, which gained its independence in 1962, was governed by the National Liberation Front (FLN) within the framework of a one-party political system. With the new Constitution adopted in the referendum held in 1989, a multi-party system was introduced.
General economic outlook
Algeria, with its vast lands, oil and natural gas reserves, is the fourth largest economy in Africa after Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, which are important countries of the African continent. Algeria has a rich natural resources and a free market economy.
The country, which has been trying to ensure a gradual transition to the new economic system since 2000, needs to make further progress in terms of per capita income, infrastructure, unemployment and privatisation.
The government provides unpaid government support for energy and supply of basic food products such as wheat, oil, sugar.
Although there are quotas on certain products for the purpose of establishing the national industry, many European Union countries' products originating from the Free Trade Agreement which entered into force in 2005 in accordance with the agreement signed with the European Union in 2002 are subject to a reduction in customs duties. However, there is a quota system in agriculture and fisheries sectors.
Algeria is dependent on oil and gas sector and 70% of budget revenues come from these sectors. The government's tax revenues mostly come from imported products. In order to register the domestic cash-in-economy, it has enacted since 2011 all payments made by banks with a value of over 500,000 Dinars.
Agriculture and livestock sector in Algeria
In Algeria, the contribution of agriculture to GDP is around 9%. It is estimated that approximately 14% of the total population is employed in the agricultural sector. Algeria, which has the largest territory in the African continent, covers an area of approximately 2.4 million km2.
However, 3.5% of the soils are arable land and only 18.5% of the land that can be used as agricultural land is cultivated. Arable land is owned by the state but is operated by the private sector.
According to 2018 data, grain production in Algeria is around 4.5 million tonnes and grain imports worth 3 billion 275 million USD are imported. Nevertheless, consumption is expected to reach 8 million tonnes in the coming years. In order to meet this need, approximately 260 thousand acres of land should be opened for irrigation and 500 thousand acres of land should be included in this scope in order to meet this consumption completely.
New fertiliser applications and irrigation techniques have been put into operation in the lands west of Algeria. The main agricultural products are pulses, potatoes, especially wheat and barley. The country is an important barley exporter.
The country has to import an average of 8 million tonnes of grain per year in order to meet its grain needs. Poultry farming, sheep, goats and cattle are cultivated in the southern regions and highlands.
According to 2018 data, there is approximately 28 million livestock in Algeria with 18 million sheep and 2 million cattle. The annual production in the country is around 300 thousand tonnes of red meat and 260 thousand tonnes of white meat. While red meat imports are 60 thousand tonnes, white meat is not imported. The annual red meat imports are worth more than US $250 million. The state plans to produce 425 thousand tonnes of red and 625 thousand tonnes of white meat in the short term.
Most of the fishing boats, which are owned by families, are small. To improve the sector, the government is modernising its fishing ports. The state, which allocates 12 million dinars in this regard, encourages the purchase of more modern and new fishing boats.
For this purpose, the number of boats in the country reached 4,532 recently thanks to the support provided by the state and the funds of the European Union.
Algeria has a coastline of 1,280km and there are over 500 species of fish in the region. The country has 500,000 tonnes of fish reserves. Mostly sardines and anchovies are caught; the amount of these fish caught yearly is around 150,000 tonnes. 3000 tonnes of this amount is exported. As for aquaculture, there is an annual production of 500 tonnes.