Exploring Algeria: The Jewel of North Africa

Geographical Splendor

Algeria, located in Northern Africa and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Tunisia, is a country of breathtaking natural beauty and striking contrasts. Encompassing a total surface area of 2,381,740 sq km, all of which is land as the area water is recorded at 0 sq km, Algeria stands as the largest country in Africa. This vast land is defined by its diverse terrain that includes mostly high plateaus and the Sahara Desert, with the majestic Atlas Mountains in the far north and the Hoggar Mountains in the South. A discontinuous coastal plain offers a narrow gateway to the expansive Mediterranean, totaling a coastline of 998 km.

Bordering Nations and Climatic Diversity

Algeria shares extensive land boundaries totaling 6,734 km with six countries and Western Sahara, showcasing its significant geopolitical standing in the region. Its neighbors include Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia, and a small boundary with Western Sahara. This geographical positioning adds to its strategic importance, connecting the Sahara with the Mediterranean.

The climate in Algeria varies from arid to semi-arid, featuring mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers along the coast. The interior experiences more extreme variations, with colder winters and scorching summers. The infamous sirocco wind, carrying dust and sand, is a common phenomenon, particularly during the summer months.

Natural Resources and Land Use

Algeria is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, with petroleum and natural gas taking the lead, followed by iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead, and zinc. These resources form the backbone of the Algerian economy, especially the hydrocarbons sector. The country’s total agricultural land covers 17.40% of its territory, while forests account for a mere 0.80%. As of 2014, irrigated land was estimated at 13,600 sq km, highlighting efforts to make the best use of available water resources.

Demographics and Urbanization

With an estimated population of 42,972,878 as of July 2020, Algeria has a significant majority of its populace residing in the northern part near the Mediterranean coast. This distribution is attributed to the concentration of economic activities, including agriculture, industry, and services in these regions. Urbanization is notably high, with approximately 73.70% of the population living in urban areas in 2020. Algiers, the capital, and Oran are the major urban centers, pulsating with life and offering glimpses into the country’s rich heritage and culture.

Economy: From Agriculture to Hydrocarbons

The Algerian economy is diverse, with agricultural products such as wheat, barley, oats, grapes, olives, and various citrus fruits playing a crucial role. The livestock sector, with sheep and cattle, also contributes significantly to rural livelihoods. However, the heartbeat of the economy is the petroleum and natural gas industries, supplemented by light industries, mining, electrical, petrochemical, and food processing sectors.

Algeria’s key export partners include Italy, Spain, France, the US, Brazil, and the Netherlands, with petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products constituting 97% of exports as of 2009. On the import front, China leads as the top partner, followed by France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Turkey. The primary imports are capital goods, foodstuffs, and consumer goods, indicating a balanced mix of industrial and consumer needs.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite its wealth in natural resources and strategic location, Algeria faces various challenges, including the need to diversify its economy beyond hydrocarbons. The country also has a segment of its population, estimated at 400,000 in 2016, without access to electricity, underscoring the importance of expanding infrastructure and sustainable energy solutions. Nevertheless, with a GDP per capita of $15,200 in 2017, Algeria has substantial potential for growth and development, leveraging its human and natural resources towards a prosperous future.


Algeria’s enchanting landscapes, abundant resources, and vibrant culture make it a noteworthy country in North Africa and the Arab world. Through continued efforts in economic diversification, sustainable development, and regional cooperation, Algeria is poised to play an even more significant role on the international stage in the years to come.