Algeria is at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Arab and African regions. Algeria ranks as the 10th largest country in the world, and 2nd in Africa. 4/5 of the area are occupied by the Algerian Sahara desert where exist abundant natural resources such as gas, oil, iron, zinc, gold, phosphate and uranium.
Algeria has borders with Morocco, Western Sahara and Mauritania on the west, Tunisia, Libya on the East, and Mali and Niger on the South, while the North stretches over 1200 Km on the Mediterranean Sea.
Algerian population is estimated at 32.5 million; 70% are under 30 years of age.
The demographic growth rate has declined from 3.2% in the seventies to 1.6% (2003). Most of the population live in the northern part of the country. The major cities are: Algiers, Oran, Constantine, Annaba, Setif, Tlemcen, Skikda, Jijel, Bejaia, Tizi-Ouzou, Tiaret, Saida, M'sila, Chlef, Mostaganem, Tamenrasset, Ouargla, Laghouat ...
Education is free and compulsory for children from 6 to 16 years old through a 9 year curriculum ( 6 years duration in elementary school, and 3 years in secondary school).
In addition to Arabic which is the national and official language, Tamazight has been granted the status of national language through a constitutional amendment which entered into force in 2002. As far as foreign languages are concerned, French is taught in primary school and many Algerians can read and speak it.
English is also increasingly taken into account in the education system.
Islam is the religion of the State, as set out in the Constitution. The overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim "Sunnite" belonging to the Malekite school.
Algiers is the administrative, economic, and cultural capital, which gathers more then 3 million inhabitants.
As regards territorial administration, Algeria is divided into 48 wilayas (provinces), which are divided into dairas. Each daira comprises several municipalities that are basic units of the territory organization.
The main institutions established by the Constitution are the President of the Republic, the Cabinet, the Council of the Nation, National People's Assembly, High Security Council, Constitutional Council and High Islamic Council.
Algeria enjoys diplomatic relations with the overwhelming majority of countries and is member of a number of international and regional organizations, in particular :
Algeria is also member of all specialized agencies of the United Nations and subsidiary bodies of relevant regional organizations.
Algeria is one of the richest african countries and one of the developing countries who have invested heavily in metallurgy of iron and steel industries, petrochemical, mechanical, electronic and processing industries. 80% of the territory is covered by the electrical grid.
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