From the antiquity to Ottoman period
The antique Algeria or Numidia, has been dominated by the Getule people direct descendant of Capsiens having emigrated to the North of Africa and established the famous city of “Icosium”. Land of Syphax, Massinissa, of Jugurtha, of Takfarinas, of Kosseîla and Kahina, it has been occupied in turn by the Phoenicians, the Moors, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Ottomans, who left their mark in its rich history, revealing all the confluence of these civilizations, since the Roman age which has seen the birth and the development of cities such as Timgad, Tebessa and Cirta, until its Islamization by Okba Ibnu Nafi’.
Since, it was governed alternately by the Caliphates of the omeyyades (Damascus) and the Abbasids (Baghdad), under a succession of arabo-muslim dynasties such as the Fatimides, the Hamadites, the Rostomides, the Zirides, the Almoravides, the Almohades and the Hilalians. This succession, characterized by internal fights to reach the throne, joint to the pressure of the Spanish and Portuguese power rapid development, has led to successive retreat of these dynasties power and to the breaking up of their empire in a multitude of principalities, federations or autonomous harbors, among which the one of Algiers besieged in 1516 by Spain, and liberated by the Barberousse brothers – Turkish corsairs – in 1518. This success brought to Kheir-eddine the approval of the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the great, to put Algiers under the Ottoman protectorate and to establish it as regency, until 1830, the start of the French conquest.
From the French conquest to the independence
The conquest of Algeria by France finds its origin in the degradation of the relationship between both countries from 1800, because of the refusal of France to pay back its dept to Algeria. In 1827, the Dey of Algiers discovers that France has strengthened, without authorization, the warehouse of the regency of El Kala, which it has received in concession to make trade. He calls then the Consul of France, who ignores his demand. The Dey loses his temper and gives a knock with his fan to the Consul. The French government considers then this fact as an insult, and decides to invade Algeria. The French troops land on June 14th in Sidi Fredj, take the fortress of Algiers on July 5th,1830, to announce the beginning of the conquest of Algeria.
Despite the fierce resistance led by men and women such as Emir Abdelkader, lala Fatma Nsoumer, or El Mokrani, this conquest continoues and ends in 1871. It has made more than one million of dead among the Algerians, the majority of them were civil. The colonization of Algeria starts. The Algerians are despoiled from their lands, from their wealth, from their identity, their conditions deteriorate to the profit of the colonists, their legitimate claims are constantly and severely repressed, as during the manifestations of May 8th, 1945 which claimed 45 thousand dead, so much so that the nationalist movement toughened and the liberation war starts in 1954, under the aegis of the National Liberation Front. One million and half of Algerians die during this war, Algeria drags its freedom trough the Evian agreements, after one hundred and thirty years of occupation, fifty years of resistance and seven years of war.
GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE: Algeria is the second-largest African country after Sudan and the largest in the Mediterranean region. Its total land boundaries span 6343 km, and the country borders Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mall Mauritania, Western Sahara and Morocco along its western flank. Its northern border consists of slightly less than 1000 km of Mediterranean coastline. The country’s total land surface measures nearly 2.4m sq km, making it just under 3.5 times the size of Texas and nearly four times the size of France.
Algeria has a diverse landscape, in particular in the north, which is characterized by the Tell Atlas, the High Plateaus (more commonly known in French as the Hauls Plateaux) and the Saharan Atlas. The Tell consists of a narrow coastal strip with a mountainous hinterland stretching from Morocco along the length of Algeria’s Mediterranean coast into Tunisia. This is also the densest area in terms of population, home to the country’s largest cities, such as Algiers (over 3m inhabitants) and Oran (650,000 inhabitants), and it is traditionally also the nation’s agricultural heartland.
Further inland the Hauts Plateaux consist of arid, steppe-like plains that run east for almost 600 km from the Moroccan border. The plains average around 1200 meters above sea level in height and gradually drop down to around 400 meters at the base of the Saharan Atlas, the final barrier between the Sahara Desert and northern Algeria. This range runs parallel to the Tell Atlas, culminating in the Aures Mountains in the north-west.
South of these mountains lies the vast surface of the Sahara, covering around 90% of the country’s total land surface and home to less than 10% of the population. Two striking features of this wild landscape are the Grand Erg Occidental and Grand Erg Oriental, which rise hundreds of meters in an ever-changing landscape of wind-sculpted sand dunes.
The contrast in landscape makes for a varied climate. Whereas the dense northern part of the country enjoys a mild climate with wet winters and hot, dry summers, the Hauts Plateaux has a drier climate with cold winters and hot summers. Due to the plains broken topography, sharp local contrasts in both temperatures and incidence of rainfall can be noticed throughout the year. The Sahara has a typical desert-like climate with temperatures reaching extreme heights in summer-time, and even in winter, midday desert temperatures can be very high. Rainfall is fairly common along the coastal part of the country, ranging from 400 to 670 mm per year. Inland the rainfall is less plentiful.
Algeria has substantial and diversified natural wealth, especially in hydrocarbons, where it occupies the 15th range in field of oil reserves (45 billion of tons in oil equivalent), the 18th in field of production, and the 12th in exports.
Its capacities of refining may reach 22 million of tons per year. Concerning the gas, Algeria occupies the 7th range in the world in field of proved resources, the 5th in production and the 3rd in exports.
A real giant of energy, Algeria, strong of 50% of reserves,of 48% of the total production and of the impressive rate of 94% of natural gas exports, has no rival in the Mediterranean where it is ranked the 1st oil and natural gas producer and exporter.
Algeria is the third supplier of the European Union in natural gas and its forth supplier in energy. In addition to these two wealth, Algeria hides in its under ground huge deposits of phosphate, Zinc, Gold, Uranium, iron, Tungsten, Kaolin, etc.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
In Algeria, the education is free and constitutes a constitutional right. It is even obligatory and guaranteed for children inbetween 6 and 15 years old.. The Algerian State considers it as a priority, for which it allows each year, 20% of its budget and 6.4% of its GDP.
The number of children attending school represents 98% of the population, with a percentage of children in full-time education higher than 85% for children from 6 to 14 years old.
The country which counted just 3000 students just after its independence, records today:
- literacy rate of 78% for men and 61% for women,
- registration rate of 75% each year of population being old enough for training,
- almost 7 000 000 registered at the college per year,
- an average annual rate of success to the baccalauréat (college Diploma) of 40%,
- almost 300 000 new registered at higher education,
- almost 900 000 registered at the university, per year,
- almost 500 000 registered in professional training,
- more than 130 000 graduates per year,
- almost 80 000 graduates from professional training per year,
- 60 universities (the first one is l’Université d’Alger” established in 1879), including 17 multidisciplinary located trough out 41 wilaya and structured into faculties and institutes to take in charge pedagogical, scientific and research activities. The Universities are structured into 136 faculties and 90 institutes, university while centres are into 70institutes, that’s to say a total of 215,
- 658 establishments of professional training,
- 18 research establishments,
- 639 research laboratories,
- 30 510 permanent teachers
Education and professional training cover almost all the classic fields but also fields in relation with the world of work and company such as finances, trade, management, marketing and human resources.
In Algeria the health system is entrusted to the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform which handles health and hospital cares in the public sector and controls the conditions for practicing in the private sector.
The Social Security Cover is managed by three national funds under the supervision of the Ministry of Work and Social Security, namely the National Fund of employees Social Insurance (CNAS), National Fund of non salaried Social Security (CASNOS) and the National Fund of Retirement (CNR).
The Social Protection scheme covers social insurances (illness, maternity, invalidity, death, etc), the retirement, work accidents and professional illness, family benefits, unemployment insurance and anticipated retirement.
Some figures concerning the health sector :
- Hospital infrastructure : for the public sector, 244 hospitals, 31 Specialised hospital establishments (EHS), 31 university hospitals Centres (CHU) for a capacity of about 54 000 beds, 504 polyclinics, 5 368 care rooms, 515 health centres, 1 121 detection and school health following units,, 80 preventive medicine Units in universities, 120 blood transfusion centres and 989 pharmacies.
- In private sector, 221 clinics are operational and employ about 500 specialist practitioners, 200 general practitioners and 1200 paramedics with a capacity of 3 400 beds.
- Military structures: 1 central hospital (HCA), 6 regional hospitals, 3 polyclinics and 2 childbirth and maternity clinics.
- 29 % of the total specialist staff is concentrated in Algiers (32% public and 23 % private).
- 1 specialist practitioner for 3000 inhabitants (1 for 800 in Algiers, 1 for 17 000 at Tissemssilt).
- 1 general practitioner for 969 inhabitants.
- 1.88 bed for 1000 inhabitants
- Health national expense : 4.1% of GDP.
- Health expense per inhabitant and per year : us$186.
- Staff strengthening in 2009 with 15 000 general practitioners, 5 000 specialists practitioners and 15 000 paramedics.
- 20 million of people affiliated to Social Security.
- Annual prospective needs in medicines, consumables and medical equipment reach UD $ 1.5 billion.
- Local production covers less than 20% of market needs.
Health development program for 2005-2009 has allowed, among others, the realisation of 65 hospitals, including an institute for kidney and one of cancer, 76 polyclinics, 168 health centres, 40 care rooms, 6 sanitary control to frontiers, 4 haemodialysis centres and one paramedical training institute.
The democratic opening and the political pluralism instituted by the Constitution of February 1989, added to real freedom of press led to the diversification and expansion of the press which comprises today more than 30 dailies and 190 weeklies and magazines in Arabic and French, private newspapers are predominant. Around 2million copies are run off per year for the daily press.
• Radio and television
Algerian radio has many national or local channels which broadcast, in Arabic, Berber and French, very rich and diversified programmes.
The national television run by the National Company of Television EPTV, (Etablissement Public de Télévision), has today 5 channels, four of which are satellite channels, canal Algérie, A3, A4, and A5. These state owned broadcasting media know, since few years, a strong intrusion of commercial advertisements.