- Economy of Algeria
Under French administration, the economy of Algeria developed greatly: the total imports and exports at the time of the French occupation (1830) did not exceed £ 175,000. In 1850 the figures had reached £5,000,000; in 1868, £12,000,000; in 1880, £17,000,000; and in 1890, £20,000,000. From this point progress was slower and the figures varied considerably year by year. In 1905 the total value of the foreign trade was £24,500,000. About five-sixths of the trade is with or via France, into which country several Algerian goods have been admitted duty-free since 1851, and all since 1867. French goods, except
sugar, have been admitted into Algeria without payment of duty since 1835. After the increase, in 1892, of the French minimum tariff, which applied to Algeria also, foreign trade greatly diminished.
, cotton fabrics and machinery.
Algeria trades most extensively with France and Italy, in terms of both imports and exports, but also trades with the United States and
GDP per capita grew 40 percent in the Sixties reaching a peak growth of 538% in the Seventies [ [http://earthtrends.wri.org/text/economics-business/variable-638.html GDP: GDP per capita, current US dollars ] ] But this proved unsustainable and growth collapsed to a paltry 9.7% in the turbulent Eighties.Failure of timely reforms by successive governments caused the current GDP per capita to shrink by 28% in the Nineties.
This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Algeria at market prices [http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2006/01/data/dbcselm.cfm?G=2001 estimated] by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Algerian Dinars.
For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 70.01 Algerian Dinars only (updated
May 24, 2007). Average wages in 2007 hover around $18-22 per day.
floods and an uncertain oil market make prospects for 2002-03 more problematic. The government pledges to continue its efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector.
has announced sweeping economic reforms, which, if implemented, will significantly restructure the economy. Still, the economy remains heavily dependent on volatile oil and gas revenues. The government has continued efforts to diversify the economy by attracting foreign and domestic investment outside the energy sector, but has had little success in reducing high unemployment and improving living standards. Other priority areas include banking reform, improving the investment environment, and reducing government bureaucracy.
The government has announced plans to sell off state enterprises: sales of a national cement factory and steel plant have been completed and other industries are up for offer. In 2001, Algeria signed an Association Agreement with the
European Union; it has started accession negotiations for entry into the World Trade Organization.
products, is exported.
A considerable amount of
cottonwas grown at the time of the United States' Civil War, but the industry declined afterwards. In the early years of the 20th century efforts to extend the cultivation of the plant were renewed. A small amount of cottonis also grown in the southern oases. Large quantities of crin vegetal (vegetable horse-hair) an excellent fibre, are made from the leaves of the dwarf palm. The olive(both for its fruit and oil) and tobaccoare cultivated with great success.
Algeria also exports figs, dates,
espartograss, and cork. It is the largest oat market in Africa.
Throughout Algeria the soil favours the growth of vines. The country, in the words of an expert sent to report on the subject by the French government,:"can produce an infinite variety of wines suitable to every constitution and to every caprice of taste."
The growing of vines was undertaken early by the colonists, but it was not until vineyards in France were attacked by
phylloxerathat the export of winefrom Algeria became significant. In 1883, despite precautionary measures, Algerian vineyards were also attacked but in the meantime the quality of their wines had been proved. In 1850 less than 2000 acres (8 km²) were devoted to the grape, but in 1878 this had increased to over 42,000 acres (170 km²), which yielded 7,436,000 gallons (28,000 m³) of wine. Despite bad seasons and ravages of insects, cultivation extended, and in 1895 the vineyards covered 300,000 acres (1,200 km²), the produce being 88,000,000 gallons (333,000 m³). The area of cultivation in 1905 exceeded 400,000 acres (1,600 km²), and in that year the amount of wine produced was 157,000,000 gallons (594,000 m³). By that time the limits of profitable production had been reached in many parts of the country. Practically the only foreign market for Algerian wine is France, which in 1905 imported about 110,000,000 gallons (416,000 m³).
The Algerian body responsible for wine cultivation is called the "National Office of Marketing of Wine Products" (ONCV).
Fishing is a flourishing but minor industry. Fish caught are principally
sardines, bonito, smeltand sprats. Fresh fish are exported to France, dried and preserved fish to Spainand Italy. Coral fisheries are found along the coast from Bonato Tunis.
Algeria is rich in minerals; the country has many iron,
lead, zinc, copper, calamine, antimonyand mercury mines. The most productive are those of iron and zinc. Lignite is found in Algiers; immense phosphate beds were discovered near Tébessain 1891, yielding 313,500 tons in 1905. Phosphate beds are also worked near Sétif, Guelmaand Aïn Beïda. There are more than 300 quarries which produce, amongst other stones, onyxand beautiful white and red marbles. Algerian onyx from Ain Tekbalet was used by the Romans, and many ancient quarries have been found near Sidi Ben Yebka, some being certainly those from which the long-lost Numidian marbles were taken. Saltis collected on the margins of the chotts.
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