Homelessness in AlgeriaAlgeria is a country rich with resources, particularly oil, which makes it one of the richest countries in Africa. It is also the largest country in Africa, boasting a population of nearly 43 million people. However, one of the richest and largest African nations battles a decades-long fight: homelessness. Homelessness in Algeria is not a new phenomenon but is a critical one.

Low-Income Citizens Need Affordability

Homelessness in Algeria comes in various forms. It is typical for individuals without permanent and adequate housing to sleep on the street. It is not uncommon for individuals to sleep in their cars. Groups of strangers sometimes live in garages, often thought of as slums.

Low-income Algerians suffer the most from the housing crisis and homelessness. Although the government closely regulates property ownership, the same cannot be said of the rental market. According to a report published by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing in Algeria, speculation and prohibitive rents keep low-income Algerians from accessing permanent housing.

The independent think tank Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa reports there is a housing deficit of one million while the number of vacant dwellings is estimated at two million. The latter is a result of private property owners manipulating the rental supply. They eliminate vacant units for rent in an effort to drive up demand and pricing.

Reports published by LKeria, an Algerian real estate agency, indicate that another reason housing is unavailable is that attempts by the government to build housing are often poorly planned and assessed. These low-quality housing developments offer some relief for Algerians facing homelessness. However, many developments do not survive due to building hazards, and residents once again face housing insecurity.

Homeless Women in Algeria

Until 2005, there was no Algerian law that protected divorced women from the housing crisis or the possibility to become homeless. The traditional Family Law code denies Algerian women full citizenship rights. A recent amendment to the code guarantees housing to divorced women.

Per the terms of the family law amendment, settlements of the divorce offer one of two options to the former wives. The first option entitles the woman and children to live in the conjugal residence. The second enlists the man to provide housing for the woman and children if she retains custody and if the man will not forfeit the conjugal residence.

The amendment was a significant step to dismantle parts of the densely patriarchal culture present in Algeria. Still, women’s rights activists say the modification was purely lip service.

According to the women-focused nonprofit SOS Women in Distress based in Algiers, 540 women were homeless as a result of divorce just two years after the new law’s passing, and the trend continues. Authorities largely dismiss the law, and therefore it goes unenforced. As a result, large groups of women often gather with their children on the streets at night.

Solving the Housing Crisis

The central government recognized the housing and homelessness crisis in Algeria for the last two decades and implemented a program to resolve the widespread issue. The program requires Algerian citizens to apply for public housing, also known as diara commissions. The government then creates lists that determine which families will be placed in subsidized living units.

The locals view these lists as both a solution and a recurring problem. Because housing is still scarce, not every family that applies for a living space will make the list. The publication of the lists often spurs protests and riots, reflecting a lack of trust between the country’s decision-makers and the civilians.

However, forecasts indicate that the government is encouraging more buildings. They aim to build 10.9 million more housing units in 2019, with 3.6 million already built in 2018. Additionally, government officials are shifting focus to allow more private developers whose expansion includes development for middle and low-income segments so that homeownership is affordable for majority low-income citizens.

– Victoria Colbert
Photo: Pixabay

Maternal healthcare in Algeria
Algeria, a large country in North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The country is known for its rich history and culture, as well as its scorching temperatures. Like many nations in Africa, Algeria struggles to combat maternal mortality – a long-standing, persistent issue for many women in the country. However, in the last several years, Algeria has taken numerous steps to expand maternal healthcare and reduce pregnancy and labor complications. Here are four facts about maternal healthcare in Algeria.

4 Facts About Maternal Healthcare in Algeria

  1. According to recent updates on the maternal mortality ratio in Algeria — it has gradually dropped from 179 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1998 to 112 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017. Much of the success in lowering the number of deaths is attributed to a multitude of factors such as increased medical training, investments in healthcare and specific government initiatives aimed at reducing maternal deaths. During the years 2009–2017, Algeria trained about 900 professionals from university hospitals such as, Benni Messous, Kouba, Oran and Bab El Oued on multidisciplinary management of pregnancy.
  2. Within the last couple of years, Algeria has managed to make major investments in healthcare. Algeria managed to increase expenditures in healthcare as a share of GDP from 3.6 % in 2003 to 6.4 % in 2017 — growing at an average annual rate of 4.57%. This is an impressive number when compared with Algeria’s neighboring countries. Moreover, these investments have also helped to establish successful disease detection programs and allowed for improved medical facilities.
  3. In 2015, the Ministry of Health in Algeria began to work in collaboration with UNICEF in an attempt to implement a neonatal and maternal mortality reduction plan. This plan was implemented with the intention of reducing as many preventable, maternal deaths as possible, with a target of 50 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2019. Additionally, in 2016 the Ministry of Health put forward an emergency maternal mortality rate (MMR) reduction plan. “The goals set by the plan relate to strengthening family planning, improving the quality of healthcare during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.”
  4. In order to continue the reduction of the maternal mortality rate, the Health Ministry of Algeria held a survey to consolidate the maternal death rate with the technical and financial collaboration of the three U.N. agencies: (UNFPA, UNICEF and the WHO). The objectives of this survey were to reach a consensus on connections between frequent causes of maternal death, update the maternal death rate and cultivate reliable data “for the readjustment of national programs on maternal health and the reduction of preventable maternal deaths for the implementation of Algeria’s ICPD commitments.”

A Leader in Maternal Healthcare

Much work remains in order for Algeria to be able to effectively put an end to preventable, maternal deaths. However, the measures put into practice within the last several years have already proven to be a success. Thanks to these policies, Algeria has become known as a leader in maternal healthcare in North Africa and the country continues to build a strong momentum and infrastructure to fight this problem.

Shreeya Sharma
Photo: Flickr

5 Things to Know About Poverty in Algeria
Poverty in Algeria is distributed unequally among groups. This is mainly due to the country’s economy heavily relying on a few market sectors. This creates disparities in unemployment and poverty rates based on region, age and sex as the economy is reliant upon a few job types and resources.

5 Facts about Poverty in Algeria

  1. The Algerian economy relies heavily on global oil and gas prices. Poverty in Algeria can be attributed to many factors. However, Algeria’s resource richness has led to heavy reliance on global prices for natural gas and oil. This means the country’s economy is dependent on high prices. As a result, when prices drop or stay stagnant, its economy and its people feel the effects. Moreover, hydrocarbon is one of Algeria’s main exports. It has suffered from lower rates of export in the past few years. Heightened domestic demands for natural gas and slowed production contributed to the dip in hydrocarbon exports.
  2. Unemployment and poverty rates differ greatly between groups. Unemployment in Algeria as of 2018 stood at 11.7%. However, youth, college graduates and women see much higher rates of unemployment which contribute to poverty in Algeria. The youth unemployment rate is at a staggering 29%, followed by 19.4% for women and 18.5% for college graduates. Diversification of the economy can help with the unemployment rate among these groups. This means there would be more job creation in different sectors for youth, college graduates and women. As a result, it would help them escape poverty.
  3. Reports disagree about the number of Algerians below the poverty line.  The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) found that 14 million Algerians were living below the poverty line. This population group earns less than $1.45 a day. The LADDH conducted a study with large sample sizes to find this result, pinning the poverty rate at 35% of Algerians. However, governmental organizations contested these numbers using the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Solidarity’s numbers. The organizations have counted between 660,000 and 700,000 poor families in Algeria.
  4. Disparities in poverty rates exist between different regions. The poverty rates are twice as high among Algerians living in the Sahara region. Algerians living on the Steppe have three times as high which is suffering the effects of resource scarcity and desertification. Despite these regional disparities in rates of poverty, almost 75% of Algerians in poverty live in urban areas and suffer from high unemployment rates. Diversification of the economy in urban areas and sustainable agricultural practices in rural areas can help address both of these issues.
  5. Desertification is affecting agriculture. Agricultural lands in rural areas eroded because of the overuse of the land through practices such as overgrazing. This then leads to less water retention in the soil. Moreover, the rains carried the eroded soil and waste like fertilizers and oils. As a result, it contributes to water pollution, limiting available clean water and exacerbating poverty in the area. To alleviate the strain the agricultural practices are placing on the environment and lessen their effects on the surrounding populations, land conservation and sustainable development practices need to be pursued.

Diversifying the economy and generating jobs in other sectors can decrease poverty in Algeria and address disparities in unemployment. In addition, implementing sustainable agricultural practices will slow desertification and protect rural populations. The International Development Research Center’s ‘Sustainable Development of the Algerian Steppe’ projects have started working to achieve this and increased foreign aid could continue this important work.

Ellie Williams
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ Education in AlgeriaAlgeria is a country in North Africa with Mediterranean coastline and an interior of the Saharan desert. Over the years, the education quality in Algeria has been improving and statistics show more girls are graduating with university diplomas. While the recent reforms have been an improvement, more work is needed to improve girls’ education in Algeria.

The Algerian Education System

The education system is divided into a nine-year primary foundation school, followed by a three-year secondary and then university level. Algerian education is still focused on the French philosophy of fact-acquisition, and instruction is almost entirely in the form of lecture and memorization. As of 2015, there are 92 post-secondary institutions in Algeria including 48 universities.

Past Statistics of Algerian Students

Back in 1996, the ministry reported 15,426 state primary schools with 4,674,947 students, 46% of which were girls. There were 3,038 middle schools, which were for children 7 to 9 years of age, with 1,762,761 students, only 38% of whom were girls. This led to less than 50% of female citizens getting university degrees during the time. According to CountryMeters, in 2016, the literacy rate for the adult male population is 87.17%, or 14,318,494 men; literacy rate for the adult female population is 73.13%, or 11,949,007 women. Literate females made up around 14% less than the literate male population.

Recent Statistics of Algerian Students

Statistics of graduate Algerian women have been more than men since the late 2000’s. In 2011 and 2012, around 60% of the 1,090,592 students on track to graduate from Algerian universities were females. Ever since then, recorded data shows a positive trend of girls obtaining their university degrees. In 2018, Algeria reported that 64.46% female residents have graduated from universities in the country. There are currently no recent updates on the literacy levels of Algerians.

Education Reforms

Recently, Algeria has made education mandatory and free of charge for all children from age 6 to 15. Also, the British Council works in collaboration with the Algerian Ministry of National Education (MoNE) to support their joint focus on improving education. This is a continuous project that began in 2016. As a result, 40,000 teachers have been recruited each year for Algeria schools. In addition, the project focuses on addressing leadership and ensures the quality of the education system.

Due to this project, in 2018, approximately 596,000 students took the BEM, or the intermediate school certificate examination. The average score was 56.9 percent, which was up from 56.3 percent in 2017. The positive statistics ultimately led to the increased percentage of female university graduates in 2018.

The amount of females graduating and obtaining a university degree are gradually increasing each year. Since 1996, there has been more than a 10% increase in the amount of females graduating from a college. On top of that, the quality of the Algerian education system is slowly improving each year, and the government is encouraging all young girls to attend primary school.

– Megan Ha
Photo: LH4

Healthcare in Algeria
Algeria is located on the Northern coast of Africa and is home to 42.2 million people. The nation adopted a universal single-payer healthcare system in 1984, which allows anyone to access healthcare at no cost to themselves. The nation’s economy is largely reliant on oil prices and sales, but these have proven to be volatile in the past several decades. Due to this economic instability, 23% of the population lives below the poverty line, even though the nation has some of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. What is even more startling is the 29% youth unemployment rate. Given that such a large segment of the population falls below the poverty line and cannot find work, many Algerians are reliant on their publicly funded healthcare system to provide for them in times of need. Here are five facts about healthcare in Algeria in light of the country’s economic hardship.

5 Facts About Healthcare in Algeria

  1. The Public Healthcare Network has Struggled Recently: In 2019, Algeria’s public healthcare network ranked as the 173rd most secure healthcare network out of 195 nations. This stems from the chronic economic insecurity that dominated the nation due to drops in oil prices. The “breakeven” price for oil in Algeria was $157 per barrel in 2020. However, the price fell to just $20 a barrel, leaving the nation to stumble upon hard times. Yahia Zoubir notes that many Algerian medical professionals have chosen to take their practices out of the nation due to the “chronically insufficient healthcare system.”
  2. A Private Healthcare Sector Exists within Algeria: In 2015, there were 250 operational private clinics, and the government approved plans for the construction of the first private hospital in the nation. Many questioned the utility of the private sector because it fills in the gaps of the public sector, but it can only serve those who could afford it. Essentially, the presence of the private sector heightens disparity in the quality of care that the healthcare system provides to Algerians in different socio-economic classes.
  3. COVID-19 has Highlighted Major Issues with the Public Healthcare Network: As noted before, the national economy took major hits in 2019, and the nation announced a 50% cut in public spending as a result. Due to an inability to provide physicians with the necessary equipment and a general lack of human capital, there were 17 beds per 10,000 Algerians, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015. Because of this limited hospital capacity, COVID-19 patients easily overran public healthcare in Algeria.
  4. Where Health Officials Fail, the People Provide: Throughout the pandemic, government officials were notorious for failing to communicate with the public to slow the spread of the virus. Villages located further away from urban centers encountered these issues most prominently. Despite this, the Algerian people demonstrated resilient and innovative capabilities. The United Nations Development Program notes two distinct ways Algerians are reacting to the pandemic. First, in urban centers, many merchants are turning away from their cash-based system and moving toward e-commerce. E-commerce limits the amount of person-to-person contact involved in economic transitions of all sorts. Meanwhile, villages are working together to limit the spread of the virus themselves. Notably, a village called Tifilkout went into self-confinement to protect its citizens and other villages in the area. This plan originated from the tradition of “wise men” leading the village. These solutions demonstrate that while healthcare in Algeria may be unstable, the people will still assist one another regardless.
  5. The Algerian Struggle has Incited a Global Response: Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have also stepped up to assist in COVID-19 relief. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to donate $20 million to fight COVID-19 in Africa. The money will go towards ensuring that PPE and treatments are available to all who need them, not just those who can pay the most. While these efforts going towards Africa generally, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has demonstrated its commitment to Algeria in the past. In 2002, it joined groups working to fight the spread of malaria, and through its assistance, Algeria was the second nation in Africa to become malaria-free.

Healthcare in Algeria has struggled for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many of its weaknesses. However, the pandemic has also allowed communities to respond to such weaknesses in full force. While Algerians are working to protect one another through e-commerce and social distancing, the international community is banding together to support the nation as well.

Allison Moss
Photo: Flickr

sanitation in algeriaAlgeria is a former French colony in North Africa. Libya, Tunisia Niger are on its western borders. Morocco, Marius and Mali are on its eastern borders. About half of the population lives in urban areas concentrated near the Mediterranean sea. Algeria is a member of OPEC and the Arab Maghreb Union, a regional organization. During the 1990s, the country experienced a civil war between Islamist terrorist groups and the Algerian army. While the army’s victory ensured greater stability, Algeria continues to face challenges such as sanitation. Here are ten facts about sanitation in Algeria.

10 Facts about Sanitation in Algeria

  1. Diseases: Poor sanitary conditions place Algerians at-risk for diseases. In 2018, Algeria experienced a cholera outbreak with 217 cases. The cases were concentrated in Algiers, the capital. Government responses included testing the water supply daily for pathogens and requesting 5,000 diagnostic tests from the WHO. By way of comparison, cholera has been virtually eradicated in the United States with most cases in the U.S. originating from international travel.
  2. Rural-Urban Divide: Urban Algerians are more likely to have greater access to sanitation than rural Algerians. Three percent more rural Algerians do not have access to basic sanitation (i.e sewers, latrines and septic tanks) than urban Algerians. This rural-urban divide continues when comparing lower classes. Algeria’s urban poor experience 10% more sanitation coverage than their rural counterparts. To help address the challenges associated with rural sanitation, the African Development Bank established the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative in 2003.

  3. Hand Washing: While the majority of Algerians are able to practice proper hygiene by washing their hands, disparities exist among rural and urban communities. Currently, 83% of Algerians are able to wash their hands. This is slightly higher than what is typical in the region. However, there is a 14% gap between rural and urban Algerians; only 73% of rural Algerians are able to do so.

  4. Recent Improvements: Over the last decade, rural Algerians have gained greater basic sanitation. From 2000 to 2017, basic sanitation coverage increased by approximately 10%.  Today about 70% of Algerians have access to basic sanitation.  This is relatively high for the region as an average of only 50.2% of individuals have this service region-wide.

  5. Access to Toilets: Similarly, the number of rural Algerians openly defecating has substantially decreased.  From 2000 to 2017, this percentage decreased by 12.5%. Today only about 3% of Algerians experience this level of deprivation. This is substantially lower than the regional percentage of 10% of rural individuals.

  6. Rural Sewers: Disadvantaged Algerians have increased access to better sanitary facilities. Since 2000, approximately 14% more poor Algerians gained access to sewers. Notably, this positive trend is true of rural Algerians. Since 2000, 17% more rural Algerians gained access to sewers. Today about 60% of this demographic has sewers.

  7. Regional Access to Sanitation: As a whole, more Algerians have better sanitation facilities. In the last decade, sewer availability has increased by about 14%. Today, about 83% of all Algerians use sewers. This percentage is higher than the regional percent of 58%.

  8. Drinking Water: In 2000, few Algerians had access to quality drinking water facilities. The majority of Algerians gain drinking water from pipe-improved water. Notably, this is true for both rural and urban Algerians. To address this issue, the Algerian government established L’Algérienne Des Eaux (ADE), a public company, in 2001. To further remedy this problem, the Algerian government established a program to create more extensive water pipelines to Médéa, a city in Northern Algeria.

  9. Students: Most Algerian students have access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water. Currently, 98% of Algeria’s primary students have basic sanitation; 87% have safe drinking water. This is a remarkable achievement as regionally only about 8o% of all students have basic sanitation and 74% have safe drinking water.

  10. Drinking Water Improvements: Most Algerians have access to safe drinking water. 93% of Algerians have basic access to drinking water. This is true of both urban and rural areas with only a 7% gap between the two categories.

These ten facts about sanitation in Algeria reveal that Algeria has overcome substantial challenges.  While most Algerians have access to some level of sanitation, drinking water and hygiene, there remains a higher risk for waste-related illnesses such as cholera. Furthermore, while there remains a persistent gap between its rural and urban citizens, the country’s overall coverage and sanitary facilities have improved since 2000. With sustained effort by the Algerian government and the African Development Bank, Algeria can overcome the remaining obstacles to better public health.

– Kaihua Tymon Zhou
Photo: Wikimedia

covid-19 in Algeria
Algeria, a North African country bordering Morocco and Mali, has faced new obstacles from the rapid spread of COVID-19. With one of the highest infected rates in Africa with more than 5,000 cases confirmed, authorities have advised citizens to limit their social interactions. Under these unprecedented times, there are several efforts to combat the spread and promote the well-being of Algeria’s citizens.

The Problem

As stated above, Algeria is facing hardships due to the increased death toll that COVID-19 has left behind. In response, the government has implemented a conditional lockdown where it has modified curfew in order to halt the spread of the virus. However, many have met the increased safety measures with concerns. Because an increasing number of individuals of Arabic descent dominate Algeria, conflicts have arisen in regard to Ramadan, a period of fasting.

One of Algeria’s most prominent politicians, Noureddine Boukrouh, has called for canceling fasting as it “poses a health risk and contributes to the outbreak of COVID-19.” People have met his statements with controversy, yet the country has made no formal precautions.

Algeria is beginning to impose restrictions on sanctuaries as well. For example, authorities have begun closing Mosques, leading followers of Islamic traditions to face difficulty balancing the risk of COVID-19 infections against the weight of religious traditions.

Amidst the controversies, the Algerian government is also having trouble aiding its citizens. With Algeria’s economy being heavily dependent on oil, the sudden price reductions from COVID-19 have hurt the nation. Algeria is now under a reduced budget, meaning that it cannot prioritize its citizens.

As a result, citizens of Algeria have seen food shortages as well as a lack of medical equipment. From Algeria’s budgeting issues, individuals who have the virus are also having trouble in hospitals due to inadequate conditions.

Road to Change

Despite the increased death toll and speculations surrounding the Algerian government, the conditional lockdown has seen positive results. By limiting social interactions, the nation has seen more than 2,000 individuals recovering, leading Algeria’s citizens to become more optimistic about the future.

In addition to the efforts combatting COVID-19, Algeria has received great aid from countries and organizations. Most notably, Chief Mark Lowcock, the U.N. Humanitarian Chief, donated $15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund.

Another notable contribution was from China; it sent a 13-member Chinese medical team and equipment, worth around $450,000. This team is distributing masks and protective clothing all across Algeria so that citizens could protect themselves better.

Before these contributions, Algeria suffered a shortage of equipment and staffing. Patients in hospitals could not receive treatment effectively and the general public lacked access to goods to protect themselves. Without this aid, Algeria would have seen a dramatic increase in deaths due to its lack of technology and manpower for COVID-19.

To further accelerate this growth, protests by the Hirak that began in late March 2020 are ongoing. The protests have been an attempt to motivate the government to focus on improving conditions. The Hirak is a group of Algerian citizens who have the goal of bringing change to the government’s acts of ignoring the public. Along with the aid from large organizations and countries such as UNICEF and China, the wide distribution of hand sanitization stations and testing kits are continuing.

Volunteer Help

Volunteer doctors have also taken the stage in Algeria. Large teams have established COVID-19 hotlines, and shortly after establishment, they have reached more than 46,000 people. These hotlines provide verbal assistance to patients as well as education to citizens regarding the harsh effects of COVID-19. Algerians battling the virus utilize these hotlines to immediately get aid from doctors.

In addition, volunteers have made strides to assist the majority of the provinces in Algeria; more than 48 have an infectious disease center. Through these newly established centers, volunteers have been able to reach out to thousands of Algerians while pairing patients with doctors.

The Future

Algeria is currently on the road towards improvement. By increasing the number of testing kits, medical equipment and volunteers, the number of recovered patients has grown tremendously.

However, it is evident that Algeria’s government must take the initiative to aid citizens in need. Through fostering the abilities of volunteers and continuing to improve the qualities in hospitals, Algeria has the potential to fully combat COVID-19 while looking out for the well-being of its citizens.

Aditya Padmaraj
Photo: Pixabay

10 Facts About Hunger in Algeria
Located in Western Sahara, Algeria is one of the largest countries in the world. Home to around 40 million people, the French-speaking nation continues to grow in population. The Algerian economy centers around oil exports and that oil has allowed the Algerian economy to become one of the biggest in Africa. Despite this, many Algerians struggle to put food on the table and the main problem lies with the poorest people in the country. The unemployed and Sahrawi refugees struggle to maintain a healthy diet due to a lack of affordable and nutritious food. Here are 10 facts about hunger in Algeria.

10 Facts About Hunger in Algeria

  1. Only 17 percent of Algerian land is used for agriculture. The Sahara desert covers a large amount of Algeria. As a result, Algeria is unable to produce enough food for its people which forces it to import a lot of its food.
  2. Food products and vegetables make up 16.5 percent of Algerian imports. At first glance, 16.5 percent may not seem like a large amount, however, Algerian vegetables and food products make up only one percent of its exports. When a country is importing more food than it can produce, prices tend to be higher for its people.
  3. Almost 90 percent of Sahrawi refugees are food insecure or at risk of food insecurity. There are approximately 90,000 to 165,000 Sahrawi refugees in Algeria. The refugees are Western Saharans that the Western Saharan War in 1975 displaced. For almost 45 years, the refugees have been living in harsh desert environments with limited access to economic opportunity.
  4. Forty-five percent of Sahrawi women of childbearing age and 39 percent of children under five are anemic. Anemia in pregnant women can cause complications with the fetus and mother. Similarly, anemia in young children can cause serious health problems and hurt their growth.
  5. The World Food Program gives 125,000 food rations each month at Sahrawi refugee camps. The WFP also created nutrition centers to fight anemia and stunting in children. It also distributes thousands of school meals to refugee children to keep them in school.
  6. Algeria ranks 39th out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index. With a score of only 9.4, Algeria boasts a low level of hunger. Over the past few years, Algeria moved up two spots in the rankings.
  7. The prevalence of stunting in children under five years has reduced by half since the year 2000. At the turn of the century, almost a quarter of Algerian children under five had their growth stunted due to malnutrition. Now, only around 11 percent of children have problems with their growth due to malnutrition.
  8. The proportion of undernourished in Algeria is now under five percent. Twenty years ago, 10 percent of Algerians were undernourished. Currently, that number has dropped to 4.7 percent.
  9. Algeria’s infant mortality rate is at 20.6. Back in 1990, the mortality rate was over 40. Today, better support for infants and easier access to nutritious foods for Algerians has cut that number in half.
  10. Since the year 1990, Algeria’s life expectancy has grown by 10 years. Algeria’s current life expectancy is at 76 years. This is three years higher than the rest of North Africa. In 1990, Algeria had around the same life expectancy as its North African neighbors but Algeria has surpassed them.

These 10 facts about hunger in Algeria illustrate that hunger is a problem that the country may overlook. At first glance, the country may appear to be doing well, however, the most impoverished Algerians suffer greatly from food insecurity. Thankfully, the country as a whole is making progress in combating this difficult problem which means that there is hope that Algeria will one day eliminate hunger.

– Gaurav Shetty
Photo: Flickr

Top 10Facts about Living Conditions in Algeria
Algeria is the biggest country in Africa and one of the richest in terms of natural resources. The county’s complex history has forged a diverse and vibrant culture. Ever since gaining its independence from France in 1962, the government of the country has fought to improve life for its citizens by rebuilding the economy and improving the political climate. But what is life really like in the country? The article below answers this question by providing the top 10 facts about living conditions in Algeria.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Algeria

  1. From 2000 to 2016, unemployment in Algeria dropped drastically, from 29.8 to 10.2 percent in 2016. In 2017, the unemployment rate went back up to 11.7 percent. This is due in part to a decline of worldwide oil prices and its adverse consequences on the Algerian economy. In general, unemployment remains more prevalent among women and younger populations.
  2. Algeria cut poverty by 20 percent in the past two decades. This victory comes as a result of a booming economy and effective social policies. Nonetheless, 35 percent of the total population still lives below the poverty line. Around 170,000 people or about 0.5 percent of Algerians, are considered to be in extreme poverty. In addition, 10 percent of the population is at risk of slipping back into poverty.
  3. More than four-fifths of Algeria is covered by the Saharan desert, rendering water a scarce commodity. Nonetheless, 83.6 percent of the population has improved access to a clean water source. In urban areas, access to clean areas is even higher, reaching 84.3 percent, compared to 81.8 percent in rural areas.
  4. The Algerian government boasts a system of universal health care, allocating 7.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to health expenditures in 2014. However, rural areas continue to suffer from inadequate access to quality health care facilities. As of 2009, there were 1.2 physicians for every 1,000 people, a considerably low ratio. To combat this, Algeria plans to introduce 172 public hospitals and 377 private clinics within the coming decade.
  5. Algeria’s economy depends greatly on its hydrocarbon revenue. The country has the 10th largest reserves of natural gas on the planet. The oil sector accounts for 30 percent of GDP and 95 percent of earnings through export. These exports help Algeria keep external debt low and maintain a healthy economy. Recently, the decline of oil prices has forced the government to cut funding of public subsidies and provoked an increase in taxes on some imported goods.
  6. Agriculture is a strong contributor to Algeria’s national economy, boasting 20 percent of the labor force and 10 percent of GDP. Nonetheless, arable land (useful agricultural area) is scarce with only 8.7 million hectares available for use, or just under 3 percent of the total surface area. Sustainable development is threatened greatly by water scarcity. This has serious repercussions on Algeria’s food import dependency, rendering food security unstable.
  7. Huge disparities in wealth exist among Algeria’s rich and poor. A small minority control 42.6 percent of the country’s wealth, benefiting from quality health care and education. The impoverished 20 percent of the population control 7 percent of the wealth, struggling daily to provide food and clean water for themselves and their families.
  8. There are 2.66 children per woman in Algeria today on average, compared to seven children per woman in 1970. The drop in fertility rates is contributed mainly to women’s rising age at first marriage and education. Algeria’s current population is an estimated 40.5 million people.
  9. The Algerian government allocates 4.3 percent of its GDP to education. The overall literacy rate is 79.6 percent, as 86.1 percent of males and 73.9 percent of females are able to read and write. Family revenue plays a monumental role in access to quality education, meaning only a few have resources for private and international schools.
  10. Algerians have a strained relationship with their government, a result of poor management and corruption. In the past, this has been the cause of protests and clashes between police forces and Algerian citizens. Despite this, the government continues prioritizing its resources for enacting policies to improve living conditions. This includes developing regional security, unemployment, poverty and the economy.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Algeria detail the nation’s complex political climate and social issues. However, a desire to move toward a more positive future is evident in governmental decisions to enact policies for change. Investments into the health and education sectors, as well as drastic improvements in unemployment rates, are clear steps that the country is heading in the right direction.

– Natalie Abdou
Photo: Flickr

Facts About Poverty in Algeria
Despite its rich oil resources, Algeria faces long-term challenges from a lack of diversity in the economy, a relatively high unemployment rate — especially among youth and women — and regional inequalities. These 10 facts about poverty in Algeria will recount the recent ups and downs of the upper middle income country.

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Algeria

  1. According to a World Bank estimation published this year, unemployment rate in Algeria has been on the rise  from 10.5 percent in September 2016 to 11.7 percent in September 2017. Unemployment among women and youth is disproportionately high: the first half of 2016 saw a 16.6 percent female unemployment rate and a 29.9 percent for young people.
  2. Even though official data given in 2011 reported a 5.5 percent poverty rate with a 0.5 percent extreme poverty rate, about one tenth of the population are thought to be susceptible to re-entering poverty. Other sources, however, report much higher rates in more recent years. Al Jazeera, the state-funded broadcaster in Doha, Qatar, wrote in April 2014 that the country has a 23 percent poverty rate.
  3. Regional differences in poverty are significant in Algeria. The World Bank points out that poverty level is the national average doubled for people residing in Sahara, and tripled for people of the Steppe.
  4. Algeria has high economic inequality; the consumption rates of the rich and poor are separated by as much as 27.7 percent.
  5. According to the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, the country has 400,000 children drop out of schools annually. Rural areas bear most of these dropouts due to poverty and poor maintenance of local schools.
  6. The Algerian currency has been devalued throughout the past five decades, from 4.94 dinars per U.S. dollar in 1970, to 116 dinars per U.S. dollar in May of this year. This discrepancy exists predominantly due to the government’s efforts to artificially lower its budget deficit and keep up oil taxes. At the same time, the government is heavily subsidising imports to make them more affordable, which ultimately increases the country’s dependency on imports as the country should be striving to construct a productive economy to provide employment opportunities.
  7. Algeria is extremely dependent on its oil resources for economic growth. The hydrocarbonic sector makes up 95 percent of Algeria’s exports, occupying 60 percent of the governmental budget. This area of production doubled the state’s fiscal deficit in 2015, as oil prices plummeted and affected the already unprivileged.
  8. Medical care is limited due to low population density and poverty in rural areas. Thus, some regions in Nigeria still face high maternal and under-five mortality rates.
  9. The government of Algeria has been criticized for corruption, especially in areas of infrastructure construction and oil. A national commission was enacted to battle such corruption in 2006, but not until four years later did seven members get appointed. In 2012, 2,000 cases of corruption were under investigation, but rarely resulted in convictions.
  10. Algeria faces potential instability if oil prices remain low. People, especially the youth in Algeria, are discontent with the government, believing that the government has no concern for its citizens. Some are also concerned that another “Black Decade,” referring to the country’s civil war in the 1990s, lies ahead.

A New Direction

Algeria is in need of economic transformations, and has to figure out how to address its low domestic productivity effectively. An economic blueprint that is more community-based and under public supervision should be adopted in place of the currently stagnating attempts at adjustment.

– Feng Ye

Photo: Flickr