Algeria Economy in the 1970’s

At the beginning of the Eighties the Algeria it has come to a better definition of the long borders inherited from the colonial period by signing demarcation agreements with Niger, Tunisia, Mali and Mauritania. In 1976 the new constitution reaffirmed the option for a socialism heavily influenced by Islamic doctrine and third-world princes. Ten years later, a constitutional revision granted less narrow margins to private initiative. The pivotal role of the institutions belongs to the National Liberation Front (FLN), which designates the single candidate for the presidency and numerous permanent representatives in the National Assembly (formed – in the 1987 elections – by 295 members). In December 1983 the basic administrative districts (wilāyāt) were increased from 31 to 48.

Population. – The census population in 1977 was 16,948,000 residents, which became 22,971,558 according to the data of the subsequent survey (1987). To these must be added the Algerians residing abroad: more than a million, for the 4/5 concentrated in France. The rate of increase of the population remains around 3.3% per year, although there was a slight contraction in the birth rate between the beginning and the end of the 1970s (from 48.8 to 47%). The share of young people is therefore very high: 60% of Algerians would be under the age of 19, with enormous problems in education and professional training. However, a massive effort in the educational field has made it possible to bring the general level of illiteracy below 60%.

The rural component of the population is still close to 56%, but between 1966 and 1980 the residents of urban centers more than doubled due to an internal migratory flow of the order of at least 100,000 people a year. While in the mid-1960s the centers with over 100,000 residents there were only 5, according to the cens. in 1987 these were already 17. Algiers (with about 1,700,000 residents) continues to dominate the urban hierarchy, but also Oran (598.525), Constantina (449.602) and Annaba (227.795) now have considerable dimensions and functions, while many smaller towns denounce burning growth rates (eg Tizi-Ouzou). Rapid urbanization has generated serious territorial imbalances and a strong housing crisis, requiring substantial interventions in civil infrastructures and social housing: these items alone absorb 30% of the investments envisaged in the 1985-89 plan, which aimed at building 150,000 new dwellings (mostly for self-construction or with extensive use of prefabricated buildings). A substantial contribution to the transformation of the settlement also derives from the setting up of ‘socialist villages’ (more than 300 already completed) in the areas of agrarian reform.

Economic conditions. – While the first two four-year plans launched in the 1970s emphasized heavy industry and related infrastructure, increased food needs and shortages in the consumer goods sector led Algerian leaders to pay more attention to agriculture and to light industry. Thus, the two five-year plans activated since 1980 have allocated more resources to hydraulic works, irrigation networks, the food industries and the clothing and footwear sector. For Algeria business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.

The agricultural sector has expelled many workers: according to recent estimates (1988) it represents less than 25% in terms of employment (compared to 56% in 1970) and provides just 12% of the gross product. 1973 marked the start of the second phase of the ‘agrarian revolution’, with the attribution of 650,000 ha to 60,000 laborers, subtracted from large absentee ownership. The self-managed sector (with 6,000 cooperatives) has achieved good results: with 135,000 permanent employees and 100,000 seasonal workers, it has managed to guarantee approximately 1/3 of the entire agricultural production. Most of the irrigation perimeters (300,000 ha) fall within its scope, fed by 22 artificial reservoirs. Overall, however, the margins for improvement in Algerian agriculture remain limited: to the hostility of natural environment are added the shortcomings in terms of distribution and storage of products and, above all, the archaic structures, pronounced aging and resistance to the new that characterize the peasant world. The vineyard, once the most profitable of the crops, has been to a large extent reconverted to a governmental address for cereals or fodder. Wine production thus fell below 2 million hl (1 in 1988); moreover, the quality has been improved to favor exports. Cereals dominate over half of the 7,500,000 hectares that can be cultivated, but yields are scarce and are greatly affected by climatic variations. Wheat yields between 10 and 22 million q (11.5 in 1988), while barley production varies from 5 to 13 million q. Among citrus fruits, grown on 45,000 ha, mandarins and clementines feed a good flow of exports. For dates (1.8 million q) the Algeria it always occupies the first place in the world, but consumption remains above all internal. The investments made in the zootechnical field, which in the 1980s served as the fulcrum of the third phase of the ‘agrarian revolution’, made it possible to double in a decade the herd of cattle (1.41 million head in 1989) and sheep (12, 5 million head, according to the FAO estimate). However, there is still a marked shortage of supplies of meat, milk and eggs. Fishing, although it is making significant progress, did not exceed 70,258 tonnes of product (1987). The investments made in the zootechnical field, which in the 1980s served as the fulcrum of the third phase of the ‘agrarian revolution’, made it possible to double in a decade the herd of cattle (1.41 million head in 1989) and sheep (12, 5 million head, according to the FAO estimate). However, there is still a marked shortage of supplies of meat, milk and eggs. Fishing, although it is making significant progress, did not exceed 70,258 tonnes of product (1987). The investments made in the zootechnical field, which in the Eighties served as the fulcrum of the third phase of the ‘agrarian revolution’, have made it possible to double in a decade the herd of cattle (1.41 million head in 1989) and sheep (12, 5 million head, according to the FAO estimate). However, there is still a marked shortage of supplies of meat, milk and eggs. Fishing, which also recorded significant progress, did not exceed 70,258 tonnes of product (1987).

The resources allocated to agriculture have grown to 14% of the investments envisaged by the last plan. Courageous initiatives are underway: to satisfy the thirst of the fields (and of the cities), with a program that includes 50 new dams; to block the advance of the desert, with a ‘green barrier’ of pines and cypresses, planted for over 1500 km along the Saharan margin; to increase the available proteins, encouraging the breeding of poultry and the production of eggs. But the agricultural sector appears increasingly in deficit, managing by now to cover less than 1/3 of food needs (coverage was still 73% in 1969). And on this front there are very serious flaws in the area of ​​social consensus (with recurring ‘bread riots’ in the cities) and in the objectives of economic autonomy,

A serious crisis has hit the economy of the Algeria at the beginning of the Eighties due to the collapse in the prices of hydrocarbons, which represent 60% of the national product and 98% of exports. While the annual oil extraction was contracted to around 30 million tons, attempts were made to recover revenues by increasing sales of refined products: the plants installed in Hassi Messaoud, Skikda and Arzew are now able to process 23 million tons of oil. year. The aim was also to increase sales of natural gas, liquefied at the Skikda and Arzew terminals or sent directly to Italy through the Transmed gas pipeline (active since 1983), which crosses Tunisia and Sicily. Gas exports exceeded 21 billion m 3 in 1986. The iron ore deposits (especially that of Ouenza) feed, with 2 million t of products in 1986, the flow of sales abroad and the steel mill of al-Ḥaǧar, capable of 400,000 t / y. A further expansion of the steel industry is planned, with the expansion of al-Ḥaǧar and with new plants in Jijel and La Macta. THERE. it also aims to resolve the Western Sahara dispute in order to draw on the rich iron reserves of the Gara Gebilet, located close to the territories claimed by Morocco. After a period of decline, the extraction of zinc (22,000 t in 1985) and lead (3200 t) in the mines of el-Abed and Khirrat Yūsuf has resumed. From the Gebel Onk fields comes an increasing production of phosphates (about 1 million tonnes), shared between the Annaba fertilizer factory and exports. The constant efforts to strengthen the industrial apparatus are now colliding with the shortage of qualified personnel and with the cut in oil revenues. Therefore, many projects of joint-ventures with foreign capital (for the production of cars, tires and various consumer goods) and initiatives for territorial reorganization, which envisage new industrial perimeters in the internal region of the Hauts-Plateaux. For now, the bulk of the industries remain concentrated along the coast: here, along with the petrochemicals and iron and steel industries, there are factories of tractors (Constantina), industrial vehicles (Rouiba), motorcycles (Guelma), and textile and food plants in expansion. Production of cement is growing (over 6 million tonnes in 1986) and of construction materials to cope with the intense construction activity which engages 670,000 workers against 595,000 in the mining and manufacturing sectors.

A considerable amount of investment was devoted to modernizing the transport network. The objective of doubling the 3,900 km of railway lines is based above all on the new section intended to cross the Hauts-Plateaux from east to west to facilitate their economic take-off. At the head of the port movement are now the oil ports of Arzew (32.4 million t in 1988) and Béjaïa (6 million t); Algiers and Annaba (6 million tonnes each) see incoming goods prevail. Foreign trade was dominated in the past by relations with France; but today other partners are making their way too, like Italy and Japan, which in 1985 bought hydrocarbons worth over $ 2 billion. Moreover, the largest share (about a quarter) of imports continues to come from France, which – alongside semi-finished and finished industrial products – see an increasing weight of supplies of cereals (15-20 million tons per year), milk, sugar. and oils. The trade balance has for some time been showing an alternation of credit and debit balances. Remittances from emigrants remain substantial, while the foreign debt expands in a worrying way, the interests of which alone now confiscate almost half of the oil income.

Algeria Economy in the 1970's

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