Algeria is divided into 48 administrative districts (Wilayas). The names of the Wilayas are based on the capital cities. In the densely populated north, the Wilaya names are often almost identical to the city limits, in the sparsely populated south, on the other hand, the area of the Wilayas is much larger and the population smaller.
Historically, the Wilayas go back to the French departments. The head of government is known as a wali.
The vast majority of Algeria’s cities are located in the country’s coastal areas. Almost 65% of the population live in the coastal cities on 4% of the national territory. The trend towards urbanization is very strong, the urbanization quota fluctuates depending on the reference year, but is now likely to be around 70%, also because the country was partially depopulated during the civil war in the 1990’s and an opposing trend has not yet been visible. In the metropolises and in their surroundings there is crowdedness, housing shortage and employment poverty. The capital Algiers and its suburbs have over 3 million residents; other important cities are Oran, Batna, Setif, Annaba and Constantine.
The railway network of the state-owned company SNTF covers about 3600 km, is partly in good condition and allows comfortable journeys. However, there are only connections within the populous north. In addition, the well-developed motorway network is heavily used, which is, however, heavily overloaded in the large urban centers and cannot keep up with the increase in the number of automobiles.
Buses of different price and comfort levels are used within the metropolitan areas; Since October 31, 2011 there is also a subway in Algiers (one line in the first expansion stage, more are to follow). Due to the extreme slope of Algiers and the rockiness of the soil, larger inner-city transport projects are technically very demanding.
There are currently over 30 airports, some of which are reserved for military use. Although no passenger numbers are available, the huge distances within the country cannot be bridged in any other way.
According to historyaah, the majority of foreign trade and passenger traffic with foreign countries is handled via the 9 seaports; State and private ferries are available in Algiers, Oran and other cities, connecting Algeria primarily with France and Spain.
Social classes and strata
In contrast to Tunisia, there is no broad, economically independent and politically self-confident middle class in Algeria, but a diffuse, difficult-to-understand group of beneficiaries of the current confusion. The “upper class” consists of the former independence fighters (“Moudjahedine”) or clans who, after the victory in the war of liberation, acquired key positions in the state, economy and society.
- The army sees itself as the guardian of Algerian sovereignty and claims to have not only liberated the country from French colonial rule, but also saved it from the threat posed by the Islamist takeover.
- the state bureaucracy was built up in the Boumedienne era by the former unity party FLN and provided its members with lucrative posts and positions. A large number of bureaucratic rules, regulations and laws ensure that unpleasant initiatives can be blocked at any time with reference to the principle of legality.
- In the Algerian economy, firms were originally state owned and as part of the state bureaucracy they were state controlled; Management positions were not awarded on the basis of performance, but on the basis of relationships, loyalty and belonging to the strata that supported the regime and the state.
This network of dependencies and relationships has survived to this day and represents the greatest pillar of the regime and the Algerian upper class, supplemented by elements that rose from the Islamist camp to the establishment after the civil war. Privileges, items, import and export licenses are allocated or withdrawn within this “warehouse”.
In contrast, there is the traditional Kabyle upper class, which has inevitably come to terms with the regime, but as an “autochthonous aristocracy” is in a tense relationship with it. Its figurehead is the industrialist Issad Rabrab, the president of the agro-industrial group CEVITAL and other Algerian companies, representative of the private sector, who points out that Algeria will face even more enormous labor market problems than it is currently in view of a population of 50 million expected in 2025. CEVITAL is the second largest company in Algeria after Sonatrach, The state company for oil and gas business (similar to the Russian GASPROM), a non-transparent structure that the smell of corruption seems to be surrounded..