Expats moving to Algeria will find themselves in a fascinating and untouched North African gem. While not a high-profile expat destination, it does attract those with experience in the oil and gas sectors. Others are drawn to job opportunities in the finance, education and foreign aid sectors.
Although Algeria is an African and Arabic country, there is also a distinct French influence, thanks to its colonial past. This can especially be seen in the language and architecture. But while major cities like Algiers and Oran are quite liberal on the surface, social and religious conservatism are deeply entrenched and expats should always show respect for the local customs and traditions.
Expats will have access to public healthcare in Algeria. However, the public system is largely underfunded. It's essential that expats have comprehensive private health insurance to cover the costs of private medical care, including cover for evacuation to a nearby country with better health provision. With an education system based on the French system and classes taught in Arabic and French, expats mostly send their children to international schools, of which there are a handful to choose from in Algiers and Oran.
Security is a significant issue in some parts of Algeria, mostly in the oil-producing regions and the southern Saharan areas. Certain parts of the country are not considered safe to visit, notably, the border areas in the south and with Tunisia, and numerous governments advise their nationals against travel to these areas.
Population: Over 41 miillion
Capital: Algiers (also largest city)
Neighbouring countries: Algeria is bordered by Tunisia to the northeast, Libya to the east, Morocco to the west, the Western Sahara, Mauritania and Mali to the southwest, and Niger to the southeast. The north of Algeria is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.
Geography: Algeria is the largest country in Africa by land mass and is covered mostly by the Sahara Desert. The Atlas Mountains sit to the north, with the highest point being Mount Tahat. The country enjoys a vast coastline along the Mediterranean Sea.
Political system: Unitary semi-presidential people’s republic
Major languages: Arabic is the official language. Berber and French are also widely spoken.
Major religion: Sunni Islam
Money: The Dinar (DZD) is the official currency.
Time zone: GMT+1
Electricity: 230v 50hz. Algeria uses the European plug, type C.
International dialing code: +213
Internet domain: .dz
Emergency number: 112 from a mobile.
Transport and driving: Cars in Algeria drive on the right. Taxis are plentiful in main cities, but expats will likely need their own vehicle for getting around, especially if travelling to more remote areas.