Food prices are skyrocketing in Algeria, where consumers say cooking oil and milk are so scarce that traders have to be coaxed to get them.
Potatoes today are 30% more expensive than a few months ago, and long queues for milk mean people line up before sunrise to get some for their families.
Algeria produces milk, but only in small quantities. For years, it has therefore depended on imports from France, other EU countries and, more recently, the United Arab Emirates, usually in the form of a powder which is liquefied in local factories before reaching the consumers.
But what bothers Algerians the most is cooking oil. Like milk, it is subsidized by the state, but even before the current crisis, the oil was already expensive – a five-liter bottle will set you back at least 600 dinars ($4.20).
Compared to the average monthly salaries in Algeria, which amount to 240 dollars (141,859 F CFA) for workers in the private sector and 410 dollars (242,342 F CFA) for those in the public sector, it is not surprising that the pressure on the authorities has increased a notch.
Three-quarters of the population are under 37 and the unemployment rate has reached 11%, with most unemployed university graduates.