I am not sure math whizzes will be able to figure out the connections between them, but Algeria made the headlines, in a way, with these three numbers over the past few days.
1: With the official announcement of South-Sudan’s independence, Algeria becomes the largest country, by area, in Africa. This little factoid was mostly noticed by Algerian media, and probably the writers at Jeopardy! As could be expected, Wikipedia folks have already updated the relevant page.
8: This is Algeria’s ranking in the world of weapons importers according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Algerian websites reported, incorrectly it seems, that Algeria was 9th in this category. Incidentally, Algeria lost 3 spots in the ranking compared to 2009. Interest in this was triggered by the announcement of a $14 billion deal with German weapon manufacturers.
125: The INSEAD ranked Algeria dead last (out of 125 countries) in its latest “Global Innovation Index“. While Algeria’s numbers were low in most of the categories making up this index, it is in the science and creative outputs that it scored the lowest.
One could probably quibble over the true significance of these numbers, but taken together they encapsulate quite well the tragedy Algeria is going through today. A vast country that squanders its enormous resources in the pursuit of dubious goals neglecting the things that matter the most. Probably most telling is this partial ranking of countries of the Middle-East & North Africa region in terms of Research & Development.