Algeria invests in tourism, the ‘locomotive of Sahara’
Algeria seeks to develop tourism in the Sahara to re-launch an ailing economic sector.
Tourism was badly hit by the black decade of terrorism in the 1990s and is now heavily threatened by Islamic extremists and groups close to al Qaeda.
Nevertheless, the Algerian government wants to make a fresh start by investing in this unique desert. ‘The locomotive of the entire tourism sector in Algeria is the Sahara’, Algerian Tourism Minister Mohamed Benmeradi told ANSAmed. ‘This is a place no other country in the world can boast and has great potential for growth’.
The government wants to build up a tourism industry by investing in this area of the country to boost an economy which still relies mainly on hydrocarbons. This choice has been made in spite of the fact that neighbouring countries like Mauritania, Libya, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad have seen the mobilization of jihadist groups with the fall of the regime in Libya and the conflict in Mali.
‘It is not possible at this time to give a 100% guarantee that attacks will not take place, neither in Algeria nor elsewhere in the world’, said Benmeradi. He also reiterated a message stressed by Algerian authorities which some western countries do not believe: ‘The state has won over terrorism’.
In Sahara, he said, ‘we need hotels, in particular with two and three stars, to develop new tourism packages, and Algeria offers many other opportunities which still need to be discovered and exploited in terms of investments’.
A plan considered to attract tourists in the area is an itinerary, almost 2.000-km-long unifying fortifications built by French colonists from El Golea until Fort Lami, in Chad, said Benmeradi, a former investments minister. There are 100 ‘and we are considering how to exploit this heritage which is currently abandoned and owned by the military’, he said.
Also being considered for investments and to attract foreign capitals are the ‘approximately 1500 km of virgin coast to be developed near Roman archaeological sites where investments can be made in hotels and to make the area more welcome to visitors’.
Many projects have already turned the country in a real construction site, said the minister. ‘There are some 750 projects for a total value of 2,5 billion euros sponsored by the private sector and slated to create 45,000 sleeping accommodations by 2015’. By the end of 2013 in Algiers alone 1,200 luxury accommodations will be available.
Qatar JV inks $2bn Algeria steel plant deal
Qatar International, a joint venture by Qatar Steel and Qatar Mining, secured a deal to build, own and operate a $2bn steel plant in Algeria, state media said, which would help the country meet domestic demand and cut imports.
Qatar International will hold 49 percent and Algerian state firm Sider 51 percent in the plant, which will start production from 2017 with an initial capacity of 2 million tonnes per year and increase to 5 million tonnes over time.
Qatar Steel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Industries Qatar.
The agreement was ratified on Wednesday in Algiers in the presence of Qatar’s Economy and Finance Minister Youssef Hussain Kamal and the Algerian Industry and Investment Promotion Minister Cherif Rahmani, state radio said on Thursday.
“This project will provide an industrial base in our country,” the official APS news agency quoted Rahmani as saying.
The final agreement will be signed in the first half of next month during a visit by Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, state radio reported.
The construction of the plant, in the Jijel province in eastern Algeria, is due to start in 2013.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is so far the only steel producer in Algeria, with a 70 percent stake in a plant in the eastern town of Annaba. Sider holds the remaining 49 percent.
The Annaba plant produces around 1 million tonnes of flat and long steel, much less than domestic demand, forcing Algeria to spend about $10bn on steel imports, according to official figures.
Algeria’s trade surplus exceeded US$27 bn in 2012
Algeria’s trade balance recorded a surplus of US$27.18 billion in 2012, against US$26.24 in 2011, i.e. up by nearly 3.6 percent, Algerian Customs told APS Sunday
“The slight increase in trade surplus in Algeria is mainly due to the “relative stability” of import-export flows during 2012, said the Customs’ National Centre of Data Processing and Statistics (CNIS).
Exports hit US$73.98 bn in 2012, against US$73.48 bn a year earlier, up by only 0.67 percent, while imports totalled US$46.80 bn, against US$47.24 bn in 2011, down 0.94 percent, according to provisional figures provided by CNIS.
Hydrocarbon exports continued to represent the bulk of Algeria’s sales abroad with over 97 percent of the overall value, moving from US$71.79 bn in 2012 to US$71.42 bn in 2011, up by only 0.51 percent, the source said.
The non-oil exports remained marginal with only 2.96 percent of the overall value (US$2.18 bn), despite an over 6 percent rise compared to 2011.
They are mainly made up of semi-finished products with US$1.66 bn, (+10.96% in 2012), foodstuffs with US$313 million (-11.78%) and raw materials with US$167 million (+3.73%), the CNIS said.
In imports, the exports of non-food consumer goods which dropped by 50 percent in 2011, showed a 6.7 percent increase, totalling US$16 million in 2012, while industrial capital goods totalled US$30 million in 2012, down by over 14 percent compared to 2011, according to CNIS.
The same downward trend was recorded in farm capital goods which amounted to US$329 million (-14.99%) and semi-finished products totalled US$10.37 billion (-2.95%), the source added.
Other groups of imported products showed an increase, the most significant was recorded in energy and lubricants with US$1.88 bn (+62.11%), unfinished products with US$1.82 bn (+2.30%), non-food consumer goods with US$9.95 bn (+35.85%), the CNIS said.
In 2012, Algeria’s major trading customers were the United States with US$11.94 bn, Italy (US$11.67bn), Spain (US$7.57bn), France (US$6.60bn) and Canada (US$5.48bn).
And its main suppliers were France with over US$6bn, China (US$5.88bn), Italy (US$4.34bn), Spain (US$4.09bn) and Germany (US$2.57bn), according to CNIS.
Source : algeriabusinessinfo.com
Dublin firm approved for Algeria gas plan
The Dublin- headquartered oil and gas exploration firm — has received formal final regulatory approval for the development of the Isarene/Ain Tsila gas field in Algeria.
The company recently increased its geographical presence to take in Black Sea assets in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and Egypt via the €210m reverse takeover of British firm, Melrose Resources.
Petroceltic holds a 56.6% stake in Ain Tsila, having sold an 18.4% stake to Italian energy giant Enel. Local exploration firm Sonatrach controls the remaining 25% of the field, viewed as being one of the biggest gas finds in the world.
The approved plan of development for the headline asset will see the production of gross reserves of 2.1 trillion cubic feet of sales gas, 67m barrels of condensate and 108m barrels of liquid petroleum gas. Development planning will begin next year, with first gas production scheduled for the third quarter of 2017.
Petroceltic is still looking at selling a further part of its stake in Ain Tsila, but no timeframe for a deal has been given. It could sell to a new partner, or to one of the two existing co-owners.
Chief executive Brian O’Cathain yesterday called the final approval “a major milestone” for the company; allowing Petroceltic and its partners to move forward to focus on implementing the development plan.
“The regulatory approval of the plan of development should also allow Petroceltic to book the reserves associated with this asset, and to finalise the outstanding financial arrangements associated with the farm-in by Enel, which was completed earlier this year,” he said.
Source : algeriabusinessinfo.com
Diversifying Algeria’s economy away from hydrocarbons
Detailed reports from both a group of business leaders and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have outlined steps Algeria can take to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons. Indeed, local policymakers and members of the private sector have long said that for Algeria to truly develop, it must aim to become less dependent on energy revenues, which remain a key contributor to the economy, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.
According to the IMF, hydrocarbons revenues in 2011 accounted for around 40% of GDP, or some $189.3bn. It came as welcome news, then, when a detailed document published by the Director’s Forum (Forum des Chefs d’Entreprises, FCE) outlined 50 key measures the government and private sector should take.
Foremost to diversification efforts is the necessity to stimulate and support investment into the economy, as well as reduce the role of the informal sector, which undermines the proper functioning of the economy, the FCE said. Other measures included simplifying and improving the business environment and reorganising the institutional structure of the economy.
Moving away from public sector spending and investing instead in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the approach favoured by the forum. The government, the FCE suggested, should provide more incentives to private sector investors. By supporting greater private sector participation in the economy, the country would be able to boost its non-oil exports.
The FCE is not alone in wanting to see greater economic diversification. In January 2012, the IMF’s article IV report on the state of the economy said Algeria “remains very dependent on hydrocarbons wealth”. It suggested improving competitiveness, the business climate and the labour market, as well as instituting more ambitious structural reforms, to increase the role of the financial services sector.
The IMF also highlighted youth and female unemployment as areas of concern, despite total unemployment decreasing over the past 10 years. Unemployment for young graduates was around 21.5% and 19% for women. To combat this issue, the IMF recommends a review and reform of existing labour laws. Greater flexibility and reducing the costs of recruitment are two further measures supported by the report.
Activity on Algeria’s stock exchange is relatively low, and the government is already seeking to address the issue via a reform programme for its capital markets. In May 2011, a $5.1m scheme – with assistance from the UN Development Programme – was introduced to look at how to improve the current regulatory structure and incentivise more firms to list on the Algiers bourse.
It is a programme the IMF supports. The fund points to a lack of depth in financial markets: “The lack of a reliable credit reporting system in Algeria, compared with other Middle East and North Africa countries, is considered to be one of the main factors hindering access to finance,” the report stated.
A more private sector-led economy would not only move the country away from an overreliance on hydrocarbon revenues, but it would also help the state increase its income and balance its budget. IMF data puts the budget deficit at -4% of GDP and projects it to rise to -6% in 2012.
Although the country’s hydrocarbons revenues have benefitted from high oil prices, if expenditure were to remain at its current level, the size of the Oil Stabilisation Fund (Fonds de Regularisation des Recettes, FRR), established in 2000 to insulate the economy from oil and gas price volatility, would begin to shrink.
Civil service pay rises and social service programmes adopted in the 2011-12 budget have also increased total government expenditure. If this level of spending continued until 2016, the FRR would drop to half its 2010 level, according to the IMF.
In both the public and private sectors, greater economic diversification is the goal. One of the ways to achieve this, identified by both Algerian private company directors and the IMF, is to increase the role of the private sector in the economy. Most importantly, an expanded and diversified economy would provide the state with greater financial stability and further reduce its vulnerability to any future oil and gas price shocks. (OBG)
Emirates International begins phase one of Dounya Park in Algiers
Emirates International Investment Company (EIIC)has recommenced work on the first phase of the USD 5.9 billion Dounya Park project in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, and expects to complete it within 18 months, an official at the Algeria National Investment Development Agency told Zawya.
The first phase includes the establishment of the green spaces, recreational areas, an international school, villas and residential buildings, the official said. The project has faced several obstacles in the past that resulted in halting construction.
The second phase will include the construction of two five-star hotels, a hospital, commercial facilities and business centers. All phases of Dounya Park are expected to be completed by 2017.
Dounya Park will be built on 1,059 hectares instead of the 630 hectares initially approved. The extension came last month via government decree. According to Zawya Projects Monitor, the project is located at the west of Algiers. It will include 12,260 apartments and 986 villas in addition to facilities such as a 200-bed hospital and a 500-room hotel. Dounya Park is expected to create about 25,000 jobs.
Algeria plans to upgrade tourism to rejuvenate national economy
Algeria intends to boost investment in the tourism sector with the aim of attracting some 3.5 million tourists per year starting in 2015, the tourism minister Mr Smail Mimoune told Echorouk, in an bid to shift the national economy away from dependence on hydrocarbons.
Though the country possesses unspoiled mountainous sites, a 1.200 km-long Mediterranean coastline and spectacular desert settings, foreign visitors did not exceed 2 million last year, according to the Tourism minister.
“The Algerian authorities have ambitious plans to revive the flagging tourism sector, aiming to scale up the accommodation capacity from 90,000 beds to 160,000 beds in three years,” Mr Smail Mimoune told Echorouk adding that an overral financial package estimated at $8 billion dollars had been earmarked by the government to this effect.
“We aim to receive 3.5 million tourists (per year) in three years and hope that income from the tourism sector hikes to $600 million in the same time-span,” he asserted.
Tourism still makes up a tiny proportion of national income for Algeria, which earned some $70 billion from oil and gas revenues last year, compared to only $400 million from tourism, according to Mr Smail Mimoune.
Algeria’s policy for the past few years has been to use its cash reserves to stimulate economic growth and job creation, through infrastructure investments, higher public sector wages, food subsidies and grants to promote small businesses.
The Algerian government plans to use a combination of private and public investment to upgrade its hotel offer – including building 70 brand-new hotels in several parts of the country – and overseas promotion of its rich cultural sites and dazzling mountain resorts to attract a regular flow of visitors and foreign tourists, Mr Smail Mimoune said.
“These plans are very realistic because the private sector in Algeria will allot $4 billion for tourism investments, including in luxury hotels, and the government has decided to invest $1 billion to upgrade existing hotels to meet the demands of modern tourists because most of the hotels in Algeria are rather old,” he added.
“We will step up promotion overseas through the media outlets and external communications to rejuvenate this important sector of activity with the aim of diversifying the national economy”, the Tourism Minister underscored.
UAE, Algeria to strengthen economic and bilateral ties
UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, leading the UAE’s delegation to Algeria, has signed the joint statement of the 10th Joint Committee Meeting between the two countries with Algerian Finance Minister Karim Joudi in the presence of senior officials from both sides.
Al Mansouri also met Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Oyehia, and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral trade relations between the UAE and Algeria, while also removing obstacles facing investment projects in the African nation.
Oyehia praised the development drive in the UAE and its distinguished position on the world map. “The UAE is strategic hub for Algeria as it is a gateway to the Middle East. We will do our best to offer UAE investors an ideal investment environment in our country,” he added.
Al Mansouri said both countries offer strong investment opportunities that should be explored.
“The meeting also focused on cooperation in the areas higher education, environment, finance, customs energy, telecommunications and industry,” he added.
Al Mansouri said that both sides formed a special committee to monitor the functioning of the UAE investments in Alegria which will contribute to the removal of investment barriers and enhance the performance of these projects at all levels. The committee held its first meeting on the sidelines of the joint committee meetings and agreed to have the second meeting in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The Joint Economic Committee meeting agreed to activate the UAE- Algeria Business Council to encourage bilateral trade and boost investments between both countries.
The Algerian side presented a proposal for a memorandum of understanding to monitor illegal competition practices and another to enhance cooperation in the domain of consumer protection and to combat commercial fraud.
Al Mansouri said: “We agreed to exchange visits and organise common commercial exhibitions and forums and to provide practical mechanisms to remove all obstacles facing trade and exchange of information on legislations and laws related to foreign trade in both the countries.” He added that the meeting highlighted the importance of developing cooperation in the financial field where it was agreed to organise special forums on finance in both countries to exchange information on the laws and legislations and investment environment.
In the energy sector, both sides discussed potential for partnerships in oil exploration and to study the possibility of forming common projects in the field of renewable energy.
Source : khaleejtimes.com
Irina Bokova in Algiers: UNESCO wants to strengthen its cooperation with Algeria
The working visit of the Director General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, Algeria from April 8 to 11, will exchange views on ways to strengthen cooperation with Algeria, the agency reported on Saturday UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on its official site.
This visit will allow Bokova, who travels for the first time since his election in Algeria at the head of Unesco in 2009, to meet members of the Government whose Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research, M . Harraoubia Rashid, National Education, Mr Boubekeur Benbouzid, and Culture Minister Khalida Toumi.
The same source, the Director General of UNESCO will visit on this occasion of World Heritage sites, including Tipasa (west of Algiers), the city is considered an ancient Punic trading conquered by Rome, and crossroads of civilizations in the Mediterranean basin. This site includes a unique set of Phoenician, Roman, early Christian and Byzantine ruins alongside indigenous monuments such as the great royal mausoleum of Mauritania (called “Tomb of the Christian”).
She will also visit the construction M’Zab Valley (Ghardaia, south of Algeria), with its simple architecture and functional, perfectly adapted to its environment and remains an inspiration for today’s urban planners.
According to Unesco, these visits are an opportunity to “highlight the potential of cultural tourism for the economic and social development in Algeria, and the interest of strengthening national capacities in this area.”
The Director General of UNESCO will deliver, also in Algiers a speech at the University of Algiers on culture theme of peace. She will participate in a discussion with professors of the university community representative on Unesco missions and international issues.
In an interview with Mr. Benbouzid the sidelines of the 36th session of UNESCO General Conference last October in Paris, Bokova had emphasized “excellence” of relations between Algeria and the UN agency , in the field of education including.
Both sides had, to that effect, mentioned, the two programs to support the education reform (PARE1-PARE2) and displayed their satisfaction with the results attained by their implementation.
Dubai contractor Drake wins $230 mln Algeria contract
Dubai contractor Drake & Scull, which has shifted its focus to other regional markets after a slowdown in the United Arab Emirates’ property sector, has won a 845 million dirham ($230 million) contract in Algeria, it said on Tuesday.
The contract was awarded to the civil contracting arm of Drake, the firm said in a statement to the Dubai bourse. No further details were given.
The company, which specialises in mechanical, engineering and plumbing operations, reported a higher fourth quarter net profit and said it was awarded projects worth 4.4 billion dirhams in 2011 compared to 3.4 billion dirhams in 2010.
Drake attributed top line growth to increased momentum in project execution and more contracts in the region.
It signed a $96-million deal in December to build a commercial development project in Riyadh. It also won a $39-million contract in Egypt for work on an ammonium nitrate plant in Ain Sukhna. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams) (Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Amran Abocar)
Algerian-British Trade Volume Increases By 96% In A Year
British Foreign Office Minister for North Africa Alistair Burt and Algerian Minister Delegate Abdelkader Messahel met in London on 8-9 March for the sixth Annual UK/Algeria high level political talks. Over the two days, Mr Messahel also met the Foreign Secretary and FCO Minister Lord Howell of Guilford.
Speaking after the talks, Mr Burt said that they had helped strengthen the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries. “Our economic relationship is good and is growing fast” he said. “ UK exports to Algeria increased by 60% last year, and we are looking to increase this still further.” Mr Burt said that the talks aimed to discuss ways to extend the two countries’ cooperation on renewable energy where, he said. Algeria is looking to expand its capacity.
Speaking after the talks, Mr Burt said that they had helped strengthen the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries. “Our economic relationship is good and is growing fast” he said. “ UK exports to Algeria increased by 60% last year, and we are looking to increase this still further.” Mr Burt said that the talks aimed to discuss ways to extend the two countries’ cooperation on renewable energy where, he said. Algeria is looking to expand its capacity.
Commenting on the two countries’ political relations which he described as “strong” he believed that the UK’s experience “can help the Algerian government as it seeks to extend political reforms. In this context, I welcome Algeria’s decision to invite election monitors to witness the forthcoming polls” adding that the UK supports these efforts to improve political representation and human rights in Algeria.
On the subject of terrorism, the Minister said that the UK was working closely with Algeria on tackling what he described as “the shared threat posed by terrorism in the Sahel region.” Adding that the two governments were united in their opposition to the payment of ransoms to terrorist groups.
Regarding Syria, Mr Burt expressed his “revulsion at the ongoing violence in Syria” and offered the British government’s “strong support for the Arab League’s efforts to bring about a political transition in Syria so that the bloodshed can be brought to an end.”
Minister Delegate Abdelkader Messahel added that the development of bilateral relations is reflected by the fact that British businessmen are more familiar with Algeria and that trade between the two countries doubled during the year 2011.
“Commenting on the meeting, Mr Messahel said it was an “ excellent opportunity to keep the British government informed about the political reforms launched in Algeria, the deepening of the democratic experience, and to exchange our views on more important questions in the regional and international contexts like Syria, the Middle East and Western Sahara”.
The volume of trade between Algeria and Britain increased by 96% in 2011 compared to 2010, according to statistics provided by the Algerian Embassy in Britain.
Exports by Algeria to the United Kingdom rose by 111% during the same period, the source said.
In value, the amount of trade between the two countries reached £2 billion (2.2 billion euros) in 2011, hydrocarbons constituted the bulk of exports. This amount has tripled since 2006, said the source.
The Algerian market is regarded by the British as a market with “high potential”. Many economic missions have visited Algeria during the past year, under the auspices of the Algerian-British Business Council.
Economic cooperation is increasing in other sectors, including tourism, agriculture, industry, education and training.
British companies working in Algeria include BP,British Gas, BHP Billiton,Shell,Glaxo Smith Kline and HSBC Bank amongst others.
The relevant statistics show that in 2010 Algeria’s exports were mainly hydrocarbons 97.14 per cent, (55.04 billion $) Non-hydrocarbon exports were 2.86 per cent of the total volume, $1.62 billion.
The main imports were foodstuffs including cereals, semolina, flour, dairy products, including milk, sugar and confectionary and dried vegetables. The total amount for imports was $3.95 billion. The import items include consumer goods, medicines ($1.66 billion) and passenger vehicles ($1.44 billion).
Algeria : Petroceltic strengthens asset portfolio
Oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic said it made “significant” progress on an operational and financing level as it strengthened its asset portfolio and decreased losses over the past year.
The company, which is focused on the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean region, said the Ain Tsila appraisal programme, the farm-out to Enel and entry into the Kurdistan region of Iraq had helped bolster its position.
Publishing its interim results for the first six months of 2011, the group said it had a current cash balance of $84 million and no debt.
Petroceltic raised $60 million in funding with a successful placing in May.
During the six-month period, the company signed up Italian utility firm Enel as a minority partner for the Isarene licence in Algeria, farming out an 18.375 per cent stake. The agreement must be approved by the Algerian government but once this takes place, Petroceltic will receive an initial payment of more than $74 million within 30 days.
The company narrowed losses to $4.1 million (€2.85 million) from $4.9 million a yer earlier, mainly as a result of exchange rate movements.
The group also highlighted its enlarged Algeria appraisal programme which is currently underway. More results are due in September.
It also transferred operatorship of the Carisio permit in Western Po Valley to ENI during the first half of the year.
“Algerian drilling operations will see at least three further well results and four test results completed in the next six months, and our objective is to maintain and exploit the momentum created in this world class discovery,” said chief executive Brian O’Cathain.
“Although stock market conditions in recent months have presented challenges to all companies, Petroceltic has the team, the assets and the funding to deliver our ambitious growth objectives and create significant value for our shareholders.”
Karim Djoudi: “Algeria’s expected economic growth rate for 2012 to reach 4.7%”
The Finance minister Mr. Karim Djoudi has said that Algeria which has invested parts of its foreign exchange reserves abroad, has nothing to fear from the adverse repercussions of the US debt over its secure investments.
Speaking Saturday to the Algerian Press Agency APS, Mr. Djoudi said that Algeria’s investments abroad were safe at 3 levels as, he said, the capital was guaranteed, stressing they were covered against all risks of change, and that they were liquid assets that could be withdrawn by Algeria at any time, as he put it.
The finance minister, who didn’t give the exact amount of the Algerian investments, said that the 3 per cent interest rate largely covered the current inflation.
Mr. Djoudi also said that to fully secure Algeria’s foreign exchanges reserves managed by the Bank of Algeria, the government had chosen to also invest in government security sovereign risks.
The total foreign exchange reserves of Algeria reached in 2010 a hundred and 60 billion US dollars.
Mr Djoudi further indicated that the projected national economic growth foreseen as part of the provisions of the 2012 law of finance would probably reach 4.7 %.
He added that the expected inflation rate for next year would not exceed 4%.
Algeria seeks alternatives to hydrocarbon economy
The Algerian president is the latest to call for the country’s diversification from the energy sector.
The Algerian government is looking to reduce the economy’s dependence on the hydrocarbon sector, which represents 98% of the country’s currency income.
“Algeria is called upon to exert a great effort to bring its economy out of dependence on oil and to diversify its resources so as not to be a hostage to the fluctuation of oil prices in international markets,” President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said at an August 4th meeting on the energy sector.
Economists have long raised concerns over the vulnerability of the Algerian financial system to shocks in the event of a drop in oil prices. Experts warn the dependence could continue in the coming years unless action is taken.
“The danger of the situation in the medium term is continuation of the economy being excessively linked to oil and gas prices in the world market, and the absence of any serious strategy to support economic diversification,” economist Mohamed Sellama told Magharebia.
He said that at the end of 2010, the hydrocarbon sector comprised a third of GDP, the equivalent of 98% of total exports and more than 70% budget revenue.
The economist stressed the necessity of adopting other means to develop the Algerian economy, particularly by relying on the knowledge economy. Sellama said Algeria “should quickly prepare for a post-petroleum phase with the acquisition of additional resources from other sectors, particularly agriculture and tourism”.
A government report released last year showed that the value of Algeria’s hydrocarbon exports during the period between 2000 and 2009 amounted to nearly $400 billion. The report said Algeria produces 1.45 million barrels of oil per day and 152 billion cubic meters of natural gas. It exports about 62 billion cubic metres annually and plans to increase the exports to 85 billion cubic metres per year beginning in 2013.
“The Algerian economy is facing a double jeopardy because of the nature of exports, as hydrocarbons make up 98% of exports and, in addition, half of the exports of non-hydrocarbon products are in fact derived from oil,” noted Samir Kateb, a financial affairs journalist.
In the opinion of many citizens, continuing to rely entirely on oil will lead the Algerian economy into an abyss. Businessman Mohamed Amarni, age 45, said, “Despite the government’s announcing several measures to raise the level of public expenditure and to increase salaries, they remain insufficient to address the structural imbalances of the Algerian economy.”
Amarni said Algerian companies face administrative complexities and a bureaucratic banking system that stood in the way of efforts to improve competitiveness.
“The deteriorating business environment, the instability of the legislation and the rules governing investment weaken the country’s attractiveness for investment and discourage foreign investors from launching industrial and service projects that could enhance the domestic economic fabric and support its competitiveness,” he added.
Economics student Said Brakni believes that talk about diversifying the Algerian economy “is an old record officials have repeated for several years without anything being achieved on the ground”.
For her part, Halima Salhi, a media company employee, believes that solutions exist but the “political will and courage in taking strategic decisions do not exist”.
“What is required is implementation of solutions, and we want to see results with our own eyes and without deception as soon as possible,” she said.
Source : magharebia.com
Algeria invested US$28.8 bn in H1 2011
Economic and Social Achievements Report
ALGIERS- Algeria invested DZD2,104.6 billion (US$28.8 bn) during the first half of 2011, according to a report on economic and social achievements released Monday by Prime Minister’s Office.
The bulk of these investments were made by the national public and private sectors, and in this category, investments financed by the state capital budget reached DZD1,190 billion (US$16.3 bn), whereas projects financed by the National Investment Fund amounted to DZD176 bn (US$2.4 bn), the while the private sector invested DZD229.1 bn (US$3.1 bn), of which DZD46.1 bn representing investments made as part of micro-credit programmes, DZD21.08 bn in the sector of agriculture, and DZD161.9 bn projects financed by banks, minus ANSEJ programme and agriculture, the source said.
Algeria : 4 Green Cities Along the Trans Saharan Highway to Curb Exodus to the North
Ministry of Environment is due to start building up 4 big green cities along the trans-Saharan highway, as by 2014.
The project is to be announced on 20 August, while the works kick-off is scheduled for 2014, sources close to the Ministry of Environment said.
The 4 big green towns are to be constructed in the localities of Azirir, Moulay Ahcen tombe, Ain M’guel, and les Gorges d’Araq, southern Ain Salah; with a capacity of 250 thousand residents each.
Authorities aim at creating economic and demographic poles all along the trans-Saharan highway, in order to encourage the nomads stabilizing along the road, and ultimately curb the excessive mass exodus towards northern cities.
The green towns in question have been designed by the famous Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti. He is head of the Gregotti Associati studio, which designed several important buildings, such as the Barcelona Olympic Stadium, the Belém Cultural Center in Lisbon, the Arcimboldi Opera Theater in Milan and several university campuses, including that of the University of Calabria.
The aforementioned green cities will hold desert climate resistant houses, with Moresque style architecture. The cities are to be equipped with education facilities, shops, stadiums, playing yards, crafts and trade spaces, natural air-conditioning, and wastes recycling system to preserve the biodiversity of the cities. The dwellers of these new cities will be able to practice agriculture and ranching.
Algeria: Qatar Investor’s Invest in Steel Industry Project
A group of Qatari investors have paid a visit to the industrial zone of Bellara where they are looking into the possibility of building a steelworks plant.
So reported today APS, which said that the delegation – led by Mohammed Al Shahwani, the highest ranking official of Qatar Mining – had expressed strong interest in a partnership in the steel and iron industry in Bellara, where 532 hectares are available not far from the Djendjen port, which was also visited by the Qatari guests.
The entrepreneurs discussed technical issues – such as water, gas and electricity grids as well as port capacities, railways and roads – with local administrators. If the project goes forward, according to the current laws 51% of the company would be Algerian capital, while the remaining 49% would be Qatari.
Algeria launches hybrid power plant
The opening of the world’s first hybrid power station marks Algeria’s full entry into the era of clean energy.
Algeria last week inaugurated the first-of-its-kind gas-solar hybrid power facility. The Hassi R’mel power plant in the Tilghemt region has an overall capacity of 150 MW, including 30MW from solar energy.
The completion of the 350 million-euro project is “an eloquent example of co-operation, a ground-breaking experiment for the whole of the Mediterranean region”, said Spanish Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian, who launched the July 14th ceremony with Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi.
The plant, carried out by New Energy Algeria(NEAL) and Spanish company Abener, is “a viable model for electricity generation in rural and mountainous areas far away from traditional electricity networks”, he added.
The Spanish minister underlined his country’s desire to become “a strategic partner for Algeria” in the realm of renewable energy.
The site of the facility, 25km north of Hassi R’mel, was chosen due to its proximity to gas installations and the amount of sunshine enjoyed by the region, which is estimated at 3,000 hours per year.
Eighty per cent of the funding was provided by a consortium of Algerian state-owned banks. A team of 70 people, including 65 Algerians and five Spaniards, will be responsible for operating the power station.
In addition to electricity production, the project will benefit the environment by substantially reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving more than 7 million cubic metres of gas annually.
The opening of the new power plant can be seen as the first step in the realisation of Algeria’s innovative energy policy.
The government in February adopted a new strategy, designed to expand the country’s capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources, particularly solar and wind. According to the plan, alternative sources will produce as much as 40% of electricity production in the next twenty years.
As part of this, the government has committed itself to several partnership agreements. In May, Yousfi announced that Algeria was ready to begin long-term co-operation with the Desertec Industrial Initiative, which aims to deliver energy to Europe from solar farms in North Africa and the Middle East.
Siemens, Deutsche Bank and nearly a dozen other European industrial, engineering and finance companies partnered for the 400 billion-euro project. Last December, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to set a joint economic commission to develop the initiative.
Another large-scale project will come to fruition in 2013. The Rouiba factory producing photovoltaic systems and modules will cost about 40 billion dinars (383 million euros), employ 500 workers and have a production capacity of 116 MW per year.
Pöyry awarded railway site supervision contract in Algeria
Pöyry’s Urban and Mobility business group has been awarded a site supervision project by Algerian National Agency for Design Studies and Monitoring of Implementation of Investment in Railways (ANESRIF), for the biggest railway project ever realized in Algeria. The work will be carried out in cooperation with Systra. Pöyry’s share as consortium leader is about EUR 14.8 million. The order value has been booked into the second quarter 2011 order stock. Project is expected to be completed in April 2015.
The railway track to be constructed between the stations Thenia and Bordj Bou Arréridj on the line Algiers-Constantine is one of the key projects to develop the national infrastructure capacities in Algeria. The double railway track of 175 km includes more than 20 km of tunnels as well as several bridges and viaducts also totalling more than 20 km. Pöyry’s services in the project will cover approval of design and site supervision.
Pöyry has previous experience in Algerian rail projects and is currently working in various rail projects worldwide. The assignments include for instance supervision of rail projects in China, Spain and Finland, rail design projects in Poland, Germany and Romania as well as metro projects in Brazil, Peru and Finland.
Pöyry is a global consulting and engineering company dedicated to balanced sustainability and responsible business. With quality and integrity at our core, we deliver best-in-class management consulting, total solutions, and design and supervision. Our in-depth expertise extends to the fields of energy, industry, urban & mobility and water & environment. Pöyry has 7,000 experts and a local office network in about 50 countries. Pöyry’s net sales in 2010 were EUR 682 million and the company’s shares are quoted on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. (Pöyry PLC: POY1V).
Source : poyry.com
Algeria Attracted $2.1 Billion DFI In 2010, Report
Algeria has attracted $2.1 billion direct foreign investments in 2010, dropping by 19.2 percent comparing to 2009, concluded a report conducted by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee (Dhaman).
Algeria came thus in the 9th position in terms of the direct foreign investments’ flow in the Arab region.
The report shows that 18 Arab countries have attracted about $63.3 billion DFI in 2010, comparing to $83.9 billion in 2009, recording a 23.4 percent drop. In 2010, the Arab region attracted 5.7 percent of the world’s DFI, comparing to the share of 7.1 percent in 2009.
The Dhaman’s report explains such a heavy drop by the repercussions of the financial crisis that hit the world in recent years.
Signing of the Construction Agreement of the New Headquarter of Al Baraka Bank Algeria
Al Baraka Bank Algeria, a subsidiary banking unit of Al Baraka Banking Group BSC (ABG), announced the signing of contracts for the establishment of the Bank’s headquarters in the Algerian capital. The contracts were signed in Istanbul, Turkey in the presence of the Chairman and Members of the Board of Directors of the Bank and a number of Executive leadership and Mr. Mustafa Cihad Arsalan, Director-General of the “Aslan Turkey Company”, which will construct Al Baraka Bank Algeria Tower.
Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Baraka Bank Algeria, stated “We always look forward to achieve excellence in all markets in which we operate and meet the needs of our customers by providing superior services to them in comfortable and modern work environment. Our insisting to continue implementing this main project headquarters at this time confirms our confidence in the considerable capacities and resources of Al Baraka Bank Algeria and the Group, which should entitle them to continue the growth and consistent high profitability.”
Mr. Yousif added, “This project comes within the framework of our efforts towards the provision of best banking services to our customers in Algeria, stressing the Group’s determination to move forward in strengthening its presence in the Algerian market and to contribute positively to the development of the Algerian economy.”
For his part, Mr. Mohammed Seddik Hafid, Board Member and the General Manager of Al Baraka Bank Algeria stated, “The new headquarter building of Al Baraka Bank Algeria was designed to meet the present and future needs of the Bank, and the selection for the location of this new headquarter comes from our belief in the importance of this zone as a financial and banking center”. “The Building was designed with the latest architecture model, supporting the requirements and expectations of future success.” he added.
The new headquarters of the Bank is located in strategic location of the business center in the Algerian capital, near the major centers, and consists of 16 floors, including four underground floors. Land area totals 17,470 square meters, and contains many of the offices that are designed in a modern style, halls for lectures, meeting rooms, as well as parking spaces, and other modern services.
Al Baraka Bank Algeria is one of the main subsidiary banking units of Al Baraka Banking Group. Al Baraka Banking Group is a Bahrain Joint Stock Company listed on Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai. It is a leading international Islamic bank with Standard and Poors long term and short-term credit ratings of BBB- stable and A3 respectively. ABG offers retail, corporate and investment banking and treasury services strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shari’a. The authorized capital of ABG is US$1.5 billion, while total equity amounts to about US$1.8 billion.
The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking Units and representative offices in thirteen countries, which in turn provide their services through more than 400 branches. These banking Units are Jordan Islamic Bank, Al Baraka Islamic Bank – Bahrain, Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Limited, Al Baraka Bank Algeria, Al Baraka Bank Sudan, Al Baraka Bank Ltd – South Africa, Al Baraka Bank Lebanon, Al Baraka Bank Tunis, Al Baraka Bank Egypt, Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank, Al Baraka Bank Syria, representative offices in Indonesia and in Libya (under formation).
Algeria’s trade surplus rose to 10.3 billion dollars in 5 months
ALGIERS – Algeria has achieved a trade surplus of 10.39 billion dollars between January and May 2011, against 8.2 billion dollars during the same period in 2010, customs announced Sunday.
Exports totalled 29.46 billion dollars during these five months, against 25.09 billion dollars during the same period of the previous year, up 17.42%, according to preliminary figures from the Customs National Centre of information and statistics (CNIS) cited by the APS.
As for imports, they reached 19.08 billion dollars against 16.89 billion, an increase of 12.90%.
The improvement in foreign trade due to an increase of over 17% of the value of oil exports that have nearly flamed in the first months of 2011 particularly because of the Libyan crisis.
Algeria-UKBC to conduct two business missions to Algeria
LONDON (UK)- The Algeria-UK Business Council (ABBC) will conduct before the end of 2011 two “important” trade missions to Algeria, one of them to Hassi Messaoud, the Council director Michael Thomas tod APS.
“We will conduct two trade missions to Algeria, one of them to Hassi Messaoud,” Thomas said on the sidelines of the London Conference on Business Opportunities in Algeria. “UK current policy is to encourage partnership and investments with the emerging countries, like Algeria which is North African largest market,” he added.
Petroceltic hoping to expand portfolio
OIL AND gas explorer Petroceltic hopes to add to its portfolio of licences over the next year. The company told shareholders at its annual general meeting in Dublin yesterday that it was continuing to explore opportunities to expand its existing portfolio in Algeria and Italy.
Speaking after the meeting, chief executive Brian O’Cathain said the company was looking at areas such as the Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East.
The company also held an extraordinary general meeting at which shareholders approved a plan to raise a further $60 million through a placing of 350 million new shares.
The company recently agreed the sale to Italian operator Enel of a 18.4 per cent stake in its Isarene licence area in Algeria, which Petroceltic believes holds considerable quantities of natural gas. Yesterday it said it was likely to seek more partners to fund further development of the project in the future.
Its agm statement pointed out that it had raised $178 million in 2010 and 2011.
Mr O’Cathain told shareholders yesterday that the company had no further plans to raise more money, and pointed out that it had the cash it needed to fund its planned activities.
Petroceltic has another gas prospect at Ain Tsila, which is also in Algeria, as well as a number of properties in Italy.
Source : algeriabusinessinfo.com
BP Will Not Leave Algeria, UK Ambassador says
Ambassador of UK to Algeria, Martyn Roper, said British Petroleum will not leave the country, adding that bilateral partnership has been improving in the last two years.
Mr Martyn Roper told Echorouk Forum, that British companies are interested in diversifying their activities in the Algerian market, to invest non-hydrocarbons sectors, including education, health, public works, counseling, pharmaceutical industry and mechanics.
He further deplored “the low trade exchangeS between the two nations which does not reflect the good bilateral relations, mostly as the Algeria government has been working to encourage more British companies to come and invest there.”
The British diplomat said five missions of British businessmen and British institutions specialized in promoting foreign trade and investment are likely to conduct work visit to Algeria in the second half of next year.
He added that bilateral exchange trade increased by 80 percent during the first quarter of 2011, comparing to the same period of last year.
Furthermore, Mr Martyn Roper asserted that British Petroleum (BP) has decided maintaining its investments in Algeria, despite heavy financial losses inflicted in the US, in last April.
Source : echoroukonline.com
US Pharmaceutical Companies to Develop Biotechnology and Medecines Production in Algeria
An agreement on the establishment of an international pole of Biotechnology and the Production of Medicines in Algeria will be signed on Thursday between the Algerian Ministries of Industry and Health, and the U.S. pharmaceutical groups, Head of the US-Algeria Business Council Mr. Ismail Chikhoune said here on Wednesday.
“Under this agreement large American companies will be committed to conduct many researches and development in the field of biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in Algeria”, Mr. Ismail Chikhoune asserted during the first US-Algeria Forum on Health and Pharmaceutical Industry.
“Algeria must build research laboratories and production units of future medicines in partnership with these US firms”, he added.
“Algeria must also reconsider the organization of conducting investment, particularly the rule 49-51% that must be mitigated for sectors outside hydrocarbons. Heads of the US companies active in Algeria’s market of medicines and biotechnology remarked a rise in figures for public expenditure in health sector. These American pharmaceutical companies, which allocate each year over $100b for research and development, hope to make of Algeria an important region in the Middle East and North Africa”, he explained.
First Algerian-made cars by 2014
ALGIERS- The first cars made in Algeria will see the light of day by the year 2014, announced Thursday CEO of the National Industrial Vehicles Company (SNVI) Mokhtar Chahboub.
“The first Algerian-made car will be produced by 2014, or maybe earlier,” Chahboub told the National Radio.
Source : aps.dz
Transport: US businessmen urged to invest in Algeria
ALGIERS- Minister of Transport Amar Tou on Monday expressed to US businessmen in Algiers “his support to their move for promotion of Algerian-US cooperation in the transportation field,” a ministry’s statement said. At a meeting with the US trade and investment mission to Algiers, the minister outlines “the numerous investment opportunities” in Algeria, especially under the five-year plan 2010-2014.
Tou mentioned the huge project for railways development, emphasizing the electrification planned for the whole railway network (4,000 km in operation and 6,000 km under construction).
Source : aps.dz
A U.S Trade mission visits Algiers for investment opportunities in various sectors
Algiers- A U.S.Trade and Investment mission of thirty businessmen visits Algeria on Saturday for a week of search for permanent investment opportunities in various areas of the Algerian market.
The U.S economic mission’s visit is organized by the Algerian Embassy in Washnigton DC and the US-Algerian Business Council .It consists of American companies operating in sectors of irrigation, construction, housing, energy, technologies of information and communication, food industries and technological services for protection.
Heads of largest American companies in various economic sectors visited Algiers on Saturday for a week of meetings and discussions with officials of the Algerian economic sector.
Head of the U.S-Algerian Business Council, Mr. Ismail Shikhoun said that meetings with the Ministries of Industry, Information and Communication Technologies, Water Resources, Housing, Energy and Transport, have been programmed in order to discuss investment opportunities in these sectors and to make proposals to the Algerian government.
The US economic mission’s program includes bilateral meetings in Algiers and Oran with Algerian businessmen in both public and private sectors and with officials of economic bodies such as the National Agency for Investment Development, Algiers and Oran Chambers of Commerce and Industry. A forum on investment opportunities will be held as well.
Previously in 2010, U.S Trade and Investment Mission visited Algeria three times. However, exchanges remain dominated by hydrocarbons, pushing the public authorities of both countries to seek for diversity by encouraging this type of economic missions.
Value of exchanges between Algerian and USA reached $16b in 2010, including $7.13b from Algerian exports to the United States and more than $1.2b of imports.
Algeria is the most attracting country of investments and money transfer in Africa: UN report
Algeria is one of the most African nations in terms of attracting direct investments and money transfer by immigrants in 2011, a UN report finds.
Algeria and other five African countries (Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia) attracted more than 75 percent of the total immigration fund transfers to the continent, said a report from the UN’s economic commission for Africa and the African Union.
“If the African continent generally benefited from direct foreign investments incomes, the problem is the issue of privileges distribution between the source economy and the receiver economy.”
The report called on African nations to “adopt a selective conception when accepting direct foreign investments to reach balance between direct foreign investments increase and sustainable national development.”
Source : echoroukonline.com
Transport minister considers port project in country’s centre
ALGIERS- Transport Minister Amar Tou on Thursday said the building of a new port was under examination to relieve pressure on the ports of Bejaia, Tenes and Algiers.
The minister mentioned the project while answering an MPs’ question, at the People’s National Assembly (lower house of Parliament), about the possibility to transform the Port of Algiers into a marina due to the increase in commercial activity there. The new facility project is to be carried out between Bejaia and Tenes, Tou said.
British Government encourages its companies to strengthen presence in Algeria, says Lord Green
British government encourages companies to think seriously in strengthening their presence in Algeria for investment opportunities offered by the Algerian market, Trade Minister Lord Green told APS.
“We encourage the British companies to think seriously in exploiting investment opportunities offered by the Algerian market and participate more in the country’s projects”, Lord Green added during a meeting organized by the British authority in charge of upgrading trade and investment to view the new strategy of the British government in this area.
Lord Green, who described Algeria as an emerging market recently, expressed relief for the cooperation between the United Kingdom and Algeria.
The British-Algerian economic ties noticed an increasing development and a new regular recovery which is characterized by improvement in exchanging visits between delegations of both countries.
Statistics of the Algerian customs show that the trade exchange between Algeria and UK amounted to approximately $2b in 2009, including $181.1b representing Algerian exports and $720b that represent imports.
Source : echoroukonline.com
US company managers to visit Algeria shortly
ALGIERS- Delegations of American managers from different sectors will visit Algeria in the coming weeks, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci announced Thursday in Algiers. “During my working visit to Washington, J highlighted the opportunities for the US economic companies to invest more in Algeria notably in the industrial sector,” Medelci told the press after talks he had with Indian special envoy, deputy minister for road transport and highways, Jinita Prasada.
He explained that the delegations of US entrepreneurs will get informed about investment possibilities in Algeria and meet the Algerian operators, adding that these visits will undoubtedly allow to boost more” cooperation between Algeria and the United States of America.
British Parliament to hold a conference on Algeria economy, Lady Olga
Chairman of the Algeria Britain Business Council, Lady Olga Maitland, said the British Parliament is due to hold an economy conference next 21 June in the ABBC headquarters, in London, where Algerian employers, business operators and politicians are to be invited.
The conference aims at evoking investment opportunities in Britain for Algerian operators, and boost bilateral cooperation, Lady Olga Maitland added.
She further specified that she has held several meetings with Algerian officials on bilateral trade cooperation. Lady Maitland said she concluded through the meetings the will of Algeria to share her cooperation with other countries, adding that Britain shares the same preoccupation with Algeria in terms of bilateral cooperation.
She further mentioned that she expressed to Minister of Industry, Mohammed Benmeradi, the intention of her country to boost small and middle seized enterprises in Algeria, stressing that the investment environment in the North African nation is attractive.
She further felicitated the “brave” Algerian press on celebrations of World Freedom of Press Day.
On another side, Ambassador of Britain to Algeria, Martyn Roper praised “the interesting” bilateral relations in different sectors, including counterterrorism, defence, energy, trade.
He further indicated that bilateral trade exchange is in a steady growth, hitting £1 billion in 2010. Mr Roper added that British exports to Algeria have multiplied during the five past years, to reach £345.7 million, while Algeria exports to Britain in 2010 increased by 30% comparing to 2009, to hit £710.3 million.
Construction works of the High Plateaux Highway to be launched during the first half of 2012
The construction works of the High Plateaux Highway, linking Tlemcen (540 km west of Algiers) to Tebessa (630 km east of Algiers) and whose construction will be entrusted primarily to domestic companies, will be launched during the first half of 2012, Ammar Ghoul Minister of Public Works announced Thursday.
During a plenary session of the Council of Nation devoted to oral questions, the minister said that after the preparation of studies for this project (1,020 km) works will be launched, for the section linking Tiaret (340 km west Algiers) to the Algerian-Tunisian border on 800 km, during the first half of 2012, while those relating to the section Tlemcen-Algeria-Morocco border will begin during the second half of the year.
Bank of Algeria (BEA) launches the 1st agency with International Cards
External Bank of Algeria (BEA) opens its first agency in Algiers that provides free service here on Monday.
General-Manger Mohamed Loukal and senior official from the Ministry of Finance inaugurated BEA’s agency.
The agency provides a free service and all services of traditional agencies like payment, requests of check, coupon of banking identity and voucher account.
Until now, the only free service granted by the Bank of Algeria is the automatic distributor, which allows getting money or access to bank credit.
The free service of this agency is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It has an automatic distributor and automatic teller which grant all the services and banking operations.
The agency’s internal place equipped with special machines for free service for filing private funds and get large amounts of money with a prior notice and the provision of card services for international loans.
For the first time in Algeria’s history, the agency launches the services of Master Credit Card, Visa Card and American Express, which were marketed at the level of commercial cells, especially large hotels, as Mr Loukal said.
In this regard, head of the BEA asserted that it looks for the forefront using modern banking technology. We are the only bank in Algeria which has access to the three international cards “Master” “American Express” and “Visa”.
Algerian- Turkish Business Council to start Tuesday in Istanbul
A large delegation of Algerian businessmen is expected to attend the 12th session of the Algerian- Turkish Business Council on Tuesday in Istanbul, the Algerian news agency reported on Monday citing the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The agenda of the three-day-session will focus on common interest points relating to partnership horizons, investment and cooperation means in trade exchanges.
This meeting will be an opportunity for the Algerian delegation to present Algeria’s capacities and opportunities in varied fields.
Sidi-Abdellah Cyberpark: Business tower to be delivered in 2012
The Two Towers, ‘Business Tower’, located at the Cyberpark of the new town of Sidi Abdellah, (Algiers) will be received in 2012, Karcouche Sid Ahmed, Director General of National Agency for the promotion and development of technology parks (ANPT) said Friday in Algiers.
“The two towers, designed to be a hotel, have been converted into business offices, for important demand in this regard,” Karcouche told APS on the sidelines of the Week of Web held from April 18 to 23 in Cyberpark in Sidi-Abdellah.
Construction of both towers as well as the 600-seat auditorium, also located in the Cyberpark, reached “100% as regards the large works,” he noted.
“The auditorium will be completed in nine months and two rounds in 18 months,” he expected. Regarding the tower business, it will be run by Koreans, “he further stated.
Source : algeriabusinessinfo.com
Energy sector achieved 5.6% growth in 2010
ALGIERS- The sector of energy achieved 5.6 percent growth in 2010, a “good performance” though below that recorded in 2009 (7.2%), said the National Office of Statistics (ONS). This performance is mainly due to the good results achieved in the sector of crude oil refining, which showed a significant increase of 25.4% in 2010, despite downward trend during the fourth quarter (4.9%), said a report on the industrial production by ONS.
The first three quarters, however, recorded “good performances” with respectively 58%, 24.1% and 25.1%, the source added. After a 5.4 drop in 2009, the industrial production in the hydrocarbon sector witnessed the same trend in 2010 with a negative variation of 2.1%, with however a 2.5 percent increase during the first quarter of 2010 and then drops of 0.8%, 4.7% and 5.3% during the other quarters respectively, the ONS said.
Source : aps.dz
IMF: Improvement of Algeria macroeconomic indicators in 2011 and 2012
WASHINGTON- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a significant improvement in macroeconomic indicators in Algeria for 2011 and 2012, essentially economic growth and balance of current accounts. In its report on 2011 global economic outlook released Monday to mark the upcoming Spring Meetings jointly with the World Bank, the Fund forecasts a higher growth of Algeria’s GDP, rising to 3, 6% in 2011 against 3.3% in 2010, with a forecast of 3.2% in 2012.
The fund also indicates that the current account of the country will experience a sharp increase from 9.4% of GDP in 2010 to 17.8% in 2011 to 17.4% in 2012.
Source : aps.dz
Algeria: Petrofac signed a contract worth over a billion dollars
ALGIERS – The British oil services group Petrofac signed Monday in Algiers with the In Salah Gas Company a contract for $ 1.185 billion to develop gas fields in the Algerian Sahara, said the news agency.
The In Salah Gas Company is an association between Sonatrach, the Algerian groupBritish Petrolum (BP) and Norway’s Statoil.
The contract covers the development of gas fields of Hassi Moumen, Garet el Befinat, In Salah and Gour Mahmoud, in southern Algeria, the source said.
The group Sonatrach plans to invest between 2009 and 2014 some 63 billion dollars to increase capacity including export of gas.
British Energy Ministry: Medgaz an important achievement
British Ministry of Energy and Climate Change welcomes here on Saturday the launch of Medgaz pipeline which will contribute to the development of the linkage between the European Union, spokesman of the Ministry Mr. Jerry Miller told APS.
“This achievement will allow a better link between the EU and other country, especially as it represents access to other supply sources for EU”, he added.
Gas pipeline Medgaz, stretching over 1,050 km length including 550km on the Algerian soil, was opened on 1 April. It will carry annually up to 8 billion cubic meter gas to Europe, extensible to 16 billion M3 on middle term.
Statistics by the British Ministry of Energy show that the UK imported from Algeria over 1,089 billion cubic meters of gas in 2010, the equivalent of 2% Algeria’s exports of natural gas and 5.7% of gas liquids and 1.1% of net demand.
Same statistics indicate that the UK’s imports of gas from Europe through the future gas pipeline from Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, while the natural gas liquids are imported from Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago and Algeria.
UK is top of European countries in the area of energy consumption with the amount of 103 billion cubic meters of gas, followed by Germany. It’s demand on gas is expected to rise to 130 billion cubic meters.
US companies seek to invest in out of hydrocarbons sector in Algeria
US companies are showing increasing interest in investment in a number of sectors out of hydrocarbons in Algeria, vice-president of the US Chamber of Commerce Karim Hosni said Tuesday.
“A large number of US companies are seeking to invest in Algeria in renewable energies, heavy industries, agriculture and fishing,” Karim Hosni told a conference in Algiers.
“American investors are also interested in agriculture and fishing as the Algerian agricultural lands are large and close to the European markets,” he added.
He also said although there are about 100 US companies operating in Algeria, they do not invest in food industries. “Many issues are still hindering the US companies such as language problem and the instability of the Algerian legislation.”
“Many US companies want to develop a partnership in renewable energy due to its importance in creating new jobs and Algeria’s huge solar energy.”
The US investments in Algeria are estimated at $5 billion. They are limited in hydrocarbons only.
Speaking about the Complementary Finance Act 2009, the vice-president of the US Chamber of Commerce said the US has investments in 200 countries and in various sectors. “Each country has its own laws to protect its economy and this is not a hindrance.”
He also said American companies develop its product and start looking for a partner. “Because of that, we want the Article No 51-49 to be changed to increase the number of US companies in Algeria.”
American companies want to work with 3 to 10-year-investment plans. “Because of that, there is a need to understand well legislations and have a clear vision about investment in the future.”
A meeting is expected to be held in May in Algeria to help Algerian companies in exporting products out of hydrocarbons to the US.
In 2010, the US was Algeria’s first largest client with about $13.7 billion and its sixth largest supplier with more than $2.1 billion, according to figures from the Algerian customs.
Source : echoroukonline.com
Foreign companies show growing interest in Algerian construction market
The Algerian construction and public works sector is “very promising,” said many foreign exhibitors taking part in the tenth International Construction and Public Works Show (March 20-25) in Oran.
The participants, in statements to APS, expressed their interest in the market ” which is favourable to investment now,” especially as huge projects, like the two-million housing units project, are planned in the 2010-2014 five-year development programme.
A representative of an Italian firm producing and marketing top-of-the-range ceramic items said the Algerian market “grows dramatically.”
Algeria- UAE- Germany: A partnership to produce 8,500 vehicles per year
Algerian defence and industry ministries on Tuesday signed a protocol agreement with Abu Dhabi’s fastest growing investment fund Aabar and German auto maker Daimler to manufacture 8,500 Mercedes-Benz industrial vehicles annually in Algiers.
An Algerian Emirati joint venture will be created this year with Daimler as a technological partner to manufacture the vehicles in the National Company ofIndustrial Cars in the area of Rouiba.
According to the agreement, a total of 16,500 vehicles will be produced annually after five years of production intended to meet the national market needs.
The agreement which will create 3,500 new jobs was signed in presence of the deputy minister of National Defence Abdelmalek Guenaizia, the industry minister Mohamed Ben Meradi, the finance minister Karim Djoudi and the CEO of the National Company of Industrial Cars Mokhtar Chahboub.
EIIC to invest $ 5.9 billion for Dounya Park and a five star hotel in Algiers
Two investment agreements for the construction of a leisure park ”Dounya” and a five stars hotel for a total of $ 5.98 billion were signed Sunday by the National Agency for Investment Development (ANDI) and Emirates International Investment Company Group (EIIC).
The two conventions were signed by ANDI Manager Abdelkrim Mansouri andAlrifai Fouad general manager of Algiers Parks Company, an EIIC subsidiary, also a subsidiary of Emirates National Holding.
Dounya Park project, spread over an area of 800 hectares located northwest of the city of Algiers in the municipalities of Dely Brahim, Ouled Fayet and El Achour, cost about $ 5.2 billion and is expected to generate over 8,750 direct jobs, according to its designers.
ANDI General Manager said ”this investment aims at creating a new image for the capital with a high environmental quality and sustainable development. ”
“The project also aims at creating a large natural area, green spaces, places for rest, education centers, a hospital, international school, residences, villas and apartments”, he added.
Five star hotel in Moretti (statehood in Stawali Algiers) will be completed with an amount of $196 million in three years and would provide over 778 direct jobs, with 292 rooms, 162 apartments, a center for rehabilitation, a business center and auditoriums.
“After four years of negotiations, we will be able to complete our largest investment project during the last decade. Algerian government will help Qatari investors to realize this amazing investment”, Mr. Abdelkrim Mansouri asserted.
For his part, Mr. Alrifai Fouad explained; “We are satisfied with the realization of these projects after several years of negotiations. Next phase will be allocated for the completion of these investments. We are confident with regard to the law of investments in Algeria. Now, we have a clear vision of investments in order sectors, especially in Touris, industry and hydrocarbons”.
Source : echoroukonline.com
British companies to participate at the next Economic Mission in Algeria
British companies express desire to participate in the economic mission to Algeria, Rezzak Osmani, Head of the Algerian-British Businessmen Council (ABC), who oversees the organization of the economic mission said.
“British companies representing a large number of economic activities express interest and will participate in the economic mission to Algeria to be held from 16 to 19 April, 2011”, he added.
“Companies like Commonwealth Business School, Idixil, BM, Icom International and Vaskin active in the sectors of renewable energies, food industry, banking, insurance and education. The main objective is to establish direct contact between heads of institutions for both countries in order to encourage establishment of mixed companies.”
“ABC” is a new organization aiming to develop Algeria-British exchanges and include British companies in Algeria to work closely with OKTA, a public body charged with upgrading trade and investment.
ABC plans to organize a symposium on May in London on business opportunities in Algeria and how to establish business in this country.
“Interest is growing and participation in this event is large in cooperation with the British Chamber of Commerce. It is about giving the best image of Algeria and providing business opportunities to British companies in various sectors. There is a growing interest of British businessmen in Algerian market in recent years”.
With an agreement already signed in management and negotiations at an “advanced” stage for the creation of other joint ventures, the British economic mission to Algeria in late January was “a clear success,” project manager of the Middle East Association Tom Cook said.
“The MEA provides a positive assessment of this trip to Algeria marked by many positive aspects, including the direct contact between British and Algerian businessmen,” he added. The fruitful discussions between the two parties allowed, during this meeting, the signing of a partnership between the British company “London Corporate Training (LCT) and the national private company Beladjina in management and training.
British Petroleum will not leave Algeria, says representative
British Petroleum (BP) will not send its assets in Algeria, Algeria news agency (APS) reported Thursday citing BP’s spokesman David Nicholas.
It was out of the question for BP to leave Algeria. We will stay in Algeria and we will not give up our assets, David Nicholas said in response to news report saying BP will sell its assets.
BP’s representative described those reports as “pure speculation,” adding that it was out of the question “for us to leave Algeria. We are aware of our oil and gas potential assets in Algeria and we decided to stay.”
BP has $3 billion assets. Its production in Algeria is estimated at 17,000 barrels per day.
Algeria activates Medgaz pipeline
Algeria cemented its ambitions as a prime supplier of natural gas to Southern Europe by launching an ambitious undersea pipeline.
Algeria on Tuesday (March 1st) inaugurated the Medgaz submarine pipeline between Beni Saf and Almeria in Spain. Sonatrach CEO Nourredine Cherouati and his Medgaz counterpart, Pedro Miro, attended the opening ceremony.
Cherouati symbolically opened the valve, saying that gas will reach Almeria within three hours, to give confidence to Medgaz customers awaiting the official operation, which is scheduled for the first trimester of 2011.
The 1,050km long pipeline, 550km of which run through Algerian territories, cost about 900 million euros to build. With a depth of more than 2,000 metres under the sea, Medgaz will export up to 8 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year directly to Spain. Its total capacity is estimated at 11.4 billion cubic metres.
Sonatrach owns 36 percent of the pipeline, while Spanish companies Iberdrola and Cepsa own 20 percent each. Additionally, the stakes of Endesa (Spain) and Gas de France are estimated at 12 percent each.
Local environmental organisations expressed concerns about possible contamination in the event of pipeline damage. Sonatrach downplayed the fears.
“All aspects related to the environment were addressed at the first phase of the project, and therefore there is no risk of contamination, whether land or sea, both for the region or for the rest of the project pathway,” the company management said.
Kouider Hadouche, one of the engineers who oversaw the project, explained that stations are equipped to automatically stop pumping in case of detecting a drop in gas pressure caused by leakage and empty the damaged part in order to start the repair.
He added that gas delivery will be halted during the repair, explaining that the duration of interruption will depend on the seriousness of the event. Hadouche stressed that “all cases of emergency were taken into account before and after technical testing”.
Spain is one of the most important markets for Algerian gas. Algeria relies on European markets to export energy, which is Algeria’s first source of income and accounts for 98 percent of the country’s annual revenues.
Algeria plans on launching another project to allow gas exports to Italy via Sardinia. Galsi is still in the phase of technical studies to identify the investment potential of supplying Europe with natural gas. The pipeline will extend from Hassi al-Raml all the way to El Kala at a 640km distance and then to the Italian city of Cagliari under sea, extending for 310km. It will transfer an estimated 8 billion cubic metres annually, according to Sonatrach projections.
Algeria in ‘good position to achieve huge economic potentials’
Algeria is on track to achieve its huge economic potentials, but faces the challenge of diversifying its economy, says the World Bank in the document with the new cooperation scheme 2011-2014. ‘
Algeria is now well positioned to achieve its considerable economic potentials, and take a strategic role in the region and contribute to economic integration between North Africa, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa,’ it said in the presentation of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), endorsed last Friday in Washington by its board of directors. ‘Algeria’s GDP per capita (4,400 U.S. dollars in 2010) is one of the highest in the countries of the MENA, minus the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),’she says. However, observes the Bretton Woods institution, and like other oil producing countries, ‘Algeria faces the challenge of diversifying its economy, in terms of non-oil exports in particular.
Algeria, an emerging market
LONDON (United Kingdom)- UK considers Algeria as an emerging market, said Wednesday in London UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Green on the sidelines of a presentation ceremony for the government’s new economic strategy. “We consider Algeria as an emerging market given its significant natural resources and its development capacity,” the United Kingdom official told APS. In reply to a question about the sectors that are likely to further boost economic relations between the two countries, Lord Green said “there are many (areas), and it is for investors to identify them.” “The role of government is to support these businesses.”
Source : aps.dz
Renewable Energy: Algeria will invest 60 billion dollars by 2030
Algeria will invest about 60 billion dollars by 2030 to expand production of renewable energy, announced Tuesday the CEO of Algerian public Sonelgaz, Noureddine Boutarfa.
This amount, which could even reach 70 billion dollars, will be devoted solely to the production of 12,000 MW of solar electricity for the domestic market, said Boutarfa, quoted by APS.
Sonelgaz Algerian public electricity and gas group was charged with the implementation of this program and is already planning to reach 650 MW of electricity from alternative energy in 2015.
It also has to bring this production to 2,700 MW by 2020 and 12,000 MW in 2030, said the leader of Sonelgaz.
A subsidiary of Sonelgaz, the Company’s engineering and Gas (CEEG), has chosen the German Centrotherm group specializing in the photovoltaic industry, to build a solar panel plant in Algeria for nearly 300 million euros.
The plant, the first of its kind in Africa by Sonelgaz will be located in Rouiba, a suburb east of Algiers.
Algeria-Turkey: Giving fresh impetus to economic cooperation
Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technologies Moussa Benhamadi on Tuesday stressed the importance of enhancing economic cooperation with turkey, according to a ministry’s statement.
Benhamadi, who met with Turkey’s Ambassador Ahmet Necati Bigali, said his department was ready to give a fresh impetus to that cooperation, through joint ventures and partnerships involving public and private operators.Biagli, for his part, underlined the need to further boost economic relations between Algeria and Turkey, which are bound by a treaty of friendship and cooperation since 2006, the communiqué added.
Source : marweb.com
Real Estate Market Building Strong Foundations in Algeria
As in most countries, Algeria’s real estate market has been hit by the effects of the global economic slowdown over the last two years, with a number of planned developments put on hold and some major investors opting to withdraw entirely. However, these temporary reversals do not tell the whole story, which remains broadly positive in many ways. Several large-scale real estate projects have recently been completed or are going ahead, and the sector continues to have strong potential, driven by ambitious plans for social housing and moves by the government to improve industry regulation, Global Arab Network reports according to OBG.
Despite the downturn, the Algerian real estate market has recently witnessed some landmark developments. Most notably, August 2010 saw the opening of the €70m Bab Ezzouar shopping, leisure and office space development in the suburb of the same name to the east of Algiers, the first development of its type in Algeria and one that has potential to serve as a model for future projects. The development was led by the Swiss group Valartis and covers 45,000 sq metres, not including office space, and includes a cinema, a hypermarket and two hotels owned by France’s Accor hospitality group. Other major projects have slowed but not necessarily stalled. Arcofina holding group and its Dahli arm, developers of the landmark €2.5bn Alger Medina tourism, leisure and office space real estate development in the capital, say that while financing difficulties have led to delays, work on the project will continue. Although the group did not manage to raise the amount of capital it hoped to fund the project through a bond sale in 2009, it says it will use a mixture of the financing it did raise, its own funds and income from elements of the project that are already completed to finish it, albeit more slowly than originally planned.
Accor is not the only foreign investor to see potential in the tourism sector. The country’s first Marriot hotel is due to open in Tlemcen in March this year. The brand plans to open two more properties in Algiers in 2012. These expansion plans are being driven in part by the government’s aim of promoting long-term growth in the sector – it has set an ambitious target of attracting 25m visitors a year by 2025.
Social housing will also continue to drive activity. The government’s plan to build 1m housing units between 2010 and 2014 is under way, and foreign investors have taken note. The Turkish government, for example, has said it hopes Turkish firms will build half of these. Housing shortages have sparked demonstrations and unrest in some areas, providing a strong political incentive for further construction. The programme has given rise to opportunities in other sectors, such as banking. The Algerian arm of French bank Société Générale, which has been lending to Algerian property buyers since 2005, has recently begun to provide government-subsidised housing loans. The bank had already committed as of late 2010 to provide €19.6m of credit to house buyers, with plans for further loans in the pipeline.
Despite these positive developments, the sector is undoubtedly beset by problems. These include a shortage of available land – leading to rising property prices – and slow building permit and property registration processes. Delays and cost overruns in projects can result from issues such as conflicting titles of land and, according to local press reports, the existence of some unscrupulous housing developers.
However, the government has been working to address many of these issues. For example, in December 2010 it presented a new draft property development law (projet de loi sur la promotion immobilière). The law will create a register of licensed real estate developers with the aim of eliminating unqualified outfits from the market, and will require developers to pay fines for late delivery of projects. It also provides for fines for developers who accept payments and deposits from buyers before a proper contract is signed, and requires that all off-plan purchases be registered with the Property Development Mutual Guarantee Fund (Fonds de garantie et de caution mutuelle de la promotion immobilière, FGCMPI), which insures customers’ deposits. While the Algerian Entrepreneurs General Association has called for some modifications to the law to shield developers from liability for problems and delays beyond their control, the law is likely to improve confidence among Algerian consumers in the property sector, benefiting the industry as a whole.
The government is also working to address shortages in the availability of land. In early January the minister of industry, small and medium-sized enterprises and investment promotion, Mohammed Benmeradi, said only 30% of land designated for industrial use was being used for industrial purposes, and that the ministry planned to put 9000-10,000 ha of improperly used land back on the market. He added that state land adjacent to the route of the East-West Highway would be made available for industrial use.
Fourteen billion dollars investment by Sonatrach in 2010
ALGIERS – Algerian state Oil company Sonatrach invests $ 14 billion in 2010, up 7% compared to 2009, said Tuesday in Algiers CEO Nouredine Cherouati.
“Sonatrach investments in Algeria have reached $ 14 billion in 2010, an increase of 7% over 2009,” said Cherouati at a press conference devoted to the presentation of the annual review of the oil group.
In 2010, Algeria has earned 56 billion in revenues thanks to oil exports, according to Sonatrach. Its overall production has reached 214 million tons oil equivalent (toe), said Cherouati.
Oil taxes brought to Algeria 2.844 billion dinars (28 billion euros), he added.
The Algerian Minister of Energy had said last week that the Algerian group plans to invest between 2011 and 2015 to strengthen its production capacity.
The national hydrocarbon company aims to increase its production to 243 Mtoe by 2015, said Cherouati.
Mr. Cherouati was appointed CEO in May 2010 of the Algerian oil company to replace Abdelhafid Feghouli, who assured the interim since January 2010 after the last judicial supervision of the former CEO Mohamed Meziane. Largest Algerian company Sonatrach employs 125,000 people.
The group is the main supplier in currencies of Algeria with its oil production (1.2 million barrels/day) but also gas, whose country is the leading exporter in Africa and the third largest supplier of Europe.
Business climate in Algeria, very favourable to investments
ALGIERS- Algeria’s business climate is “very favourable to investments,” said Monday here British businessmen, showing special interest to the country and its market.
In a statement to APS on the sidelines of a meeting with Algerian businessmen, the representative of a British pharmaceutical laboratory, Tita El Amyn Ryad, said that “we have a clear idea of business climate in Algerian, which is very favourable to investments.”
“We have great interest in the Algerian market, not to sell our products but to invest in partnership with Algerian operators,” explained the British businessmen, who arrived Sunday to Algeria to identify the most profitable economic sectors and forge possible partnerships.
Source : echoroukonline.com
32 British businessmen to arrive to Algeria on Sunday
The biggest British commercial delegation ever is expected to arrive to Algeria on Sunday. It will include about 32 businessmen including multinational company’s representatives and small and middle-sized enterprises.
UK’s ambassador to Algiers said his country has a long commercial history with Algeria. Commercial relationships between the two countries are on the rise. The UK’s exports to Algeria have been multiplied for the last five years.
The British businessmen are expected to hold meetings with a number of Algerian businessmen and officials to check partnership opportunities.
Source : echoroukonline.com
Algeria to Invest $ 60 Billion in Energy and Mines
Algeria – Group Sonatrach will invest DZD4, 200 billion, i.e. $ 60 billion over the period of 2011/2015 “in view to reinforcing the national capacities of hydrocarbon production,” Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi announced Monday in Algiers.
This program, which 57% of the funding allocated will be spent on exploration and production activities, provides a “boom” for the exploration activity to increase the country’s reserves and optimize the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits, Yousfi said at the Forum of El Mujahid.
Similarly, the exploration effort aims to double research activities for the coming years. For the year 2011, “it is already expected to increase this effort by more than 40%” compared to the previous year, said the minister.
On investment matter, Algeria’s Trade Minister Mustapha Benbada said Monday in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) that the law on investment in Algeria is one of the most attractive in the Arab world, citing as evidence the large number of foreign companies from different regions of the Arab world in the Algerian market.
In statements to the press on the sidelines of the preparatory meeting of the Arab economic summit, Benbada said that Algeria recorded weekly visits of many international companies and businessmen, expecting, in this regard, significant foreign investments in 2011.
He further stressed that food security in Algeria was “assured” in the sense that many products are subsidized by the government since many years, saying that the government has set up a monitoring mechanism of unjustified price increases to protect the consumer.
Source : globalarabnetwork.com
Energy firms earn 6 pct of Algerian energy revenue
Foreign energy companies earned about $3.34 billion from their operations in Algeria in 2010, or 6 percent of total energy revenue, Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Monday.
He said Algeria’s revenue from oil and gas sales abroad reached $55.7 billion last year, slightly lower than a forecast of $57 billion made a week ago by the country’s state energy group Sonatrach.
Sonatrach, Africa’s biggest company by revenue, earned $43 billion in 2009.
“We made $55.7 billion last year. The figure is up 25 percent compared to 2009,” Yousfi told state radio.
“Foreign groups have contributed by about 50 percent in oil production. Their share of total income does not exceed 6 percent of revenues,” he said.
British Petroleum (BP.L: Quote), Amerada Hess (HES.N: Quote), Statoil (STL.OL: Quote), Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N: Quote), Repsol (REP.MC: Quote) and Total (TOTF.PA: Quote) are the main foreign companies involved in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Algeria.
OPEC member Algeria ranks as the third-largest holder of oil reserves in Africa and the sixth-largest producer of natural gas in the world, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed, editing by Alison Birrane)
Exploding the myths of an emerging giant
Long overlooked, Algeria holds unique opportunities for British business. In the past five years UK exports have doubled and last year went up 22 per cent.
“As we look abroad for partners, North Africa and Algeria are a central part of our vision,” says Alistair Burt, the minister for Middle East and Africa.
With annual growth at 4.5 per cent there is literally an explosion of business opportunities in oil and gas, agriculture, construction as well as healthcare, ICT and skills and education. The government, too, has ambitious spending programmes.
To assist exporters tap into Africa’s second largest country Chamber International is holding a half day seminar Focus on Algeria early next year that is being sponsored by Intertek and Bradford School of Management. Benefit from the experts to fully grasp the detailed export mechanics that will lead to more efficient and successful trading not only in Algeria but throughout North Africa.
“Algeria has the human and economic potential to be a giant; one of the main markets in Africa,” says Andrew Henderson, HM Ambassador to Algeria.
Algeria Jan-Nov trade surplus up on higher energy earnings
ALGIERS (Reuters) – Higher world oil prices pushed Algeria’s trade surplus up to $14.80 billion in the first 11 months of 2010 from $4.70 billion in the same period last year, official figures showed on Saturday.
Exports were up 26.8 percent to $51.27 billion from $40.44 billion in January-November 2009, while imports were up 1.9 percent to $36.43 billion versus $35.76 billion in the first 11 months of last year, the official APS news agency reported, citing customs data.
The value of oil and gas sales abroad, which accounted for 97.16 percent of total exports, rose 26.24 percent to $49.80 billion, it said.
Algeria receives Turkish Property Development
18 /12/ 2010
The Algerian economy receives welcome news as a leading Turkish construction company prepares to invest millions in a new residential and commercial project.
The move demonstrates the strength of the Turkish economy and the fact that Algeria could now be attracting overseas property investors
Turkish developers Sinpas Group, which has a 33-year history in the real estate sector is said to be investing 160 million in an Algerian property development.
Sinpas’ Director General Ahmet Celik explained that they would begin the construction of the project in 2011.
Celik said that decrease in interest rates, strong financing sector and flow of foreign capital into Turkey had served to revive the residential sector and the economy.
Following an initial public offering of 49 percent of its shares in June, 2007 shortly after the formation of the partnership, Sinpas GYO became a real estate investment partnership publicly traded at Istanbul Stock Exchange.
Algeria has not been on the radar for overseas property investors and this could well be the first major investment to attract investors to the region
Source : algeriabusinessinfo.com
Algerian-Americans boost technology exchange
Algerian expats in the US are launching a partnership programme between American and Maghreb scientists and businesses.
Algerian scientists in the United States want to build bridges between their adopted country and their homeland.
At an Algiers conference on Saturday (December 4th), the Algerian-American Foundation for Culture, Education, Science and Technology (AAFCEST) launched an initiative aimed at creating joint projects between US and Algerian scientific communities.
“Algeria and the United States of America enjoy a close relationship in the fields of energy and security. We want it to be the same in the fields of science and technology,” AAFCEST chairman Farid Amirouche explained to Magharebia on the sidelines of the conference.
It may still be at the embryonic stage, but the idea of closer ties in the field of science and technology is gathering pace. Amirouche’s vision involves setting up networks to enable researchers on both sides to communicate better.
“In the United States, there are people working in business and commerce whose contribution would be valuable, especially when it comes to the issue of financing the foundation’s activities,” he said.
Scientists need to “go beyond the media hype and set up some firm and manageable projects”, according to Abdelhafid Aourag, Director General of Scientific Research and Technological Development in Algeria. He also called for a research gateway to be established between the US and Algeria.
“The way to go,” he underlined, “is to embark together on two or three concrete projects which can be quickly set up, and for which we can mobilise all the necessary skills and resources. If these projects are a success, they will provide a model for subsequent activities.”
Created in July 2009, AAFCEST has more than 350 members, including leading scientists.
“Every year in Michigan I see a large number of students from Europe, Africa, China and other countries around the world, but I never She added that there is a need to study ways in which to host Algerian students and establish short or long-term programmes to get them involved with research and teaching in the United States.
The United States encourages technology transfer to Maghreb countries, Dr William Lawrence, an official at US State Department’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation said. However, he added that there were a few obstacles to be overcome.
He mentioned the fact that in the US, technology does not come under the public sector. For this reason, participants in the National Association of Professional Employer Organisations (NAPEO) come from the private sector.
“It is only by encouraging private-private relations that we shall achieve a real transfer of technology. We want such exchanges, and we encourage them,” Lawrence told Le Soir d’Algérie newspaper.
see any Algerians,” Nora Berra, a physics researcher at Western Michigan University, told Magharebia at the Algiers conference.
Algeria self-sufficient in gas oil from 2013: agency
1 /12/ 2010
ALGIERS (Reuters) – OPEC member Algeria will become self-sufficient in gas oil from 2013, having imported about 6 percent of its needs in 2009, the official APS news agency reported on Wednesday.
Quoting the head of state-owned Sonatrach Nourredine Cherouati, APS said upgrades of refineries in Algiers, Skikda and Arzew are expected to add 5 million tonnes to Algeria’s refining capacity and cover 120 percent of its domestic needs as of 2013.
“We will not be importing gas oil until 2019,” Cherouati said.
Skikda’s refinery, Algeria’s biggest, will have its crude oil refining capacity raised by 10 percent to an annual 16.5 million tonnes, he said.
The refining capacities of Algiers’ refinery will be raised 33 percent to 3.6 million tonnes and that of Arzew will be increased by 50 percent to 3.75 million tonnes, he added.
Algeria also plans to upgrade a refinery in Tiaret and has yet to decide whether it would upgrade another one in Hassi Messaoud, Cherouati said
Source : af.reuters.com
Algeria, UK’s second supplier from MENA region by end September 2010
Algeria is the United Kingdom’s second supplier with £ 599.223 million in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) during the first nine months of 2010
LONDON (United Kingdom)- Algeria is the United Kingdom’s second supplier with £ 599. 223 million in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) during the first nine months of 2010, announced Thursday in London the British government agency for external trade and investment development, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). United Kingdom imported from Algeria mainly oil products and by-products, natural gas and chemicals, the source said.Libya was UK’s main supplier with £ 839.015 in this region and during the same period, UKTI said, adding that the UK overall imports from the MENA region reached £ 8.252 billion from January to September 2010.Algeria is followed by Egypt and Tunisia with respectively £ 473.750 million and £ 439.183 million, while Morocco and Syria’s exports to the UK amount respectively to £ 260 million and £ 19.55 million, the source added.
Algeria: Strauss-Khan, impressive growth
4 /11/ 2010
Algeria’s growth over the past ten years has been ”impressive”, said the general director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Khan, during today’s visit to Algiers.
”The results obtained by Algeria” he said, quoted by APS, ”regarding growth in the past ten years are really impressive, with a controlled inflation and abundant revenues, particularly from hydrocarbons”.
Strauss-Khan underlined after his meeting with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika that ”Algeria is a country where the economy works, despite the difficulties and problems related to the past which must continue to be solved”.
According to the Algerian press, the director of the IMF is also in Algeria to carry out negotiations on the sale of bonds to the country.
The IMF already made this request in 2009 to the North African country, which owns impressive monetary reserves, totalling 150.294 billion USD in July. Algerian Finance Minister Karim Djoudi said in March that ”no decision has been taken yet on the purchase of IMF bonds’.
British Trade Mission Revisiting Algeria
Following a successful Algeria Trade mission in January 2009 the MEA will be revisiting Algeria again (22 – 26 January 2011) to further explore the recent explosion of business opportunities available to UK businesses.
Algeria is the second largest country in Africa, the third most populous in the Arab world, Africa’s fourth largest producer of oil and the world’s fifth largest producer of gas. Sound policies and limited integration in the international financial system have contained the impact of the last two years’ global economic downturn on the Algerian economy, allowing it to forecast a 4.6% GDP growth rate for 2010.
In spite of slower liberalization in external trade in 2008/2009 and a protectionist cap of 49% on foreign investors’ share in major ventures imposed in January 2009, the World Bank identified Algeria in its ‘Doing Business in the Arab World 2010 Report’ as among the region’s reformers in 2008-09.
It noted, for example, the reduction in corporate tax from 25% to 19% for some sectors – and last year Algeria changed its working week to start on Sunday, instead of Saturday, to increase the overlap with the Western week. Algeria is a good business environment because of its low labour costs and goodwill towards UK businesses.
Algerians hold British products in high regard and are keen to diversify away from France, which currently supplies over 30% of Algeria’s imports. Indeed, UK exports to Algeria have more than doubled in the last five years; in 2009 they increased by 22% on the year 2008, to £327m. The UK is also one of the largest EU sources of FDI in Algeria, investing $115m in 2008.
There are many opportunities for UK business in oil & gas, and over the next ten years US $1bn is being invested in pipeline construction. UK businesses are also involved in nickel mining, lubricants, agricultural machinery, education & training, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, timber, textiles, power supply and tourism.
The MEA trade mission will enable participating companies to learn more about these and other opportunities, and how to tackle the Algerian market.
Global Arab Network, comprehensive news and information service about the Arab world in English and Arabic, is participating in promoting the mission.
Those interested in joining the mission and wishing to register, please click Here.
Source : globalarabnetwork.com
Russian-British TNK-BP interested in BP in Algeria
06 /10/ 2010
ALGIERS – The Russian-British oil TNK-BP is interested in buying assets of BP in Algeria, said Wednesday its chief, billionaire Mikhail Fridman, a member of the business delegation accompanying Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a one-day visit in Algiers.
“We want the future of (Algerian assets of BP) is positively resolved” in favor of TNK-BP, Fridman said to the press.
BP group, in search of cash after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, wants to sell its assets in Algeria and negotiations are underway with TNK-BP, according to the press. TNK-BP had already given his agreement last week to buy shares in BP in Vietnam and Venezuela.
According to Russian business daily Kommersant, the investment by BP in Algeria would include participation from 33.14% in two projects for the oil field in In Salah, which has the largest reserves and production of oil in the country and located in the heart of the desert Sahara.
The Algerian government would not yet rule on any such transaction.
TNK-BP is 50% owned by BP and 50% to a group of Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman who met with the group Alfa Access-Renova (AAR).
Medvedev arrived Wednesday in Algiers for a visit of several hours. He is accompanied by a large delegation of businessmen.
HSBC: Algeria an important future market
The British bank HSBC considers Algeria as in important future market because of its human resources and its important hydrocarbon resources, Executive Director for MENA region Michel Hodges said at the eve of a business visit to Algeria.
“Considering the importance of the Algerian market, HSBC opened its first agency in Algiers in 2008 and plans to open a second agency by the end of the year, Hodges told APS, expressing his satisfaction over the existence of an Algerian-England business council which aims at promoting relations between the two countries.
Hodges insisted saying that Algeria is among the richest countries in Africa, and is a land of “profitable investment,” due to the potential offered in the bilateral scale, “British firms have an important role to play in the Algerian market.”
Algerian market offers a multitude of opportunities to British companies
The Algerian market offers a multitude of opportunities to British companies, owing to the huge investment programme launched by the Government and the opportunities offered in the private sector, Co-President of Algeria-British Business Council Olga Maitland told APS Wednesday.
“The Algerian market offers a multitude of opportunities to our firms, and I believe that it’s time for these companies to settle in Algeria, given the potentialities of this market, and also considering that Algeria has clearly let us know that it encourages the participation of our companies in its development,” Maitland declared on the eve of her visit to Algeria, scheduled from 3 to 7 October.
US companies in a rat race to invest in Algeria
The Algerian Minister of Industry and the Promotion of Investments and small and medium sized companies has yesterday declared that the Algeria authorities are ready to assist the US companies that express the will to invest in Algeria especially in sectors other than hydrocarbons.
Taking the floor before the joint committee of US and Algerian businessmen, M Benmerradi has indicated that the previous hurdles that hampered investments in the non hydrocarbons sectors are no longer as constraining as before.
Talking at the forum held here in Algiers, M Mohammed Ben Merradi has asserted that there are 77 fully equipped industrial zones at the moment in addition to the government move to retrieve real estate properties of the public companies wound up by the Algerian authorities.
He further indicated that The US stand as the first Algerian business partner with more than 80 companies operating in the hydrocarbons sector; the US was the first Algerian client with a gross total estimated at $ 9.26 billion over the year 2009.
The chairman of the US- Algerian Businessmen Forum, Ismail Chikoune has noted that the American delegation, led by the chairman of the Arab- US chamber of Commerce, comprises some 140 companies covering all sectors of activities including public works, transportation, water resources, renewable energies, transfer of technologies and solar energy.
He asserted that the new investments’ requirements comprised in the complementary financial law will not hamper the American operators since, the same requirements are implemented in the Middle East countries, but it is pivotal for the US entrepreneurs to learn more bout the Algerian markets and its challenges, noting that the large number of these businessmen are born to Algerian origins.
The US ambassador to Algiers has indicated that the US companies are keen on taking part in the major five year project launched by the Algerian authorities with a total coast of $ 286 billion, noting that more than 125 US companies are operating in Algeria including 80 in the hydrocarbons sector.
For his part, the General Manager of the Algerian Company for the Promotion of Imports “ Algex” Mohammed Bennini has revealed in a declaration to Echourok, that the US companies usually avoid bureaucracy driven markets and that the presence of a high profile American delegation in Algiers translates their will to invest in Algeria.
Trade surplus rose to 11.2 billion USD janvier August 2010
22 /09/ 2010
The trade balance of Algeria has recorded a surplus of 11.223 billion dollars during the first eight months of 2010, against a deficit of $ 376 million during the same period in 2009, said Wednesday the Algerian Customs.
Algeria’s exports reached 37.10 billion dollars against 27.23 billion dollars during the same period last year, an increase of 36.24%, the source said.
Imports stood at 25.87 billion dollars against 27.60 billion, a decrease of 6.27%, according to figures from the National Center of Informatics and Statistics of Customs (CNIS), cited by APS news agency.
This increase in trade surplus is due to an increase of more than 35% of the amount of oil exports and lower imports of goods including food nearly 8%, the source added.
Algeria has made in July 2009 a series of measures to reduce the import bill.
Oil accounted for 96.72% of exports, i.e. 35.88 Billion dollars during the first eight months of 2010, against 26.56 billion during the same period of 2009, up 35.06%.
As for non-hydrocarbon exports remained marginal, with only 3.2% of total exports
Source : ennaharonline.com
Algeria: US businessmen to visit Algiers seeking investment opportunities
15 /09 / 2010
Algeria (Algiers) – A delegation of about fifty American businessmen to visit Algeria from 25 to 30 September, seeking investment opportunities in the country, Global Arab Network reports learned.
Algerian Embassy in Washington told media that the six-day trade mission, organized by jointly by the embassy and US-Algeria Business Council (USABC), will offer a great opportunity for US companies operating in the sectors of pharmaceutical industries, food-processing, building, water resources, information and communication technologies (ICTs), engineering services, transports, hydrocarbons, renewable energies, as well as vocational training regarding business management.
US Trade Mission to Algeria will be led by Mr. Paul Mikolashek, Chairman of the US-Algeria Business Council and Vice President of Raytheon International who states: “This year’s US Trade Mission to Algeria offers a great opportunity for US companies to seek new markets for our products and services. Algeria continues to show promise as a destination for US investment and a market for American products and has announced its increased interest expanding mutually beneficial business relationships. I welcome all of you to join me and the USABC team to take advantage of these two events and conduct a board meeting in Algiers during this period, enabling our Algerian members to more fully participate. I encourage to register soon and also encourage other associates to consider participating as well.”
The 2010 US Trade & Investment Mission to Algeria is the third annual trade mission of its kind.
According to US-Algeria Business Council, HH Abdallah Baali, Ambassador of Algeria to the United States, remains a key supporter of these trade missions and his ongoing support and leadership have secured numerous high-level meetings for the US delegates participating in the trade missions. The Embassy of Algeria in Washington, DC, under the Ambassador’s leadership, plays a key role in the organization of these trade missions.
The US-Algeria trade relationship is dynamic and each year the trade volume between the two countries increases. Recently Algeria ratified a law concerning US-Algeria trade that will change the way Algerian importers pay for goods.
According to the Ordinance n°9-01 – 29 Rajab 1430, all future transactions for the payment of goods must be conducted by letter of credit. Additionally all imported goods must be new.
Source : globalarabnetwork.com
Algérie/2009: growth rate of 9.3% outside oil
16 /08/ 2010
The Algiers-oil economic growth outside of Algeria in 2009 reached 9.3% against 6.1% in 2008, foreign exchange reserves amounting to 147.2 billion U.S. dollars at the end of the year according to Finance Minister Karim Djoudi.
The Minister participated in a “restricted meeting of Assessment” devoted to the Finance sector in 2009 and chaired by the Head of State Abdelaziz Bouteflika as part of the annual hearings that directs the activities of different ministries.
This economic growth has been driven by the strong performance of agricultural production and the continuing strong growth levels of both building and public works and services, adds the same source.
The level of inflation was 5.75%. The current value of imports decreased by 1% while exports declined by over 40% due to falling oil prices.
The balance of payments, however, posted a net current of 520 million, foreign exchange reserves were 147.2 billion at the end of the year.
The level of external debt in the medium and long terms stood at 3.92 billion dollars.
Mr. Bouteflika reiterated that the conduct of the 2010-2014 five-year investment program will be “assessed annually to reflect the situation of public finances.
He also ordered the government to ensure “to prevent costly re-evaluations of projects and to prohibit all forms of waste.”
The five year plan of investments will reach $ 286 billion or others for the development of basic infrastructure and completion of ongoing projects.
Source : ennaharonline.com
Record harvests – Algeria boosting grain production
30 /07/ 2010
Algeria’s determined efforts to boost grain production are starting to reap rewards, with record harvests last year and strong yields in 2010 helping to cut import costs and provide secure employment in rural areas. However, the country’s goal of food self-sufficiency still appears some way off.
Since 2008 the state has stepped up its efforts to increase output, combining subsidies on supplies such as seeds and pesticides with a rigid price floor for crops and a programme to improve irrigation.
The success of the initiative was seen in Algeria’s return to the export market in early June, with the first consignment of a 100,000-tonne order of barley for France its first export of the grain in more than 40 years.
Algeria plans to build on the achievement, said Noureddine Kehal, the head of the state grain agency, Office Algerien Interprofessionnel des Cereales.
“We still have a large stock of barley, and can easily export several other cargoes,” Kehal said at a ceremony on June 5 to mark the historic shipment. “We will export more, but not now because the prices are going down so close to harvest season.”
Stronger performance in grain production and improved output from other agriculture sectors have seen Algeria’s food import bill fall substantially. Import costs were down by 36% in May compared to the same month in 2009, according to data from the Customs National Centre for Informatics and Statistics.
Despite the reduced demand for foreign grain, Algeria is expected to remain a net importer of cereals for the foreseeable future. Algeria imported some 1.94m tonnes of wheat in the first four months of the year, while in late June it bought 400,000 tonnes of milling wheat at a cost of $194.50 a tonne, or $77.8m in total.
Algeria was able to take advantage of pressures in the market to strike a good price for the consignment, with traders cited by the Reuters news agency saying that the per tonne tariff was around $6 below the replacement cost on the French market, which is believed to have supplied most if not all of the grain.
While continuing to purchase wheat and other grains such as corn from abroad, it is likely that Algeria will reduce its imports from the almost 5.7m tonnes of wheat taken in last year.
Conversely, Algeria’s return to the barley export market may be short-lived. With the government doing all it can to promote wheat production, some farmers are shifting away from barley to take advantage of higher prices.
The government has sought to encourage wheat planting by making seeds and fertilisers available to farmers and providing technical assistance. It has also renewed its commitment to price support, guaranteeing farmers it will pay tariffs equal to those offered on the international market. This commitment, which started in 2008, has seen prices offered for durum and soft wheat varieties rise far above those available for barley.
Some of the areas best known for barley growing also experienced lower-than-average rainfall in winter and spring, further pushing down the expected yields for this year.
Rachid Benaissa, the Algerian agriculture minister, cautioned in mid-June that while the country’s grain harvest this year would be good overall, yields would be somewhat down on the bumper crop of last year, when some 6.1m tonnes were brought into the silos.
“Regarding wheat, this year will be good,” he said on June 17. “We expect lower barley output.”
These lowered forecasts appeared to be in line when in early July media reports said ministry officials were projecting that the grain harvest would be somewhere between 5 and 5.5m tonnes.
Djamal Berchiche, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, told Reuters that only 21% of the 3.3m ha planted for grains had been harvested as of July 4, making it hard to give an exact estimate of crop yields. He confirmed, however, that the barley harvest would likely be down due to poor weather conditions in some regions.
“We will have better durum wheat output, a stabilisation in the soft wheat output and less barley this season,” Berchiche said.
Though the government is working to increase the country’s grain harvest, an element of uncertainty hangs over the sector due to the widespread reliance on rainfall to water fields. With only a fraction of Algeria’s grain-producing lands irrigated – just 2% by some estimates – Algerian farmers will need more reliable sources of water before the agriculture sector can realise its full potential.
US wish to strengthen economic partnership with Algeria
The United States wish to strengthen the economic partnership and common-interest bilateral exchanges with Algeria and all the Ma
The United States wish to strengthen the economic partnership and common-interest bilateral exchanges with Algeria and all the Maghreb region, notably in the field of entrepreneurship, Pradeep Ramamurthy senior director for global engagement on the White House’s National Security Council indicated Thursday here. “We wish to consolidate our links with Algeria and the Maghreb countries, in the economic realm, chiefly entrepreneurship, through bilateral cooperation and common interest exchanges,” Ramamurthy told a news conference held in the US Embassy in Algiers.Recalling that his visit to Algeria aims at considering the means to further reinforce the Algerian-US economic partnership, Ramamurthy highlighted the “strong enthusiasm” of senior officials and businessmen he discussed with to “boost” the economic cooperation between both countries.
Source : .marweb.com
Algeria, EU enhancing performance and competitiveness of SMEs
20 /07/ 2010
The program to support SMEs and information & communications technology management (PME II) aims to strengthen private small and medium-sized Algerian businesses with a view to improve their performance and consolidate their market share.
The program “Support to SMEs and information & communications technology management” (PME II) is co-funded by the European Union (40 million Euros) and the Algerian government (4 million Euros). It has been developed on the basis of the previous program “PME I” that, between 2005 and 2008, helped strengthening the competitiveness of more than 450 enterprises and financed the introduction of the first credit’s guarantees for SMEs in Algeria.
As for all EU cooperation programs, PME II aims to support and complement the existing national initiatives in the field of private sector development, namely the “National upgrading program for SMEs” implemented under the supervision of the Algerian Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and Crafts, the “National upgrading program for industrial enterprises” managed by the Ministry of Industry and Investment Promotion and “e-Algeria 2013”, developed under the direction of the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications.
The leaders of the program are the Algerian Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and Crafts and the European Commission. Nevertheless, is to be noted that the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications also play an important role in the coordination of PME II activities.
In an interview with Eurojar correspondent, Paolo Castrataro, team leader of the project’s technical assistance, explained that this year PME II will provide direct support to around 100 SMEs selected on the basis of set of defined criteria and active in five chosen sectors: food and beverages, mechanics, construction materials, chemicals as well as electrical / electronics.
He pointed out that the EU insisted on the selection of well established enterprises able to take a sustainable advantage from the support offered by the program. Thus, the enterprise’s turnover should be 100 million of Dinars minimum (1 million euro) – 50% of which must result from a transformation industrial activity – and the SME should employ a minimum of 20 employees – of which at least 3 executives.
According to Castrataro, the intervention proposed by the experts is based on a global approach tailored on the specific needs of each SME. In fact, this “pilot actions” aim to accompany the modernization of different fields, such as the economic, financial, production ones as well as the development of human capital and the use of ICTs within SMEs.
Paolo Castrataro also underlined that, although the program focuses mainly on SMEs, it also provides support to national ministries, quality institutions and sectoral organizations/associations. In fact, PME II extends its support to the environment of each enterprise, as the latter would not be able to develop its activities and compete in export markets, if its environment is not prepared for such development.
As for the quality control, during the next months, 20 Algerian laboratories will be accompanied in the process of ISO certification which will give them the ability to issue certificates directly without having to rely on international labs. Not to mention that this development will enable enterprises to save money and time, to better control the market, to enhance their competitiveness and to secure an equitable development. Among the organizations who will benefit of the program we can find the national office of normalization (IANOR), the office in charge of accreditation (ALGERAC) or the one responsible for legal metrology (ONML).
In addition, the program has also launched three business plans for the establishment of three sectoral technical industrial centers (CTI) whose role will be to carry out researches and analysis with a view of monitoring the market and strengthen the Algerian private sector. Castrataro also explained that the preparation of these business plans will require substantial support of the Algerian government who has the final responsibility for the establishment of those centers.
On a more general level, the program, in agreement with the different national institutions, has developed an agenda of capacity building and training sessions. For example, concerning the National Agency for the Development of SMEs (ANDPME), the objective is to endorse its institutional reform, by simplifying administrative procedures, creating media programs addressed to institutions, establishing an online (Internet) application system, training its top executives to use modern methods of work, as well as strengthening ties with professional organizations.
Currently, the project team is conducting an evaluative study on Algerian SMEs that would lead to the establishment of a valuable data base enabling the private consultants to focus their activities on the real existing needs of SMEs.
Caravan for SME
As for the supports offered to the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and Crafts, Mr. Abdeldjallil Kassoussi, national project director, said that PME II is helping to launch the “Caravan for SMEs” whose aim will be to establish direct contact with SMEs in the many Algerian provinces to inform them on the possibilities offered by the national private sector support program.
Today, the 430,000 SMEs active in Algeria contribute to 70% of national non-hydrocarbon GDP and employ more than 1.4 million people; aware of the important role that SMEs play, one of the main government objectives for the next five years will be to help the creation of 200,000 new SMEs.
Nevertheless, the SME sector is still facing several problems, as for example the access to funding in response of which, a few years ago, the government, with the support of PME I, created the “SME Credit Guarantee Fund” (FGAR) with a budget of 30 billion Dinars (300 million Euros), and the “Risk Capital Fund” of 3.5 billion Dinars (35 million Euros).
The development of small businesses in Algeria has still a long road to go, nevertheless, the initiatives taken by the government, and supported by the European Union, will surely offer to the sector the opportunity to move forward.
Multi-Billion Euro programme: Algeria strengthening transport infrastructure
30 /06/ 2010
Algeria is looking to step up its campaign to strengthen the country’s transport infrastructure, unveiling a multibillion-euro programme of investments aimed at broadening the base of the economy and reducing dependency on hydrocarbons.
On May 24 the Algerian cabinet, during a meeting chaired by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, approved a five-year, €230.8bn investment plan. Some €104.9bn of this will be used to complete projects already under way, while the balance would be used to finance new schemes. A statement issued after the cabinet meeting said that the investment programme, set to run from 2010 to 2014, was to be the driving force behind government efforts to diversify the economy.
Central to the new programme – and to the longer-term development of the economy as a whole – is a continuing upgrade of existing transport infrastructure alongside a raft of new transport projects. A total of €30.6bn has been allocated to the various segments of the transport sector. The lion’s share will go to the rail sector, which the government considers vital to broadening the base of the Algerian economy and linking its various industrial production hubs with the expanding land and sea transport centres.
Under the development programme, 6500 km of new track will be laid and a further 500 km of the existing network will be upgraded. Urban transport will also receive a major boost with the construction of light rail or tram systems in 14 cities.
Though the list of projects and investments is impressive, some of the funding has been rolled over from previous development programmes. Not all of the projects are new and a number have been carried over from the prior five-year plan, which concluded in 2009.
Even before the new investment programme was unveiled, the Transport Ministry awarded a joint contract to Spanish firm Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) and Algerian firm ETRHB Haddad for the construction of a 185-km-long railway line linking Algiers to Relizane, Tiaret and Tissemsilt in the north-west. The work, which has a price tag of €1bn, involves the construction of a single, high-performance track that allows for a maximum speed of 160 km/hr.
The FCC contract is just the most recent in a series of tenders awarded in recent months, with Canadian engineering firm Dessau winning a €30.6m bid to design an electrified rail project that will connect Algiers to Constantine in north-eastern Algeria. The project involves the preliminary and final design for the construction of a 170-km-long double track to be used by both passenger and freight trains. The Dessau contract is just a small part of a €1.8bn project to be carried out through the cooperation of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and Ozgun Construction of Turkey.
President Bouteflika said the government would assess the country’s financial situation at the end of each year in order to determine the viability of the scheduled projects. He emphasised that Algeria would not borrow overseas funds to complete the programme.
With energy prices creeping higher and predictions for solid economic expansion on the horizon, Algeria should not be hard-pressed to find funds for its transport investment programme. In late April, the IMF revised its forecast for Algeria’s economy, raising its estimates for GDP growth from 3.9% for both this year and 2011 to 4.6% and 4.1%, respectively. The IMF also predicted Algeria would enjoy trade surpluses of 2.5% of GDP in 2010 and 3.4% of GDP in 2011.
A strengthened transport backbone is essential as Algeria seeks to promote increased investment in its economy and bolster its agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors. By prioritising existing projects and fast-tracking new rail schemes, Algeria is well positioned to experience strong economic growth in the coming decade.
Source : globalarabnetwork.com
Algeria, World Bank Strengthening Cooperation & Developing a Partnership Strategy
22 / 05/ 2010
Algeria (Algiers) – In the context of preparation of the new country partnership strategy with Algeria for the 2010-2013 period, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, World Bank Regional Vice President for Middle East and North Africa Region, conducted a working visit to Algeria from May 12-14, 2010.
Dr. Akhtar was received by Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahya, Minister of Finance Karim Djoudi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Rachid Benaïssa, and Bank of Algeria Governor Mohammed Laksaci. These meetings facilitated an exchange of views on Algeria’s development priorities and the resources needed for the important reform programs initiated by the Government.
“My visit to Algeria is part of an effort to strengthen relations between the World Bank and Algeria,” stated Dr. Shamshad Akhtar at the end of these talks. “We are listening to the priorities of the Algerian Government and stand ready to mobilize international expertise in order to assist with reforms in the areas in which the Government wishes to work with our institution.”
The country partnership strategy framework being prepared will be based on technical assistance activities to support a number of actions of the Algerian Government in the areas of agriculture, the financial sector, the environment, economic policy, and public policy planning and evaluation.
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar also met with a panel of economists, entrepreneurs, and civil society representatives with whom she had fruitful discussions that allowed her to better understand their views on the development challenges facing Algeria and to better grasp the specific features of Algeria’s economic and social situation.
Ms. Françoise Clottes, Acting Maghreb Department Director, underscored the importance of close collaboration with the Algerian authorities, which has facilitated joint identification of the areas in which the World Bank can provide technical assistance.
In her statement, Ms. Clottes noted that: “We have worked closely with the Algerian authorities to begin to formulate a new country partnership framework in the near future that will permit Algeria to benefit from World Bank expertise and international experience in a number of areas. The objective of this collaboration is to support the implementation of specific government activities aimed at strengthening growth and economic diversification, which will redound to the benefit of the Algerian people.”
In the past, the World Bank Group has worked with the Algerian authorities on several development projects in the context of the previous country partnership strategy for the 2004-2010 period.
Source : globalarabnetwork.com
New era – Algeria brings industrial sector up to date
09 /05/ 2010
The industry occupies a crucial position in the Algerian economy. From the early years of its independence, Algeria has given priority to the implementation of a varied public industrial basis for which production was exclusively aimed at the internal market.
The liberation of the Algerian economy, starting in the early 1990s, meant public business was faced with competitive situations it was not prepared for it.
At this same time, the private industrial sector started to develop thanks to a new legislative and regulatory system namely implemented by law n°88-25 of 12 July 1988 regarding the orientation of private national economic investments
Today, the private industrial sector’s contribution to the national industrial production is around 35%.
Even though it has lost significant shares on the internal market, the Algerian industry has a solid infrastructure, although this requires restructuring with a view to globalisation.
In terms of relaunching the national industry, the agenda of the Ministry for Industry and Investment Promotion follows on from focus-points arising from the document on “Strategy and policies for industrial relaunching and development”.
This document was subjected to a major debate between the different economic and. It constitutes sectional projection social actors during the National Industry conferences of the Algerian economic growth strategy.
Algeria’s new industrial strategy is based on the four main axes below:
– Choosing sectors to be promoted
– Sectional restructuring of the industry
– Spatial restructuring of the industry
– Industrial development policies
The sectors to be promoted are chosen in several major stages involving:
– Identification of the branches displaying strong developmental potential and which are driven by the international market;
– Analysis of the level of competitiveness of the branches identified; Assessment the strengths and weaknesses of the targeted branches, as well as the threats and opportunities on the international market;
– Stating of the industrial strategy retained from these successive choices and outlining of the elements for its implementation.
The sectional restructuring of the industry will take place according to the choices retained by the industrial strategy and which call for action on three additional plans: development of natural resources, densification of industrial material and promotion of new industries.
– The development of natural resources – The sought-after aim is to promote the industries which will allow Algeria to make better use of its natural assets and to go from being a simple exporter of primary products to a producer and exporter of converted goods, with more advanced technology and higher added value. The branches identified at this level particularly concern petrochemistry, synthetic fibres, fertilisers, steel industry, non-ferrous metallurgy (aluminium) and construction materials (hydraulic binders)
– Densification of industrial material – This involves encouraging the industries which contribute to the integration of activities currently placed in the latter stages of the production chain. The industries likely to favour this increase in channels are those generally associated with assembly and packaging: electrical and electronic industries, pharmaceutical and veterinary industries, agro-food industries, equipment industries.
– Promotion of new industries – Particular attention will be given to the promotion of industries which are either non-existent (new industries) or those in which Algeria is lacking progress. This especially involves industries associated with ICT and automobiles.
The spatial restructuring of the industry, the second dimension of industrial restructuring, can no longer be restricted to the current configuration of industrial areas and must adhere to a more modern vision and more productive ideas, such as the areas of integrated industrial development (ZDII), science and technology parks or specialised areas.
Some of these spaces have been located and will be implemented gradually.
– Their development will allow synergies to be created by making use of the spatial concentration of economic activities and by networking the businesses, the public regulation establishments, as well as the research, training and assessment structures.
– Thanks to the synergies which will this be created, these new spaces will generate a real microclimate of business and intensify investments.
The industrial development policies cover four main areas: upgrading of businesses, innovation, development of human resources and promotion of direct foreign investments:
– The upgrading of businesses is the focus of a business modernisation programme whose objectives and management methods lie within the industrialisation strategy.
– Innovation and creation of ideas are today the driving force behind the development. An endogenous innovation system must encourage the development of the Algerian industrial sector. However, this process, which will not be able to be guaranteed by the mere market dynamics, requires the involvement of public authorities. A national innovation system (SNI) will be established and implemented to uphold a policy of promotion and development of technical advancement.
– The development of human resources and qualifications is one of the main focuses of the industrial strategy which believes that human capital is not only a production factor just like physical capital, but also a powerful factor benefiting the assumption of technologies and industrial modernisation.
– The promotion of direct foreign investments (IDE) adheres to a policy aiming to mobilise external contributions while orienting them towards the financing of activities with high capital intensity and the spreading of new technologies.
– Thanks to the various external economies they generate (technology, organisation, managerial practices, enlargement of openings into the international markets), the IDEs play and additional coaching role compared to the national investments. An active State policy is required to help the IDEs gain a foothold in industrial matters and the spreading of their external effects in favour of national businesses.
There are at least four reasons why its development requires an industrial strategy to be defined:
– The industry is a powerful factor for the structuring of the national economy. It allows the technical progress and innovation to be both spread and created.
– The industry allows businesses and the nation to increase their competitiveness and negotiation power. It is the best means of integration into the world economy.
– The industrialisation process not only depends on a perfect knowledge of the procedures and the benefits associated with their promotion, but also on a large set of assistance and incentive policies.
– Today, this process cannot be conducted on the market alone, and certainly less on the world market, which is hardly competitive and largely bears the features of an oligopoly. Nor can it be entrusted to the State alone, as the state management does not ensure optimum allocation of resources.
Algeria reforms regulatory framework to encourage investments
06 /05/ 2010
Algeria encourages investments and favours development of the private sector.
To achieve that, Algeria has reformed the legal and regulatory framework to secure full protection and freedom for investors.
The new legal and regulatory framework allow any individual or legal entity, whether this be Algerian or foreign, to invest in economic activities concerning the production of goods and services, as well as the investments made as part of the awarding of concessions and/or licences.
By modifying the old legislation, edict 06-08 traced the major revision axes for the legal framework governing investment promotion in order to make it develop into the best international practices.
Based on this new legislative text, an application system is currently being implemented gradually. It particularly involves the institutional framework, the eligibility system, the process for granting benefits and the type of benefits granted to investors.
The investment competencies have incidentally been redefined, specified and organised into three levels:
A strategic level represented by the National Investment Council (CNI).
The activities of the CNI are carried out namely regarding strategic decisions relating to the investment and the examination of the portfolios posing an interest for the national economy.
A political level represented by the Ministry for Industry and Investment Promotion (MIPI).
To promote and mobilise investments, the MIPI is responsible, among other things, for creating the national investment policy and for ensuring its application. In this area, the MIPI carries out its tasks through the General Investment Administration (DGI).
An executional level namely represented by two agencies which perform their tasks under the control and orientation of the MIPI:
* National Agency for Investment Development (ANDI)
* National Agency for Intermediation and Property Regulation (ANIREF)
Right to recourse – The protection of investor rights has been reinforced by the new legislation. The right to recourse, previously restricted to certain ANDI activities, is from now on open to all activities related to implanting the benefit grant decision made by all organisations concerned.
See executive decree n°06-357 of 9 October 2006 regarding formation, organisation and function of the recourse commission responsible for investments.
The guarantees granted to investors – The Algerian legislation regarding investments grants essential guarantees to investors, namely:
* Non-discrimination in relation to Algerian individuals or legal entities.
* Legal security / Intangibility of the law: Unless expressly requested by the investor, the future revisions or repeals of the legislation on investment do not apply to the projects carried out within the current legislation on the day of the investment.
* Settlement of disputes: Any dispute between foreign investors and the Algerian state, resulting from the investor’s actions or a measure taken by the Algerian state against this, will be subjected to the competent jurisdictions, except for multilateral agreements concluded by the Algerian state regarding reconciliation and arbitration or a specific agreement stipulating a compromising clause or allowing the parties to agree on an ad hoc arbitration compromise.
Direct foreign investments (DFI) – Financial attraction measures already implemented in Algeria are gradually being accompanied by activities which are significant to the final decision of foreign investors and which namely concern the improvement of the business environment and the minimising of delays and set-up costs and the start-up of businesses.
As part of the implementation of the industrial strategy, measures will be taken to focus the DFIs on the financing of activities with a high capitalistic intensity, the distribution of new technologies, the improvement of managerial capacities, a better access to the global market and a greater diversification of national exports.
Eligibility system – A new benefits eligibility system has been put in place with the promulgation of decree 07-08 of 11 January 2007 establishing the list of goods and services excluded from the benefits. It introduces the general rules uniformly applicable to all investors.
Processes for granting benefits – The process for granting benefits has also been simplified. The handling of investment portfolios is from now on codified by two executive decrees (currently being published) regarding the forms and methods for the investment declaration, the request to grant benefits and the decision to grant benefits.
Noticeable progress towards the declarative process has been recorded in this area. The prior compliance check previously conducted by the ANDI has been replaced by a simple verification of the admissibility of the portfolio presented by the investor.
Marriott International Announces Contracts for Its First Hotels in Tlemcen, Algeria & Kigali, Rwanda
More than 40 hotels in Marriott’s Middle East/Africa development pipeline through 2016
Despite current global economic challenges, Marriott International’s hotel development pipeline in the Middle East/Africa continues strong with more than 40 hotels planned to open in the region through 2016.
Recently, management contracts were signed for:
- The 204-room Renaissance Tlemcen in Algeria, opening in January 2011. It is owned by Societe d’Investissement Hotelier and, when opened, it will be the first Marriott International-flagged hotel in Algeria and the only international standard hotel in Tlemcen.
- The 237-room Kigali Marriott Hotel in Rwanda, opening in 2012. It is owned by New Century Development and will be Marriott’s first property in Rwanda.
“There’s no denying that the past year in the Middle East and Africa has had its challenges,” said Ed Fuller, president and managing director of international lodging for Marriott International. “However, we are seeing pockets of resurgence throughout the region both in terms of new hotel development and in occupancies.
“We plan to open three hotels later this year in Qatar. As we move forward into next year, we expect to experience gathering strength when we open a stunning Renaissance hotel in Tlemcen and a beautiful, luxurious JW Marriott hotel in Tripoli. Both will be our first properties in their respective countries. We’re also delighted that construction on the landmark JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is coming along right on schedule with its first 807 rooms due to open in 2012,” he continued.
Mr. Fuller noted that the opening last fall of its regional office in Dubai has energized Marriott’s focus on Africa. “The dynamic nature of tourism in the Middle East and the strong emergence of Africa as a viable destination for business and leisure travel are evident. We expect both to play an important role in our strategies in the long-term future.”
Renaissance Tlemcen Hotel, Algeria
As the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Capital of Islamic Culture Designee for 2011, all eyes will be on Tlemcen, Algeria in the coming year.
The city dates back to the Roman Empire and enjoys a rich history and culture. Its textiles and handicraft, and elegant blend of Arab, Berber, Andalucian and French cultures, coupled with its cool mountain climate, architecture and urban life gives the city a unique outlook and sophistication. The Great Mosque of Tlemcen, a recognized landmark built in 1082, is one of the best preserved examples of Almoravid architecture.
The Renaissance Tlemcen will be located on the Lalla Setti plateau overlooking the city, approximately a 15-minute drive from the city center. The area features an artificial lake, children’s playgrounds, a promenade on the edge of the plateau overlooking the city and a 30-meter high observatory.
Contemporary styling, authentically reflective of its culturally diverse surroundings, will be the hallmark of the hotel. Its spacious guest rooms will feature the latest technology and exquisite bed and bath linens and amenities.
Gorgeous food and beverage outlets will be a focal point of the hotel. Both its all-day, casual restaurant and its specialty outlet will provide outside seating. Its open-space lobby lounge will flow into the lobby, offering an ambience that will change character throughout the day. It will be complemented by a roof-top night club and lounge with outdoor seating, a pool bar and grill and a discotheque located in a separate building.
Recreational amenities will include a health and leisure club, an outdoor swimming pool and two tennis courts. Other amenities will be comprised of a business center, an executive lounge, 24-hour room service, in-room mini-bar, a gift shop, flight crew lounge and a prayer room.
For social events and conferences, the hotel will have 17,360 square feet of space comprised of two 7,340-square foot column-free ballrooms, two meeting rooms in varying configurations and a boardroom.
Marriott International currently has two additional properties planned for Algeria: the 227-room Algiers Marriott and the 180-unit Marriott Executive Apartments Algiers, both of which are expected to open in 2012.
Kigali Marriott Hotel, Rwanda
Well on its way to becoming the service, transportation and logistics hub for the Central African region, Rwanda in recent years has successfully established itself as an international conference destination and its tea, coffee, fruit and flowers have become highly-regarded exports. Its wealth of wildlife, flora and fauna and especially its gorilla population are giving rise to its eco-tourism industry. Kigali is easily reached through Brussels and Nairobi with connections from the US and major European cities considered excellent.
The Kigali Marriott will be centrally located near major office centers, embassies and Parliament. Kigali’s international airport will be a 20-minute drive away.
Its comfortably appointed, spacious guest rooms will feature the latest technology while providing a welcomed comfortable respite after a full-day of work or touring.
For dining and entertainment, the hotel’s open lobby lounge will encourage guests to linger throughout the day to relax, hold impromptu meetings with colleagues or to socialize with friends. Its casual all-day restaurant will be complemented by a specialty restaurant and pool grill. All will offer delectable, fresh, mouth-watering food and beverage choices.
Recreational amenities will be centered around a health and leisure club, an outdoor swimming pool and an outdoor whirlpool. A 24-hour business center, room service, in-room mini-bar and a gift shop are among other amenities planned for the hotel.
For social events and conferences, the hotel will have 830 square meters of function space. It will be comprised of a 500-square meter ballroom that will be divisible into three sections, a series of flexible meeting rooms in varying configurations and a boardroom.
Over the next five years, Marriott International plans to open properties in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Today, its Middle East/Africa region consists of 28 operating hotels, including five Ritz-Carlton properties.
Note: the statement about the number of new hotels to be added in 2010 and 2011 and their locations is a “forward looking statement” with the meaning of federal securities laws, not a historical fact, and is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including the depth and duration of the current recession, supply and demand changes for hotel rooms; competitive conditions in the lodging industry; relationships with clients and property owners; the availability of capital to finance hotel growth and refurbishment and other risk factors identified in our most recent quarterly report on the Company’s 2009 Annual Report on Form 10K; and of which could cause actual results to differ material from those expressed in or implied by our statement. This statement is made as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About the Brands:
Marriott Hotels & Resorts is Marriott International’s classic flagship brand that inspires guests to relax and recharge in their own way at nearly 500 hotels in 60 countries. Marriott continues to accommodate life away from home for discerning travelers, offering warm, professional service; sophisticated yet functional guest room design; lobby spaces that facilitate dining and socializing; meeting and event spaces and services that are gold standard; and expansive, 24-hour fitness facilities.
Renaissance Hotels is an upscale brand with more than 140 properties in 28 countries that speaks to passionate travelers in search of authentic local discoveries when traveling for business or leisure. Renaissance Hotels has recently welcomed several new “gems” to its global collection—the ultra-modern Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel, the chic Renaissance 57 in Manhattan and the beautifully restored Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach. These hotels join a rich portfolio defined by distinctive and well-known icons such as The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Blackstone Renaissance Chicago Hotel, The Shelbourne Renaissance Dublin Hotel and the Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel.
Source : news.marriott.com
Algeria investing in infrastructure, building for the future
20 /04/ 2010
Algeria is investing heavily in the country’s infrastructure and housing stock as part of a continuation of the state-funded programme to diversify the economy and strengthen social services.
According to the latest IMF consultation statement based on meetings with government officials, the non-hydrocarbons sector’s contribution to Algeria’s GDP should increase by 5.5% this year, with the economy’s growth sustained to a large extent by state spending. A large portion of this spending will be directed towards projects that would benefit Algeria’s construction sector, which is also seeing an increasing number of foreign contractors vying for work in the market.
Under the country’s new five-year plan, which will run until the end of 2014, €111.3bn is to be spent improving infrastructure to support both the requirements of Algerian people and the economy. Among the key objectives of the programme are the creation of up to 3m jobs and the construction of 2m housing units, with the plan also envisioning large-scale investments to improve health, education and utilities services.
Though the Algerian economy slowed somewhat in 2009, with GDP climbing by just over 2%, lower than in recent years, the construction sector still managed to post growth of more than 3% last year, and should do better in 2010 and beyond thanks to the increased state outlays.
While the construction sector can look forward to an extended period of full capacity utilisation, the industry cannot be complacent. Though the government will be bankrolling the massive building programme that will keep the sector in work for years to come, the state is also raising the bar regarding standards local and foreign construction firms must meet.
In mid-March, the public works minister, Amar Ghoul, announced that new regulations for the building sector would include mandating higher construction standards for infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges and bypasses, to ensure they are able to withstand earthquake trauma.
The new regulations will come into effect this year and would be in line with international standards, the minister said, while taking into account the specific characteristics of seismic activity in various regions of the country.
The government is also moving to put in place an upgraded building code for residential and commercial structures, in keeping with its drive to meet the housing needs of the growing population and the expanding services and business sector.
Much of Algeria’s existing housing stock is decades old, some dating back to the colonial era when engineering techniques did not include either the use of modern materials or a full understanding of proofing buildings against seismic events.
Though Algeria has a strict building code, many of the newer dwellings in the country’s major cities also fail to meet existing standards, and would fall well short of any upgraded requirements. These residences have sprouted up on the outer reaches of Algiers and other cities over the last 20 years, privately built to accommodate the waves of migrants coming from rural communities. It is these newcomers to the cities that the government is particularly trying to properly house and provide services and employment for.
In late March the housing minister, Mohamed Ismail, announced that the state would be providing 12,000 residential units by October to families from slum areas in the capital and other cities. Official estimates put the number of unregulated dwellings in Algiers alone at 45,000, a figure the state hopes to reduce to zero by the end of the current five-year plan.
Another area where builders are expected to comply is in signing on to the government’s campaign to stamp out corruption, launched by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. This is of particular importance to those firms looking to win contracts for work allocated under the new five-year plan, as the taint of corruption has stained a number of projects in the previous five-year development scheme.
According to media reports in early March, foreign companies involved in infrastructure projects or those intending to bid on new tenders had to give a written commitment not to offer bribes or inducements to state officials involved in the tender process.
As billions of dollars worth of new contracts for housing developments, infrastructure projects and construction work become available, it would be in the best interest of overseas building firms to sign up on the dotted line.
With the cash in the bank to fund its programme thanks to the country’s hydrocarbons income, the government is well positioned to make good on its promises to improve housing and infrastructure, welcome news for Algerian builders and their suppliers.
Source : english.globalarabnetwork.com
Algeria is North Africa’s Tiger Economy
By Robert Bailey
20 /04/ 2010
Algeria is a rich opportunity for international investors as North Africa’s largest nation steps up its drive for economic diversification and development of bold new infrastructure.
This was the message brought to London last week by Hamid Temmar Algeria’s Minister of Industry and Investment Promotion when he met Lord Davies the UK’s Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Business.
Algeria is steadily emerging from years of economic stagnation and has embarked on a huge multi-billion dollar make-over. The investment, spurred by its income from oil and natural gas sales, is vital in a country where jobs and housing are scarce and where an Al-Qaeda inspired insurgency was until recently thought to be sinking roots.
A determined effort to improve the economy and social conditions for those marginalised by poverty is proving an effective way to counter terrorism. The longer term aim is also for the country to become increasingly integrated into the modern global economy.
The government has taken a strong grip on the security situation but still confronts the aftermath of a 15-year long Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people,
While sporadic violent attacks on government police and troops are still carried out by extremists, these have become far more scattered and intermittent in the last two years. As greater security has become evident so have the many opportunities available to foreign investors.
Some $180 billion has been spent since 2005. According to Mr Temmar this investment has resulted in construction of 1 million new homes, a 12,800 kilometres water distribution network and 1,500 secondary schools.
Forty one per cent of the population now have access to natural gas supplies and 98 per cent to electricity. Four years ago there were just four universities now there are 62 institutions of higher learning. Fourteen new hospitals have also been built, he points out.
The focus continues to be on the special presidential programme to improve and extend Algeria’s infrastructure. One of the main features has been the building of the country’s six-lane east-west highway linking the countries principal cities of Constantine, Algiers and Oran.
The 1,300 kilometre highway is the longest continuous highway in Africa and .stretches from Annaba, close to the border with Tunisia in the east, to Tlemcen near the border with Morocco in the west.
The transport improvement programme is ongoing with another 1,500 kilometres of new roads being built as well as airport development and new railway track. By 2025 the national rail network will stretch 11.210 kilometres and is due to be entirely electrified.
A 4 kilometres long extension to the capital’s metro system is under way. Construction of the initial 9 kilometres long system was completed in 2009. The country’s vast hinterland stretching in the Sahara hinterland is also due to see huge infrastructure improvements.
Outside the hydrocarbon sectors most of the running for orders up to now has been made by Chinese firms that have been awarded contracts estimated at $20 billion.
China State Construction Engineering Corporation has been building most of Algeria’s 1.200 kilometre east-west highway which it has been completed in just three years.
Chinese companies are also constructing the main portions of the 1.300 kilometres long high plateau railway from Sidi Bel Abbes to Tebessa with branches linking Tiaret and Relizane.
There are already some 35,000 Chinese in Algeria the largest foreign element other than French nationals. A Chinatown area has even formed in the capital’s Bab Ezzour suburb.
As Algeria increasingly builds up substantial surpluses as a result of a price per barrel of oil approaching three times the figure Algeria’s budgets are based on, the country can confidently plan huge long term expenditure.
Mr Temmar wants to see UK and other European firms become more involved. He sees the UK as an advanced services-based economy whose expertise can support Algerian companies.
“We have the money and are looking for experience and medium size companies to invest. We are conscious that we do not have the expertise of managing companies within an international environment. We are focusing on developing human resources with thousands now undergoing courses abroad. As a result we are making efforts to send people to be trained in Korea, Germany, France and Italy and other countries.”
“Language is a constraint to developing trade but it should be noted that Arabic rather than French is the language of Algeria. English is being taught in fifth grade now rather than seventh grade. We aim to see it taught in third grade but we need to work on this.” the minister notes.
UK investment, while substantial, has been largely concentrated in the country’s oil and gas industry. Other sectors are increasingly opening up. Algeria signed an Association Agreement with the European Union in 2002, under which Algeria undertook to open its markets over the following 12 years. The UK, which ratified the agreement in 2004, was one of the first EU states to do so.
Prospects have also improved following the visit by President Abdulaziz Bouteflika to Britain in July, 2006 which represented the first visit by an Algerian head of state since the country gained independence in 1962.
During the visit, UK and Algeria signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a bilateral ministerial committee known as the UK-Algeria Joint Committee on Bilateral Relations.
“There are larger numbers of British business visitors coming to Algeria now and we have discussed setting up a UK desk in the Ministry of Trade,” Mr Temmar notes.
The British Council is also planning to return to Algeria after a long absence. We welcome companies to invest and there are big opportunities for those able to enhance our service provision.
The minister stresses that investors should view Algeria as a Maghreb economy rather than a Middle Eastern one. There are different issues and different ways of doing things, he notes.
The country is also geographically much closer to Europe, just 50 minutes air time to Barcelona, two hours to London and connects with the south Europe region, he says.
“We are very ambitious and want our place in the sub-region. Algeria will definitely be a player.”
Source : english.globalarabnetwork.com
Billions reserves – Investing in the Algerian market
14 /04/ 2010
A roundtable business briefing on new opportunities in Algeria was held by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce on 13 April.
A distinguished delegation of senior Algerian officials headed by the H E Hamid Temmar, the Algerian Minister for Industry and Investment Promotion, was welcomed to the Chamber’s London offices by Dr Afnan Al Shuaiby, ABCC Secretary General & CEO, who chaired the event.
Opening the briefing, Dr Afnan stressed that “new opportunities are emerging for UK investors as Algeria seeks to diversify its economy and widen and strengthen its range of business partners.”
She said that the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce welcomed the growing cooperation between the UK and Algerian business sectors and remained ready to assist them in their efforts.
Keynote speaker H E Hamid Temmar told the gathering of British investors and business consultants that Algeria was now a country with ambitions to be a key player in the global economy and it had the resources to achieve this, the meeting was told.
The country had undergone a remarkable transformation over recent years and was now one of the strongest economies in the region, although it was still the least known of all the economies of the Southern Mediterranean, the minister said.
Algeria had passed through a difficult period in the 1990s when the economy was at a standstill and closed to foreign investors at a time when the rest of the world was opening up to globalisation.
The situation today presents a marked contrast with Algeria now as one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa, underpinned by its exceptional economic performance over recent years.
The strength of the economy today is illustrated by a range of positive indicators in terms of balance of payments, the reduction of debt to almost zero, holding inflation to around 4% and reducing unemployment to 12%. Reserves now stand at $140 billion.
Algeria is making effective use of its oil revenues by investing in the future to reconstruct the country and revive the economy.
A new strategy has been adopted to improve the business climate and move to a more diverse and free economy open to investment and where the private sector plays an increasingly central role.
One key area was the reform of the banking system where foreign banks were now established. Algeria had also opened a stock exchange which depended on the business community foreign and national to develop. Another key reform of importance for business was a change in the law relating to land making it available for investment by introducing a leasehold concessionary system of up to 90 years.
Transparency and reform of the system of public administrative remained as challenges still to be solved, the minister said.
The Algerian economy was still heavily dependent on oil which represented over 50% of GDP, but policies were being implemented to encourage new enterprises and diversification.
There were basically only three kinds of companies in Algeria: public, private and foreign enterprises.
Recognising that the country’s private sector needed to develop the government had adopted an industrial strategy and was taking action to help companies to modernise their operations.
Business support measures were currently in place to encourage training and the adoption of modern management methods seen as essential to enable the local private sector to compete globally.
Public companies, meanwhile, were undergoing restructuring and their personnel were undergoing programmes of retraining.
Algeria was ready to invest in modernising its industry and was seeking foreign expertise and partners to bring in the new technologies and know how that the country was lacking.
The Minister explained the country’s policy regarding foreign direct investment (FDI) stressing that the rule requiring 51% Algerian stake in an enterprise did not constitute a stake owned by the state, but could be a combination of public and private sector partners.
He emphasised that finance was available for investors in Algeria for those looking to establish new ventures and providing the skills and expertise that were in short supply.
Outlining an ongoing programme on investment in infrastructure, the minister mentioned in particular the achievements of a presidential initiative to invest in new roads and rehabilitate the highways network, new railways and modernisation of ports and airports.
Other achievements to Algeria’s credit to date included the building of 1.5 million new housing units and 5,000 new schools. The country now boasts 62 universities.
Significant improvements have been recorded in the provision of basic amenities like drinkable water, gas and electricity supplies to domestic customers.
About $180 billion has been spent on infrastructure investment in the last three years. This is to be followed by a second programme of investment of about $210 billion.
Attention was now being directed at modernising the inland regions, whereas previously investment had been focused on the coastal regions where most of the country’s population resides.
Giving details of the efforts to reform public administration, the Minister stated that the aim was to have in place a workable system that would assist growth and investment. Developing human resources was a key issue.
The Minister said personnel were now sent for training overseas to places like Korea, Germany, France and Italy as Algeria was well aware that people needed to be trained properly for their effective participation in the modern economy.
The UK, with its strong services economy, was well placed to provide the expertise in services that Algeria needed to continuing economic revival.
Algeria to increase gas exports by 50% in five years
18 /04/ 2010
Algeria’s natural gas exports will increase by over 50 percent in the next five years, Minister of Mining and Energy Chekib Khalil said.Algeria’s scheme to boost its natural gas exports will start in mid-2010 and is set to reach 85 billion cubic meters by 2015, he said in a statement.
Algeria’s natural gas exports will be strengthened following the operation of the third MedGaz pipeline, said Khalil. This pipeline will have a capacity of eight million cubic metes by next July.
MedGaz is a submarine natural gas pipeline between Algeria and Spain.
Algeria is also working on completion of a natural gas pipeline with Italy via Tunisia in a projected named Trans-Meditarranean Pipeline (TransMed).
Galsi, another natural gas pipeline, will directly link Algeria with italy.
Another pipelie will be linking Nigeria with Europe via Algeria. This project will allow export of 20-30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe every year.
Worth mentioning, Algeria is an important exporter of oil and natural gas and is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In 2008, Algeria produced 1.42 million bbl/d of crude oil. Algeria was the fourth largest crude oil producer in Africa after Nigeria (1.94), Angola (1.89), and Libya (1.71) and the largest total oil liquids producer on the continent.
As a member of OPEC, Algeria’s crude oil production can be constrained by the group’s crude production allocations, but Algeria also produced 450,000 bbl/d of condensate and 357,000 bbl/d of natural gas liquids, which are exempt from OPEC quotas, bringing total oil liquids production for the year up to a total of 2.23 million bbl/d. Domestic oil consumption accounted for about 13 percent of total production.
Algeria was the sixth largest natural gas producer in the world in 2007 after Russia, the United States, Canada, Iran, and Norway. Algeria produced 3.03 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2007, of which 70 percent was exported and 30 percent was consumed domestically.
Source : english.globalarabnetwork.com
Algeria plans to invite bids for farmland
Algeria plans for the first time to invite bids from foreign investors to lease farmland as part of efforts to ease its food imports bill, the head of a state agriculture body said on Thursday.
Mohamed Cherif Ould Hocine, head of the National Chamber of Agriculture, told Reuters in an interview that details of the plan had not been finalised but said majority stake would not be available and bidders will need Algerian partners.
The farmland on offer would be for high yield crops including grains, he said.
Ould Hocine expected a repeat of last year’s record cereal harvest of 6.12 million tonnes, saying that would significantly help reduce imports.
“Our country wants to rationally use its tools with the aim of increasing agricultural production. Algeria is open and it is a liberal country,” he said.
Ould Hocine said it was up to the agriculture ministry to set a date for launching the tender for foreign investors and provide details on how to handle the process.
But he said :”Regarding the farms intended for foreign investment, assets will remain national ones because land is not for sale.”
“We are going towards a partnership. Foreign investors will never have majority stake. They will certainly provide technology and capital to work in partnership on that land,” he added.
In most years Algeria imports 5 million tonnes of cereals to fill shortfalls in domestic output.
But for the first time in 40 years Algeria last March announced it was planning to export barley.
“Last year we got very good production. This year we have had good rain. We are optimistic. We will have a good harvest. This will have an impact on imports. There will be a reduction in imports,” said Ould Hocine.
Areas sowed with cereals increased by 2 percent to 3.3 million hectares this year, the agriculture ministry has said.
OPEC member Algeria, whose oil and gas exports account for about 96 percent of total exports, has been struggling to boost non-hydrocarbon sectors including agriculture.
“Algeria’s population has reached 35 million. So, demand for food is growing. Our goal is to rely on national production to balance demand and supply,” Ould Hocine said.
“We want food sovereignty. We want to be sovereign regarding food. We can achieve that goal providing the authorities go ahead with the current policy.”
He said the government has started in recent years spending $3 billion annually in a bid to boost its agricultural sector, providing good quality seeds and financial incentives for farmers.
Algeria, UK discuss energy co-operation
Algeria Energy Minister Chakib Khelil on Friday (March 26th) will conclude two days of talks in London with his British homologue, Algerian press reported. Khelil’s visit, which follows bilateral talks held earlier this month in London, aims at boosting co-operation in the fields of hydrocarbons and renewable energies.
Algeria, already the UK’s third-largest provider of liquefied natural gas (LNG), could potentially use the planned trans-Saharan gas pipeline to double output to the country in the next few years, JournalDZ reported. The 4,128km pipeline is expected to send 20-30 billion cubic metres of gas from the Niger Delta, via Niger and Algeria, to Europe every year by 2015.
AFRICOM, Algeria improve security co-operation
Maintaining security and preventing harm to everyday civilians are on the top of the agenda for Algeria US Africa Command.
By Walid Ramzi
Several African nations agreed this week in Dakar, as Senegalese Interior Minister Becaye Diop put it, “to act more and talk less” about the flow of drugs from South America to the African continent and the dangerous partnership between drug-traffickers and terrorists.
“Rich or poor, there is no region in the world which could alone cope with transnational organised crime,” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) chief Antonio Maria Costa told the UN Security Council on Thursday (February 25th), adding that the best solution is to strengthen co-operation, information-sharing and joint action.
Recent visits to Algeria by United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) officers and other US officials show many local observers that such co-operation in the fight against terrorist groups in the African Sahel is exactly what Algeria and the US hope to achieve.
“Algeria plays a considerable part in the field of the multilateral diplomacy and represents an important partner,” said Susan F. Burk, US President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy for Nuclear Non-Proliferation on February 22nd at the end of a 3-day visit to Algiers.
Last November, AFRICOM commander General William Ward met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and top military officials to discuss joint US-Algerian efforts against terrorism, particularly information-sharing through training.
Ward emphasised that he did not come to Algeria to ask it to host the AFRICOM headquarters, a matter that has been the subject of media speculation. Washington “hasn’t made a request in this regard either to Algeria or to any other African state,” he said.
Less than two months after the AFRICOM commander’s visit, senior Algerian Air Force officials met in Algiers with the commander of US Air Forces in Africa to further discuss co-operation in the fight against terrorism in the Maghreb and Sahel regions. The US is “prepared to work together with Algeria to guarantee stability and to deal with these threats,” Major General Ronald Ladnier said.
“Algerian political authorities have made a strategic choice to co-operate with Washington in the defence domain,” Algerian daily El Watan noted in its coverage of the January 26th Ladnier visit.
“These visits prove the concern of the American authorities about security breaches in the Sahel by groups that kidnapped citizens of certain countries in order to use them to obtain ransom payments,” Rabah Hadef, an Algerian media specialist in security issues, told Magharebia.
Washington appears eager to pursue co-operation with Algeria, Hadef added, “because of its strategic site in the area and of its great experience in the fight against the extremists groups”.
For security expert Hussein Samim, “the motivation to reinforce the partnership between African countries and the United States, in particular North Africa, goes along with the war against terrorism”.
“This requires co-ordination for the exchange of intelligence to update the local armies and provide them with sophisticated equipment for the fight against terrorism,” he added.
The launching of AFRICOM “marks an important change in American strategy,” said international relations professor Dr. Madani Sahib.
AFRICOM “gives the African continent a higher position in the international arena, especially with the increasing threat of terrorism and the emergence of organisations adopting the concept of al-Qaeda and seeking a base camp in the Sahel and Somalia,” Sahib tells Magharebia.
He says that the establishment of AFRICOM marked a shift in the American presence on the continent from political and economic to military, albeit an indirect one. The visits paid by AFRICOM officials to Algeria were primarily intended to address the security situation in the African Sahel and paralyse the activities of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, Sahib added.
The goal of the partnership now, Professor Sahib says, should be “the modernisation of military forces in the area, and then the transition towards a step where armed forces of North African and Sahel countries are provided with sophisticated equipment, such as surveillance devices and unmanned aircraft.”
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has become an absolute priority for the authorities of the two countries, the professor said, and a strong motivation for closer relations without military intervention.
Boulahya Hussein, a writer who specialises in security issues, agrees that AFRICOM’s most important objective is “security and intelligence to counter the threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”.
The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) reinvention as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, some observers noted, actually prompted a greater convergence between Sub-Saharan African countries and the United States, which led to the current collaboration.
When it comes to ensuring the safety of citizens, Algeria and the United States indeed share a common goal, the AFRICOM commander told reporters in Algiers during his trip.
“I would define mutual interests by the desire for stability, the desire to prevent harm to innocent civilians and how we can work together to prevent acts of violent extremism,” General Ward said.
This content was commissioned for Magharebia.com.
Advice For Algeria: Go Back to the Drawing Board
When Money Alone is not Enough and Sound Policies Matter: In preparing for an issue of special report for The North Africa Journal, we spent a great deal of time checking what North Africa is doing in building up its infrastructure to prepare for a 21st century economy. We were rather astonished at the numbers we tallied as to the amounts each country is spending on building up. Algeria is no exception.
In fact, the money that country has amassed over the past few years is fueling an economic activity unparalleled to what we know of, and Algeria may be a leading spender on such infrastructure build up in the region. Billions of dollars in roads and highways, billions more in rail, ports, constructions and the numbers begin to exceed the types of figures we are used to.
In this context, one can only assume a trickling down of these investments into job creations and growing opportunities for all. After all, isn’t economic progress meant to create a healthier and wealthier middle class and eliminate poverty, violence and unrest?
That’s in theory. In practice, the ongoing clashes between groups of youth and security forces in some poor neighborhoods of the capital Algiers are a stark reminder that having billions in the bank and pouring it into projects here and there is no guarantee of social peace and stability. So the question is why after all these macroeconomic gains so praised by the IMF, many Algerians feel left out? The answer may be complex, but can be boiled down into a simple fact: benefiting from an oil boom and hydrocarbon exports without an intelligent economic and industrial policy leads to nowhere. It means that Algeria’s regulatory reforms meant to stimulate activity have failed, period. The country continuous to drop in the global ranking of countries in terms of conducting business there. The environment in which businesses and entrepreneurs that create jobs and wealth has deteriorated. Most indicators measuring a country’s business environment have worsened. From the time it takes to open a business to the time it takes to close it, and everything else in between. In these conditions, it is no surprise that building homes, the very reason why people are clashing in Algeria, face enormous challenges. It is no surprise, as we found in our infrastructure report that virtually all projects in Algeria face substantial delays. Bureaucracy is a killer of initiatives and needs to be tackled.
So what is the cure for Algeria then? Sadly, Algeria inherited an old colonial practice of bureaucracy and administration that are so broken and out of line with current global trends. Unless Algeria and its president take the political courage to completely overhaul the administration, and even destroy these outdated practices, the country will continue to swim in a substandard world.
While billions are being spent on improving critical areas of the national economy, bureaucracy, mediocrity and the administration itself are all playing an offsetting role, virtually nullifying and eliminating any gains made elsewhere. And that’s a shame. A recommendation for Algeria: go back to the drawing board.
This content was commissioned for north-africa.com