H.E. Mrs. Taous DJELLOULI, Ambassador of Algeria to Romania: Knowledge of Algerian realities is limited overseas, improving this situation is a challenge for my mission in Romania
Today, Algeria celebrates its 62nd anniversary since the outbreak of its fight for freedom, fight that lasted for seven long years and led to its independence, the 5th of July 1962, after 132 years of colonization.
The postcolonial Algeria faced enormous economic and social challenges.
In this regard, I want to highlight the support of Romania whom, even before the proclamation of independence of Algeria, recognized the Provisional Government of the Republic of Algeria and answered the call of Algeria by sending experts to help out for the reconstruction of the infrastructure and for training the young generations.
Today’s Algeria is firmly committed on its way to modernity. Algeria conducted profound changes, throughout political, economical, institutional and social reforms with the goal of achieving 7% growth at the end of the current five-year plan 2014-2019.
Politically, our system has changed and introduced the pluralism that led to the current reality, since 29 parties are represented in Parliament and 3 of them are part of the coalition Government. The place acquired by women on the economic scene and, to a lesser extent, on the political scene is another change pledge.
On the security front, the policy of civil Concord and national Reconciliation, so dear to our President Bouteflika and approved by referendum by the people of Algeria, allowed my country to emerge from the spiral of terrorism and once again become a country whose stability is recognized.
May I remind you that Algeria has paid a heavy price for peace and security, but also for regional security, even worldwide. Unfortunately, it took the tragic events of September 2001 which hit the American people for this reality to be recognized: Algeria has struggled alone for 10 years, in an organized isolation and a calculated indifference. Security has returned thanks to the Algerian people and its army.
The states of our region, some of which, unfortunately, continue to face this horrible plague that is terrorism, know they can count on Algeria to fight this plague and work for peace and security. I will cite as an example the mediation which led to the Peace Agreement and reconciliation in Mali. Anyway, regional instability remains a major concern and great efforts are made to strengthen the security of our borders.
In a country where 70% of the population is under 30 years, economic development is crucial for consolidating democracy and stability and for the creation of wealth and jobs.
Despite some bureaucratic difficulties, Algeria experienced a significant improvement in the business environment. In this regard, I would appeal to Romanian companies to be more present and even more “aggressive” in some areas where their expertise is recognized. The economy of Algeria is based on a strong industrial sector which represents 50% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Oil, natural gas and petroleum products and steel industries are the main export items. With a growth rate of 4.1% in 2015, the Algerian economy has attracted 1.9 billion dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI). Its GDP per capita is 5 539 USD.
The last two Five Year Plans (2004-2009 and 2009-2014) allowed a policy of major projects to modernize infrastructure and introduced measures to encourage private investment. Efforts have also been made to open up the Algerian economy abroad (accession to the Arab Free Trade Area in 2009, membership negotiations for the WTO – World Trade Organization), without forgetting the coming into force of the Association Agreement with the EU in 2005. This agreement is a brave opening, given the favorable implications for EU countries but unfavorable for our balance of payments. Especially since the other part of the agreement, namely the movement of people has not experienced the same growth as that of the movement of goods. The cooperation for Energy between Algeria and the EU is noteworthy. Different routes of supply, particularly through Italy and Spain and which benefits the transit countries (Tunisia and Morocco) have made Algeria an important partner but also a reliable partner. We must remember that even in the worst moments of the fight against terrorism, the supplies were provided.
The North African and African cooperation is also a major focus of the foreign policy of Algeria through its active presence in the main regional organizations and the implementation of structural economic projects (pipelines, trans-Saharan road, electricity export, optical fiber). In this regard, I would like to say that Algeria will host in early December the African Forum of Investment and Business which will see the participation of over 2,000 economic players.
However, the economy remains undiversified and macroeconomic balances are very dependent on oil revenues. Moreover, Algeria is facing the oil price collapse. If the country has financial reserves, and almost no debt ratio, a necessary economic transition is underway.
Regarding the relations between Algeria and Romania, to the excellent political relations must be added the economical exchanges. In fact, Romania is the largest trading partner of Algeria in Eastern Europe.
The high-level bilateral visits scheduled for the coming months point to a revival of the relationship in its various components.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Mr. Foreign Minister Ramtane LAMARA: “watching Algeria throughout the distorting prism of economic difficulties, it is not doing justice to reality. We must face the fact that Algeria has considerable resources to project into the future and to achieve to be an important actor and a recipient of new international economic realities in the making.” Algeria deserves to be better known. Indeed, overseas, knowledge of Algerian realities is limited, improving this situation is a challenge for my mission in Romania.