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Opportunities online

Article - June 26, 2012
Foreign investors and local entrepreneurs can find the perfect match at
If ever there was a country with limitless investment opportunities, it is Algeria. The largest country on the African continent (since the recent division of Sudan) with a long coastline, thousands of hours of sunshine, rich mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, well-preserved Roman ruins and a very young population, Algeria represents one of the greatest untapped potentials in the world.

Foreign investors have traditionally shied away from the northern African state whose public sector still dominates the economy, thereby leaving the field wide open for today’s entrepreneurs. Those who do enter do not do so blindly – on the contrary, foreigners find a valuable ally in the National Agency of Investment Development, or ANDI.

ANDI welcomes partnerships in both private and public sectors, and boasts a trilingual online meeting platform where investors can post their intention or offer. Interested parties can contact ANDI, which then puts the two parties into contact. Currently, there are 175 offers of partnership listed in its database.

One of the advantages of this online system is that the foreign investor can do this all remotely from his or her home country. Recently, ANDI also set up a one-stop shop to further facilitate and expedite investment, reducing the number of steps.

According to Abdelkrim Mansouri, ANDI’s General Manager, the agency not only promotes investment, it also assists investors in their projects, putting them in touch with the relevant authorities and raising awareness about tax exemptions and other incentives.

ANDI aims to help diversify Algeria’s economy away from hydrocarbons, by growing local industry and attracting foreign expertise. “The Algerian authorities seek technology transfer through foreign investment,” says Mr. Mansouri. “They look for activities that will reduce the import bill, that is to say to produce locally something we generally import. If you look at our list of imports, you’ll see we import things that we could easily make here. Secondly, we want to diversify our exports – we don’t want to export only hydrocarbons, which are subject to changes in the international market.”

Foreigners in Algeria need not worry about their investments, says Mr. Mansouri. Algeria has signed 48 bilateral agreements on mutual protection and has agreements to avoid double taxation. It has also ratified all international conventions on protection of foreign investors. Given Algeria’s healthy fiscal situation, foreign investors are encouraged to finance their projects through local banks – Algeria is more interested in know-how transfer and than foreign funding. 

While foreign investors are limited to owning a 49% share in any company, the government encourages them to link up with more than one Algerian partner, thereby permitting the foreign party to keep a larger stake in the company and allowing a more evenly-distributed share of the risk.