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Relations between the UK and Algeria stronger than ever

Article - June 29, 2012
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci highlights Algeria’s 50 years of progress and strengthened ties with Britain

In light of Algeria’s 50th anniversary of independence, what major developments and advances would you like to highlight?

The 50th independence anniversary is a milestone in our contemporary history and it offers a unique opportunity not only to remember the richness of our historical and cultural heritage, but also to reinforce our ties with France, with which Algeria shares many interests and links based on our aspirations for a more equitable, tolerant and fair international order.

The 50th independence commemoration is definitely a very symbolic landmark for Algeria and thereby does not exclude any ideology or partisan ideas, and it is supported by the common history we share with France.

In 1962, Algeria had just emerged from a terrible war, and the economic and human conditions were bad. Now, 50 years later, Algeria is a regional power with great future prospects that plays a key role on regional and non-regional scenes as a nation full of potential. This allows us to understand our past, along with certain aspects of the present that help us prepare ourselves for the future.

For the past 50 years, the Algerian state has committed, with a constant and innovative perspective, to strengthen our friendship relations and fructuous cooperation with different countries in the world, especially France.

Algeria has made constant efforts to consolidate peace and stability, within and beyond its borders. I would like to emphasise that the freedom, stability, progress and democracy that we now enjoy in Algeria 50 years after its independence is the outcome of huge sacrifices and important efforts that we need to value today, in order to better preserve them for the future.

The presence of British businessmen and investors in Algeria must be extended to sectors beyond hydrocarbons, based on a win-win partnership.

MOURAD MEDELCI, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs

What is your feeling about the evolution of Algeria-United Kingdom relations for the future?

Algerian-British relations have made significant advances in the past few years, characterised by important diplomatic visits, such as William Hague in October, Alistair Burt and Lord Howell of Guildford in November, Lord Risby in January and Lord Jonathan Marland in February. In March, the sixth session of the UK-Algeria Joint Committee was held in London, co-chaired by Abdelkader Messahel, Minister Delegate in Charge of Maghreb and African Affairs, and Alistair Burt.

The celebration of the sixth Algerian-British bilateral relations session last March denotes both countries’ interest in strengthening their relationships in different areas, i.e. politics, security, economy, culture, etc.

Algeria has adopted sound economic reforms. It has committed itself to install an open, competitive and productive economy. Its reforms are mainly characterised by the liberalisation of exports, incentives for the private sector, the reformation of our banking system and the openness of big public companies to get capital.

The presence of British businessmen and investors in Algeria must be extended to sectors beyond hydrocarbons, based on a win-win partnership. With the aim of increasing the British business community’s interest in other key sectors of the economy – such as infrastructure, new ICTs, the pharmaceutical industry, tourism, water resources, services, agro-economy, renewable energy, etc – Algeria invites these investors to embrace the market and our initiatives for partnerships. 

Among the most important British companies for the Algerian market, it is essential to mention BP, HSBC and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.
What is the Algerian government’s strategy to attract more British investors, particularly to those sectors other than energy?

We must stress the existence of great possibilities for the economic cooperation between both countries, along with the great economic performance that our country has experienced in recent years.

The Algerian market offers great investment and partnership opportunities framed in a strong rule of law, with great incentives and guarantees for the foreign investor, particularly since the approval of the $286 million (£183 billion) plan for public investments for the 2010-2014 period.

Algeria has adopted a sound strategy addressed to attract foreign investors. Different mechanisms have been put into place for this aim, such as the creation of the Sub-Committee for Economic, Trade and Financial Affairs. These mechanisms allow better evaluation systems and the identification of investment opportunities in order to enhance trade co-operation.

The Algerian government has made the decision to repay its foreign debt and not to resort to external borrowing anymore. This operation will strengthen its financial situation and will incentivise investors to be more interested in the Algerian market.

The project to hold an event devoted to the Algerian economy this year in London undoubtedly indicates the clear interest of our British partners to carry out actions of cooperation with our country.

At an international level, Algeria has been very active in integrating its economy in a globalisation process and has recently concluded an association agreement with the EU, as well as started negotiations to adhere to the WTO.