Q&A with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal

A member of the first generation to be educated in an independent Algeria, the head of the Algerian government considers public service to be a sacred issue. “Africa is today in motion, and in many areas it will fashion a future for the world,” Sellal said.

Can you explain your administration’s political trend and how this translates into the decision-making process?
We are for a strong state and regulator of a society free in its initiatives and supportive of those who are the weakest. Our economic patriotism doesn’t prevent us from seeking out expertise where it is found, and foreign investments should not only be welcome—they should also be encouraged.

What is your ‘new economic model’ and how do you intend to boost a productive economy?
Our strategy is simple: growth as a permanent priority and entrepreneurship as a means of accomplishment. Everything is done to encourage investment and a better business environment. Algeria is among the rare oil producers that continue to create growth and employment. The number of declared investments in the last three years represents 70 percent of activity since 2002 (24,386 projects launched between 2013 and 2016).

The oil crash was sudden and brutal. It considerably reduced our currency income by more than half, but thanks to our prudent monetary policies and to the decision to anticipate debt reimbursement, we can manage these treasury difficulties and maintain a growth rate over 3 percent.

What can you tell us about Algeria’s new investment code?
It is simple and it works. It enshrines the freedom to invest in Algeria; it facilitates the granting of automatic and preset benefits and redevelops the powers of the bodies responsible for investment. We have also established a simplified procedure to oversee the management of industrial land, which is now open to private investment and can be controlled locally.

How can the United States cooperate with Algeria in diversifying its economy? The coming years will have to be a change in our economy. The Americans already accompany us in this ambitious undertaking. Their experiences in Algeria are all successes, whether in petrochemicals, energy, public works, the pharmaceutical industry, the service industry, agriculture or other areas—the opportunities are numerous. It’s up to them to be audacious and creative.

Our relations are excellent at the political level and need to be more dynamic in the economic and trade domains. I think that American authorities have had, in all these years, the benefit of Algeria as a stable and reliable country and an honest and loyal partner. American politicians and entrepreneurs must maintain the optimism and willpower of the pioneers that built their nation. They should envision Algeria as a chance and opportunity for collaboration and mutually beneficial cooperation.

What is your most audacious project?
To firmly establish the country on the path to long-lasting development and prosperity, and to successfully change some of our society’s mindsets and old habits.

 

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