Algeria Country Report: Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

The Arab Spring, celebrating fifty years of independence and the risks of returning terrorism with turmoil in Libya, the rise of the Islamic State and tensions across the Sahel, all impact on the political, economic and social stability of Algeria.
Following the Arab Spring, the Algerian government lifted the state of emergency in 2011, after two decades. The government also introduced a number of political and legal reforms for associations, political parties, elections and the media in 2012. In the following years however, despite numerous consultations, there appears to have been no significant reform to the institutions, to anti-corruption initiatives or the public administration, which were undoubtedly significant challenges to achieve.
The re-election of President Bouteflika in 2014, despite his failing health and age, has created much frustration. Opposition parties, now united under the Coordination nationale pour les Libertés et la transition démocratique (the National Coordination for Freedom and Democratic Transition), having boycotted the election and the ongoing constitutional revision process, continue to put pressure on the government demanding a transition. These parties do not appear however to have much support in the population, and many civil society groups are participating in the reflection about the constitution.
In terms of economic reforms, the government continues to make advances. The prime minister is actively seeking to improve foreign investment and bilateral trade cooperation. Franco-Algerian cooperation is improving and the opening of the Renault production factory in Oran is symbolic of this. The public sector and hydrocarbon wealth still dominate the economy. Declining international oil prices in 2014 and 2015 create fears for the medium term stability of the Algerian economy and the government‘s five year national development plans. Changes to the hydrocarbon laws in 2013 to allow fracking for shale gas have been pursued by the government as a solution to this. However, lack of consultation of the local population and perceived risks of environmental degradation have led to mobilization across the country in protest. Previous commitments to invest in renewable energies appear to have suffered as a result.
In political terms, Algeria continues to experience low level unrest and strikes. Sporadic demonstrations continue across the country. The government reacts with a combination of public consultations and short term subsidies. The legislative elections of 2012 saw EU observers for the first time in Algeria, however this was not repeated for the 2014 presidential election. The presidency continues to carry out its constitutional reform project and consultations which should lead to a strengthening of the executive and legislative institutions.
In security terms, Algeria remains in a difficult situation. The fall of the Gaddafi regime and the dispersal of its arms across the Sahel have created deep instability at Algeria’s borders. As a result, Algeria will be heavily committed in its fight against national and international terrorism. Algeria has increased its defence budget to over €10 billion in 2015, now the largest in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBertelsmann Foundation
Commissioning bodyBertelsmann Foundation
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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