Published : Thursday 09 February 2017 - Jean-Louis Guigou
Jean-Louis Guigou, President of Ipemed, analyses the Algerian economic situation in an article called “L’Algérie de demain” [Algeria tomorrow]. This analysis was published in the Algerian press, in the newspapers El Watan and Liberté.
The Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute (Ipemed), which I founded in 2006, works to build a desirable Mediterranean future in the long-term. Two great figures taught us the basic principles of this approach: Maurice Blondel, inspired by Saint-Exupéry “The future is not forecast, it is prepared”. And Fernand Braudel “If I were the Head of a great State, I wouldn’t work much... I would analyse the ongoing forces and I would favour those going in the right direction”.
Ipemed can observe four ongoing forces or heavy trends in Algeria and we can assert that, if it takes advantage of these forces, Algeria will become a great country.
The first heavy trend is the rise of Africa, which will be the continent of the 21st century. The Algerian-African forum that took place on 4th and 6th December 2016 was a success. It showed the will of authorities and Algerian employers to assert their economic vocation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I think we should get over this hegemonic relationship between Europe and France. Since the beginning of this century, we’ve been shifting from a marginal Mediterranean region to a region that serves as an interface between Europe and Africa. With its Saharan deserts as well as its human and economic riches, Algeria, holds a strategic position for the future.
The second heavy trend is the inevitable industrialisation of North Africa, from Cairo to Algiers and Morocco. While Europe is struggling to stop its industrial decline and developing its tertiary sector, the South is developing as a great complementary industrial zone. The will of the South to diversify productions and exportations meets the will of major European companies to compact their value chains. In order to reduce transport costs, control quality and prevent sharp exchange rate variations, these companies relocate their activities in close emerging countries. The industrial vocation of Algeria is obvious. And it is strengthened by the evolution of global trade: while North-North relations will decrease and North-South relations will stagnate, South-South relations will progress. Algeria, with its energy riches and its good relations with Southern emerging countries, could become the Mediterranean Ruhr.
The third ongoing force is the strategic role of North Africa to penetrate the African continent from North to South. Up to now, two countries projected positive and attractive signals. Firstly, Morocco, which is the air and economic hub of the region towards Sub-Saharan Africa. But also Egypt, with the strategic transformation of the Suez Canal and the implementation of the largest free-trade zone in the world, from Alexandria to Johannesburg, gathering 650 million inhabitants.
Algeria is now catching up with its extraordinary project of Trans-Saharan motorway that will go from Algiers to Lago (Nigeria) with lateral roads in Tunisia, Chad, Mali and Niger. This construction project in collaboration with a Chinese consortium will grant Algeria a great power: implementing activities in the Sahara, using raw materials, connecting and developing oases to transform them into modern places, and enabling two-way transport between Europe, Algeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. This motorway project is the largest planning project that I know of.
Finally, the fourth dynamic is the global Algerian diaspora, which represents a great strength and mobilises for its country. Algeria can use this diaspora that is willing to act, both in the North and in Algeria.
To conclude, I am convinced that tomorrow, Algeria will become a great country. Many forces are at work and will overcome all the obstacles.