Algeria : The Process of Reform
Algeria : The Process of Reform
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria recently discussed the future of his
nation and the region with Christian Malar and Florence Bourdon in
an exclusive interview for Trends, The International Magazine on Arab
Affairs (Arabies ©
Trends). Issue 83, February 2005.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika -
Arabies & Trends Photo
My priorities follow on from the program I proposed to Algerians in March 2004.
It hinges on the achieving of goals that will allow the country definitively to
resolve the crisis of the past decade. I mean to achieve these objectives by
putting the finishing touches on national reconciliation, strengthening and
modernizing the state, pursuing economic and social development as well as a
foreign policy that is marked by steadfast cooperation and the consolidation of
peace and stability in the region, in Africa and in the world. It’s a question
of pursuing and improving on the work accomplished during my first mandate.
It’s undeniable that terrorism has impeded the country’s energy, blocked
creative initiatives and put a brake on the impetus given to economic and social
development by independence. With the return of peace and stability, Algerians
are going back to work. There are many positive indicators. Growth is back.
Macroeconomic indicators are satisfactory. The debt charge is bearable. There is
more investment and increasing confidence. All these factors are likely to
accelerate economic and social development.
The second plan to boost the economy is being elaborated. Priorities include
foundation projects that will be useful across the whole spectrum of economic
activity as well as social projects such as those to do with housing, education,
training, health and water.
Algeria has a lot going for it: a youthful population, gas, oil, agriculture and
burgeoning tourism. Do you want to go down in history as the man responsible for
the creation of a land of plenty?
I hope that my country gets back to work in order to make the most of the
potential that nature has bestowed upon it. If anyone goes down in history, it
will be all the people of Algeria. Everyone will to some degree be responsible
for the creation of a land of plenty, as you put it. In the future, Algeria will
be what we – individually and together – want to make of it. Therefore, I hope
that we all get down to work.
Oil is a factor in the development and prosperity of all the countries of the
world. Producers and consumers should thus both be allowed to get something out
of it. The stability of the global economy concerns us all, but it should
develop according to principles of equality so that the gap separating the rich
from the poor, the North from the South, and industrialized nations from
developing nations ceases to widen. Efforts should be made to close the gap,
otherwise the machinery of globalization will jam. We should start by
establishing peace by resolving the crises that lead to unstable prices.
I don’t think that the skyrocketing price of oil is a potential cause of a major
crisis, as you say, but rather the consequence of structural crises that affect
the political and economic equilibrium of the world. This is why my country is
tirelessly working to achieve peace. Once this goal is achieved, the issue of
the price of oil will not be raised in the way that it is today. That said, the
price of oil is not over $50, but around $40.
The solution to the crisis in Iraq is through the sovereignty of the Iraqi
people and the unity of Iraq. It’s up to Iraqis to decide freely about their
future with no outside interference other than perhaps that of the UN and of the
We are both working on it. As the process is well underway, it will be brought