France and Algeria/B_descRubAff1>
Since 2012, the bilateral relationship has seen remarkable renewal, founded in particular on the unique human and historical ties between our two countries. In the late 1990s, the election of President Bouteflika enabled an enhancement of bilateral relations and Algeria’s return to the international stage. The State visits of Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy in 2003 and 2007, and that of President Hollande on 19 and 20 December 2012 reaffirmed the bonds of friendship between Algeria and France.
In 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria’s independence was marked in France by a political renewal enabling smooth dialogue with Algeria. The Algiers Declaration on friendship and cooperation between France and Algeria, signed by the two Presidents at the end of the State visit, was supplemented by a joint statement by the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The creation of the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) bringing together the two governments during annual France-Algeria summits is now the cornerstone of our cooperation with Algeria, enabling the implementation of many joint projects.
Political relations continue to intensify. Following the success of the second Committee meeting in Paris on 4 December 2014, the Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance visited Sétif on 19 and 20 April 2015 to commemorate the massacres of 8 May 1945, a strong symbol in the process of appeasing the handling of remembrance issues. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development visited Algeria on 12 May 2015 for a follow-up meeting of the France-Algeria bilateral joint economic committee (COMEFA), enabling the inauguration of an Alstom plant in Annaba and the signing of a partnership for Air Liquide. This visit confirmed the excellent cooperation on the Mali issue, with France supporting Algeria’s efforts.
The visit of the President of the Republic to Algiers on 15 June 2015 spurred on the momentum generated during the State visit of 2012. This visit of “friendship and work” demonstrated the great level of confidence that characterizes the bilateral relationship.
The meetings, on 23 July and 6 September 2015, between the Minister and his Algerian counterpart were an opportunity to specify the timetable of upcoming bilateral events. The next COMEFA meeting was held in Paris on 26 October 2015. Finally, the third CIHN meeting should be held in Algiers in February 2016.
- 2-3 October: Ms Ségolène Royal, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
- 12 September: Mr Jean-Louis Bianco, French Special Representative for France-Algeria Economic Relations
- 10-14 September: Mr Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate
- 6 September: Mr Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
- 15 June: Mr François Hollande, President of the French Republic
- 12 May: Mr Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development
- 19-20 April: Mr Jean-Marc Todeschini, French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance
- 7 April: Mr Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
- 1 March: Mr Jean-Louis Bianco, French Special Representative for France-Algeria Economic Relations
- 24 February: Mr Abdelkader Khomri, Algerian Minister for Youth
- 21 February: Mr Abdelwahab Nouri, Algerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
- 13 February: Ms Nouria Benghebrit, Algerian Minister of National Education
- 6 February: Mr Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Minister Delegate for Maghreb and African Affairs
- 5 February: Mr Mohamed Aïssa, Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Wakfs
- 18 December: Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, French Minister of the Interior
- 4 December: Mr Abdelmalek Sellal, Algerian Prime Minister; Mr Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Mr Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Algerian Minister of Industry and Mines; Mr Mohamed Aïssa, Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Wakfs; Mr Mohamed Mebarki, Algerian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Ms Nadia Labidi, Minister of Culture; Mr Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algerian Minister of Housing, Urban Planning and Cities
- 10 November: Mr Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Mr Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector
- 29 October: Mr Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry
- 17-19 October : Mr Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Algerian Minister of Industry and Mines
- 15-17 October : Mr Christian Masset, Secretary-General of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
- 14-15 October : Ms Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of State for Higher Education and Research
- 13-15 September: Mr Pierre de Villiers, Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces
- 12 September : Mr Amara Benyounès, Algerian Minister of Trade
- 8-9 June: Mr Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs
- 20-21 May: Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Defence
- 21-25 February: Mr Kader Arif, French Minister Delegate for Veterans, attached to the Minister of Defence
- 19-23 February: Mr Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the French Republic for the Protection of the Planet
- 6 February: Mr Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry
- 21 January: Ms Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister of Higher Education and Research
Economic and trade relations have grown rapidly since 1999 and are now considerable. Our trade effectively tripled between 1999 and 2013. In 2014, France became Algeria’s second-largest partner, with 11.4% of market share (12.08 in 2012), behind China (12.4%) but ahead of Italy (10.3%). However, our market share has been declining steadily since 2000 because of increased competition (Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and, above all, China. France seems to have benefited proportionally less than its competitors from the relative opening up of the Algerian economy.
France remains the leading investor outside the hydrocarbons sector and the top foreign employer in Algeria: our businesses employ almost 40,000 people (100,000 if indirect jobs are included), for around 450 companies present in the country (some 30 CAC40 companies are active or present on the Algerian market). The main sector for jobs and activity is that of services: financial services, through the presence of Société Générale and BNP Paribas, and transport (with companies including Air France). In the maritime field, CMA-CGM, with its staff of 400 people, is a leader on Algerian market. France’s economic diplomacy is also considerable in Algeria in the sectors of hospitality and catering (Accor, Sodexo and Newrest groups), automobile distribution (Renault and Renault Trucks) and the environment (Suez Environnement).
French exports, worth €6.9 billion in 2014, have increased, but China has become the leading supplier of Algeria with €8.4 billion of exported products. The growth of France’s exports is underpinned by the strength of grain sales, while our vehicle exports are falling. At the same time, France’s imports from Algeria have grown by 4.1% to €4.42 billion, compared to €4.2 billion in 2013 (fall in natural gas purchases and rise in crude oil and refined petroleum products imports). Our bilateral trade surplus continued to grow in 2014 (rising from €1.66 billion to €1.76 billion), and this trend was amplified in the first half of 2015 because of a rise in our exports (+2%) and a fall in our imports (-12%). This was due to oil, which represented almost half of our imports over the period (€1,1 billion).
Algeria is a growth market for French companies. The Algerian five-year plan for 2015-2019 should open up markets for French businesses, providing for the construction of 600,000 homes, a budget of €69 billion for the development of road and motorway infrastructure and engineering, the extension of three airports and the modernization of 12 more, the redevelopment of 24 ports and the creation of 7 marinas, and the construction of 30 dams (1.5 billion m³).
Mr Jean-Louis Levet was appointed senior official responsible for industrial and technological cooperation between France and Algeria, following the President of the French Republic’s visit to Algeria in 2012. It helps give renewed impetus to bilateral relations in these two areas, through exemplary partnerships based on consultation and lasting entente. So far, the Levet mission has succeeded in establishing a genuine climate of trust with all Algerian partners (authorities, enterprises, researchers, etc.) and, in close cooperation with its Algerian counterparts, identified promising partnership opportunities. Some of these could be sealed by agreements during key bilateral events such as the France-Algeria bilateral joint economic committee (COMEFA), the next edition of which took place in Paris on 26 October 2015, or the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN), which will next meet in February 2016. The mission is an original tool to coordinate our bilateral cooperation, and the results are encouraging.
In late 2014, Mr Jean-Louis Bianco was appointed Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development for France’s economic relations with Algeria, succeeding Mr Raffarin and renewing this unusual and fruitful form of cooperation. His role is to facilitate the activities of French companies operating in Algeria. This involves supporting them in the difficulties they face, which require case-by-case treatment. But the Bianco mission’s main role is to prepare for the future of these French companies: in this respect, it works alongside its various Algerian partners to contribute to preventing the emergence of new difficulties, securing the arrival and development of French small and medium-sized enterprises and intermediate-sized industries on the Algerian market, and studying the creation of mechanisms to improve certain decisive aspects, such as payment deadlines, customs clearance and transfers of revenue.
- Ministry of the Economy and Finance
- Ministry of Foreign Trade
- Algiers Regional Economic Service
- Alger Business France office
- Franco-Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Our cultural, scientific and technical cooperation is carried out in the framework of the partnership framework document (DCP, document cadre de partenariat), which was renewed during the December CIHN meeting and which sets out: the strengthening of human resources, economic and sustainable development of the productive sector, good governance, the rule of law, the modernization of the public sector and enhanced decentralized cooperation. This DCP was renewed for a period of 5 years (2013-2017) during the visit of the President of the French Republic. Training for young Algerians was a priority, and Algeria is one of the main beneficiaries of the French cooperation funding.
Our academic cooperation seeks to support the LMD (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) reform, the training of professors, the creation of excellence hubs (École supérieure algérienne des affaires business school; Higher School of Technology, preparatory courses, a network of Higher Technology Teaching Institutes), and the improvement of the education and vocational training system. The third France-Algeria conference on higher education and research was held in Algeria in January 2013. Teaching of and in French is also central to our action: assistance in improving initial and continuous training of French teachers in both secondary and higher education; support for doctoral students in French; support for the creation of intensive language teaching centres in 35 Algerian universities.
Our cooperation draws on a French cultural network that has been redeployed since 2000 (five French cultural centres in Algiers, Annaba, Oran, Constantine and Tlemcen). The reopening of the Tizi Ouzou cultural centre is under consideration. The international Alexandre Dumas high school in Algiers reopened in 2002 and teaches more than 1000 pupils, while another primary school in Algiers counts 500. Projects to open French schools in Oran and Annaba are being studied.
Institutional cooperation aims to support areas including the modernization of justice, administration, transport, spatial planning and civil protection. It encourages decentralized cooperation and support for civil society.
- Website of the French Embassy in Algeria
- Algiers French Institute
- Oran French cultural centre
- Constantine French Institute
- Tlemcen French Institute
- Annaba French Institute
Cooperation between France and Algeria is characterized by the extreme diversity of fields and the great many players (administrations, local government bodies, associations, NGOs, etc.), which reflect the vitality of a relationship rooted in history and human and family ties. The full extent of this cooperation can be read on the website of the French Embassy in Algiers.
In the area of defence, our action is focused on the following areas: expertize transfer for the armed forces, training of elite forces and teaching of French in the military sphere. The teaching of French remains a priority for Algerian students visiting our training schools. During the second CIHN session in December 2014, France and Algeria marked their determination to continue their dialogue and deepen their cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.
Every year, a joint commission (Commixte) on defence cooperation meets, alternately in France and Algeria. The 7ᵗʰ session was held on 17 and 18 November 2014 and opened up new prospects for cooperation in 2015. Concrete proposals were made on that occasion to boost exchanges of security and strategic analysis, to increase exchange of expertise, to strengthen operational cooperation in counter-terrorism in the Sahel sub-region, and to work to dry up the sources of financing of terrorist groups through the payment of ransoms, organized crime and drug trafficking.
In the internal security field, our cooperation is focused on the areas of counter-terrorism, fighting organized crime, countering illegal immigration and document fraud, and a vast programme to support the modernization of Algerian civil protection services.