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France and Algeria

Presentation

Political relations

Our bilateral relationship is 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.

Since 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria’s independence, our bilateral relationship has seen a historic renewal, made tangible by the signing of the Algiers Declaration on friendship and cooperation between France and Algeria by the two Presidents on 19 December 2012. The creation of the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) bringing together the two governments during regular France-Algeria summits is now the cornerstone of our cooperation with Algeria, enabling the implementation of many joint projects.

Political relations continue to intensify. 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. For the first time in the history of our bilateral relationship, the French Minister of State for Veterans, Mr Todeschini, visited Sétif in May 2015 for the commemoration of the massacres of 8 May 1945. His Algerian counterpart visited France in January 2016. The third meeting of the France-Algeria bilateral mixed economic committee (COMEFA) was held in Paris on 26 October 2015, while of French visits have been made to Algeria. The holding of the third meeting of the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) in Algiers on 10 April 2016 in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls and ten Ministers and Ministers of State led to the signing of a dozen institutional agreements and some fifteen economic agreements. This meeting demonstrated our exceptional partnership and the great level of confidence that characterizes the bilateral relationship.

A fourth COMEFA meeting is scheduled to take place in Algiers in the first quarter of 2017.

Bilateral visits take place regularly. Examples include the signing in Paris by Mr Tayeb Louh, Algerian Minister of Justice, and Mr Jean-Jacques Urvoas, his French counterpart, of a convention on mutual legal assistance incorporating the additional protocol signed during the CIHN meeting on 10 October 2016, and the inauguration of the new Algerian Consulate General in Marseille in the presence of the countries’ Foreign Ministers, on 28 October that year. Decentralized cooperation, meanwhile, is on the rise, with a visit by Mr Noureddine Bedoui, Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Authorities, to Paris on 10 November 2016. Parliamentary exchanges are intense, as demonstrated by the visit to Paris by the President of the Algerian Council of the Nation, Mr Abdelkader Bensalah at the invitation of his French counterpart, Senate President Mr Gérard Larcher, on 19 and 20 September 2016. Lastly, France and Algeria will co-chair the next 5+5 Dialogue in late 2017.

Visits

2016

  • 18 December: Mr Jean-Louis Bianco, Special Representative of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development for France-Algeria relations
  • 21 November: Mr Christian Masset, Secretary-General of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development
  • 9-10 November: Mr Noureddine Bedoui, Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Authorities
  • 4-5 October: Mr Tayeb Louh, Algerian Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals
  • 26-27 September: Ms Ségolène Royal, French Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs
  • 19-20 September: Mr Abdelkader Bensalah, President of the Algerian Council of the Nation
  • 25-26 May: Mr Jean-Marc Baylet, French Minister of Town and Country Planning, Rural Affairs and Local Government
  • 10 April: Third meeting the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) in Algiers in the presence of Prime Minister Manuel Valls and ten Ministers and Ministers of State
  • 29 March: Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development
  • 24 March: Mr Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry
  • 24 March: Mr Mohamed El Ghazi, Algerian Minister for Labour and Social Affairs
  • 20 March: Mr Jean-Louis Bianco, French Special Representative for France-Algeria Economic Relations
  • 26-28 January: Mr Tayeb Zitouni, Algerian Minister of Mujahideen (War Veterans)
  • 19 January: Mr Azzedine Mihoubi, Algerian Minister of Culture

2015

  • 20-22 December: Ms Christiane Taubira, French Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals
  • 15-16 December: Mr Nourredine Bedoui, Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Authorities
  • 9 December: Mr Jean-Louis Debré, President of the French Constitutional Council
  • 28 October: Ms Fleur Pellerin, French Minister of Culture and Communication
  • 26 October: Mr Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Mr Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Algerian Minister of Industry and Mines
  • 24-25 October: Ms Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research
  • 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 Aissa, Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs and Wakfs

Economic relations

Economic and trade relations have grown rapidly since 1999 and are especially intense. Our trade effectively tripled between 1999 and 2013. In 2014, France became Algeria’s second-largest partner, with 10.9% 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 500 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, 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 49.7% to €2.4 billion, compared to €1.6 billion over the same period in 2012. This was due to oil, which represented almost half of our imports over the period (€1.1 billion).

In May 2013, 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. He has helped 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 or have been sealed by agreements during key bilateral events such as the France-Algeria bilateral joint economic committee (COMEFA), the next edition of which will take place in Algiers in autumn 2016, or the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN), which met in April 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 Jean-Pierre Raffarin and renewing this fruitful form of political support for economic projects. His role is to facilitate the activities of French companies operating in Algeria. This involves supporting them in the difficulties they may face, which require case-by-case treatment. But the Bianco mission is also intended to prepare for the future of these French companies: in this respect, it works alongside its various Algerian partners to prevent the emergence of new difficulties, to secure the arrival and development of French small- and medium-sized enterprises and intermediate-sized industries on the Algerian market, and to study the creation of mechanisms to improve certain decisive aspects, such as payment deadlines, customs clearance and transfers of revenue. Mr Bianco visited Algiers on 18 December 2016.

Useful links

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

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 April 2016 CIHN meeting and which sets out: the strengthening of human capital, economic and sustainable development and the productive sector, good governance, 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 in June 2015, making training for young Algerians a priority. 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 institutes in Algiers, Annaba, Oran, Constantine and Tlemcen). The reopening of the French Institute in Tizi Ouzou is under consideration. The international Alexandre Dumas high school in Algiers reopened in 2002 and teaches more than 1,000 pupils, while another primary school in Algiers counts 500. The opening of two French schools is planned, in Oran and Annaba.

Institutional cooperation aims notably to support areas including the modernization of justice, administration, transport, spatial planning and civil protection. It encourages decentralized cooperation and support for civil society.

Useful links

Other cooperation

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 High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (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 joint commission 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, illegal immigration and document fraud, and on a vast programme to support the modernization of Algerian civil protection services.

Updated: 5 January 2017

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