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 boosted bilateral relations and fostered Algeria’s return to the international stage. The State visits of Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy in 2003 and 2007, President Hollande on 19 and 20 December 2012, and President Macron on 6 December 2017 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 summits is now the cornerstone of our cooperation with Algeria, enabling the implementation of many joint projects. A France-Algeria bilateral joint economic committee (COMEFA), aimed at supporting the conclusion of productive partnerships, regularly brings together the foreign and economy ministers of both countries to maintain positive bilateral economic momentum.

The visit by the French President on 6 December 2017 set the tone for deeper relations. He delivered three messages to the Algerians: the shared desire to move forward together on the issue of remembrance (return of Algerian human remains conserved at the Musée de l’Homme); a call for a more open Algerian economy and support for mutual investment (creation of a bilateral fund); and the desire for a relationship that better addresses the expectations of young people in particular (higher education and vocational training).

The fourth High-Level Intergovernmental Committee meeting, held in Paris on 7 December 2017, gave rise to eleven agreements in five sectors: health (Sanofi and Ipsen), vocational training in the electricity sector (Schneider Electric), agrifood (Axéréal), entrepreneurship and higher education.

The fourth joint economic committee (COMEFA) meeting was held in Algiers on 12 November 2017. Three agreements were signed, including that enabling PSA to open a production plant in Oran, following more than two years of negotiations (the allocation of the land for the PSA plant is, however, unsure, and being studied by the courts). The next COMEFA meeting should take place in Paris in autumn 2018.

Several bilateral agreements have recently taken effect or should do soon: The mutual legal assistance convention was ratified by France in November 2017 and by Algeria 2018. It entered into force in early 2018. Similarly, the “young professionals” agreement, enabling young Algerian professionals to work in France and young French people to carry out international corporate volunteerism placements in Algeria has been ratified by both parties and took effect in early 2018. Lastly, the annexed protocol on health care (securing the treatment of Algerian patients in French hospitals), signed on 10 April 2016, was ratified by the French party in February 2018 and awaits Algeria’s ratification.

Interparliamentary cooperation with Algeria is illustrated by very high-level respective visits. The Presidents of the French Senate and National Assembly have made official visits to Algiers, in September 2015 and June 2016 respectively. The President of the Algerian Council of the Nation, Mr Abdelkader Bensala, made a visit to Paris in September 2016. Mr Gérard Larcher, President of the French Senate, is expected to visit Algiers in 2018.

Visits

2018

  • 29 May : Mr Ahmed Ouyahia, Algerian Prime Minister
  • 26-30 April : Mr Abdelwahid Temmar, Algerian Minister of Housing, Urban Planning and Cities and Mr Mourad Zemali, Algerian Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security
  • 25-26 April : Mr Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 9-10 April : Mr Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 14-15 March : Mr Gérard Collomb, French Minister of the Interior

2017

  • 7 December : Fourth High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) meeting in Paris, attended by Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia along with six Ministers and a Minister of State.
  • 6 December : Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, accompanied by Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Mr Gérald Darmanin, French Minister for Government Action and Public Accounts
  • 12 November : Fourth joint economic committee meeting in Algiers, attended by Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Mr Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance
  • 25 September : Mr Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Secretary-General of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • 12-13 June : Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • 5-6 April : Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, French Prime Minister.
  • 7 March : Mr Bruno Le Roux, French Minister of the Interior
  • 2-3 February : Mr Laurent Fabius, President of the French Constitutional Council
  • 25-26 January : Mr Tahar Hadjar, Algerian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  • 25 January : Mr Hamid Grine, Algerian Minister for Communication
  • 24 January : Mr Hadji Baba Ammi, Algerian Minister of Finance (5+5 Finances)
  • 18 January : Mr Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian Minister of Maghreb Affairs, the African Union and the Arab League
  • 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 November : 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 of the High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) in Algiers in the presence of French 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, Special Representative of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development for France-Algeria relations
  • 26-28 January : Mr Tayeb Zitouni, Algerian Minister of Mujahideen (War Veterans)
  • 19 January : Mr Azzedine Mihoubi, Algerian Minister of Culture

Economic relations

Economic and trade relations have grown rapidly since 1999 and are especially strong. Our trade effectively tripled between 1999 and 2013, making Algeria France’s leading trading partner in Africa and the third-largest market for French exports outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), behind China and Russia. France remained Algeria’s second-largest partner in 2017, with €4.98 billion of exports and a market share of 9.4%, behind China (18.1%) but ahead of Italy (8.2%) and Germany (7%). Despite regular growth in our exports since 2000, our market share has been falling constantly since the turn of the century 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 CAC 40 companies are active or present on the Algerian market). The main sectors for jobs and activity are those of 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 the Algerian market. France’s economic presence is also considerable in Algeria in the sectors of hospitality and catering (Accor, Sodexo and Newrest), automobile vehicles (Renault and Renault Trucks), the environment (Suez Environnement), electricity (Schneider Electric), agrifood (Avril, Agromed and Axéréal) and health (Sanofi, Ipsen).

Drawing on the momentum generated in 2012 and intergovernmental contacts (COMEFA and CIHN), economic cooperation between our two countries has taken off again, focused around several key projects including the industrial facilities of Renault and PSA in Oran, Alstom in Annaba, and Sanofi in Sidi Abdallah.

In May 2013, Mr Jean-Louis Levet was appointed senior official responsible for industrial and technological cooperation between France and Algeria. His role is to support the conclusion of partnerships between French and Algerian companies and the development of an ecosystem conducive to the diversification of the Algerian economy.

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), setting out the major objectives of our partnership with Algeria over five years in these areas. Negotiations for the next DCP for the period 2016-2023 began in early 2018. It should prioritize young people (education, academic cooperation and vocational training) and promising sectors for the future (innovation, digital technology, biotech).

Our academic cooperation seeks to support the LMD (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) reform, the training of academics, 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 reform of the PROFAS grants programme was finalized in 2014, on the basis of equal financing by each party (€1.2 million each year, 650 beneficiaries) and seven ISTA technology institutes have opened since September that year, based on the French University Institute of Technology (IUT) model.

Teaching of and in French is also central to our coOperation: 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 French cultural centre in Tizi-Ouzou is currently dormant. The renovated Institut Français in Annaba was inaugurated on 18 April 2018. The international Alexandre Dumas high school in Algiers reopened in 2002 and teaches more than 2,000 pupils, while another the smaller school, Hydra, counts 500. At the CIHN on 10 April 2016, agreement was reached for two annexes of the Alexandre Dumas lycée to open: one in Oran (opened for the 2017-2018 school year) and one in Annaba (due to open for 2018-2019). “France offices” should open in future in the country’s southern universities (Ouargla, Béchar, Tamanrasset, etc.). The first office of this kind should open at the University of Ouargla for the 2018 intake.

Institutional cooperation aims to support areas including the modernization of justice, administration, transport, spatial planning and civil protection. Cooperation programmes also exist in agriculture, transport, public works and regional development. Lastly, our activities seek to encourage decentralized cooperation and to support civil society. Significant progress has been achieved in recent years in spurring on this area of cooperation, through the holding of decentralized cooperation meetings on a bilateral basis, with meetings in Algiers (25-26 May 2016) and visits by officials from local governments to France and Algeria.

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: advisory missions 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 fourth High-Level Intergovernmental Committee (CIHN) session in December 2017, 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 on defence cooperation meets, alternately in France and Algeria. Concrete proposals are made there to boost exchanges of analysis, to increase exchange of expertise, to strengthen operational coordination in counter-terrorism in the Sahel region, and to work to dry up the sources of financing of terrorist groups.

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: June 2018