November 2021

Voters cast ballots in local elections as President Tebboune tweaks government lign-up

On 27th November, Algeria held local elections to choose representatives of councils in municipalities and wilayas. According to the President of the Independent National Election Authority (ANIE), Mohamed Charfi, turnout in the local elections stood at 35.97% for elections for municipal councils and 34.39% for wilaya councils when polls closed at 8:00 pm. Charfi noted that the local elections ‘took place under normal conditions’.

Subsequently, the provisional results revealed that the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) party had won the most seats, winning 5,978 seats in 124 municipalities and 471 seats in wilayas. It was followed by the Rassemblement Nationale Démocratique (RND), which won 3,262 seats in 34 municipalities and 366 seats in wilayas. The final results of local elections will be made public once any appeals processes have been resolved.

Meanwhile, on 11th November, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune carried out a partial cabinet reshuffle, making the following appointments:

New investment law finalised as FDI falls

Also in November, the Minister of Industry, Ahmed Zeghdar, announced that the final version of the new investment law had been completed and submitted to the general secretariat of the government. The law aims to realise ‘a new strategic vision to promote investment in Algeria by ensuring an appropriate working framework that will guarantee investment opportunities in a climate of confidence’.

The new law comes as the Prime Minister, Aymane Benabderrahmane, announced that the flow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into Algeria currently stands at no more than 1.3 bn USD per year on average. The Prime Minister noted that the majority of these investments are in the oil and gas sector. He also stated that President Tebboune’s strategy since his election has been designed to open the country to foreign capital and develop key sectors that contribute to economic development, notably the energy, mining, industry, pharmaceuticals, tourism, agriculture and food industries.

According to Mustapha Zikara, General Manager of the National Agency for the Development of Investment (ANDI), the agency registered a total of 1,365 new investment projects during the first 9 months of 2021, which accounted for almost 360 bn DZD (2.6 bn USD). Zikara also noted that the number of planned investments had decreased slightly by 4% compared to the same period of 2020. The majority of intended investments were in the industrial sector, which accounted for around 715 projects, while the number of major projects (larger than 500 mn DZD or 3.6 mn USD) stood at 186.

Preliminary details of proposed subsidy reform made public

During the month of November, additional details began to emerge with regard to planned changes to Algeria’s subsidy system. According to press sources citing Senator Abdelouahab Benzaim, Algeria’s Subsidy Reform Study Committee has proposed 120,000 DZD (866 USD) as the maximum monthly household income threshold for receiving financial aid, once subsidies on basic foodstuffs and amenities are removed. The value of financial aid will also vary according to household income. As such, a household with an income of 100,000 DZD (722 USD) per month will not receive the same level of assistance as a household with an income of 30,000 DZD (216 USD). Senator Benzaim also suggested that 11 products will be affected by the subsidy reform, notably including electricity, gas, fuel, water and table oils. Subsidies will be lifted gradually over a period of ‘several years’.

Nonetheless, these details remain provisional recommendations that may evolve before the changes are implemented.

Covid-19 remains at bay, but a fourth wave may be on the horizon

The month of November continued to see a lull in the number of daily covid-19 cases and deaths following a particularly aggressive third wave of the outbreak in July and August of this year. However, daily cases and deaths did increase slightly from an average of 99 and 4 respectively in October to 136 and 5 in November, with the number of new daily cases appearing to accelerate towards the end of the month.

In this context, authorities refrained from introducing any new lockdown restrictions, opting instead to renew those already in place. These notably included a ban on holding family gatherings, especially weddings and circumcision parties.

On 7th November, the Minister of Health, Abderrahmane Benbouzid reported that Algeria has imported at total of nearly 29 million doses of covid-19 vaccines since the onset of the pandemic. The Minister also noted that the vaccination campaign has slowed in recent times, having reached 247,000 vaccinations per day during the peak of previous waves of the pandemic, before falling to less than 20,000 vaccinations per day in November.

Trade fairs restart as covid cases stay low

In the wake of over 18 months of cancellations due to covid-19, a number of high-profile trade fairs and business events took place during November. This included Algeria’s most significant oil and gas event, NAPEC, which took place in Oran, as well as the Djazagro agriculture fair, the Batimatec construction fair and the Logistical logistics fair.

Anecdotal reports suggest that footfall was relatively low at most of these events and that the number of international visitors was also more limited than in previous years, faced with limited flight availability and the ongoing difficulty of international travel. Nonetheless, for many industries, this marked the first tentative opportunity for businesses, investors and government stakeholders to come together since the onset of the pandemic.

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