Algeria – The Gateway to Africa
Located just across the Mediterranean Sea from Spain, Algeria has been a center of commerce between Africa and Europe for centuries. As a strategic trade location, Algeria has seen its fair share of conflict as different civilizations fight over the land, and its own citizens struggle for balance within. Today, Algeria finds itself still reeling from a civil war that lasted nearly a decade, even as it experiences promising growth from the exportation of natural resources.
In an oil-rich region, Algeria is the fourth largest producer of crude oil in Africa, making them a major contributor to the global oil market. They are also the sixth largest producer of natural gas in the world, supplying a large amount of this resource to Europe. These natural resources are the mainstay of the Algerian economy, and there’s little to no diversification on an international level. Algeria does have some newfound stability in their local commerce and economy, but things are still shaky on the heels of a civil war that ended in 1999, but left the country devastated. They have some great ideas for alternative energy developments that hold major promise for the future of the country.
With Islam as the prevailing religion in Algeria, they suffer from a lot of the same types of political unrest that other countries in the region do. Religious views greatly influence politics there, and uprisings between various sects break out over imbalances in the political system all the time. Algeria is a democracy, and the current president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in office since he played a key role in ending the civil war in 1999. He has orchestrated a change in the country’s constitution that allows him to run for more than two terms, and is currently in his third term in office. Elections being held this month (April 2014) could see him re-elected, although many Algerian citizens are calling for a change.
Expected Economic Growth
Despite the political challenges Algeria has been facing, they have seen steady economic growth under the leadership of Bouteflika, and plans for the future of energy exportation in the country are very promising. The Algerian dinar is expected to continue to gain strength as the economy grows. The completion of a new natural gas pipeline, The Trans-Saharan Pipeline, is expected to take place in 2016, allowing Algeria to increase their exportation of natural gas to Europe. The cutting edge development of shale gas, which Algeria has an abundance of, offers an alternative energy source that is expected to bring increased prosperity to the country.
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Raymond
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