The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is bordered in the northeast by Tunisia, in the east by Libya, in the west by Morocco, in the southwest by Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Mali, in the southeast by Niger, and in the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
Algeria is home to 36 million and its largest cities are Algiers, Sétif, Oran, Constantine, and Annaba. It is the largest country in Africa, the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia), and ninth in the world.
Over the last few years, the economy has been growing fairly steadily (2’5% GNP growth in 2012) and is, slowly but surely, opening up to the outside world.
International Team Consulting has a considerable track record in the Algerian market and, from 21st to 24th October 2013, organised a Trade Mission to the country on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the Rioja. The companies that took part had appointments with distributors and importers, specifiers and end-users. Algerian companies expressed great interest in meeting the participants and took part in many meetings during the week.
Whilst Oil and Gas constitute 97% of Algerian exports, there are many and varied opportunities in the market. Outstanding amongst them for European exporters are:
Food Industry: wheat (local production does not fill demand) dairy produce (90% of consumption is imported) and general food produce. Construction: there is a shortage calculated at 2 m housing units. Infrastructure: the government has a five-year plan (2010 – 2014) to improve roads, railways and airports which suggest prospects for machinery, materials, etc. The number of hospital beds is planned to double by 2025 from the 1’7 per 1000 in 2011. This involves upgrading existing buildings and the construction of 88 hospitals and 890 health centres.
Water: Irrigation equipment and other supplies for the industry.
Renewable energy: concentrated on the solar power sector with plans to expand the current installed base of 11,300 MW to 15,000 MW by 2015.
The best way to approach the Algerian market is by partnering with a local firm, whether this be a distributor, importer or end-user: a firm that knows its way around the system and already has the necessary contacts with local industry or to bid in government tenders. Finally, it is essential to remember that this is a country in which personal relationships are far more important than in any European country, thus knowing the clients is essential.