The United States is committed to supporting Algeria’s economic diversification. To facilitate this, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin recently traveled to Algeria with a U.S. Trade and Investment Mission. The mission included U.S. companies of all sizes across a range of sectors from renewable energy to high-tech agriculture to world-class services.
Assistant Secretary Rivkin stressed the need for Algeria to diversify its economy to offset its dependence on energy, something the Algerian government said it’s preparing to do. As it stands, the hydrocarbon sector contributes 40-45 percent of GDP, making Algeria vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices.
“No one is more prepared to partner or qualified to partner in that transition than U.S. companies,” said Mr. Rivkin. “American firms bring with them the latest technologies, the world’s best business practices, the know-how that they can transfer to their Algerian partners so that Algerian companies can become leaders in new sectors across the country.”
A business friendly climate in Algeria is necessary, however, for such partnerships to be established. The regulatory climate in Algeria remains opaque which contributes to the perception of commercial risk for foreign investors, said Mr. Rivkin. Another challenge is Algeria’s 49/51 rule, which prohibits foreign companies from having a majority ownership stake. “With greater incentive to participate,” said Assistant Secretary Rivkin, “many more American companies will come forward to support Algeria’s efforts to build the economy that its people deserve.”
The U.S. government is also doing its part to promote investment.U.S. agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation – or OPIC – are in place to support American firms interested in being part of the Algerian economy. Since 1975, OPIC has invested around $375 million in Algeria.OPIC stands ready to invest even more in Algeria. Renewable energy, small and medium-sized enterprise financing, infrastructure, housing, tourism, healthcare and telecommunications are all sectors where OPIC has the capacity to expand.
The United States is committed to Algeria’s economic future said Ambassador Rivkin. “We applaud Algeria’s efforts to invite more foreign investment and expand the Algerian economy, especially focusing on job opportunities for young people.”
The United States stands ready to support this process.