The original report was published in The Times on Thursday, July 5, 2012
THE ONLINE platform for opportunities in ALGERIA
If ever there was a country with limitless investment opportunities, it is Algeria
The largest country on the African continent (since the recent division of Sudan) with a long coastline, thousands of hours of sunshine, fertile soil, rich mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, well-preserved Roman ruins and a very young population, Algeria represents one of the greatest untapped potentials in the world.
Foreign investors have traditionally shied away from the northern African state whose public sector still dominates the economy, thereby leaving the field wide open for today’s entrepreneurs. Those who do enter do not do so blindly – on the contrary, foreigners find a valuable ally in the National Agency of Investment Development, or ANDI.
One of the main advantages to this online system is that the foreign investor can do this all remotely from his or her home country. Recently, ANDI also set up a one-stop shop to further facilitate and expedite investment, reducing the number of steps involved.
According to Abdelkrim Mansouri, ANDI’s General Manager, the agency not only promotes investment, it also assists investors in their projects, putting them in touch with the relevant authorities and raising awareness about tax exemptions and other incentives.
ANDI is playing an instrumental role in diversifying Algeria’s economy away from hydrocarbons, by growing local industry and attracting foreign expertise and technology.
“The Algerian authorities seek technology transfer through foreign investment,” says Mr Mansouri. “They look for activities that will reduce the import bill, that is to say to produce locally something we generally import. If you look at our list of imports, you’ll see we import things that we could easily make here. Secondly, we want to diversify our exports – we don’t want to export only hydrocarbons, which are subject to changes in the international market.”
Foreigners in Algeria need not worry about their investments, says Mr Mansouri. Algeria has signed 48 bilateral agreements on mutual protection and has agreements to avoid double taxation. It has also ratified all international conventions on protection of foreign investors. Given Algeria’s healthy fiscal situation, foreign investors are encouraged to finance their projects through local banks – Algeria is more interested in technology transfer and know-how than foreign funding.
While foreign investors are limited to owning a 49 per cent share in any company, the government encourages them to link up with more than one Algerian partner, thereby permitting the foreign party to keep a larger stake in the company and allowing a more evenly distributed share of the risk.
For further information, visit: www.andi.dz
ALGERIA PROJECT TEAM:
Christophe Laurent (Editorial Director);
Paloma Garralda (Project Director);
Alain Caignard, Jose Ignacio Alegre and
Brianne Bystedt (Project Co-ordinators)