Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem
Algeria urged the Arab countries to invest more and help to reduce the country’s economic dependence on oil and gas.
The Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem told reporters at an economic forum that he wanted Arab investors to be more active in helping create jobs.
The Algerian Investment Promotion Agency says that in the past six years, 227 Arab investment projects were recorded in Algeria, of which 53 were Algerian-Arab joint ventures and 174 direct Arab investment projects.
Figures compiled by the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry show that out of $40 billion of pledged foreign investments, including Arab investments for 2007, work did not actually start but on projects valued $9.5 billion in total.
Algeria is enjoying high earnings from oil and gas amounting to about $1 billion a week, but has been slow in creating more jobs. Unemployment among adults under 30 is about 70%.
Bureaucracy and corruption are helping to prevent the implementation of the $140 billion five year investment program of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's, aimed at rebuilding the country after 15 years of political violence.
el-Wasat, Egypt, January 21, 2008