x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

More investment sought in Algeria

An Emirati delegation is pressing the case for greater political cooperation on UAE economic ties with the African nation.

ALGIERS // Seeking to kick-start stalled projects in Algeria, an Emirati delegation is pressing the case for greater political cooperation on UAE investments there.

The UAE wants greater coordination of political positions in the region and on the international stage. It also wants to double its share in Algeria's economy over the next five years. Eight per cent of Algeria's total annual trade is with the UAE.

At stake is better cooperation in real estate, tourism, agriculture and defence, among other areas.

A delegation of members of the Federal National Council (FNC) arrived on Tuesday night in Algiers.Talks with parliamentary leaders and cabinet ministers in the Algerian capital followed.

The UAE delegation is led by Abdul Aziz al Ghurair, the speaker of the FNC. Mr al Ghurair met on Wednesday the Algerian president, Abdul Aziz Bouteflika.

The UAE will also sign an agreement known as a "parliamentary friendship treaty" with Algeria, which aims to strengthen relations between the two countries.

The aim of the visit is to "create a positive investment atmosphere for Emiratis and for Algerians in the UAE", Mr al Ghurair said later.

There is much potential for investment in the real estate sector, as well as tourism and agriculture, Mr al Ghurair said. Though Algeria has a vast agricultural sector, its expanding population has caused it to be a net importer of food, he said.

Also, despite Algeria's landscapes and rich heritage, the country has not developed suitable tourism infrastructure, creating an opening for Emirati investors, he added.

Projects by UAE investors have so far seen little progress, though the political relationship remains strong. Excessive bureaucracy and the financial crisis have contributed to the failure of many projects.

Mr al Ghurair said Algerian officials promised to ease bureaucratic hurdles for Emirati investors.