Algeria – Algeria announced its signing of the “Second Five-Year Plan for Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation” with China for the years 2022-2026, coinciding with its official application to join the BRICS group.

The plan aims to intensify cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, energy, agriculture, science and technology, space, health, and human and cultural communication, according to a statement by the Algerian Foreign Ministry.

The statement explained that the new signing is “a consolidation of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement signed in 2014, and a complement to the common desire of the two sides to strengthen Algerian-Chinese relations and push them to the highest levels, in a manner that responds to the aspirations of the two friendly countries.”

It also reflects “the two parties’ keenness to value cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, to which Algeria joined in 2018,” according to the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This comes at a time when Beijing announced its unconditional support for Algeria’s accession to the “BRICS” group, which is the same position that Russia recently expressed.

The economic relations between the two countries have been on an upward trend for years. Chinese companies have completed important Algerian projects such as: the housing units (within $20 billion), the East-West Highway ($11 billion), the Jama’a Al-Djazair (about $1 billion) and others.

Last March, the Chinese partner began investing $7 billion in the phosphate sector to produce 5.4 million tons of agricultural fertilizers, and 3 Chinese companies won the Ghar Jbeilat mine project to extract iron ore worth $2 billion in a first stage.

China is Algeria’s first commercial funder since 2019, with 17% (equivalent to $9 billion), according to official statistics.

Economic cohesion

On the background of the strategic rapprochement between the two sides, the economic expert Ahmed Sharifi said that the Algerian-Chinese relations are based on cooperation, harmony, historical extension, joint political orientation, economic doctrine based on the government sector and state intervention.

He explained – in a statement to Al Jazeera Net – that these distinguished and growing relations resulted in the signing of the Declaration of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in May 2014, and this gave a strong impetus to inter-relations.

In this regard, he mentioned the development and expansion of commercial exchanges, in which Algerian imports moved from one billion dollars in 2003 to more than 9 billion dollars (2019-2020).

He pointed to the rapid growth of the balance of Chinese investments in Algeria, which went from 1.9 billion dollars during the period 1979-2002 to 22 billion dollars during the period 2005-2016.

As a result of the progress of relations, Algeria joined the Chinese Silk Road, and its strategic projects, and is currently seeking to join the BRICS group, according to Sharifi.

 The speaker also spoke about China’s need for traditional, non-traditional and renewable energy investments, which Algeria has relatively access to, as they amounted to $16 billion in 2016.

In the field of infrastructure and construction, Cherifi stood at the project of the Port of Cherchell (6 billion dollars), which is “scheduled to be completed in 2023, as it is the largest in the Mediterranean and the fifth in the world”, as well as the financing of the African desert road project linking Algeria and Nigeria.

Sustainability of joint action

Those gains and aspirations formed a basic pillar for the signing of the second five-year plan for strategic cooperation 2022-2026 between the two countries, to establish the sustainability of joint action, according to Sharifi.

Sharifi, an economics professor at the University of Algiers, explained that the two partners want to increase the rates of trade exchange, to ensure the continued functioning of the supply chains for the two countries’ markets, from energy inputs, raw materials, investment and consumer goods, in light of what you know of interruptions, scarcity and inflation, due to “financial crises and security developments. environmental and technological impacts on economic performance and global stability.

The second quinquennial also aims, from the expert’s point of view, the continuation of the flow of diverse and important Chinese investment projects in size and value to Algeria, and the consequent acquisition of long-term assets, which impose the sustainability of partnership and cooperation between the two countries, and their transition to strategic levels that achieve security and safety, as he put it. .

The former parliamentarian stressed, as part of the motives for strategic cooperation, to confront the risks of the economic policies of some major powers, which are working to redirect their capital and withdraw their investments from the third world, with the aim of concentrating them in their countries of origin, according to the World Investment Report “UNCTAD” for 2022, which is confirmed by Tight monetary policies of the Western bloc.

The expert raised the strengthening of the competitive, productive and technological capabilities of the two countries, in light of what the world is witnessing of a race for dominance and monopoly and curbing the growth of the economies of countries that are not affiliated, or unfriendly to the West, through strict trade policies.

Sharifi also believes that reducing the various risks that threaten international and national security in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Pacific region, and the trend towards forming a new multipolar world order, are all factors that require building strategic partnerships between countries.

Algeria also wants to diversify its economy, accelerate its growth, exploit the available resources by taking advantage of China’s capabilities, and seek to invest the two countries’ financial surpluses in real assets that are less risky and have stable returns, according to Sharifi.

China is Algeria's first commercial financier with $9 billion (Al Jazeera Net)
Algerian-Chinese relations are based on cooperation, harmony and historical extension

Entering the adult world

For his part, economic expert Tommy Abdel-Rahman said, “The world is now taking shape towards bipolarity, so it is necessary to align with a promising party that represents a very important part of the international community in all aspects of life.”

In light of this, Toumi believes that “Algeria has already begun to enter the world of adults in a smart way, by which it maintains its regional and international balance,” as it has the ability to make a strategic choice that gives it more development and imposes a new fait accompli, as he described it.

He stressed – in a statement to Al Jazeera Net – that Algeria has found in China a partner that can bring it the added value compared to the rest of the countries that deal with it economically, explaining that the projects implemented on the “win-win” basis have proven that they can be exploited more broadly and better through carefully studied five-year plans. Within the development programs that achieve the goals of the two countries.

With its decision to give China priority in its relations, Algeria wants to take advantage of the advantage of competition between countries on investment and trade, facilitate its integration into the “BRICS” pole, and speed up the economic take-off, according to the expert Tomi.

Algeria is also looking at financing projects, as China is a striking financial power, as well as transferring technological and technical expertise, through training, training and education, in addition to cooperation in the military industry, especially with regard to space, logistical issues and missiles, adds Toumi.

The speaker gave great importance to investment in the infrastructure sector, such as the railway network, water, rare minerals, electricity and roads, as being among the priorities of the Algerian authorities.

The expert, Toumi, a former member of the Parliament’s economic committee, pointed to Algeria’s need in the fields of “vehicle industry, pharmaceutical production, cooperation in the fields of health and desert agriculture, as well as standing by its side against external security threats.”

China’s international balances

On the other hand, China’s benefits from devoting strategic cooperation are to link Algeria to its orbit, and to Chinese international balances, through the Asian Economic Community “BRICS”, and to make it a vital strategic region as a gateway to the continent of Africa and Europe, according to the expert Tommy.

Algeria is also an important market for the disposal of China’s products and services, with more than 45 million people, and it is also an economic climate suitable for doubling Beijing’s investments and maximizing its profits in various military and industrial sectors, as he put it.

Toumi pointed out that Algeria is one of the most important sources of gas and oil provision for an open period of time for China, and it can benefit from the raw wealth that it has in the framework of the bilateral partnership.

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