Algiers, September 15th, 2015 – World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem concluded a two-day visit to Algeria today focused on reaffirming and expanding an ongoing partnership in support of the country’s development goals. The visit included meetings with Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Finance minister Abderrahmane Benkhelfa, and a range of government officials and members of civil society. Along with consolidating the partnership, the visit provided an opportunity for Ghanem and his delegation to gain a fuller understanding of the country’s current economic, social, and political priorities and the challenges in meeting them.
In their meeting, Ghanem and the Prime Minister discussed the impact of lower oil prices on the Algerian economy. They further discussed ways in which Bank knowledge and resources could assist in the implementation of the reforms announced by the Prime Minster to diversify the economy to stimulate growth and jobs. Ghanem also committed to supporting the country’s new five-year development plan. The World Bank delegation also met with the Ministers of Industry and Mining, and National Solidarity, Family and Women Conditions, along with the President of the Economic and Social National Council, to review the impact of current Bank engagement and to explore areas for further cooperation.
“Algeria has immense potential”, said Ghanem at the end of his two-day visit, “and the World Bank is committed to accompanying Algeria on the steps needed to diversify the economy and create the kind of business environment that will attract investment, encourage entrepreneurs and create jobs.”
The World Bank delegation also included the new Country Director for the Maghreb, Ms Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, on her first visit to Algeria. As the former Country Director for Nigeria, Marie-Nelly has extensive experience with the specific challenges faced by resource rich countries, as well as their potential paths to growth.
“Algeria has all the resources to grow and become a prosperous country,” observed Marie-Nelly. “We look forward to launching a new phase in our partnership with Algeria with special focus on supporting the social and economic reforms that can have a tangible impact on the well-being of the population.”
In remarks at a dinner with Algerian civil society organizations, Ghanem pointed out that greater civic participation will be key to the success of economic reforms. He said that the long term development of the country will greatly depend on a productive relationship between the government and civil society.
The World Bank Group’s portfolio in Algeria consists of twelve reimbursable technical assistance projects. Nine of which are active, with three in late stages of preparation, and they support areas ranging from improving the business climate to agricultural development and building statistical capacities to improve the effectiveness of social security systems. The World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation supports Algeria’s efforts to diversify its economy with advisory services and a committed portfolio of around US$7 million invested in leasing and banking sectors. In addition, IFC has invested in three regional private equity funds with allocations for Algeria’s small to medium enterprises.