Algeria – Bulgaria: A Business Council to Enhance Economic Cooperation

February 21st, 2013

An Algerian – Bulgarian Business Council was created on 20 February 2013 in Algiers to trigger a new momentum in the economic relations between the two countries to attain a level more in line with the potential of the two economies.  

A Protocol establishing the Algerian – Bulgarian Business Council was signed on this occasion to enable the two countries to identify the ways and means for a better understanding of the business opportunities that their respective economies can offer in view of the establishment of a mutually beneficial partnership.

Co-presidents of the Business Council are Mr. Boumediene Derkaoui, CEO of the Saidal Pharmaceutical Group (for Algeria) and Mr.Ognyan  Donev, President of the Confederation of Employers and Industrial Leaders in Bulgaria (KRIB) (for Bulgaria).

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov reiterated in a statement he made during this meeting held at the headquarters of the Algerian Forum of Business Leaders (Forum des Chefs d’entreprise) the willingness of his country to further develop its economic relations with Algeria. The Bulgarian minister called for the establishment of “fruitful and beneficial’ relations between the two countries to “trigger a new momentum to bilateral cooperation’. He also emphasized that the talks he had the previous day with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal have enabled the two parties to identify some of the sectors of partnership, such as agriculture, construction, and healthcare. “My wish is to go further and see our cooperation extended to new sectors such as education’, he added.

In turn, FCE President Mr. Reda Hamiani called on the two countries’ business communities ‘to move forward together’ and to work for a ‘more in-depth understanding’ of the business opportunities offered by the two economies. ‘Our meeting today is the first step toward this direction that reserves a major role to businesses in the policy-making and implementation in terms of economic partnerships, and trade promotion and development’, he said.

According to Mr Hamiani, the economic potential of the two economies ‘is not yet fully exploited’ due to the fact that the two countries’ economic operators are not well acquainted with the structural changes introduced in the two countries and existing business opportunities. In this context, he highlighted the developments in the business environment in Algeria in recent years. Putting forward ‘the remarkable progresses’ made in the country’s business environment, Mr. Hamiani noted that profound change has come to radically alter the institutional, legislative and regulatory framework of the Algerian economy.

To illustrate Algerian economic stability, FCE President highlighted several positive aspects including economic growth, with the GDP having increased from $ 48.6 bn in 1999 to $ 198 bn in 2011, a foreign reserve of $ 200 bn, a fully resolved external debt since 2005, a guaranteed convertibility of the Algerian dinar, and a forecast growth of + 3.4 % in 2013 despite the global crisis. He went on saying that this economic situation shows the readiness of Algerian economy ‘to develop economic relations based not only on foreign trade, but also on true partnerships in the industry and other sectors with partners worldwide.

KRIB President Ognyan Donev emphasized in turn that businesses are the key players in economic development and hence the need to develop and diversify the relations between our companies as the sole, and preferred, way to establish a long-term mutually beneficial cooperation.

Algerian imports from Bulgaria amounted to $ 179 M in 2011 and $ 107 M de in 2012, while the country’s exports to Bulgaria are insignificant, not exceeding a few thousand dollars.