Investing

flag Algeria Algeria: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Algeria | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information

 

FDI in Figures

Rich in natural resources and economically stable, Algeria has historically attracted decent FDI flows. However, inflows have been declining since the outbreak of  the COVID-19 pandemic and reached only USD 89 million in 2022 according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023, compared to a three-year average of USD 1.3 billion in 2018-20. On the other hand, the stock of FDI increased, reaching USD 34 billion in 2022, around 17.4% of GDP. Algeria witnessed a significant decline in FDI projects in the years following its peak of 28 projects in 2019. The country struggled to recover fully, experiencing only five projects in 2020 during the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and 12 in 2022. In the same year, renewable and alternative power projects constituted 25% of the total FDI projects, reflecting the influence of Algeria's abundant hydrocarbon resources. Meanwhile, chemicals, coal, and oil and gas each contributed about one-sixth to the FDI projects in the country (data Investment Monitor). According to official data from the Algerian Investment Promotion Agency, the main investors in the country are the United States (29%), Italy (10%), France (10%), Spain (7%), United Kingdom (6%); whereas investments are mostly directed towards the industry sector (especially hydrocarbons), construction, transport, and agriculture.

Economic operators face various challenges, including complex customs procedures, bureaucratic hurdles, issues with financial transactions, and global price competition. Foreign companies in Algeria express concerns about the frequent changes in laws and regulations, increasing commercial risks for investors. Additionally, limited regional integration and import restrictions hinder the utilization of international supply chains. Until 2019, the participation of a foreign investor in an Algerian company was limited to 49% and foreign contractors are forced to find local partners for public tenders. However, the government of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune eliminated the so-called "51/49" restriction that required Algerian majority ownership of all new companies. The requirement is still in force for "strategic sectors", identified as hydrocarbons, mining, defence, the import of goods for resale in Algeria, and pharmaceutical production. In 2022, the government released supplementary regulations tied to the Investment Law issued in July. These regulations stipulate that foreign investors must cover a minimum of 25% of the total investment cost to have unrestricted repatriation of both the invested capital and its associated income. The government has also approved a new hydrocarbons law, improving fiscal conditions and contract flexibility in order to attract new international investors. As a result of the promulgation of this law, major international oil companies signed memoranda of understanding with the national hydrocarbon company Sonatrach. There are two main agencies responsible for attracting foreign investment: the Agence Algérienne de Promotion de l’Investissement (AAPI) and the National Agency for the Valorization of Hydrocarbons (ALNAFT). Algeria ranks 119th among the 132 economies on the Global Innovation Index 2023 and 164th out of 184 countries on the latest Index of Economic Freedom.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 1,14387089
FDI Stock (million USD) 33,10733,97734,066
Number of Greenfield Investments* 6104
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 82861136

Source: UNCTAD, Latest data available.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

FDI INFLOWS BY COUNTRY AND INDUSTRY

Main Investing Countries 2023 (latest official data available), in %
United States 29.0
Italy 10.0
France 10.0
Spain 7.0
United Kingdom 6.0
Main Invested Sectors 2023 (latest official data available), in %
Industry 51.0
Construction and public works 15.0
Transport 15.0
Agriculture 6.0
Services 6.0
Tourism 4.0
Health 3.0

Source: Algerian Investment Promotion Agency, Latest data available.

 
Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
Limited liability company, SARL
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
Subsidiary company
Main Foreign Companies
For further information, see the investment observatory on the Atlas Développement website.
Sources of Statistics
National Office of Statistics

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What to consider if you invest in Algeria

Strong Points

Algeria's strong points for FDI include:

  • Low cost of energy (gas, fuel and electricity)
  • Large liquidity reserve which lowers its vulnerability to commodity prices
  • Strong potential in renewable energy and tourism
  • Skilled and inexpensive workforce
  • Recent laws to encourage foreign investments and various incentives for foreign investors
  • Algeria’s proximity to Europe, its geographic location as an interface between Europe and Africa and inside the Maghreb.
Weak Points

Algeria's weak points for FDI include:

  • Slow administrative procedures and large and inefficient public sector
  • Weak business climate, according to international evaluation agencies
  • The dependence of the economy on hydrocarbons, which increases dependence on imports of transformed goods
  • The insufficient development of regional markets, which restrain Algeria's appeal to foreign investors
  • The complexity of legislation, especially tax law
  • The difficulty to acquire industrial property
  • High level of unemployment among young people
  • Degraded regional geopolitical context (Libya, Mali, tensions with Morocco).
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
To attract and encourage foreign investment, the Government has set up several attractive measures, including the reduction of corporate taxes for investment in specific locations, a reduction in social security contributions for recruitment of young employees, the concession of land by mutual agreement (which provide similar rights to ownership) and tax exemptions throughout the life of the project for exporting projects. For further details consult the investment guide by KPMG and ANDI (National Agency for Investment Development).

The government is trying hard to attract FDI in sectors that may create jobs and reduce the imports of assembled goods. Several sectors are targets for foreign investors, including the automobile industry and the renewable energy sector.  

Nevertheless, since 2008 there are many FDI restrictions. Until 2019, for each new investment project in Algeria, the majority of its capital (51%) had to be held by local partners; however such limitation has been lifted (except for “strategic sectors” such as hydrocarbons, mining, defense, and pharmaceuticals). The Algerian government has enacted protectionist economic policies (import quotas for several types of products). Nevertheless, in recent years Algeria has benefited from the support of the World Bank to improve its business climate. 

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Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Algeria
Algeria has signed bilateral investment conventions with more than thirty countries. They define the framework for the protection of foreign investment in Algeria for each of the signatories. For the countries of the European Union, the association agreement signed between the EU and Algeria regulates this issue.
Algeria is a signatory to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards ("New York Convention") and the Convention on the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention).
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
UNCTAD's Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator contains information about known international arbitration cases initiated by investors against States pursuant to international investment agreements.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce
CACI , Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (in French)
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Yes
 
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Algeria Middle East & North Africa United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 4.0 6.4 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 4.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 4.7 9.0 5.0

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
According to the edict n°01/03 of 20 August 2001, any legal entity or natural person, public or private, can invest in economic activities concerning production of goods and services as well as in investments carried out in the framework of granting concessions and/or licenses. Foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish and own business enterprises and engage in all forms of remunerative activity. In 2019, the government eliminated the “51/49” restriction that required majority Algerian ownership of all new businesses, which remains in vigour only for certain strategic sectors such as hydrocarbons, mining, defense, and pharmaceuticals.
Acquisition of Holdings
Acquiring a majority interest in a local company is authorized in Algeria (with the exception of strategic sectors, including hydrocarbons, mining, defense, and pharmaceuticals).
Obligation to Declare
An investment declaration is necessary; it must be made to the National Agency for development and investment (ANDI). Consult the websites of these organizations to find out further details.
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Many products are subject to procedures to obtain prior authorization. See the list of controlled activities on the Register of Commerce website.

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Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
There are several temporary solutions: domiciliation of the company at the private address of the director, domiciliation in a business center, and renting professional premises.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Investors can buy industrial and commercial property. There are several possibilities: either buying land from a private owner (the most expensive solution), or making an application to the Government, through the CALPI (Local Assistance and Promotion of Investment Committee), which allows you to acquire land at affordable prices. However, you must have an eligible and reliable project and the government generally prefers to lease land for 33-year terms, renewable twice, rather than sell. The CALPI office can be found in the one stop shop of the ANDI (National Agency for Development and Investment).
Property sales are subject to registration at the tax inspection and publication office at the Mortgage Register Center.  All property contracts must be registered by a notary.
Risk of Expropriation
According to Algerian law, foreign investors are entitled to a just and equitable compensation if they are victims of expropriation. The Constitution of 8 December 1996 provides legally-binding guarantees against expropriation and confers the right to equitable compensation.

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Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
There are several types of advantages for setting up a foreign company in Algeria.

The various measures take the form of tax advantages, especially tax exemptions from 3 to 5 years, depending on the kind and the size of the business. Such incentives are subject to the application of a specific request with the ANDI. Companies must make their application when they make their investment declaration. Investors also benefit from the State taking over certain expenses (duty on transfers against payment for all purchases of real estate intended for investment, fixed duty as regards reduced rate registration for charters and increase of capital, etc.).

Privileged Domains
A temporary exemption from corporate income tax is available for investing companies creating 100 jobs or more, as well as for those investing in certain strategic sectors (i.e. advanced technologies, food industry, mechanics, automotive sector). Furthermore, the law provides a five-year reduction of IBS for companies who introduce securities on the stock exchange.
Privileged Geographical Zones
Areas of economic expansion have been established, located on the high plateau and in areas in the south. They allow investors taking part in regional industrial development, to enjoy exemption, for 5 to 10 years, from property tax on real estate purchases intended for economic activity and a reduction of 50% of the reduced rate applicable to reinvested profits.
Free-trade zones
Activities carried out in the Southern regions of the country (Illizi, Tindouf, Bordj Badji Mokhtar, Adrar, Djanet, Timimoun In salah, Tamenghasset, In Guezzam) enjoy a 50% reduction on the paid amounts of corporate income tax for a five-year period (does not apply to the hydrocarbon sector).
There are no special economic zones or foreign trade zones in the country.
Public aid and funding organisations
The FGAR, credit guarantee fund for SMEs/SMIs ( In French)
 
 

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Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Hydrocarbons, food processing, real estate, chemicals and retailing.
High Potential Sectors
In terms of needs, Algeria suffers from a housing shortage and has extensive needs in the health care sector. Furthermore, manufacturing is underdeveloped: Algeria imports most of its manufactured goods. Many sectors are booming: health, agriculture (nowadays, an important percentage of agrarian products is imported), information and communication technologies (mobile phone and internet), hydrocarbons, renewable energies, tourism, construction industry, infrastructure development (roads, railways, airports, ports, etc.), treatment and water management, banking sector, food processing sector, defence, automobile, mass retail. 
Privatization Programmes
Most public industrial and service companies are eligible for privatisation. Privatisation covers 1,200 economic public companies (EPE) and is a way of opening up the Algerian economy to the free market, legally recognised by the promulgation of a new legislative framework. The Pro investments organisation is available on-line on the website of the Ministry of Industry. In 2016, the government announced that 66% of the shares of a state-owned unprofitable company may be purchased by a private interest, provided that it is predominantly owned by one or several Algerian citizens. However, privatization programs of state-owned companies have been criticized by the public, as it remains a sensitive subject. To date, state-owned enterprises represent more than half of the formal Algerian economy; and privatizations have been limited to the water sector.
Foreign companies have been able to have complete ownership of an oilfield. Shale gas should also be open to foreign investors. Public banks privatisation has been planned for 2022.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Tenders Info , Tenders in Algeria
DgMarket , Tenders Worldwide

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Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors
In principle, there are no longer any monopolies in Algeria. However, some sectors of activity remain difficult to enter, such as the tobacco and hydrocarbon sectors.

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Finding Assistance For Further Information

Investment Aid Agency
National Agency for Development and Investment
Other Useful Resources
Algeria Investment Guide
Doing Business Guides
Algeria Commercial Guide - trade.gov
International Tax and Business Guide from PwC
 
 
 
 

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Latest Update: June 2024