The Algerian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Cherif Chikhi, wrote to Viet Nam News to mark the 60th anniversary of Algeria's National Day today:
|The Algerian Ambassador to Viet Nam, Cherif Chikhi. — Photo ambalgvn.org.vn
Algeria today celebrates the 60th anniversary of the glorious revolution of November 1, 1954 which enabled our country to regain independence after a harsh war that lasted seven and a half years.
The date reminds us of the heroic acts of our people and the sacrifices they made to recover their voice and their destiny. In commemorating this illustrious event, our thoughts go spontaneously to all the men and women who gave their lives for our nation's freedom. These countless heroes will forever live in our hearts.
Commemorative activities to mark the anniversary will last for a year in Algeria. They will be held in an atmosphere of joy and pride. They will also show the deep love of Algerians for their homeland and their desire to live in peace and to devote their energies to the economic and social development of their country.
Since independence, Algeria has been committed to progress and development. Our Government has launched major economic programmes. Among them is the 2010-14 five-year plan with a budget of US$286 billion. It is aimed at the diversification of our economy and the promotion of national capacities.
Another five-year public investment programme (2015-19) will soon be launched with financing equivalent to $262.5 billion. It aims to also revive the productive economy, in particular major wealth and job creating sectors, the improvement of living conditions, diversification of the economy and the growth of non-hydrocarbon exports.
Major economic indicators still remain positive in Algeria, even according to multilateral monetary and financial institutions. In 2013, the country continued to record a trade surplus. Exports reached $65.6 billion and imports $54.8 billion.
During the first nine months of this year, the surplus was $5.39 billion. Europe is the main destination for our goods. It is also our largest supplier. The share of oil in total exports is more than 95 per cent. Algeria is known as a large hydrocarbon-producing country.
Algerian gas is exported through two pipelines, the first to Italy and the second to Portugal and Spain, both under the Mediterranean Sea. Regarding liquefied natural gas, it is exported to the US. Algerian crude oil is sought for being lightweight and low in sulphur content.
The country possesses other resources likely to be as well exploited within the national efforts aiming the economic diversification. Moreover, the Government is constantly working to improve the business climate and the national legislation offers investors various benefits.
In 2013, non-hydrocarbon growth rate was above 6 per cent. As for inflation, the rate, which was at 8.89 per cent in 2012 fell to 3.25 per cent and continues its downtrend (1.5 per cent from January to end of July 2014).
Every year in 2012 and 2013, Algeria accumulated $200 billion in foreign exchange reserves. In October 2012, my country participated with a $5 billion loan issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This was part of the effort by the international community to contain the impact of the global financial crisis.
It should also be noted that State expenditures are immense, considering the importance of the economic activities, but also that of social transfers. In Algeria, education is free from the primary cycle to university and post-university studies. In addition, students receive substantial scholarships and medical service is free.
Algeria enjoys peace and stability and works constantly to strengthen the democratic process. Moreover, it deploys all possible efforts to help peacefully resolve crises in neighbouring Mali and Libya. This positive role is internationally recognised.
Algeria and Viet Nam forged strong bonds of solidarity in the context of heroic struggles, led by each of our countries, for the recovery of freedom and sovereignty. This common history gave a special character to our bilateral relations.
This year there were a significant exchange of high level visits and various co-operation activities. I recall in particular the meeting in Ha Noi in January of the tenth session of the Joint Committee and the visit to Algiers of the Vietnamese Minister of Justice, in February.
In March, there was the holding of political consultations and in May the participation of Viet Nam at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-aligned Countries in Algiers.
Two co-operation agreements were signed during the meeting of the Joint Committee, thus bringing the number of concluded bilateral agreements in recent years to thirteen. Eight of these were made during the visit to Algeria of President Nguyen Minh Triet at the invitation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in April 2010.
Within the framework of implementation of these arrangements, several meetings between experts were held in both capitals. Thus, new co-operation projects in the fields of sports and professional training were considered by both parties in 2014.
Bilateral economic relations gained new impetus with the evolution of joint activities between Sonatrach and PetroVietnam. This will soon lead to oil production in the Algerian region of Touggourt.
Algeria and Viet Nam possess great potential in other areas that can be exploited for the establishment of fruitful partnerships. Trade has certainly increased but the amount is still far from reflecting the opportunities that exist on both sides. The amount, which reached $176 million for the first eight months of this year, essentially represents Vietnamese exports.
Vietnamese companies can find Algeria products of interest even outside the hydrocarbon sector. The shared desire to promote this trade is reflected in the mutual participation in international trade fairs organised by both countries and through other joint initiatives, such as enterprises meeting through video-conferencing. — VNS