Algerian President to Meet Putin for Strategic Partnership
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune would head an extensive ministerial delegation to visit Russia from June 14 through 16 to forge the strategic partnership between the two countries, the Le Jeune Independent news portal reported at the weekend.
The report indicated that the president’s delegation expected to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). The forum will take place on 14–17 June 2023 at the ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre in St. Petersburg, the second-largest city in the Russian Federation.
Talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled during the visit. The portal said the two presidents might touch upon the strategic partnership and international issues, including the Middle East, the Sahel region, and energy cooperation within the OPEC+.
Algeria has been looking forward to expanding commercial and economic cooperation with Russia. It also intends to engage Russian investors in joint infrastructure projects. Russia has been strengthening cooperation in education and culture since the Soviet collapse in 1991.
Most of Algeria’s weapons are imported from Russia, with whom they are close allies. For instance, in 2007, the Algerian Air Force signed a deal with Russia to purchase 49 MiG-29SMT and 6 MiG-29UBT at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion. Russia is also building two 636-type diesel submarines for Algeria.
Russia plans to sign new agreements within the framework of the Joint Military-TechnicalCooperation after talks with Putin in the Kremlin this mid-June 2023. Besides importing military weapons and equipment, Russia has little investment in its economic sectors.
The state dominates the economy, a legacy of the country’s socialist post-independence development model. In recent years, the Algerian government has halted the privatization of state-owned industries and imposed restrictions on imports and foreign involvement in its economy.
These restrictions are just starting to be lifted recently, although questions about Algeria’s slowly-diversifying economy remain. Like many African countries, Algeria favours foreign investment, but its political situation restricts and drives away potential Western businesses. The country has experienced a wave of economic protests and demonstrations over the previous years.
Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Anton Kobyakov and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Algeria to Russia, Smail Benamara, have acknowledged substantive achievements and progress in the bilateral cooperation of the two countries.
Kobyakov emphasized the noticeable strengthening of multifaceted strategic cooperation between the countries: “Last year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, and we can say with all certainty that the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our countries and peoples have stood the test of time. I am sure that the Algerian delegation’s upcoming participation in SPIEF will facilitate further all-encompassing Russian-Algerian cooperation.”
One important task involves increasing and diversifying trade between the countries. Algeria has been one of Russia’s most important trading partners in Africa for many years now. As of the end of 2022, Algeria ranked third in terms of trade turnover among Russia’s African partners, though great potential still remains for further commercial and economic interaction.
“Algeria has proven itself a reliable partner for Russia. It means a lot to us that our Russian partners also attach such importance to our delegation’s attendance at the Forum and would like to develop relations between Russia and Algeria further. We will do everything we can to accelerate mutually beneficial projects,” Benamara said at the meeting with the Presidential Advisor.
Considered part of the Maghreb region and along with the Mediterranean Sea, Algeria has an estimated population of 44 million. It has large untapped quantities of hydrocarbons. Algeria has the 10th largest reserves of natural gas in the world and the sixth largest gas exporter and since 1969 a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.