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15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris

15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris

The transition energy guarantor of global security . . . 

The one day 15th World Forum on Sustainable Development in Paris ended on March 13th, 2017 in the presence of many personalities from the world’s governments, politics, business, academic experts in energy.

I want to first thank the President of the World Forum of Sustainable Development for his kind invitation and for allowing me to put my view forward in an intervention, as an independent expert. It followed on that of the Algerian Minister of Energy who has objectively presented his vision of Algeria’s.  Utopia aside, fossil fuels such as gas, still have time to go as the main source of energy at least until 2030. But governing is anticipating, it is up to Governments to deal with the new and irreversible global energy changes notably those enshrined in the agreements of the COP21 in Paris and signed off a year later at the COP22 of Marrakesh in order to prepare the necessary energy transition.

It is a strategic mistake to reason as in the past on a linear energy model of consumption.

As far as energy engaging the security of Nations is concerned, the strategy of renewable energy must form part of a clear and dated definition of a new model of energy consumption based on an Energy Mix by evaluating resources to achieve all objectives that have to prepare the industries of the future. These will be based on the new technologies related environmental industries, object of the new economic revolution that is anticipated to be in 2020/2040

 Strategy for the Energy of the Future 

Photovoltaic solar energy refers to the energy recovered and converted directly into electricity from the sunlight by photovoltaic panels. It results from the direct conversion into a semiconductor of a photon to electron. In addition to the benefits associated with the low cost of maintenance of the Photovoltaic systems, this energy fits perfectly for isolated sites and whose connection to the electric grid is too expensive.

Solar Thermal energy is the conversion of solar radiation into heat energy. This transformation can be used directly to heat a building, for example or indirectly (such as the production of steam for turbo-alternators and thus get electrical energy). Using this transferred heat through radiation rather than the radiation itself, these modes of transformation of energy differ from other forms of solar energy as solar cells such as Photovoltaic cells..

By definition, wind energy is the energy produced as a result of the action of wind on specially designed turbines to generate electrical power.

Average solar irradiation in African countries, according to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) is between 1,750 kWh/m²/year and 2,500 kWh/m², nearly double that of the Germany (1150 kWh/m²) which has an installed photovoltaic farm of 40 GW (a photovoltaic capacity 20 times greater than that of Africa).

The load factor of any photovoltaic systems would be much higher in Africa than in European countries. And by end of 2015, Africa had 2,100 MW of installed solar photovoltaic plant, 65% of this capacity is concentrated in South Africa and 13% in Algeria and 9% the Reunion.

In the past two years, the continent has more than quadrupled its capacity in photovoltaic farming but this would remain still modest in the light of the great African potential because some 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity.

According to the Agency, this energy would be competitive today with currently used fossil fuels, whether in the case of important plants or isolated micro-grids (as well as home systems). According to IRENA, the investment of large photovoltaic power plants in Africa costs decreased by 61% since 2012 and possible a decrease of 59% of these costs over the coming decade.

These currently are nearly $1.3 million by installed MW (the world average for photovoltaic is around $1.8 million per MW/h according to IRENA). IRENA highlights the fact that photovoltaic energy presents for Africa a decentralized and “modular” solution (with facilities of a few to several tens of MW) for rapid electrification of areas not connected to power grids.

According to experts, it is true that the energy needs of Africans are limited to a few KW/h per capita per year, for mainly electric lighting. Electrical power networks are rare in Africa; therefore there could be no possibility of economy of scale. Africans pay 2 times more expensive power than Europeans do. It’s always more interesting to have cheap electricity.

But industrial development requires great levels of power and heat specially. Photovoltaic source of energy is certainly more suited to small off-grid installations and for some African countries but industrial production would require this to be combined with heat production.

Renewable energy expansion would be part of the professed Energy Transition.

The transition may be defined as the passage of a civilization built on energy essentially fossil, polluting but abundant and cheap, to a civilization where energy is renewable, rare, expensive but less polluting and aimed at the eventual replacement of energy (oil, coal, gas, uranium) stock by energies of flow (wind, solar).

Energy transition refers to subjects other than techniques, such as those related to societal problems. It is a move towards an Energy Mix as justified by the scarcity of resources, thus the urgency of a new model of consumption on a global scale which poses the problem of energy efficiency, and a social consensus, today’s technical choices engaging society in the long term: how much is this transition, how much is it worth and who will be the beneficiaries?

It was necessary to first make few remarks on the current approach to development of renewable energy.  We must target priority projects which contribute the most to the achievement of the objectives. Without any decision between the Photovoltaic and Thermal, we would discuss solar heat that seems suitable in the regional program of the South. Algeria that has significant potential in this area can become between 2020 and 2030 an exporter. The lack of knowledge of the field could not explain the selected program.

Indeed, wanting to test all technologies before opting does not seem to be the right approach. This would hide all studies that have been used including the studies in question had been carried out in collaboration with key research centres in the USA, as the ENREL, as regulators of solar technology: the DLR (Germany) and CIEMAT (Spain). The Kramer Junction plant works in the USA since 1980 with a capacity of 300 MW on the same technology that was used in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria.

Solar towers in Spain have been proven for many years. This is to identify the parameters of different technology assessment. With GTZ (Germany) the decomposition of the value chain by component and by cost helped to set a realistic integration of 70% for the solar heat rate. Manufacturers of solar thermal converge with this rate, while also according with the level to export electricity to Europe. Indeed Europe will need to import 15% of its needs by 2030 that is the electrical equivalent of 24 GW or the equivalent of 50 billion M3 of gas per year.

The study has also defined the conditions:- a stable political framework, a sustainable local market the size of 250 MW/year and a market that is open between the countries of the Maghreb.  Technologies must correspond to the most important value potential allowing a rate of integration, the greatest creation of jobs, offering the best match with the electricity market and finally, the most important technologies with the greatest potential for cost reduction up to competitiveness with fossil fuels.

The technology partnership and integration generally appeal to private companies. The risk is too great for an investor to agree to be put under the control of a public company.

Transition based on Realism 

It is therefore to identify the real actors and have a strategic vision based not on utopia but on realism as it is generally believed that laws and changes in organizations would not solve the foundations of problems, the political actors are therefore essential, referring to the political and social base. As far Algeria is concerned, I warned the Government and particularly SONATRACH of a suicidal adventure that could involve the security of the country, if these were to engage in massive investments in conventional hydrocarbons whereas the world at this time would undergo between 2020 and 2030 a major shift in energy consumption.

The Government that was misled in the past into believing that $90/100 per barrel would be the market price of oil, must at all costs avoid to reason about a model of linear consumption. It is that large firms in the U.S., in the European and Asian International spheres are reportedly investing massively, preparing the future in other alternative energy segments. Also, future profitability must register for the deposits between a fork of $40/55 and for marginal deposits between $60/70 before despite the recent report of the IEA on a possible barrel at above $80/90

What are the axes for the energy transition of the 2017/2025/2030 Algeria?

  • The first axis, would be to improve energy efficiency with new technology; energy consumption whether at the household level and / or the economic sectors referring to the policy of the currently widespread subsidies source of wastage that should be targeted for energy products. The Algerian Government would be bound to reflect on the creation of a National Chamber of Compensation that would be charged to coordinate all inter socio-professional and inter-regional equalization.
  • The second axis would be for Algeria to decide on investing upstream for new discoveries. But for the profitability of these deposits, it will depend on price at the international level and the costs,.
  • The third axis, Algeria planning to build its first nuclear plant by 2025 for peaceful purposes, in order to meet its soaring electricity demand.
  • The fourth axis, would be the option of Shale Oil/Gas (3rd global reserves according to international reports) introduced in the new law of hydrocarbons from 2013, folder that I have the honour to lead on behalf of the Government and handed over in January 2015. In Algeria, in order to avoid positions decided for or against, a broad national discussion, because we cannot minimize the risk of pollution of aquifers in the South of the country where as a semi-arid country, the problem of water is a strategic issue in the Mediterranean and African level.
  • The fifth axis would be the development of renewable energy by combining Thermal and Photovoltaic whose global costs of production decreased by more than 50%. Algeria has decided to apply the resolutions of the COP21 and 22, about global warming. But effective action cannot be designed by a Nation on its own. It will involve wide consultation with especially between the countries of the South Mediterranean and the Maghreb because for the Maghreb including Algeria, water resources are vulnerable to changes in climate. Water and its management problems would definitely affect the future of all these countries.

With more than 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Algeria has what it takes to develop the use of solar energy in a win-win partnership.  For this purpose, the CREG (regulatory agency) issued decrees to accompany the implementation of the program of Algerian of development of renewable energy in the context of the implementation of a national fund for energy efficiency (FNME) to ensure the funding of these projects and grant loans at subsidized interest rates and guarantees for loans made from the banks and financial institutions.

By 2020, it is expected that the installation of a total power of about 2,600 MW for the national market and a possibility of export of the magnitude of 2,000 MW and by 2030, it is expected the installation of a power of nearly 12,000 MW for the national market as well as a possibility to export up to 10,000 MW.  According to the CREG, Algeria plans to launch a tender for investors for a mega project of 4,050 MW Photovoltaic solar power plants, soon split into three lots of 1,350 MW each and backed by the construction of one or more factories of manufacturing equipment and components of solar power plants.

Development of electric interconnection between the North and the Sahara (Adrar), will enable the installation of large renewable energy plants in the regions of In Salah, Adrar, Timimoun and Béchar, and their integration into the national energy grid system. If these achievements were effective, apart from the problem of funding with budgetary tensions, the country would have by 2030, 37% of the installed capacity of electricity for domestic consumption from renewable sources.

In conclusion, economic dynamics alter the balance of power throughout the world also affect the political compositions within States as well as at regional and nationwide areas. Energy, in particular, is at the heart of the sovereignty of States and their security policies.

As I had to sustain it in various international conferences of mine and recently in a long interview by the American Herald Tribune of January 28th, 2016), co-development, and collocations, which cannot be limited to economics, including cultural diversity, can be the field of implementation of all the ideas at the level of the Mediterranean basin as to hopefully turn it into a shared Lake of peace and prosperity.

In the interest of both the Europeans and all of the southern Mediterranean populations, borders of the common market, of Schengen, of social protection, would be the borders of the environmental requirements of tomorrow.  These must be along a line south of the MENA region for a lasting peace, where Arab, Jewish and all other ethnic populations have a thousand-year history of peaceful coexistence.

In these moments of great geo-strategic upheavals, the African continent with very strong potential, would have to face up to significant challenges in the 21st century, such as rivalries between the major powers, USA/China/Europe for its control, whilst by 2040, it will have a quarter of the world’s population and perhaps drawing the growth of the world economy. This is subject to good governance and of the primacy of the economy of knowledge and the struggle to lower global warming which hits it hard by the preservation of its environment. In this context, the development of renewable energy is the guarantor of the coverage of needs and energy security of humanity. –

 

Written in Paris on March 14th, 2017 by Professor, Expert Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul, Director of Studies Department of Energy 1974/2008  –  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

At the 15th Forum of Sustainable Development “The Mediterranean and regional borders” on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 9, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, Paris 75008, FRANCE.

See also recent contributions of Pr Abderrahmane Mebtoul on MENA-Forum.com

 

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Leader de demain – du troisième type

Leader de demain – du troisième type

Face aux multiples défis économiques, sociétaux, environnementaux, nous aurons besoin de nouveaux leaders. Gerald Karsenti explique en quoi ces derniers seront différents.

Plongés au cœur de la 4ème révolution industrielle, avec des startups bousculant l’ordre établi dans tous les secteurs d’activités, nous avons tous un devoir de remise en cause.

Face à la déferlante d’innovations, entreprises et gouvernements doivent s’adapter. Des leaders d’un nouveau genre émergent peu à peu pour accompagner ces mutations profondes. Je les ai appelés les “leaders du troisième type”.

En quoi sont-ils différents de leurs prédécesseurs ?

Avant toute autre chose, ils ne sont plus narcissiques, du moins pas dans la forme dominante. Les leaders aux commandes un peu partout depuis des décennies présentent certes des qualités indéniables qui font d’eux de prime abord des leaders naturels, mais leur égo bien souvent démesuré et non maîtrisé les amène presque toujours à sombrer tôt ou tard dans l’excès.

Le monde d’aujourd’hui n’est plus adapté pour ce type de profil. La caractéristique narcissique ne doit pas pour autant disparaître, elle doit être complétée par d’autres attributs pour former un ensemble plus équilibré.

Un leader “du troisième type”

Le leader de demain – du troisième type – sera donc différent. Aux qualités que l’on retrouve chez tous les narcissiques dominants, comme la capacité à définir une vision, le courage ou la persévérance, vont s’ajouter des attributs supplémentaires que nous pouvons regrouper en sept catégories :

– Une approche créative, en créant un environnement propice à l’innovation, en misant sur l’intelligence émotionnelle et la curiosité.

– Une exemplarité irréprochable, en devenant source d’inspiration et valeur d’exemple pour les autres.

– Une certaine dose d’humilité, en étant accessible, empathique, à l’écoute des autres.

– Un véritable esprit collaboratif, en créant une réelle cohésion entre les équipes et en rassemblant les talents autour de projets collectifs.

– Une capacité à déléguer, en faisant confiance, en sachant s’entourer.

– Une aptitude à donner du sens, en répondant à la question fondamentale du “pourquoi”.

– Une démarche centrée sur les clients et l’humain, en redonnant corps à ce qui est vraiment fondamental.

In fine, le leader de demain possède plusieurs formes d’intelligence. Il sait gérer son égo, n’est pas centré sur lui-même et porte un projet collectif et inspirant, car porteur de sens. Il est à l’écoute des autres. Il sait qu’il ne sait rien ! Il a besoin des autres et de leurs compétences.

Sans âge ni sexe

Sa devise pourrait être : “pour réussir il faut disposer des bons talents aux bons postes pour accomplir les bonnes actions aux bons moments”.

Il intègre la diversité sous toutes ces formes et fait de la parité un objectif primordial. Il est digital par nature et porte une responsabilité sociétale. Agile, il prend le meilleur des deux mondes, il garde les bons côtés du narcissisme et se dote de nouveaux attributs pour devenir… un leader augmenté.
Les leaders du troisième type n’ont pas d’âge. Il peut s’agir de fondateurs de startups d’à peine la trente ans, ou de dirigeants plus aguerris.

Les leaders du troisième type sont aussi bien féminins que masculins, les femmes trouvant dans ce monde fondé sur la créativité un espace plus équitable.

Les leaders du troisième type ne sont pas parfaits. Ils sont juste différents, porteurs d’une autre démarche, tournés vers le futur.

Et bonne nouvelle, tout le monde est potentiellement capable de devenir par étape un leader du troisième type et de partager ainsi… une part de rêve !

A propos de l’auteur

*Gerald Karsenti est l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages, dont le dernier publié “Leaders du 3ème type : Pour redonner du sens à notre engagement”, aux  éditions Eyrolles. Cette tribune en est inspirée. Vice-président en charge des ventes pour la région Europe, Moyen-Orient et Afrique au sein de Hewlett Packard Enterprise et président de la filiale française, il est également professeur affilié à HEC Paris depuis dix ans et anime un blog.

Mayors & Local Authorities meeting

Mayors & Local Authorities meeting

What is in it for Algeria’s local authorities as part of a decentralized development …

The establishment of a framework for decentralized cooperation between local authorities of Algeria and France started in 1999 in Algiers. On May 25 and 26th, 2016, Mayors & Local Authorities of Algeria & France met in Algiers following on the previous one meeting held in Paris in 2004.

The purpose of this initiative is to review and possibly consolidate decentralized partnerships within the framework of twinning operations between towns of both countries, and most importantly to foster a true dynamic of collaboration at local level.  The two days according to the organizers are arranged around four thematic workshops: Participative Democracy, Change Leverage, Large Cities Management and Sustainable Development, and will address the thorny issues of the management of local affairs, taxation and territorial development.

The objective of this contribution follows on an important chapter of a collectively undertaken work book under my direction in 2004 (1).  It was on the future of the country, where the new missions of the Algerian local authorities were assessed.  Today the importance of these local authorities and their contribution to the development of the whole country at a time when the central government is faced with the realization of the transition from a rentier economy to an economy away from oil in the context of globalization cannot be more emphasised.

  1. Efficient land use management

1.1.        At first, draw up an inventory

In the Algerian system, local authorities have essentially constituted entities assisted by a State which, besides its own prerogatives, was intent on being the sole manager of the country’s economy.   Local officials were therefore implementers only of centrally decided policies or by implementing measures and programmes adopted through arbitration hearings by the central planning body for annual budgets and plans.   Thus in addition to the highly directional guidance that allocated programmes, the different municipalities and governorates were under close supervision by the central government through the Ministry of Interior.   The State took over virtually all social policies and intervened heavily also in land use management and urban planning.   Guidelines were thus given to the governorates, for the sale of social housing land and the entire housing policy was almost completely entrusted to these governorates.   This situation has led to a dis-empowerment of the central authority distracting issues which are the governors with their sub-governorates and city councils who were directly confronting the citizens discontent, driven by housing needs, quality of life, employment and other.   The anarchy that ensued, is now reflected in the growth and disordered extensions of our cities, including the biggest of them, will only increase if we continue to accept that local authorities are still left to themselves for answer, under duress, to the social demand for space to build.

1.2.         Responsible local authorities

In the new economic and political conditions, there is an urgent need to return to the roles and responsibilities of the different levels of government in the country’s territories.   In parallel to the new role of animation and regulation of social and economic life of the country that are the state’s goals, it is in accordance with the principles of democracy and decentralisation, to give back to the local administration all the prerogatives and the means of action of a fully responsible local authority.

1.3.         The obligations of the State in view of responsible decentralization

In the decentralization process, the modern State must ensure the granting to local authorities, of all the prerogatives and all the means that will enable them to fully achieve their respective territories management responsibilities while safeguarding the unity and political national strategies.  These must, in the general interest, transcend local circumstances.  Besides overhauling the status of local government, it goes without saying that the new powers that will result for the local authority can be exercised only if accompanied by a reform of local finance. Each local authority must therefore have its own budget and full autonomy of its use, so that citizens can judge the capacity of the municipal administration to manage their territory and improve their living conditions.   At the same time, the state must protect its core mission of guarantor of all that constitutes the interests of the national community (cohesion and social justice, safeguarding of public assets, equal opportunities for the development of all citizens, etc…).   The autonomy of local management can be exercised in compliance with the policies and strategies being implemented by the state, both to regulate and guide economic and social development, as well as to help organize an equitable development and exercise good management of all components of the national space.

2          Local government service delivery business and wealth creation

2.1.         How to improve public reception

The seat of the municipality is the first landmark for the citizen in his judgment of the republic.   It is obvious that the state of disrepair of the building, the lack of maintenance of open space, holding officials, bad reception, as is often the case, can only project a negative image as perception of the State.   In everyday practice, whether for a birth certificate or any other document, the citizen could be tossed from service to service.   When this type of attitude becomes repetitive, it generates a form of divorce between citizens and the State accompanied very often with a loss of confidence.   In this case, the rehabilitation of the authority and credibility of the State would mean a profound change in public reception centres.   To achieve this objective, action should focus on three essential elements are: the man, the means of work and home environment.   Regarding the first element, attendants at the reception desk should be selected based on rigorous criteria that refer to loyalty, the listening availability, quality and speed in execution of a service.   These officials, whose material situation must necessarily be improved, should feel involved in the battle that the State will have to carry out against injustice and the lack of consideration given to public service.   There is therefore need for specific training of such personnel who must learn to listen, to communicate, to convince, to treat others with courtesy, etc.   The second aspect relates to the working conditions of the officials of the municipality, so as to allow them put up with the drudgery of manual labour, its routine nature, the weariness that takes shape over the exercise of the chore often under public pressure.   In this case, the computerization of services and improved comfort takes the form of a priority action, the purpose of which will be the birth of a friendly host conducive to serenity in human relations.   The third point of concern is the success of projecting a positive image, that of a rigorous State in the management of public affairs, respectful of its population and anxious to serve it better.   This image needs to find its translation in the inventory, treatment of outdoor spaces, cleanliness services, the reception and orientation of the public, holding the staff and all the elements that allow citizens to measure the degree of consideration that it be granted.   This policy takes the nature of an investment for the creation of a friendly environment that facilitates the reconciliation of the State and the citizen and predisposes them to commit to any partnerships of multifaceted nature, the purpose of which would be greater social cohesion.

2.2          How to meet social demand

It should first be considered that the negative effects of driving at sight that characterized the management of our cities were largely offset by the massive use of the state final intervention in the form of definitive municipal plans.  Once this support has diminished, only problems would surface, and even if the state is no longer able to fully meet the expressed needs, the claim would be for a better justice in the distribution of resources and in the fairness of social welfare.   But how can we be fair and just when our knowledge of the environment in which we act is necessarily subjective and intuitive to understand:

  • What drives the anxiety and distress of youth;
  • What do people endure in public transportation or when they go to fetch water, collect wood for heating in rural areas;
  • What are the concerns of parents when sending their children to school, often far from their homes in rural areas and especially in mountainous, steppe or Saharan regions;
  • What do the elderly, the disabled and those under distress endure.

The non-exhaustive inventory of citizens’ everyday gloom, gives all its strategic significance to the scientific knowledge of the social environment on which we must act, to move towards the ideal of both economic efficiency through better management and social cohesion.   To do this, we must first have the humility to recognize our limitations in this area and consider that “social X-ray” is the first element of a sustainable action that tends towards this goal.   This requires giving primacy to case studies and surveys to establish a true “social mapping” which will bring out the specificity in the nature of the problems of each district, urban, rural and every city or centre of life. Thus we will know how to geographically distribute application for employment, poverty, poor living conditions, populations at risk etc., and that we can have knowledge and data for the implementation of all appropriate strategies.   All actions above mentioned would nevertheless, imply rule of law, democratization of society for participatory and civic society therefore restructuring of the party system and civil society as powerful mobilization network to fit into the framework one as government reorganization around major territorial departments based on economic regionalization (regional socio-economic areas) not to be confused with the avatar of regionalism.

Dr. Abderrahmane Mebtoul, University Professor, Expert International, ademmebtoul@gmail.com

(1) collective – work book under the direction of Professor Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul  titled “issues and challenges of Algeria 2004/2009 fronting challenges of globalization” published by Algiers Casbah Editions in May 2004 in 2 volumes and 500 pages with Chouam BOUCHAMA, economics professor, Pr Mohamed TAIBI, Dr Mohamed SABRI, Boutlélis ARAF, Dr Youcef IKHLEF.

French Prime Minister’s visit to Algiers

French Prime Minister’s visit to Algiers

For mutual respect and a win-win understanding. . .

Current  tensions are only transient according to information collected from important personalities of France acknowledged that “Le Monde committed a blunder by posting the photo of the Algerian president on its first page, he who is not concerned and whose name was not mentioned, as opposed to the Algerian Minister of Industry cited in the ‘Panama papers.  French Prime Minister’s visit to Algiers on 9 and 10 April would be an opportunity for the interlocutors to review their mutual situations.

These repeatably emphasised that intensification of the cooperation with a realistic approach should be based on a win-win partnership away from any commercialism. The two countries must have a common vision of their future so as to contribute to regional stability that is conditioned by a real co-development.  There is no point in obscuring the memory of the common history indispensable for consolidating sustainable relationships between Algeria and France.  It is in the context of a ruthless world where a nation that does not move forwards is bound to go backwards, that the future through mutual respect is prepared.  As far as I am concerned, I always stressed that Algeria would not be bear to be considered a market only.  And it is in this framework that a co-partnership between Algeria and France, must be envisaged far from any prejudice nor spirit of domination.

  1. What is the destination of Algeria’s trade? According to its Customs statistics, Algeria had in 2015 deficit of $13.7 billion due to declining oil prices and the rate of coverage of imports by exports is reduced by 73% vs. 107% in 2014.  Although its trade surplus with the EU decreased in 2015 by -95.7% at $457 million YOY in 2014 by 14.8% to $10.7 billion, with streams of $51.1 billion (-27% 2014), the EU remains the largest trading partner of Algeria with a-36,1% reduction, from $40.4 billion to $25.8 billion (i.e. 68.3% of the total of Algerian exports against 64.2% in 2014).  Algerian imports from the EU increased from -14.6%, from $29.7 billion to $25.3 billion (i.e. 49.2% of the total imports of Algeria).  But the deficit concerns also Asia which in 2015 is the second partner of Algeria, with trade amounting to $14.4 billion (-18.6% YOY).  According to official statistics, it covers 23% of imports while it absorbs only 6.8% of its exports, with a trade deficit vis a vis this region, of -$9.3 billion, an increase of 22.6% compared to that of 2014, when the deficit was only $7.6 billion, because of the imbalance in its relations especially with China.  Exchanges between the Maghreb countries represent less than 3% of their overall trade and exchanges with the Arab countries (Maghreb Union included) represent $4.8 billion, down from 24.8% to 2014, to be 5.0% of Algerian imports and 5.9% of its exports.  Trade relations between Algeria and sub-Saharan African countries are down 19.6% to $ 442, i.e. 0.7% of the imports of Algeria’s and 0.2% of its exports.

Spain in 2015 was the first customer of Algeria, despite a drop of 31.2% of its imports, to $6.6 billion, and Italy its second, with $6.2 billion of imports, down from 25.6% to 2014.  France is the third client of Algeria, with an amount of imports at $4.9 billion (a drop of 29.2%).  Overall, there is a concentration of demand for Algeria’s: its first three clients represent 46.7% of the total exports in 2015 whilst these were only 39.4% of the total in 2014.  France, for the third consecutive year is the second supplier of Algeria, behind China.  The Algerian exports to France were $6.744 billion and imports of $6.342 billion.  Trade for 2014 between Algeria and France are worth from $13.086 billion.  For 2015 France held 10.5% market share, amounting to $5.4 billion, $8.2 billion with China, with 16% of the market; Italy is in third place with $4.8 billion and $3.9 billion for imports from Spain.  France remains yet the first non-hydrocarbon investor in Algeria with a stock of FDI estimated by the Embassy of France in Algiers at more than $2.2 billion; the major items of French exports being cereals (20.2% of the total), motor vehicles (12.2%) and pharmaceuticals (11.1%).  In return, French imports are made up of 95% of hydrocarbons.  According to data from the French Treasury, some 6,000 French companies export to Algeria, 450 creating 40,000 direct employments and 100,000 indirect (1).

  1. What are the prospects? Trade could be intensified in all areas such as agriculture, industry-services, tourism, education not to mention cooperation in the military where Algeria can be an active player as demonstrated by its stabilisation efforts of the region.  Intensification of the cooperation between the two countries would be possible – whilst not forgetting the duty of remembrance – only if Algeria and France have a realistic approach to their collaboration in a win-win partnership away from any mercantilism and spirit of domination.  The two countries have a common vision of their future.  The symbiosis of the contributions of the East and the West, the dialogue of cultures and tolerance are sources of mutual enrichment. The latest events should better make us think, avoiding this confrontation of religions because Islam, Christianity and Judaism contributed enormously to the development of civilization; keeping up this tolerance by condemning any form of extremism.  Globalization is a blessing for all humanity, provided it integrates social relationships and not be focused on merchant relationship only, by synchronizing the real and monetary spheres, through their economic and social dynamics.  At the time of consolidation of large groupings, the challenges of globalization, the rapprochement between the whole of the Maghreb countries is required for an intensification of cooperation with France and Algeria via Europe to be commensurate with the weight of history that binds us together.  The integration of the Maghreb should serve as a bridge between Europe and Africa, the comparative advantages to medium and long terms for the two countries in Africa, the continent of the future and strong potential, subject to regional sous-integrations, the valorization of the knowledge economy and better governance. On the other hand, we must not forget the number of residents of Algerian origin in France, estimated at 4 million, including 2 million of binationals in 2012.  Whatever the number, the diaspora is an essential element of the rapprochement between Algeria and France, because it conceals some significant intellectual, economic and financial potential.  The promotion of relations between Algeria and its emigrant community should mobilize in various stages of intervention initiative of all concerned parties, namely the Government, diplomatic missions, universities, entrepreneurs and civil society. As noted by Professor Jean-Louis Guigou, delegate of the Ipemed and Adviser to the French President, it must be clear that, in the interest both of the French and the Algerians and more generally the North Africans and Europeans and all South-Mediterranean populations, the boundaries of the common market of tomorrow, future Schengen borders, the borders of the social protection of tomorrow, the boundaries of the environmental requirements of tomorrow, must be South of the Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, South and East of Lebanon of Syria, Jordan and Turkey, passing through a sustainable peace in the Middle East, where Arab and Jewish populations share a history of peaceful coexistence.
  2. In business, sentimentalism is not appreciated for entrepreneurs are driven by the logic of profit only. But the implementation of healthy business, as for the running of a country, is no longer based as in the past on custom relationships between heads of State or Ministers, but must be the result of decentralized networks, including through the involvement of civil society, NGOs and dynamic innovators.  It is that is being witnessed worldwide in an evolution of past accumulation based on a purely material vision, characterized by rigid hierarchical organizations to a new mode of accumulation based on the mastery of knowledge, new technologies and flexible organizations networked like a cobweb around the world with global chains segmented production where the investment, in comparative advantages, realizing in sub-segments of these chains.

But we must avoid any vision of pessimism, the situation being different from that of 1986, (debt less than $4 billion and foreign exchange reserves of $143 billion as at January 1st, 2016 with a respite of three years), Algeria can overcome its current difficulties provided its governance is renovated.  The success of national and international industrial partnership is not feasible without another type of governance and a coherent vision based on structural reforms (including the rigid labour market) political, social and economic.  One should refrain from seeing the external enemy everywhere because reforms depend on all Algerians if we want to benefit from the global comparative advantages.  Tactics must fit within the service / strategic objective which is to maximize the social welfare of all Algerians.  The purpose of a Government is not to be necessarily popular (short-term populist vision) but to engage into structural reforms which could hoist Algeria to an emerging country in the medium and long term.  To do this, the dominance of the bureaucratic approach should leave it to an economic operational approach with social and economic impacts futures. This implies a deep rearrangement of the structures of empowerment.  Also, facing the new global changes, Algeria, facing the transition towards a productive economy closely linked to the energy transition, needs above all a managerial and technological accumulation.

In summary, according to the latest international reports, Algeria is a key player for the stability of the region, subject to its deepening of the rule of law and democratization of society in order to achieve sustainable development.  The current tensions between Algeria and France are only transient according to information collected from important personalities of France recognizing that “Le Monde” committed a blunder and that we need to move on and  undertake together in mutual respect. It is in this framework that must return a win-win partnership between Algeria and France, far from prejudice and spirit of domination.

Paris, 8 April 2016  –  Professor, International Expert Dr Abderrahmane Mebtoul.

(1) – On the occasion of the visit of the French Premier, Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul gave an interview to the weekly Point Afrique (24/03/2016) and the French weekly L’Express (07/04/2016 Paris) on the prospects for the Algeria-France cooperation highlighting weaknesses but also the important potential of Algeria. This theme was developed by the University Professor who was the guest of honour for Algeria 7 April 2016 in Marseille by the international organization «The Mediterranean Villa» where he has hosted a conference on the theme “the win-win partnership and the dialogue of cultures in the framework of co-operation Algeria/France, factor of stability in the African and Euro-Mediterranean region” in the presence of hundreds of political and economic figures, international experts, the Consul general and of the diplomatic staff of the Consulate-general of Algeria in Marseille.

Des réfugiés Syriens à la Sorbonne

Des réfugiés Syriens à la Sorbonne

L’annonce, des réfugiés Syriens à la Sorbonne, effectuée en août 2015, est reprise récemment par des journaux français surpris de la somme engagée par Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri, le procureur général du Qatar et ancien élève de l’université Panthéon-Sorbonne.

C’est, en effet, à cet alumnus, docteur en droit, que Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne doit d’avoir obtenu une aide financière de 600.000 euros par année universitaire, pour une durée pouvant aller jusqu’à trois ans, pour accueillir des réfugiés, de la part de l’émirat comme le rapporte Isabelle Maradan dans EducPros.fr (09 mars 2016).

 Sorbonne University

“Pour moi, c’est la meilleure université du monde.  L’émir du Qatar est toujours prêt à l’aider sur des grands projets comme celui-là”, a assuré le quatrième personnage le plus puissant de l’État du Golfe, lors de la conférence de presse qui s’est tenu lundi 7 mars 2016, à Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.  Peu avant, le président de l’université, Philippe Boutry, s’était déclaré “extrêmement reconnaissant de l’aide financière du Qatar”, avant de préciser que l’accord ne prévoyait “aucune exigence de genre, de religion ou même de nationalité” pour les bénéficiaires. Une façon de répondre aux critiques suscitées par l’annonce du coup de pouce de Doha à la Sorbonne, en septembre 2015Le Qatar n’accueille, lui, aucun réfugié syrien sur son sol.

Selon Maradan, “essentiellement Syriens, les 111 réfugiés ou demandeurs d’asile concernés par le dispositif sont âgés de 18 à 28 ans. Parmi eux, 86 suivent un parcours d’intégration d’un semestre de formation en FLE (français langue étrangère) et 25 avaient un niveau suffisant en anglais, pour intégrer des diplômes passerelles en anglais de niveau master 1, en économie et mathématiques appliquées, ou l’aisance nécessaire en français pour suivre des études dans l’une des composantes de l’université.

67 étudiants ont commencé les cours fin octobre 2015 et 48 étudiants ont débuté leur semaine d’intégration en janvier 2016. Pourquoi Paris 1 a-t-elle besoin de 600.000 euros pour accueillir 111 réfugiés quandl’université de Strasbourg a réussi à offrir des cours de FLE à 75 réfugiés cette année avec 45.000 euros seulement ? “100.000 euros des fonds qataris servent à l’organisation du programme en FLE et à l’accompagnement des étudiants, 250.000 euros sont consacrés aux logements et aux assurances et 250.000 euros permettent de garantir des bourses et la Sécurité sociale aux bénéficiaires”, détaille-t-on du côté de l’université.

“C’est un budget très confortable. Je suis très heureux pour eux”, commente Mathieu Schneider, vice-président de l’université de Strasbourg chargé de la coordination du dispositif porté par l’Unistra. “Mais il ne faut pas tout réduire à une question d’argent, poursuit-il. On ne fait pas forcément mieux en termes de conseil et d’accompagnement avec 600.000 euros qu’avec la motivation des personnels.” Citant l’exemple de sa voisine haut-rhinoise, l’UHA (université de Haute-Alsace), qui accueille une vingtaine de réfugiés, il estime que “chacun, à son échelle, peut faire quelque chose”. L’Unistra a d’ailleurs finalement décidé de renouveler ce dispositif et compte l’étendre à 100 bénéficiaires à la rentrée prochaine, avec un budget voisin de celui de l’an dernier selon  EducPros.