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Quick reminder: impending doom

March 24, 2009

Now I’m no economist, but here’s a very simple question. Given that…

  • Algeria doesn’t produce anything at all, and has since independence in 1962 relied solely on oil and natural gas to pay import bills and maintain some basic level of social cohesion…
  • Algerian oil consumption is set to overtake sliding exports sometime in the 2020s…
  • International gas sales are apparently coalescing into something market-like which is subject to global price competition and fluctuations outside of state control…

…what will 45 million Algerians eat in 20 years? Certainly they will have stocked up an amazingly rich supply of  socialism-flavored anti-liberalization screeds by corrupt politicians and media personalities, but will populist slogans still preserve their crispy taste and vitamin content, come 2030?

15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2009 10:59

    well, I have no idea. Why don’t you check it out? You were the one saying that Algeria has nothing to live from in 20 or so years.

    If you suggest that solar panels are about to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons, I think the burden of proof is on you. Until then, I’m going to go ahead and boldly assume that solar energy exports today constitute less than a tenth of a percent of Algeria’s income — if not 0,0% — and that it’s not likely to rise much in the near future.

    Algeria of course has to diversify its economy, but they are working on it contrary to what you seem to think.

    Yes, and they are doing extremely poorly, which is precisely the problem. I don’t see how this is controversial.

    If Morocco were to allow for self-determination for the Saharawi people and settle the dispute over Western Sahara once and for all, another major stubling block for economic growth in the Maghreb would be removed.

    Sure, and if Libya liberalized this would also make trade easier … but I still feel that Algerian policy-makers should accept at least some responsibility for Algerian policy.

  2. March 26, 2009 15:54

    1. Algeria’s problems are mostly the fault of its leadership. This is true economically and politically.

    2. Solar energy exports are in their infancy, and its future is bright, but alle is right, the lack of sound leadership makes this difficult to push forward with. This might change in the medium to long range, but I don’t see any evidence that Bouteflika is particularly keen on drastically increasing solar energy exports (neither are many potential markets); It holds a lot of potential but requires very, very active efforts to exploit.

  3. March 27, 2009 19:11

    If the Algerian oil & gas sector was transparent enough so that we actually knew where the money went then there wouldn’t be as many problems. My impression is that a significant portion of the money doesn’t go to solar research or investment, but goes to Swiss bank accounts. Furthermore I don’t see that changing in the near future. Does Bouteflika have the political power to divert the money away from Swiss bank accounts and towards investment in solar power?

  4. March 27, 2009 20:09

    Maybe, but I think the struggle in Algiers is more about diverting money away from some Swiss bank accounts and towards other Swiss bank accounts.

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