“No poor people in Algeria”
Here’s a whopper: Algeria’s Religious Affairs Minister Bouabdellah Ghoulamallah has claimed on state radio that “there are no poor people in Algeria”. Referring to how some 1,5 m Algerians vacation in Tunisia every year, and hundreds of thousands of others go to Hajj or Omra in Saudi Arabi, he said that the talk of poverty is just a “media invention”. Needless to say, this will be news to the legions of unemployed and desperately poor Algerians who struggle to make ends meet, and it is an excellent example of the “hogra”, high-handed neglect and spite from the authorities, which the Algerians resent so much.
For the record, Algeria last year ranked 104th on the UNDP’s Human Development Index, below the Arab average, and just slightly above the Occupied Palestinian Territories — this, after several years of a record-breaking oil bonanza.