Category Archives: Algeria

Algeria hosts key energy summit amidst shifting dynamics

Algeria welcomed envoys from energy-rich nations to a significant summit aimed at addressing pressing challenges and exploring new avenues for collaboration. As leaders from 13 countries convened in the Algerian capital of Algiers for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the spotlight fell on Algeria’s ambition to position itself as a critical natural gas supplier, particularly for European nations seeking to diversify their energy sources and reduce reliance on Russia.

During the three-day summit, which includes prominent participants such as Russia, Iran, Qatar, and Venezuela, discussions revolved around the evolving dynamics of the energy market. With renewable energy sources gaining traction and demand for oil and gas experiencing fluctuations, the forum provided a platform for coordination on investments, enhancing ties with consumer countries, and bolstering production capacity.

Ahmed Dkhinissa, an analyst and professor at the University of Algiers, emphasized the significance of the GECF in fostering global cooperation. He stressed the need for consensus among member nations, highlighting the importance of addressing various issues ranging from climate concerns to geopolitical tensions.

Meanwhile, Noureddine Legheliel, a financial analyst, offered insights into the ongoing debate surrounding renewable energies. While acknowledging their potential, Legheliel emphasized that fossil fuels, including natural gas, would continue to play a significant role in the energy mix for decades to come.

Algeria’s aspirations to become a leading gas supplier to Europe have garnered attention against the backdrop of efforts by European countries to reduce dependency on Russian energy. As the continent’s second-largest pipeline supplier of gas, Algeria has positioned itself as a reliable partner for countries like Spain and Italy. Premier Giorgia Meloni’s visit to Algeria last year underscored the strengthening ties between the two nations.

Highlighting Algeria’s growing prominence as an energy supplier, officials at the summit showcased the country’s commitment to providing secure and dependable energy resources. Recent agreements, including a deal with Germany’s VNG by Algeria’s state-owned energy company Sonatrach, underscore Algeria’s strategic significance in the global energy market.

However, challenges persist for Algeria’s energy sector. Despite ambitious plans to expand production, the country faces hurdles in meeting its commitments to European consumers. Infrastructure constraints, sluggish demand, and intensified competition from other gas-producing nations pose significant obstacles to Algeria’s aspirations.

Source: AfricaNews, 1st March 2024


Russia’s foreign minister tours North Africa as anger toward the West swells across the region

This photo provided by the Tunisia presidency shows Tunisian President Kais Saied, right, shaking hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Thursday Dec. 21, 2023 in Tunis. Russia is working to deepen political and economic ties and spread its narrative about wars in Ukraine and Gaza. (Slim Abid/Tunisian Presidency via AP)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Not far from where Russia’s Foreign Minister is holding meetings in Tunisia on Thursday, large green billboards advertising Russia Today, a Kremlin-backed media outlet, have been recently erected.

The ads are yet another indicator that Russia continues to expand its presence in North Africa as support for western powers across the Arab World fades amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

With deep trade ties and large diaspora populations in western Europe, North African countries have long maintained close, albeit complicated, relations with the European Union.

Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia also enjoy close relations with the United States.

But since October the region has been convulsed by protests about Israel’s latest war with Hamas, including in Tunis, where demonstrators have rallied in front of the United States and French embassies, chanting for a free Palestine.

Arab Barometer, a non-partisan research firm, published data last week that suggested the United States’ popularity fell 30 percentage points in the weeks after the Israel-Hamas war began. It found France’s image also suffered.

“Tunisians’ views on the world shifted in ways that rarely happen even over the course of a few years. There is no other issue across the Arab world to which people feel so individually and emotionally connected,” Arab Barometer researchers concluded, based on 2,406 interviews.

In the vacuum created by western powers’ diminishing popularity, Moscow has doubled down on efforts to strengthen its ties to North Africa and spread its narrative about issues including Ukraine and Gaza. Russian officials are exchanging visits with North African leaders, seeking new trade agreements and signing joint memorandums that cover issues ranging from Ukraine to Syria.

“It has become obvious that some external forces are not averse to using the next escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in their own interest, to ignite the fire of a regional war,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at this week’s Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum in Marrakech, alluding to the United States.

Marrakech was the first destination on Lavrov’s tour through North Africa. He arrived in Tunis on Wednesday evening to meet with President Kais Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister, who visited Moscow in September, when the two countries announced a new grain deal.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tunisia received roughly half of its total wheat imports from Ukraine.

While lamenting pressure from countries that isolate Russia, Lavrov announced new efforts to expand energy and agriculture trade with North Africa.

He also contrasted Russia’s positions with those of the United States in the Middle East.

Source: AP, 21st December 2023