The World Bank’s Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, Ferid Belhaj, said Algeria, an oil and gas dependent economy has suffered sharp falls in the oil price since 2014, but does not need foreign loans to survive.
Belhaj pleaded with Algeria’s leaders to focus on youth employment and diversifying the economy. He told a state news agency that “Algeria has sufficient funding and does not need to borrow from the World Bank or anyone else”. He acknowledged that the fall in crude oil prices significantly hit the country’s finances, but noted prices have been improving since last year, effectively reducing Algeria’s trade deficit.
Algeria’s economy is centred on Hydrocarbon. Oil and gas accounts for 94% of Algeria’s total export revenue and 60% of the state’s budget. Belhaj states that it is imperative to diversify the economy to take advantage of the country’s huge potential.
He also urged the Algerian government to spend more efficiently on education and focus on the needs of the labour market, as unemployment currently stands at over 11%