Algerian Government to create startup-friendly "ecosystem," says Minister of Commerce Djellab
APS - 12 October 2019
ALGIERS- The government works to create an "ecosystem" conducive to the creation and the development of startups, announced Saturday in Algiers Minister of Commerce Said Djellab, adding that several services which are imported can be provided domestically.
"At the government, we are preparing to create a helpful ecosystem for StartUpers and self-employed entrepreneurs. All the ministries are currently working to promote startups," Djellab said as he addressed the opening ceremony of the Algerian High School of Business (ESAA) New Academic Year 2019-2020.
In this regard, he outlined the series of measures taken as part of the Finance Bill 2020 which will be examined during a Council of Ministers meeting on Sunday. These measures include the creation of Startup Support Fund, the introduction of tax reduction or exemptions, in addition to the creation of Silicon Valley-shaped technological zones.
Algeria banks on startups, thus it works to create an environment which would enable these companies to smoothly integrate into the world of business in the region, said Djellab. The government is "more and more aware of important resource which is our youth."
"So far, projects of young people have had the same treatment as the other companies, in terms of rules and taxation. Now, there is a willingness to create a new environment and free the initiatives," he added. Algeria imports worth nearly $4 billion of consulting services, while most of foreign consulting offices operating in Algeria recruit locally trained Algerians.
"We pay in foreign currency a solution which does exist in our country. The balance of payment doesn’t allow such a situation of dependence," the trade minister said. Encouraging startups is part of the reforms which are becoming crucial giving the progresses of world economy: "We no longer have the choice. We need to move forward quickly," he said. Moreover, Djellab rejected criticism of Algeria's membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
"All countries in the world join several free trade areas, in an increasingly integrated world," he said. "The countries which join the areas have a lot to gain, and if they reach 60% of their goals, countries see integration areas as a good deal," he explained.
"With AfCFTA, Algeria is expanding in Africa, but to succeed in this challenge, we must work more on innovation and digitization that are the accelerating factors of any economy," he said. Asked about the importation of second hand cars, Djellab said that this decision "is likely to be adjusted after evaluation of its implementation."
He recalled that it will only concern gasoline-powered vehicles. "Europe wants to abandon diesel, and this won’t be done in Algeria," he concluded.