President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the past and future in Algeria: Viewpoint

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

In the years that have followed the restoration of peace and stability, Algeria has been blessed in being spared the burden of external debt, which has allowed us to invest heavily in our future. This is most evident in the roll-out of our three massive five-year development programmes, along with additional plans for the wilayas and the Hauts Plateaux.

These efforts have been marked by a number of notable achievements, including the delivery of millions of housing units over the past 16 years; the construction of thousands of schools, colleges and high schools; the extension of the university network to all wilayas; the opening of hundreds of new hospitals, polyclinics and health centres; and the connection of isolated communities with drinking water, electricity and gas. Moreover, public investment and economic recovery have reduced unemployment from almost 30% in 1999 to nearly 10% in 2014.

Public development policies have now been extended to all parts of the country, and social transfers from the state budget have no equal elsewhere in the world. In fact, in spite of the challenges faced by the global economy, our level of national economic development continues to improve year after year, with public programmes helping meet the needs of our fellow citizens in housing, healthcare and education. This can be seen in the mobilisation of both public and private funds, which, when combined with input from foreign partnerships, are addressing the need for employment in all sectors throughout the country, and especially for young people.

Even beyond programmes such as our National Economic and Social Pact for Growth, other sectors are also undergoing substantial development, thanks not only to the sustained efforts of our workers but also to the significant amounts of public investment they have received in recent years.

In the area of agriculture, the implementation of the National Agricultural Development Plan and the National Rural Renewal Plan resulted in a revitalisation and diversification of production, thanks to the expansion of cultivable land, the development of new agricultural areas in the Hauts Plateaux and the south, and the revival of rural regions.

In industry and services, the encouragement of investment has enabled a recovery in the steel industry, mechanical engineering and the agro-industrial sector, and has aided the creation of a significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises in various activities, all while expanding the national industrial base and generating new jobs.

In terms of human development, indicators such as life expectancy, school enrolment, and connectivity to public water networks, electricity and natural gas have witnessed remarkable increases. As a result, our country has managed to successfully meet many of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, and we have achieved this well before the deadline.

We are also working to ensure that the education system is able to anchor the identity of our children, strengthening their knowledge and their potential, and allowing them to benefit from technological advances. Our future generations must never renounce knowledge and science. These are the only ways to secure their future, and this will allow them to participate in the global march of human progress, and will help us to occupy a prominent place within the global fellowship of nations.

The consolidation of the rule of law will also continue, not only through specific reforms in every sector, but also via the revision of the constitution, which is in the process of being finalised. Furthermore, Algeria is fighting hard to eliminate corruption. Certainly, this scourge has unfortunately seeped into our country but it is also being fought with the full resources of the law. I remain convinced that our success in this globalised world requires building a strong economy and having a well-established education system.

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President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

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