Foreign Investment: 50 Stranded Projects Wait For The ANDI’s Decision
Despite the declaration of zero foreign investment since November 2019, the date of the last meeting of the National Investment Council headed by the Prime Minister, until August 2021, the National Agency for Investment Development – ANDI- received 50 files of foreigners wishing to invest in Algeria during this period, including 3 files which investments exceed DZD 50 billion, are awaiting a response, either by expediting the issuance of the new investment law, or holding an emergency meeting headed by the Prime Minister to decide on it.
Sources from the industry sector said in a statement to Echorouk that the number of foreign investment files deposited on the table of the National Agency for Investment Development “ANDI” during the years 2020 and 2021 reached 50 files, including 3 in the list of public projects, and the value of the proposed investment exceeds DZD 50 billion, or approximately $40 million, and the rest are small investments, which were studied and have not yet been answered, pending either the issuance of the new investment law regulating foreign investment activity in Algeria or the possibility of holding an emergency and exceptional meeting of the National Investment Council, which was dissolved more than a year ago.
According to the same sources, the nationalities of these investments vary, including French, Italian, Spanish, British, and a large percentage of Arab, Syrian, Jordanian, Egyptian, in addition to Chinese projects. They are added to investment requests accompanied by an Algerian partner with different foreign nationals, to obtain facilities in importing equipment and other goods as well, as the National Agency for Investment Development received all these requests to study them but none of them was released so far, due to the absence of the authority that is authorized to sign the decisions, knowing that the last meeting of the National Investment Council headed by the Prime Minister was in November 2019, which led to the registration of zero foreign investment in Algeria during the period from November 2019 to August 2021.
The National Investment Agency was forced to wait a long time to make decisions on the files that contain foreign investment applications, and some file owners prefer to wait for the issuance of the new investment law as soon as they were informed that the new legislation is under study and will be issued soon, while the investment fields are different and include all sectors of the food industry, tourism, hotels, agriculture, Health, pharmaceutical industry, and other fields.
As for the local investments, the National Investment Development Agency received in recent years 2,000 authorized investment files, specifically in the period between January 2020 and April 2021, while during the first three months of the current year, ANDI received 526 files that were authorized to create 14.000 jobs by the registered dealers, a number described as acceptable in light of the difficult circumstance characterized by the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the continuation of quarantine procedures, which adds a kind of uncertainty to investments in Algeria and the whole world, and leads to the reluctance of a large number of investors about entering new experiences in this stage.
The new investment law is still waiting to be presented to the government by Industry Minister, Ahmed Zeghdar, to lift the brakes on investments frozen for more than 3 years, despite the readiness of regulatory texts since October 2020. The new version includes a table of 13 factors for granting concessions to those wishing to invest in Algeria, including the economic feasibility of projects, the extent of their contribution to capital acquisition and technology transfer, and the lack of reliance on bank loans, the quality of the industrial or agricultural divisions that attract investors’ interest and integration rates.